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DONALD TRUMP TIES HIS SYRIAN ACTION TO PAST PRESIDENTS AND ACTIONS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last Saturday morning, we all awoke to the news that the U.S. had led an attack on alleged Syrian chemical weapon facilities. Harry, the big question now is what’s next? Where do we go from here?
DR. REEDER: Well, it was interesting to hear the administration’s comment. It seemed like they were intentionally hearkening back to the two previous presidential administrations. First, as it was stated, this is a president who when he draws a red line and says there will be consequences, does inflict those consequences and then, secondly, after it was done, President Trump said “Mission accomplished.”
And those two phrases are so embedded now into the media culture. “Yes, if I do draw a red line, there will be consequences and this is an example. In other words, I’m not going to say there’s a red line and there’ll be consequences and then erase the line and have no consequences when the line had been crossed.”
And then, secondly, “Mission accomplished,” may have been a way to say, “Actually, this was the mission. I don’t have a mission beyond this. The mission was to take out the three chemical factories and the mission’s now accomplished by Great Britain, France and the United States.”
WHY DID WE GET INVOLVED IN DOMESTIC ISSUES IN SYRIA?
Many are responding negatively, “This is a sovereign nation and we don’t have a right to do this. American interests are not at stake.” Well, I would say to my Christian friends who say this on this issue that is an echo of the 1930s. You have Adolf Hitler invading Poland, literally cleansing away Polish resistance and declaring that his troops were authorized to kill women, children and civilians, which they did by the thousands. And then, of course, there was the appeasement to Chamberlain and the statement, “We can’t intervene on such war crimes.”
Chemical weapons are actually agreed as war crimes, the use of them. All the countries have signed off that they are not to be used and almost all countries have destroyed them, at least the known chemical that they had developed.
Even as we are doing this program, we are being informed that there is an agency going in that is equipped to determine whether chemical warfare was used. And, in particular, this infliction of chemical agents — probably chlorine gas — was dropped by barrel drums from airplanes that fell into the Syrian city, taking out hundreds of lives and casualties and the documentation of the films that were observed had all of the evidences of chlorine gas.
NO U.N. ACTION MEANT SOMEONE HAD TO ACT
And so the question is why hasn’t the UN acted? And, interestingly, after the attack, Russia brought forth a resolution condemning France, England and the United States. It failed, as it had to fail, because guess who is on the executive council that has the power of veto: France, England and the United States. And, of course, the United States has brought resolutions condemning Syria’s use of chemical warfare but guess who sits on that same council — Russia — and Russia and China have vetoed those because, in reality, Syria as it has been — before Russia there was the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union established Assad’s father and the Soviet Union continues to prop it up along with Iran. Therefore, Russia and Iran are the patron states behind Syria and maintaining Assad’s authority and power within Syria.
THIS WAS A SAFE AND STRUCTURED ATTACK
However, I read of people saying, “Hey, this is not something that we should be involved in.” I believe it is something that we should be involved in and I actually think this was appropriate. It was a measured strike. Clearly, they had made communications to remove human life from those sites — the Russians, obviously, were not there so they experienced no casualties, although they occupied places throughout the country in propping up Syria — and there were no human casualties so that means if you destroyed plants and there are no human casualties that meant some kind of advanced warning was likely given.
And so, what the United States did was, with pinpoint accuracy, took out those plants that manufacture chemicals. Why didn’t we destroy those plants if we knew they were there? I think it was appropriate. We can’t tell people what industries they can have — because chemicals have multiple uses — but, once they showed the usage of the atrocity of a war crime in gassing their own people with a genocidal assault, then to respond in such a manner, given the paralysis of the United Nations, by punishing what are agreed to be war crimes.
BELIEVERS, HUMANS ARE AT RISK, EVEN POTENTIALLY US
For those who say to me — particularly believers I’ve talked to — “We shouldn’t do that,” well, how course can our consciences be that we can see women and children foaming at the mouth and we will not stop a dictator? I’m not talking about going in and changing regime, just going in and telling them, “We’re not going to take over your country, but you cannot do what are agreed war crimes. You cannot gas your own people or any other people.”
And, by the way, if he can gas them, all he’s got to do is put it in a plane and fly it another hundred miles and now he’s over Israel and now he’s over Jordan — all of those countries that are around him. The patron states of Russia and Iran through Syria then take that chemical warfare to other nations.
WE CANNOT STAY SILENT ON WAR BUT MUST BE CLEAR AND CONSISTENT
However, whether they do that or not, the fact that it’s done to his own people, we cannot say, “Well, that’s a matter of internal politics.” No, it’s not a matter of internal politics — that’s a war crime. That is evil. That is evil and there’s two ways that you stop evil. One is the Gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ that changes the heart whereby evil originates and changes men and women. Therefore, let’s send missionaries into Syria, which we are doing. Some of our own people from Briarwood have recently been there and I know we have been there and I know of some very special things that are being done that I cannot publicize on this program to bring the Gospel into Syria.
Secondly, there needs to be an external public policy that says, “Here is a red line: You cannot commit war crimes upon your people and kill women and children with gas. That will not be allowed.”
What did they do? They took out the factories that would produce those chemical agents. And to stand against it to me is no different than the confessing church in Europe and in Germany that knew what Hitler was doing in the cleansing of the Jews and then did not say anything but were silent because they were allowed to function.
And people have said, if we do this, Assad will bring warfare against Christians. Assad’s already bringing warfare against Christians and his statement that he allows Christians there is no different than Hitler telling the confessing church in Germany, “Just trust me and don’t worry, you can entrust the presence and security of your church to me.”
No, we don’t do that and we want to speak the public policy and, if necessary, evil has to be confronted. We don’t want it to have to be confronted with warfare acts, but when chemical warfare is present, chemical warfare must be stopped.
DON’T STOP WITH POLITICAL ACTION; BRING GOSPEL ACTION
And then we, of course, bring the Gospel to the hearts of those who would use chemical warfare as a tactic but we also bring force against evil that it is not allowed to move with impunity. We do it constantly in our own country. We go into a neighborhood and will plan a church to bring the Gospel to the hearts of men and women.
We also put policemen on every corner saying, “You cannot do what is criminal.” Well, we have agreed chemical warfare is criminal. Therefore, you cannot do it. We don’t want to be the world’s policeman, but those who have signed onto the reality that chemical warfare is a war crime must punish the crime if it is used with impunity against men, women and children.
Therefore, I believe that it was an appropriate response, it was a declared mission — “We’re taking out the factories” — therefore, the mission was accomplished. Now, are there other factories? I don’t have the slightest idea. Will he use it again? I don’t know, but he at least will think twice and that, to some degree, will be beneficial for women and children within Syria.
COMING UP: PAUL RYAN’S DECISION TO LEAVE CONGRESS
TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of “Today in Perspective,” I want to take you to a Politico article, “Why Paul Ryan Has Called It Quits”.
DR. REEDER: Let me confess, I happen to be a Paul Ryan fan, but I’m going to try to do this dispassionately because his stated reasons, both publicly and privately, give us some insights that we need to examine concerning the political landscape in our country at the moment, its toxic nature and the opportunities that still remain. We’ll deal with that on Friday’s edition of “Today in Perspective”.
Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.
This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.