Trump just took the first of what I expect will be many military actions. By destroying one of Assad’s airfields he’s taking a bull in a china shop approach, and it’s hard to see how this works out well. What this video emphasizes, and what very few people ever mention, is how weak Assad is. Prior to the Russian intervention he was reliant on a diminished air force to brutalize his people. Assad is a very bad man. But we should not be working towards the collapse of his regime. At the moment, Assad controls most of the population centers of the country. The rebel forces have been getting progressively more fundamentalist throughout the six year war. If Assad loses his air power, there is little to stop those forces from making great strides. Any serious movement by these forces towards Aleppo, or Damascus will result in tremendous new refugee flows. By taking this action, Trump has given the Jihadists a new lease on life. It is hard to see how this action benefits anybody other than Al Queda and ISIS.
After Ray and I shot this video I began to see reports that Russia had been informed of the attack before it was carried out. This is of course a good thing. We really want to avoid blowing up Russian soldiers. But the question of timing is important. Did the Russians know this was coming two hours before, or 24 hours before? Presumably Assad knew about this as soon as the Russians did. You can’t pack up an airbase in a day, but you can certainly fly out all the useful elements. Assad friendly media is reporting that 15 fighters were destroyed. This could be a real problem. If Assad just lost 15 useful fighters, then his air force has been significantly degraded, and the rebels have a new lease on life. But if they were 15 old or broken down fighters then this is largely cosmetic. So Trump’s action was either horrifically misjudged or useless. Either he’s given Idlib’s Jihadists an incredible gift, or he’s just engaged in the classic Clintonite “Shooting a 30 million dollar rocket at a tent to poke a camel in the ass”. Either way, it’s hard to see this action as a useful one.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there, so Donald Trump just bombed Syria. He sent 59 to 60 Tomahawk missiles and took out one of Assad’s air bases. We’ve been watching the coverage on CNN, Fox News, NBC and I have got to say.. It’s terrible. Fox News is obviously fully in support, but even the networks that are supposedly in opposition to this guy are slipping straight back into a Commander In Chief mode. There’s nothing that a news channel likes more than some war that they can cover. And of course, Assad is a very bad guy. But we figured we would do a reaction to this, and maybe go in a little more depth.
I’m Rob Morris, and this is my roommate Ray. And uh yeah, what do you think Ray?
Well it’s a sad day, number one. I’d like to say I’ve had some reluctance to do this, simply because chemical warfare is a very serious thing. Obviously killing women and children is just despicable, deplorable, there’s nothing more that you can really say…. However, you have to keep some perspective in that this is a very volatile situation and I think something that was quoted earlier on the news that I had heard, the most complicated civil war that this correspondent had ever seen.
I’ve delved in, in some detail on the civil war. I’ve got a series of videos that cover it, and I’ve got to say that as angry as I was at the Obama administration’s to this, at least, at least they thought about stuff. At least they tried to some degree to engage with what was actually going on and I think that this, from Trump is a simple reaction. I think he saw something on Fox News, he said, Oh Gosh, this is bad, and I’m the decider.
And fuck it, let’s do this.
Yeah, he probably saw Bill O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly said something about this, and he’s like wait, that’s a good idea.
Yeah, why not.
Why not just send sixty missiles over there and just blow up some shit. People will be shocked and afraid, and I’m the commander in chief.
He’s a strong man, ugh, and CNN and NBC and all these folks are playing directly into it.
You know what really kinda struck me about it? His reaction, and the way that they’ve described it and tried to explain it is that he had this emotional reaction to the video, right? Of course, it would be horrific to watch people die of chemical warfare. It’s awful. But, he immediately, within 24 hours decides that military action is required. And so it’s like you actually show your grandma or your uncle or your grandfather on the internet and they have this over-reaction, and they go home and they lock themselves in and don’t leave for a week.
Boom. Push the button.
Yeah, it’s time to go to war.
With the attacks, the initial attacks in Syria, that by the way killed, I think, over 1,000 people.
What year was that?
That was 2013, the red line stuff. That Obama got so much flack for not following through on.
And back then what did Donald say?
Oh, back then Donald was like “Stay out of Syria”
Don’t go in
Don’t do it.
Cannot go in there.
You have to ask congress for permission.
