Friday, April 7, 2017

Trump Just Bombed Syria, Because Syria Bombed Syria. Or Something.

Well, it finally happened.  Trump ordered an airstrike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian Air Force base on the night of April 6, 2017.  Ostensibly in retaliation for the horrific sarin gas attack by the Assad regime against their own civilians, this marks the first time the United States directly attacked any targets of the Assad regime, as prior to this, we were solely attacking ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliates' targets, effectively as grudging and uneasy "co-belligerents" with the regime as well as Russia.  So unless this is just a one-off for show, this marks a major shift in foreign policy and military strategy in the region.

Of course, this may very well just be a way of "wagging the dog", distracting us from the ever-growing Russiagate scandal.  And while the Putin regime predictably condemned the airstrike, it is very telling that Trump told Russia about his plan before he even told Congress.  And it's not like the attack was particularly effective:  it didn't really do much damage to Syria's Air Force, and in fact the very next morning they launched another poison gas attack (this time with chlorine gas) against civilians in another town.   And even the initial sarin attack came just days after the Trump administration gave what can be interpreted as a not-so-subtle green light of sorts for the Assad regime to do as they please with impunity--kinda like Trump appeared to do with Putin just before the final Aleppo massacre in November.

Oh, and did you know that those same Tomahawk missiles used in the airstrike were manufactured by Raytheon, whose stock price jumped dramatically the day after the attack?  And which plutocratic potentate owns stock in that exact same company?  You guessed it.  As Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler once famously said, "War is a Racket".  And his 1935 book of the same name should be required reading for everyone.

It is funny how Trump supporters who voted for him because they feared Hillary would attack Syria, now have face the fact that Trump just did exactly that.  And yes, Hillary most likely would have done so.  Not to condone Hillary's plan for Syria, but at least Putin was afraid of her, and she could have used such leverage to keep Russia and Syria from getting too out of control.  And we all would have seen big, tough, macho Putin begging a powerful Woman for mercy.  And that would have been priceless in itself.  Of course, Bernie would have been better, but alas that was not to be.

While the TSAP unequivocally condemns the brutal chemical (and conventional) attacks on civilians by the evil and genocidal Assad regime, we do not belive that Trump is taking the right path in his reckless and impulsive unilateral attack on Syria.  If we do intervene, we must do so along with the international community, and pursue diplomatic measures to bring the Syrian civil war to as quick an end as possible.  History has shown that, military action, should we even pursue it at all, should be a very last resort and should be well-planned and coordinated with our allies, with a clear exit strategy and a plan to actually win the peace.  Otherwise, we risk WWIII, or at the very least another Middle Eastern quagmire akin to the worst of Libya and Iraq combined, on steroids.

We ignore history at our own peril.  The song "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Iron Maiden comes to mind.  Which is basically where the Doomsday Clock is set now, thanks primarily to the drunken Darth Vader wannabe and his orange ventriloquist dummy in the White House.


  1. I support President Trump's attacks on Syria's air base. The regime of Bashar al-Assad should be removed from power. The U.S. shouldn't need UN Security Council approval. Russia backs Syria's regime which makes a vote on military action impossible. I think that the Syrian opposition should be the next government of Syria. President Trump did a good thing by attacking Syria's military. The gas attack on the civilians was a war crime. The U.S., the U.K. and the European Union should support military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime. If there has to be regime change in Syria, then there should be regime change. The U.S. has the correct pretext for a military strategy, unlike the lied pretext which was for Iraq.

  2. Problem with that though is that doing so is a very slippery slope in practice. Mission creep all too easily becomes mission leap. And as history has shown, creating a power vacuum via regime change without a concrete and viable plan to fill said vacuum tends to make things worse in the long run. After all, rushing into Iraq and removing Saddam was the primary reason why we have ISIL now. And removing Gaddafi from Libya has turned that country into a haven for terrorists as well. And this time, we now have the potential for war with a nuclear-armed rogue state, Putin's Russia. Attacking Syria without removing Assad will likely be fruitless, while removing him hastily will increase the odds of ISIL or al-Qaeda affiliates taking over.

    Clearly, we need to choose the least worst among a list of bad options. And if nothing else our foreign policy should really be "first, do no harm" and "think before you react".

    Trump was so impulsive that he didn't even tell Congress until after he did it. Though he told Russia first, of course.

    Again, I think this airstrike was really just a headfake, a "wagging the dog" to distract from Russiagate. If so, it may just end there with no further military action, or barely any. But if not, there is no telling just how far the slippery slope will take us. WWIII?

  3. I just updated the article with some new stuff that I added, by the way.

  4. Bashar al-Assad should be removed from power. There should be further military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime. I don't believe that Islamic State or other radical Islamists would fill the power vacuum in Syria if Bashar al-Assad was taken from power. The Syrian opposition should be allowed to fill that power vacuum. People in Syria who favor Bashar al-Assad over the Syrian opposition are people who would support a war criminal. The Syrian opposition would be a legitimate source of government. The main strategy should be regime change by taking out Bashar al-Assad from power and installing the Syrian opposition. Relations with Russia should be secondary in this strategy.

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  6. If we do decide to go that route, and that is a very big "if" if you ask me, we must do so very carefully and deliberately, not rashly and ham-handedly like we have done in previous interventions in other countries. Murphy's Law and all. And history may not repeat itself exactly, but it still rhymes nonetheless.

  7. Then we will have to agree to disagree on Syria, then.

  8. I guess so. One of the very few things we disagree on.