Interview with the honorable Senator Richard Black, Commonwealth of Virginia State Senate
As I wrote a few months ago, surfing the net sometimes one can happen to come across documents that leave the reader surprised and led him to question why and how certain things have happened. Honorable Senator Richard Black, member of the Senate of Virginia, in April of this our year now at the end, wrote a letter to Syrian President Assad to thank the Syrian Arab Army for its extraordinary gallantry and heroism demonstrated in conducting military operations in Qalamoun. These military operations have led to the rescue of the Christian community who was imprisoned for a lot of time by the Islamic extremists who are fighting against the Syrian government and against the whole of Syria.
I remember briefly who is Senator Richard Black: he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and a Juris Doctor in Law and is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court. He served four terms in the Virginia House of Delegates and was elected to the Senate in 2011. As Marine pilot in the Vietnam War, he flew 269 combat missions. He was wounded and his radiomen were both killed during fierce ground fighting with the 1st Marine Regiment. As Colonel, the future senator, served as a military attorney and supervised several major legal organizations. He was a Division Chief at the Pentagon, where he prepared Executive Orders for the President's signature and testified as a legal expert before the U.S. Congress. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and Command and General Staff College. Senator Black is a Republican, pro-business and favors low taxes and regulation.
The following is an interview to him about the letter he wrote and his opinion about the Syrian problem.
Q) Senator Black, could You remind our readers of the reasons that led You to write Your letter to Syrian President Assad?
A) I wrote to thank the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians who lived along the Qalamoun Mountain Range. I was deeply grateful for the skill and valor of the Syrian troops who conquered terrorists who had occupied the Christian villages for several years. In particular, I thanked President al-Assad for the rescue of thirteen Catholic nuns who were being used as human shields by the jihadists at Yabroud. I also expressed concern that the United States had become aligned with designated terrorist groups like al-Nusra and, at the time, the Islamic State. I was troubled that we would side with radicals who conducted mass executions of prisoners of war, beheaded priests and other civilians, and even resorted to cannibalism on the battlefield.
Q) Your letter has caused mixed reactions. How would You respond now to the criticism received by Your party colleagues?
A) No one had dared to challenge American policy before my letter was published. It caused a worldwide firestorm because the main-stream media had not disclosed the truth about our involvement in Syria. Initially, there was some criticism of the letter. However, the media were unable to discuss the letter without disclosing its contents. When people read the letter, they saw that I was standing up for Christians against terrorists. People began to say, "What is wrong with that?" The other part of my letter said that we should not be helping groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, because al Qaeda had killed 3,000 Americans when they flew jet airliners into The Pentagon and Twin Towers. Most people said to themselves, "That seems pretty reasonable." Over time, all of the criticism has stopped, and I now receive many compliments on having courage to publish the letter as I did.
Q) Mirna Barq, vice president of the Syrian American Council, has reserved harsh words for You. There was no adjustment that occurred regarding the attack with Sarin against civilians that was made by the Islamist terrorists and not by government forces?
A) I have not read the comments of Ms. Barq. From your question, it seems that she is uninformed about the Sarin gas attack that occurred at Ghouta in the outskirts of Damascus. The claim that President Assad ordered that attack has been completely debunked. Pulitzer Prize winning author, Seymour Hersh, in The Red Line and the Rat Line, concluded that covert operatives from Turkey supplied rebel terrorists with the Sarin gas they used to launch the attack. His opinion was supported by Yossef Bodansky of Global Research in his article entitled, "Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack?" Bodansky independently concluded that Turkish and Qatari intelligence knew in advance that the attack would be launched, and arranged with the C.I.A. to send 1,000 tons of high quality weapons for use in a massive attack on Damascus, set to coincide with the anticipated American air and naval attack that would follow the staging of a poison gas attack. The attack occurred on August 21, 2013, just three days after President Assad brought U.N. Inspectors to Damascus to investigate an earlier sarin gas attack by the Rebels. The notion that Assad would attack his own capital city when U.N. Inspectors were there at his request is childishly absurd. America's most prominent radio commentator, Rush Limbaugh, stated unequivocally on August 25, 2014 that President Obama, "...should never have drawn the red line, because Assad was not gassing his own people, as was the popular thought or perception a year ago." Since President Assad knew that the use of poison gas would result in an attack by the United States that would overthrow his government, no rational person can believe that he would deliberately attack his own capital city. I was amazed how easily educated people accepted this propaganda ploy at face value. Intelligent adults should be more discerning.