Yeah, which obviously Trump has no interest in doing, and if you look at that, and yes this is horrible, 70 people were killed by chemical weapons. Back then, 1,000 people were killed by chemical weapons, and the Obama administration looked into this, studied it, got all of its ducks in a line.
But that’s who Obama is…
Trump just reacted.
Obama is a pragmatic leader. He was never, while he represented hope and change, he was always a very middle of the road, I would say for a lot of. He never got too extreme to the left or the right. And he actually played… I think he was quite hawkish. He sniped old Bin Laden.
I have never been…
I guess my point is that, they were prepared for this moment. They had all their options on the table at any point. All the things that he got offered today were already on the table before he became president. And so, they prepared for this moment as one of many options. So there’s no telling whether this was a good option, the question to me, really is, is What’s Next? If you get this emotional, you get this visceral reaction like you forget about how you don’t want any Syrian refugees in this country, and how you’re essentially banning 10 other countries from coming here, or you can’t have your laptops on the plane if you want to fly here… then all of a sudden you are so moved? In 2013 1,000 people got gassed and you weren’t moved. Now all of a sudden you are moved. You have to… No child on god’s… no god’s child will ever have this happen to them. I mean listen…
Last week we just killed I think 200 civilians in Mosul? So, you know, these things… these things are horrible, but they do happen.
I’m pretty sure God’s children are refugees as well, and need a home, and a place of sanctuary, from a war that clearly has gotten so bad that you’re willing to now drop 50 or 60 Tomahawk missiles. A thousand pound warhead. That’s ridiculous. That’s a big bomb.
That is a big bomb, and that’s a very key point. This is pitched, in Trump’s speech, as something that is going to cut down on the refugee problem. As if taking out Assad is somehow going to help that. What I’d like to do right now, that I don’t think anybody on CNN, Fox News, or any of these outlets is actually doing, is talk a bit about what Syria actually looks like right now. Now a week ago, they did say this on one of the news programs. A week ago, Assad was sitting pretty. He now thanks to Russian intervention, he has managed to take back the largest cities in the country. He had managed to get to a degree of stability. Deals were happening, going forward. Rebel areas were being concentrated. Rebels were taking buses from the suburbs of Damascus, up to Idlib, which is still controlled by the rebels. We were at a point of semi-stabilization in the war in Syria. It was horrific. It was very clear that a lot of American clients, specifically the Sunni rebels in Idlib province, were losing the war, but peace was sort of happening.
But who do we want… Who is the just party in this war?
That’s… There isn’t one at this point.
And that’s the root of Syria. It’s that the sort of, I call it the Military Industrial Complex, some people don’t like that term, but I think it was Obama’s adviser Ben Rhodes that
called it “the blob” , which is this group of professional academics, journalists, defense contractors, congressmen, who really love the idea that there are bad guys out there and the US military is the best way to deal with them. So they’ve been eager, EAGER to do something about Assad.
There are a lot of people in Washington, DC right now who are very convinced Donald Trump Opponents, who are throwing a party right now.
Those two, why are they so close? They have the weirdest dynamic, visually… you look at one, he’s kind of young, looks halfway decent and put together, the other guy’s just this decrepit old… yeah. Those two are just the odd couple really to me. But they’re extremely hawkish, like they want to go to war with half the world.
Yeah, Yeah, so… and I think that’s worth emphasizing. As crazy as this is, as impulsive as this is, this action by Trump, it’s the classic wag the dog situation. He’s … his approval rating has bottomed out.
His base loves war.
Yeah, his base loves war and…
They love guns, they love explosions and war and guns and carnage and they like hunting and killing things.
Well it’s interesting because there are aspects, and these are the people who look like fools right now, is there are many people who were like If we vote for Hillary Clinton we’re going to get World War III!
Why, who said this?
Plenty of people.
Why? Who was she getting ready to go to war with?
Well actually, Assad in Syria…
My hope is that there is no next step planned. My hope is that this was meant to be a single punitive strike.
How can there not be? Well, how about this, how about this? How is this not … to me it seems very… it can’t be a coincidence that you have Rex Tillerson at one point saying, you know, we don’t know really what to do with Assad, but leave him where he’s at
Let the Syrian people decide
Yeah, figure that out… and then all of a sudden he’s like. Well cool, if I can decide then let’s drop some Sarin on them real quick and get this problem erased real fast. Then all of a sudden.. wait, he has no choice, he has nowhere to go on this, he’s basically been called out. Trump has been called out.The bully on the playground has been called out, so he has to react.
