We Bombed Syria. What Now Trump?
Well…it’s been another week for the Trump administration.
We survived the removal of Steve Bannon from the National Security Council, an incident which may go down as a genuine mystery involving this wackadoo, dangerous congregation. We know Trump and team are up to their necks with something untoward involving Russia. We understand they can’t find their asses with both hands when it comes to reforming health care. We’re certain that the President and his Cabinet are on their way to gutting regulations, destroying the environment and giving whatever they can to benefit the already moneyed elite. But Steve Bannon is the Karl Rove of the Trump era, with an extra helping of racism, right? What’s really going on with his quick ejection from an elite circle for which he has no qualifications? It’s not like inexperience ever concerns this bunch. Things that makes you go hmmm…
This week we also stumbled through the “doomed kabuki,” (thank you Charles Pierce) that was the Neil Gorsuch Senatorial debate. Ay carumba. That momentary blip of pride when Democrats found the balls to stand against the 2016 humiliation of Judge Merrick Garland and the Obama administration with a filibuster maneuver. But the cagey, smug Gorsuch is now officially “the most conservative justice of the Supreme Court,” according to outlets such as The Washington Post. Because Mitch McConnell thumbs upped his way through a procedural change that opens the door to a simple majority vote on every damned issue before the Senate. There’s the naming of an air traffic control center and then there’s war. Do you know what I mean?
Speaking of war, the week was another interesting one for President Trump in the realm of foreign policy. In 2013, and as recently as Monday, the roving, red-haired id adopted a certain position toward involvement in war-torn Syria. Per Twitter (naturally), “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”
However as of last night, Trump completed a confusing, if characteristically vague pivot. From disinterest, to “Something should happen,” and finally, raining bombs upon a Syrian government target. 59 Tomahawk missiles to be exact. Congress and possibly, the State Department, were not consulted.
Nine civilians and four children were killed in the effort. And it drew condemnation from the President’s favorite country, Russia. Putin’s spokesman called the incident “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law,” with the strikes carried out under a “far-fetched pretext.”
Under the likely scenario that Trump’s people colluded with Russia to make a mockery of the American electoral process last fall, this new turn of events is as odd as it is horrifying. I’m not sure an attack on Putin’s puppet, Assad, was on the quid pro quo list. What’s with Trump’s initial aversion to further involvement in Syria and subsequent turnaround, particularly in light of angering the only international figure he seems to value?
It’s not like you’ll get an answer from our fearless leader. Consider this incomprehensible string of words, reprinted by Think Progress:
“Well, one of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I’m doing…I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other. But I’m certainly not going to be telling you as much as I respect you.”
Right. Events of the last 16 hours have left everyone guessing (the media, American citizens, Cabinet departments), but this is not a game. Nearly six genocidal, horrifying years ago, I wrote:
“My democratically elected government appears to be very selective about which holocausts it will engage, and many of decisions seem to stem, not from human rights or security issues, but from more mercenary economic and political concerns. Libya, sure we’ll join the fight. We never liked Gadhafi much anyway. But Egypt or the truly sickening situation in Syria, no thank you sir.”
I was not a fan of President Obama’s “red line” followed by a general approach of confusion and inaction toward a ravaged Syria. But neither am I in favor of unilateral violence ordered by a President cloaked in corruption, scandal and general, inhuman oddity.
The first two and a half of months of the Trump administration have been a break necking blur of stupidity and heartlessness. However, the third leg of this gang’s unholy stool is incompetence and while they’ve tried to illegally ban certain immigrants and wrench grateful Americans from their Obamacare, we can be grateful they’re too disorganized to succeed. But Syria has been bombed, officially. It has never taken genius or coordination to fire weapons and indiscriminately kill.