(RPI) Thursday’s US missile attack on Syria must represent the quickest foreign policy U-turn in history. Less than a week after the White House gave Assad permission to stay on as president of his own country, President Trump decided that the US had to attack Syria and demand Assad’s ouster after a chemical attack earlier in the week. Trump blamed Assad for the attack, stated that “something’s going to happen” in retaliation, and less than two days later he launched a volley of 59 Tomahawk missiles (at a cost of $1.5 million each) onto a military airfield near where the chemical attack took place.
President Trump said it is in the “vital national security interest of the United States” to attack Syria over the use of poison gas. That is nonsense. Even if what Trump claims about the gas attack is true – and we’ve seen no evidence that it is – there is nothing about an isolated incident of inhuman cruelty thousands of miles from our borders that is in our “vital national security interest.” Even if Assad gassed his own people last week it hardly means he will launch chemical attacks on the United States even if he had the ability, which he does not.
From the moment the chemical attack was blamed on Assad, however, I expressed my doubts about the claims. It simply makes no sense for Assad to attack civilians with a chemical weapon just as he is winning his war against ISIS and al-Qaeda and has been told by the US that it no longer seeks regime change. On the verge of victory, he commits a suicidal act to no strategic or tactical military advantage? More likely the gas attack was a false flag by the rebels — or perhaps even by our CIA — as a last ditch effort to forestall a rebel defeat in the six year war.
Would the neocons and the mainstream media lie to us about what happened last week in Syria? Of course they would. They lied us into attacking Iraq, they lied us into attacking Gaddafi, they lied us into seeking regime change in Syria in the first place. We should always assume they are lying.
Who benefits from the US attack on Syria? ISIS, which immediately after the attack began a ground offensive. Does President Trump really want the US to act as ISIS’s air force?
The gas attack, which took some 70 civilian lives, was horrible and must be condemned. But we must also remember that US bombs in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians. Just recently, US bombs killed 300 Iraqi civilians in one strike! Does it really make a difference if you are killed by poison gas or by a US missile?
What’s next for President Trump in Syria? Russia has not backed down from its claim that the poison gas leaked as a result of a conventional Syrian bomb on an ISIS chemical weapons factory. Moscow claims it is determined to defend its ally, Syria. Will Trump unilaterally declare a no fly zone in parts of Syria and attempt to prevent Russian air traffic? Some suggest this is his next move. It is one that carries a great danger of igniting World War Three.
Donald Trump’s attack on Syria was clearly illegal. However, Congress shows no interest in reining in this out-of-control president. We should fear any US escalation and must demand that our Representatives prohibit it. If there ever was a time to flood the Capitol Hill switchboard demanding an end to US military action in Syria, it is now!
Dr Ron Paul
Dr Ron Paul served in U.S. House of Representatives three different periods: first from 1976 to 1977, after he won a special election, then from 1979 to 1985, and finally from 1997 to 2013.
Paul is a Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute, and has been an active writer, publishing on the topics of political and economic theory, as well as publicizing the ideas of economists of the Austrian School such as Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises during his political campaigns. Paul has written many books on Austrian economics and classical liberal philosophy, beginning with The Case for Gold (1982) and including A Foreign Policy of Freedom (2007), Pillars of Prosperity (2008), The Revolution: A Manifesto (2008), End the Fed (2009) and Liberty Defined (2011).
During his first term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul founded the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE), a non-profit think tank dedicated to promoting principles of limited government and free-market economics. In 1984, Paul became the first chairman of the Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a conservative political group founded by Charles Koch and David Koch ‘to fight for less government, lower taxes, and less regulation.’ CSE started a Tea Party protest against high taxes in 2002. In 2004, Citizens for a Sound Economy split into two new organizations, with Citizens for a Sound Economy being renamed as FreedomWorks, and Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation becoming Americans for Prosperity. The two organizations would become key players in the Tea Party movement from 2009 onward.
Dr Paul proposed term-limit legislation multiple times, while himself serving a few terms in the House of Representatives. In 1984, he decided to retire from the House in order to run for the U.S. Senate, complaining in his House farewell address that ‘Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare…. It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.’
Paul earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University‘s School of Medicine in 1961, and completed his medical internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968. Paul and his wife then relocated to Texas, where he began a private practice in obstetrics and gynecology.