US Involvement in Syria - About Damn Time, or Recipe For Disaster?

US Involvement in Syria – About Damn Time, or Recipe For Disaster?

The US swoops in again to protect a country that didn’t ask for protection. Six years of innocents suffering and countless chemical attacks later, Trump claims that finally an attack has crossed “many, many lines”. But is it an act of compassion for fellow humans or just another ploy to gain the love and approval he so desperately needs?        

Late Thursday evening, the US launched missiles on a Syrian airbase in retaliation of a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed an estimated 80 Syrian civilians, including about 20 children, supposedly carried out by the Assad Regime. While the chemical attack was unquestionably heinous, and the graphic video permeating the webs utterly gut wrenching, I can’t help but find the immediate retaliatory action carried out by the US military to be careless and rash, not to mention unconstitutional.

As Donald Trump said in 2013, “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!” Yet another glaring example of his hypocrisy.

The chemical attack was just three days ago. Despite no investigation and no evidence, with Assad vehemently denying responsibility and Russian authorities blaming rebel forces, almost immediately, every news outlet in the US, along with President Trump himself, began publicising reports accusing Assad as the perpetrator. But with Assad’s regime seemingly already maintaining a military advantage before the chemical attack, many have claimed the action unnecessary and illogical. So why so quick to jump the gun? Why the sudden invasive mainstream media attention?

In his public address to the nation, Trump stated that the use of chemical warfare on “beautiful babies” had crossed the line, and that he felt obliged to respond. Of course I agree that the death of innocent civilians, especially due to something as monstrous as chemical warfare, is unspeakable and intolerable. However, my immediate thought on Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike wasn’t that justice had been served. Instead, I found myself thinking what an utterly perfect distraction. I can’t help but feel like it was a total sham, as there are just so many factors that aren’t adding up.

For one, are we really expected to believe that Trump suddenly gives a shit? Innocents have been being slaughtered by the thousands for six years, all the while Trump has held steadfast against US involvement. Not to mention his disastrous Muslim ban, which callously sought to ban Syrian refugees indefinitely. He’s been shouting his anti-Semitic “America first!” rhetoric for ages, and his contempt for Syrian refugees up to this week has been one of the only consistent stances he’s held over the years. For him to feign that his poor heart bleeds for the innocents of Syria screams a farce.

No, this missile strike seems much more likely to be an opportunistic attempt at garnering favour with his depleting fan base, a distraction from the investigation into Russian collusion and his amassing scandals. With tanking approval ratings, perhaps Trump has decided to abandon “America First” for “Donnie First”.

It’s no secret that the American-Russian relationship has been widely demonstrated as one of eggshells and tattered threads. And with Russia being Assad’s greatest ally, Trump’s missile strike could very well have warranted retaliation, an action that would most certainly ignite the start of an all-out global war. Already, Russia has issued serious warnings toward the US, condemning the missile strike as “a false pretext” to launch an attack on Assad. As Reuters reported, Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, told a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, “We strongly condemn the illegitimate actions by the US. The consequences of this for regional and international stability could be extremely serious.”

The blatant threat seems at odds with the heavily whispered Trump-Putin love fest. Has Trump been wrongly slandered all along? Or rather, as other reports have claimed, Russia may very well be putting on a front, with no intention of taking any action at all. To me, this further cements the allegations that Trump and Russia have been in cahoots all along and further supports the claim that Trump authorised the missile attack, sacrificing Syrian lives, for his own personal gain.

Regardless of the president’s motivations, many are praising his actions. Honestly, I don’t know enough about the war in Syria to determine if US involvement is the right thing or not – but it’s not for a lack of trying. I have researched and researched, and while the overwhelming majority of reports claim that the Syrian people are engaged in a civil war against their own government, I’ve also seen an alarming number of proclamations that the true war is between the Syrian people (who overwhelmingly support Assad’s regime) and rebel militants and terrorists backed by foreign powers (read US, UK, EU and allies) intent on overthrowing Assad. Now the latter may easily be (and has been) dismissed as an unfounded conspiracy theory, but I know of enough that have turned out to be proven as fact. With so much conflicting information out there it’s increasingly difficult to have a firm grasp on the truth, especially in the age of “alternative facts”, a predominant distrust of the mainstream media, and a government with the lowest approval rating ever recorded.

Let’s be clear, the volatile conflict in the Middle East absolutely must end. But is western propulsion into another war the answer? I mean, was it the answer for Afghanistan? Iraq? Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any peaceful havens of freedom in any of these war torn countries.

In his national address, Trump declared, “Tonight I call on all civilised nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria.” It echoes the sentiments rallying the west behind conservative politicians hell-bent on meddling in the Middle East since before Afghanistan, but if history (and common sense) has shown anything, you can’t bomb your way to peace. Trump claims his intentions are to end the slaughter and bloodshed. But just as his xenophobic travel ban enacted on the basis of national security outraged Muslims across the world, entering the west into a global war on the grounds of peace is just as baseless and will prove even more catastrophic.

Cover by abcnews.com