Thursday, April 6, 2017

President Trump launches limited Tomahawk missile strike against a Syrian airbase.

File photo of a Tomahawk missile strike. USA Today/US Navy.

The United States has launched a limited strike of 50 tomahawk missiles targeting a Syrian regime controlled air base after a deadly chemical weapons attack. USA Today. Donald Trump blamed Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for the attack that killed 86 people. Trump said that the attack crossed many lines. The strikes targeted multiple sites, including the airfield near Homs that reportedly launched the strike. There is concern that the strikes could result in retaliation against US troops stationed in Syria or that they could hit Russian troops stationed their as well. Trump's actions show a major contrast between his administration and the Obama admin who did not respond to a major chemical attack.

My Comment:
This is a breaking news story. I have to say I am extremely disappointed. I don't believe for a second that Assad was actually responsible for this attack.  I made the arguments against Assad's responsibility in this blog post here, so I don't think I need to restate the case. Either way, I think that Donald Trump obviously jumped the gun here. He's either been misled by the intelligence community or he is playing some other angle that I don't understand at all.

My greatest hope is that this is the end of it and we don't launch anymore strikes against the Syrian regime. Right now they have been very successful in fighting back against ISIS and al-Qaeda and any major strikes against the Assad regime could destroy all that progress. Indeed, the only hope for both groups is further instability in the region and strikes against the regime will do that rather quickly.

Another problem is how does Russia react to this. Their position is that this was not a targeted strike by the Assad regime but a mistake caused by a bombing that hit a rebel controlled cache of chemical weapons. I find that argument to be extremely persuasive and if it turns out to be accurate then we bombed Assad's forces for no reason whatsoever.

Assad is a major Russian ally and Russia has deployed major forces to help the Syrian regime stand against terrorists and rebels. This action will likely infuriate them, especially if their view of the chemical attack is correct.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was scheduled to visit Moscow in April 12th. If that meeting does not happen then we know for a fact that this strike had major international repercussions. If it does happen then we know that this strike wasn't that big of a deal. Either way though, risking relations with Russia over this was a major mistake. Nobody gains anything from a war with Russia. Let's hope that cooler heads prevail here.

I also think that Donald Trump greatly misunderstood his supporters. Social media, Reddit and even 4chan are not happy about this attack. I'm a pretty loyal Trump supporter myself and I think this was Trump's first major mistake. Some are renouncing him but most are just very confused and can't understand why Trump is responding to this attack which seems like either an obvious false flag or a unintentional tragedy, not a deliberate chemical weapons strike.

 I'm not suddenly going to be a Democrat or anything and I still support the President, but damn if I don't disagree with him here. And given how hysterical everyone is on The_Donald, /pol/ and Twitter, I think most of his supporters disagree with Trump's descion here as well... I also want to point out that Trump's enemies, including Hillary Clinton, are praising this attack. When people like Bill Kristol are praising Trump, you know he screwed up.

I do think that if anything good comes from this it's the fact that the Russian conspiracy theory is dead dead dead. There is no way that a Russian agent would ever launch an attack on a major ally of Vladimir Putin. Though we did give the Russian a heads up in order to avoid casualties on their part, it is impossible to argue that this was in Russia's best interest. To argue otherwise is insanity. Let's hope that the conspiracy angle is finally put to bed forever now and we can move on to the actual scandals, including the Susan Rice intelligence targeting scandal. 

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