Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the leader of the US Central Command Army Gen. Joseph Votel addressed the press on Tuesday to discuss the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons, and the US military’s response.
On April 4, “the Syrian regime attacked its own people with chemical weapons,” said Mattis, who added that there can be “no doubt the Syrian regime was responsible for the decision to attack and the attack itself.”
When asked why the deaths of people in Syria from chemical weapons, but not conventional weapons, warrants a military response, Mattis said:, “U.S. will not enter full-fledged, full bore, into the most complex civil war raging on the planet.” This is a positive statement from Mattis as many people have Iraq still fresh in our minds, especially the fact that the US government lied about Sadam having “weapons of mass destruction.”
“I think what we have to look at here … is a policy decision by the United States.,” Mattis continued. “There is a limit, I think, to what we can do. And when you look at what happened with this chemical attack, we knew that we could not stand passive on this.”
“Any one that uses chemical weapons will pay a stiff price,” Mattis continued. Without saying it, it sounds like Mattis is drawing his own “red line,” and you can bet that this one best not be crossed.
In response to a question of whether Russia had advanced knowledge of the strike, Mattis said: “The Assad regime planned it, orchestrated it and executed it. And beyond that, we can’t say right now. We know what I just told you. We don’t know anything beyond that.”