(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump announced tonight that he had ordered the U.S. military to launch what he called “precision strikes” in Syria in coordination with British and French forces—but without authorization of the U.S. Congress.
Trump said that the attacks were aimed at “targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.
“To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?” Trump said.
Trump said that the strategic aim of the assault on Syria was to “establish a strong deterrent” against chemical weapons. He also said the U.S. military action against the Assad regime would continue until Syria stops using chemical weapons.
“The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons,” Trump said.
“We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,” he said.
Here is an excerpt from Trump’s nationally televised address announcing that he had ordered the U.S. military to strike Syria:
A short time ago, I ordered the United States Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now under way. We thank them both.
Tonight, I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action.
One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missiles strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force. Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians. This time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus. This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead.
Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous, not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation. The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British, French to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power--military, economic and diplomatic. We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.
I also have a message tonight for the two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime. To Iran and to Russia, I ask: What kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children. The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.
In 2013, President Putin and his government promised the world that they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace. Hopefully, some day we will get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not.