He was forced to do this, so how could that not have been influenced by several other entities, several foreign powers. China could have influenced this, obviously Russia has been a thorn in his side from day one, for a lot of very good reasons. This shows that he can step up and defy Russia. So it proves to be very valuable for him strategically on a lot of levels.
You said, you said one thing that I kind of disagree with.
That he was forced into doing this. I think…
I think he was forced.
I think this was an opportunity for him.
To do what?
To look strong, to make his base happy. Not just to make his base happy, but also The Republican, the very Hawkish Republican caucus, that is getting very sick of Trump for reasons like the Healthcare failure…
That’s my point.
But that’s the thing, so Trump, Trump, has now, tonight, Trump looks like a hero to these people.
That’s my point, no, what I’m saying is that it’s calculated. It’s cold and calculated, and it has nothing to do with the Syrian people, because he has obviously so much concern that he will bomb them, but he won’t let them into our country for sanctuary and refuge. So at the end of the day you can’t… everything to him is reaction. He is completely driven by every last tweet. Every last story on the 24 hour news cycle. He will do… he has the most knee-jerk spontaneous reaction to this, my point is this… what if China is over here shaking our hand, right now saying “Hello, we want to work with Trump, of course he’s a great businessman, and at the same time they are covertly dropping sarin gas in Syria and causing this…
He has no ability to have a calculated reaction. He’s an old man who essentially has a knee-jerk reaction to everything.
I think it’s very clear that Donald Trump is very easy to manipulate.
What people don’t realize about Assad is that he is desperately weak. The Russians were able to save him with, I don’t know, something like… this could be outdated, but I remember something like 37 war planes? I think they’ve staffed up significantly since then, but it was with a very small footprint. The Syrian battlefield is not a place where tomahawk missiles are flying in large numbers all the time, and it’s not a place where tanks are rolling in and there’s large… you’ve heard of barrel bombs right?
Yes… the ones that cause a lot of major damage…
It’s this really horrific thing that Assad does, is he fills some oil barrels full of TNT and drops them out of his helicopters on rebel areas. It’s horrific, it’s terrible. But when you actually look at that, this is nominally a, a big enemy of the United States.This is a state actor… whose best option is to fill an oil barrel full of explosives and drop it on people? Assad is really really weak, and Iran supports Assad, so I think Iran was actually happier with the status quo as of this morning. Because it looked like Assad was secure, Assad is essentially an Iranian client at this point.
We’re at the point where we need some grown ups in the room, making grown up decisions, taking time and deliberately going about their business. Not having a knee jerk reaction to a video game that upset them. At the end of the day, of course it’s horrific, but our president right now is… this is essentially what America gets. I mean honestly, they say our politicians are a reflection of our culture and society. We have a essentially… the most successful thing he’s done is be a TV reality show host. He’s had multiple bankruptcies, many failed marriages, at the end of the day this man is completely flawed grifter, con-man, I really believe American got conned. This was the biggest con that’s ever been perpetrated.
And now this man is making decisions about lives. Is this guy going to put boots on the ground? Is that where this is going? Another war?
The point that I really want to make tonight. That I was talking about with the Barrel bombs, that I was talking about the fact that Syria, as of this morning had gotten to a point of kind of a status quo. People are still dying, horrible things are still happening, but a whole group of actors was working to shut down ISIS. The… things were stabilizing. This destroys that. Assad is incredibly weak. With the barrel bombs and what not. I can’t find good information on how many air fields that Assad has, but one of them was just destroyed.
What happens if Assad falls? Is a question than nobody was asking on the news tonight. It’s a question that I don’t believe anybody in Washington, DC is asking. Our interests in Syria are that Al Queda and ISIS be destroyed, and that the refugee crisis slows down. What this does, taking away, I don’t know, as much as… this probably over-states it… but possibly in a single attack… taking out a third of Assad’s air capability means that the Syrian Civil War today, because of this action… has now restarted completely. And is quite possibly going to reach a new pitch of horrificness. What people don’t realize is that much of Syria is under the control of Assad. There’s a lot of internally displaced refugees that are living in areas that Assad controls. Parts of Aleppo, parts of Damascus.. modern life has sort of continued to a degree there. I mean there’s problems, they’re out of water occasionally… These are the large population centers of Syria, and all that’s standing between them and ISIS and Al Queda is Assad’s military force. This is the question that stopped, that I believe stopped Obama from actually taking action against Assad, the sad fact that the elements we were supporting against Assad were just as I believe that this action tonight will re-start the civil war in Syria, will re-start the killing, and will end up in dramatically larger, dramatically larger refugee flows.
