On Thursday, Donald Trump authorized a strike in Syria. He sent 59 Tomahawk missiles to Shayrat Airfield in response to the chemical weapons that Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad dropped on his people. But what exactly did that do? Not much actually.
What Assad did was horrible. It was a smaller scale of the gas attack than Assad committed in 2013, but awful none the less. In my opinion, he needs to be removed from power, but is that our responsibility? That’s a tough question. But what Trump did last week was nothing but show. It didn’t do anything to deter Assad.
Russia was warned before the attack, meaning that Syria would have been warned as well. There is evidence that the Syrian Air Force were moving jets and other tactical equipment before the missiles were launched. Not only that, the missiles were directed to hit non-important bunkers, buildings, and non-operational aircraft. The runway wasn’t even touched. The Syrian Air Force were running missions out of the airfield the very next day. So really, what was the point of this?
My theory? It was just another show from the reality tv ‘president’ in an effort to boost his favorability ratings (it didn’t) and to get people to stop talking about the Russia probe (it kind of did). Was this all a plan to show people that Trump isn’t in Russia’s pocket? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t doubt it. We could have absolutely destroyed that air base, or caused actual damage to an Assad target. But we chose the least amount of damage and spent $59 million dollars doing it. We can’t fund Meals on Wheels or medicaid, but let’s play a game and drop million dollar bombs so we can pretend we have an actual president in the White House.
What’s worse is all the hypocrisy. In 2013, President Obama asked congress to authorize use of force against Syria after he killed 1400 people in a gas attack. The republicans said no, that they wouldn’t authorize it. Their goal was to make Obama look weak. It had nothing to do with ideology because republicans are historically pretty hawkish when it comes to war. Their response to Trump (who didn’t ask for authorization by the way): Way to go! We love you! What an amazing idea! (eyeroll).
Even Trump did a 180. In a series of tweets (of course) in 2013, he implored President Obama not to attack Syria, that it wasn’t our problem, it wasn’t our war. The week before Assad’s attack this year, Trump and his team were backing off from saying Syria needed a regime change, that it should be up to the Syrian people. In another Trump tweet from 2012, he stated that because President Obama’s numbers were down that he would lob an attack in the middle east. Hmmm…that seems coincidental doesn’t it?
One other thing of importance: using the tomahawk missiles for that type of mission was not ideal. But Trump refused to use something else. Why? Could it be that he owns stock in Raytheon (the company who makes the missiles)?
We can’t pretend that Trump or his administration care about the people of Syria. The fact that they refuse to bring in refugees based on nothing but their religion proves that. We can’t pretend that this strike did anything other than move the dial on what is being talked about on the news.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories and I don’t want to peddle a ridiculous story, but it has been floated that this entire thing was a three-way collusion. Assad gasses his people, Trump lightly bombs a rarely used airfield to show ‘strength’ and his independence from Russia, and Putin pulls the Air Safety Deal to make it look like he’s mad. I don’t necessarily believe it, but I don’t disbelieve it either.
However, let’s be a little more pragmatic and hope that the collusion only extended to the election and to the NSC (and probably Justice Department, and State…) and not into killing innocent Syrians. If Trump decides to further bomb Syria without an Air Safety Deal with Russia and Russian’s get killed, we would probably be at war with Russia.
Two nuclear nations at war. I’m guessing this is what President Obama was trying to avoid when he stepped back from his redline. But Trump doesn’t have to intelligence or the emotional temperament to understand what could happen. None of this is good.