ECLECTIC RANT: U.S. Missile Attacks Against Syria

Ralph E. Stone
Friday April 14, 2017 - 05:35:00 PM

Accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of launching chemical attacks on civilians in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun where at least 86 people were killed, Trump ordered Tomahawk missile attacks on the Shayrat air base where the chemical attacks on civilians were allegedly launched. "It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons," Trump said.  

Reportedly, 59 Tomahawk missiles costing about $93.8 million to replace were used in the attack. This amount of money could have funded Meals on Wheels -- zeroed out in Trump's proposed budget -- until 2029. 

Even some of his severest critics love Trump's show of military might. However, the missile attack was symbolic at best as Syrian planes left the same airfield the next day for further attacks on the same town although no chemical weapons were used. 

But what is Trump's Syrian war strategy if indeed he has one, and what "national security interest" was at stake? Previously, Trump criticized the U.S. involvement in Syria, had no interest in removing Assad, and claimed he would seek Congressional approval for any U.S. attacks on Syria. All these "promises" went out the window. 

By our missile attacks against Syria, we are in effect attacking Assad. Russia supports Assad. Does this mean that the coordination between the U.S. and Russia against ISIS will now end? The U.S., Turkey, Gulf Arab states, and Jordan provide support to some rebels opposing Assad. Supposedly, Russia and the U.S are only targeting ISIS while avoiding targeting the rebel forces. Will Russia be less discriminate in who they attack now that the U.S. has seemingly targeted Syria and Assad directly? 

Trump said of the chemical attack, "No child of God should ever suffer such horror." Was he intimating that our national interest was humanitarian in nature because Assad used chemical weapons he was ordered to destroy back in 2014? If the missile attacks were humanitarian, then why has Trump proposed slashing funding for the State Department and USAID, its foreign aid agency? And why is he trying to ban admission of refugees to the U.S., including Syrians? Consider that the war has resulted in about 4.8 million Syrian refugees. And why are some calling Trump the Islamophobia president?  

Was this missile attack an ad hoc decision or in furtherance of Trump's long-term Syrian war strategy? I suspect the former, not the latter. What's next in Trump's campaign to make America great again?  

That's a lot of unanswered questions. Stay tuned.