Was there a ceasefire, when you said it’s going to dramatically increase, wasn’t it already in civil war, I mean they’ve been in civil war for six years.
There’s been a number of cease fires, there have been local…
Yeah but they’ve been in civil war for six years is common knowledge OK.
The war wasn’t stopping, this problem wasn’t going away though.
But it’s been changed. It’s been changed dramatically.
But the question now Rob is what happens next? I mean, at the end of the day, unless there’s a … there has to be some sort of forethought about what you do after this if the reactions are these things. If we get new information that says this, right? There has to be some developments.
There should be.
Over the next 48 hours that are probably going to explain whether this was just a blustering show of strength and I won’t be pushed around and you won’t… you know this was calculated political decision, or actually the beginning of a war.
I really hope it’s not the beginning of a war, because US boots on the ground in Syria, would just be… and we already have boots on the ground, we’ve got a Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting the SDF in Northern Syria, oh gosh, I always get the acronyms wrong, but I think that might be right… supporting essentially the Kurds against ISIS in northern Syria right now. It’s an open question.. would the Assad government try to carry out some kind of reprisal against those guys? My guess would be probably not, but regardless, this is a tremendously destabilizing action, that I believe has the potential to completely destroy Syria, even further than it’s already been destroyed… and it was made on the strength of Donald Trump getting a little sniffy after a Fox News news report. Not that he doesn’t…
I mean, it’s a little more complicated and serious than that… I mean, using chemical weapons is what makes this a very complicated, very difficult situation no matter what. And he’s honestly, he should be thankful that the military had all the preparedness that they had done to prepare for multiple scenarios that they could roll out in response to numerous things that I guarantee you was prepared by Barack Obama, and this was the best option right now.
Now I don’t know that Obama was actually picking out air fields.
You don’t think this option was on the…
Of course this option was on the table…
I think eliminate their air force was probably number one.
It was probably number one, it makes only most sense, without putting boots on the ground, without actually flying into their space. Targeting them from the sea.. From aircraft carriers was the most logical…
Oh sure, for sure.. These plans have been on the books for heck…
This was it, this was number one, this was plan A.
These plans were probably on the books before 2011, but uh that’s a different, that’s different issue.
I think since the original massive attack which I would like to reiterate, in 2013 his reaction was a thousand people get gassed, we’re not going in, we can’t do it, got to ask for congressional approval, and then, this happens, where a much smaller percentage, a much smaller amount of people get effected and all of a sudden it’s beyond his ability to handle and he starts dropping bombs.
Obviously back then he wasn’t the president, and didn’t have the capability to do that. But still it goes to show you that there’s nothing he won’t flip flop on, and there’s no position that is safe based on what the ticker says on Fox News.
It’s a joke.
Yep, and I think that’s pretty much what I’ve got to say. You got a final thought?
Um, I actually am … I don’t.. So you might have been able to tell from some of my comments, I don’t hunt, I don’t believe in guns in general, or just weapons in general, I think we need to move and evolve past that, however… Any war, any loss of life… you know… this is all dramatic and traumatic stuff, and honestly I hope that we can just engage and talk about this, and figure out a way forward that’s peaceful.
And I would just urge you to look beyond the coverage of the news, tonight and in the coming days… because it’s extraordinary how little information is actually conveyed. There’s a set narrative for the commander in chief, going after the bad guys, and that’s what we’re going to hear predominantly over the next couple days, and that is a tragedy. I would urge you to take a look at my Syria playlist, it goes in quite a lot of depth on this issue. I’ve also got an essay coming up in the coming weeks called Everybody’s Lying About Islam, and I think it explains in great detail, what is actually going on, what the problems actually are in Syria, and what the problems are with terrorism, Islam, Islamophobia and the broader Middle East, and the World. I hope you’ll give it a look. Thanks for watching, please subscribe.