I strongly disagree with President Trump’s decision to attack Syria.
For starters, I don’t see any proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the sarin gas weapons detonation that prompted it.
There are two warring parties in Syria – the Syrian government, which is attempting to repulse an invasion and partial occupation of Syrian territory, and ISIS, a terrorist plague on the entire world, not just Assad’s regime.
Both of those parties have been accused of deploying sarin weapons against civilians, though I have yet to see any proof that Assad ever did. That’s why I opposed Barack Obama’s abandoned plans for attacking Syria.
Let’s look at the evidence.
First, there is little doubt a sarin event occurred. But Assad denied it was his intent to kill civilians. Instead, he claims a bombing run to destroy a depot of ISIS sarin agents was the plan. Could it be true that the dispersion of the sarin agent was a mistake? Why not at least investigate the claim? The Trump administration says it has compelling video to make the case. Why not release it publicly?
Second, since Russia had promised to supervise Syria’s pledge to destroy its arsenal of sarin weapons, it would have been very unwise for Assad to have launched such an attack using weapons that were supposed to have been eliminated long ago. The Russians back up Assad’s innocence.
Does that mean Assad isn’t responsible? No. Assad is a bad actor. He’s a second-generation bad actor. But he remains in power in Syria because the only alternative, at the moment, is much, much worse.
All this is to reassert that there is no proof the Syrian regime is responsible for this carnage.
There’s always a temptation when this kind of human suffering is witnessed by the world to “do something.” But, without all the facts, such decisions are sometimes made on the basis of emotion rather than reason.
There can be other factors that come in to play. North Korea is playing a dangerously threatening game right now of developing nuclear weapons with the capability of targeting the U.S. Trump has this on his mind. Was this response, in part, a way to demonstrate American power and will to act militarily? If so, and if, as I suspect, U.S. officials aren’t 100 percent certain Assad’s regime is indeed responsible, it was a bad mistake.
Trump is also under fire from his political opponents for supposedly being cozy with Russia – a charge with no evidence whatsoever. But Democrats and the media have been beating the drums on this non-issue since Trump won the election in November. Was this action, in part, a very loud demonstration that Trump is not beholden to Vladimir Putin? If so, and I don’t know the answer to that question, it would be a tragic and ill-advised way to make a political statement.
Of course, I could be wrong about all this.
Maybe Assad was responsible for conducting a dreadful sarin attack on his own people. But I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest it, so I have no reason to believe it.
The U.S. has a historically dreadful record of conducting military operations in the Middle East that never improve conditions there.
Again, right now – and for the foreseeable future – there are only two possible options for the near-term future leadership of Syria. Assad or ISIS.
Consider which of those is less appealing. Is there any doubt?
Syria is a complicated mess. Russia is there propping up Assad. Iran is there propping up Assad. ISIS is the primary opposition to Assad.
Again, it’s tempting, when you see people die such horrible deaths, to take action. But what’s next? How does this attack prevent more horrible deaths? If there’s more evidence of sarin events in Syria, will we assume the Syrian government is responsible and escalate a war that involves both Russia and Iran?
If so, it’s logical to assume if ISIS has any more sarin weapons under its control, they are planning such an attack right now.
One last point. President Trump promised during the campaign and after the election as well to make a priority of defeating ISIS. How does this attack further that objective?
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