At a press conference from his his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Thursday, President Donald Trump explained his decision to retaliate militarily to Syria’s nerve gas attack , invoking God’s name multiple times in a speech with strong religious overtones.
“No child of god should ever suffer such horror,” the president declared. “Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. As a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies. Tonight I call on all civilised nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.”
“We ask for god’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice that peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”
“Goodnight and god bless America and the entire world.”
Late Thursday night, two US Navy warships, the USS Ross and Porter, stationed in the east Mediterranean Sea launched cruise missiles on Thursday night targeting al-Shayrat airbase near Homs. This is the airbase that launched Tuesday’s sarin nerve gas attack on Khan Sheikhun was launched, killing more than 70 people.
“A total of 59 [Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles] targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in an official statement. “As always, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict.”
“U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield,” Davis said.
The missile attack was the first direct US military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Assad is currently fighting multiple rebel groups in a six-year civil war that has killed 300,000 civilians and led to a global refugee crisis. The US attack is a change in policy for the president, who once said, “Syria is not our problem.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson explained this change of policy at a press briefing Thursday night.
The missile attack comes after diplomatic responses to the chemical attack fell short. The US, Britain and France proposed a draft of a UN resolution to condemn the attack and compel Syria to cooperate with international investigators. Russia rejected the draft and presented an alternative version.On Thursday, a British diplomat told Reuters that the UN would not would not vote on a draft resolution to condemn the gas attack, but will continue negotiations.
Tillerson blamed Russia or complicity in the nerve gas attack.
“They would act as the guarantor that these weapons would no longer be present in Syria. Clearly Russia has failed in its responsibility to deliver on that commitment from 2013,” Tillerson said at a press conference. “Either Russia has been complicit or Russia has been simply incompetent in its ability to deliver on its end of that agreement.”
Before his appointment as secretary of state, Tillerson had years of experience in high-level negotiations with Russia as chief executive officer of Exxon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out strongly in support of the US attack at a press conference Friday morning.
“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished” Proverbs 11:21 #SyriaChemicalAttack
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 7, 2017