Q) Referring to President Assad, You used an expression that really struck me: "extraordinary cavalry". Would You use it again?
A) I did not refer to President Assad by using that phrase. What my letter said was that, "I pray that the Syrian armed forces will continue to exhibit extraordinary gallantry in the war against terrorists." That is what I said, and that is what I intended to say.
Q) Forgive me but .... "extraordinary gallantry" reminds me of the Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. My question is, is there still a respect for the enemy?
A) You make the mistake of referring to Syria as "the enemy." The Congress of the United States has never declared Syria to be our enemy. Syria, which is a secular nation, has long been the defender of Christians and other minorities. The Syrian Constitution guarantees complete freedom of religion to everyone. In the midst of the civil war, Christians in Syria erected one of the grandest statues of Jesus Christ on Earth. The massive bronze statue is visible from Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Women have complete freedom in Syria. They can study, travel, worship, and dress as they please. Syria is the only Arab nation that has conducted free elections. President al-Assad was re-elected by a 79% majority, and three-quarters of eligible voters turned out to vote. Even Sunnis in Syria voted for Assad by a wide margin. The government of President Assad enjoys strong support from the Syrian people. I consider the enemy to be the terrorists from al-Qaeda, ISIS, The Islamic Front, and even the Free Syrian Army that is being trained to establish a puppet regime to rule the Syrian people. All of these groups are renowned for their cruelty. They conduct mass executions of prisoners of war, they crucify Christians, and they embark on sexual jihad, raping Christians and Yazidis at will. They conduct forced amputations; they forcibly restrain naked Christian women while they slice their necks and decapitate them. They conduct suicide bombings of children's' schools. They stone young lovers to death, and they have established organized slave markets where filthy, disgusting men can purchase little children for their perverted pleasure. These men are my enemies, and I despise them.
Q) In particular, do You believe that Bashar al-Assad is anyway the "enemy"?
A) I do not believe that President al-Assad is the enemy. Both he and his father before him have been the protector of Christians. Under President al-Assad, Syria has not attacked any nation even though dozens of nations have attacked Syria. Syria is a neutral, non-belligerent nation. Hostile actions taken against Syria are not lawful under the Law of War. Accordingly, attacks on Syria are war crimes. Syria is not the enemy; the terrorists being armed and trained by the U.S., Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are the enemy.
Q) Often, following the events in Syria, I had the impression that there are two opposing schools of thought within the Obama administration. In particular, the activism of Senator McCain reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt. Do You think so?
A) Senator John McCain played a major role in the unlawful attack on Libya. That attack was carried out in order to capture their huge arsenal of weapons, which were then sent to Turkey to supply the rebels across the border in Syria. I believe that Senator McCain's foreign policy activities have done enormous damage to The United States. They have resulted in bloodshed and political turmoil throughout the Middle East.
Q) Finally: what possible solution to the Syrian crisis, considering the role of Russia and Iran?
A) Syria is the most affective bulwark against ISIS. If terrorists seize Damascus, the entire Middle East will be destabilized. Jordan and Lebanon would probably collapse within weeks. I believe that the United States, Russia, and Iran share common interests in defeating all of the terrorists attacking Syria. I believe the Syrian crisis can be solved in the following fashion:
The U.S. should withdraw all funding and support for terrorist training that is now being carried out in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar;
The United States should establish a covert military liaison with the Syrian Government so that air strikes can be coordinated through the Syrian Arab Army;
The United States, in conjunction with Russia, should request overflight permission to allow our aircraft to lawfully enter Syrian air space. Since all parts of Syria are directly accessible from the Mediterranean Sea, this would eliminate the need to seek overflight permission from Turkey, which is quietly allied with ISIS, al-Nusra, and other terrorist organizations;
The United States should organize a massive and relentless bombing campaign to cut off all vehicular traffic entering or leaving the ISIS capital of Raqqa. We should drop leaflets, ordering all civilians to evacuate the city by foot. Afterwards, Raqqa, which has become a chamber of horrors, should be completely leveled using carpet bombing designed to destroy every structure in that depraved city;
The United States and Russia should provide precise, timely satellite and electronic-intercept intelligence to the Syrian and Iraqi military forces;
The United States should reopen the Syrian Embassy and close down the mission used by Syrian Rebels to lobby for American arms;
The C.I.A. should be instructed to terminate all aggressive actions against Syria, including propaganda. They should be instructed that it is the objective of the United States to ensure the survival of Syria, which is essential to the defeat of terrorism in the Middle East.
We thank the Honorable Senator Black for his patience and his kindness in responding to our questions.