Here are the top ten reasons for doubting that story, and instead calling it a convenient pretext:
ONE: Photos show rescue workers treating/decontaminating people injured or killed in the gas attack. The workers aren’t wearing gloves or protective gear. Only the clueless or crazy would expose themselves to sarin residue, which can be fatal.
TWO: MIT professor Thomas Postol told RT, “I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the [US intelligence] document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun…Any competent analyst would have had questions about whether the debris in the crater was staged or real. No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it.” How would a canister purportedly dropped from an Assad-ordered plane incur “crushing from above?”
THREE: Why would President Assad, supported by Russia, scoring victory after victory against ISIS, moving closer to peace negotiations, suddenly risk all his gains by dropping sarin gas on his own people?
FOUR: In an interview with Scott Horton, ex-CIA officer Philip Giraldi states that his intelligence and military sources indicate Assad didn’t attack his own people with poison gas.
FIVE: Ex-CIA officer Ray McGovern states that his military sources report an Assad air strike did hit a chemical plant, and the fallout killed people, but the attack was not planned for that purpose. There was no knowledge the chemicals were lethal.
SIX: At, journalist Robert Parry writes, “There is a dark mystery behind the White House-released photo showing President Trump and more than a dozen advisers meeting at his estate in Mar-a-Lago after his decision to strike Syria with Tomahawk missiles: Where are CIA Director Mike Pompeo and other top intelligence officials?”
“Before the photo was released on Friday, a source told me that Pompeo had personally briefed Trump on April 6 about the CIA’s belief that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was likely not responsible for the lethal poison-gas incident in northern Syria two days earlier — and thus Pompeo was excluded from the larger meeting as Trump reached a contrary decision.”
“After the attack, Secretary of State Tillerson, who is not an institutional intelligence official and has little experience with the subtleties of intelligence, was the one to claim that the U.S. intelligence community assessed with a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the Syrian government had dropped a poison gas bomb on civilians in Idlib province.”
“While Tillerson’s comment meshed with Official Washington’s hastily formed groupthink of Assad’s guilt, it is hard to believe that CIA analysts would have settled on such a firm conclusion so quickly, especially given the remote location of the incident and the fact that the initial information was coming from pro-rebel (or Al Qaeda) sources.”
“Thus, a serious question arises whether President Trump did receive that ‘high degree of confidence’ assessment from the intelligence community or whether he shunted Pompeo aside to eliminate an obstacle to his desire to launch the April 6 rocket attack.”
SEVEN: As soon as the Assad gas attack was reported, the stage was set for a US missile strike. No comprehensive investigation of the purported gas attack was undertaken.
EIGHT: There are, of course, precedents for US wars based on false evidence—the missing WMDs in Iraq, the claims of babies being pushed out of incubators in Kuwait, to name just two.
NINE: Who benefits from the sarin gas story? Assad? Or US neocons; the US military-industrial complex; Pentagon generals who want a huge increase in their military budget; Trump and his team, who are suddenly praised in the press, after a year of being pilloried at every turn; and ISIS?
TEN: For those who doubt that ISIS has ever used poison gas, see the NY Times (11/21/2016). While claiming that Assad has deployed chemical attacks, the article also states that ISIS has deployed chemical weapons 52 times since 2014.
I’m not claiming these ten reasons definitely and absolutely rule out the possibility of an Assad-ordered chemical attack. But they do add up to a far more believable conclusion than the quickly assembled “Assad-did-it” story.
These ten reasons starkly point to the lack of a rational and complete investigation of the “gas attack.”
And this lack throws a monkey wrench into Trump’s claim that he was ordering the missile strike based on “a high degree of confidence.”