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Striking Syria Was the Right Call

Syria strikes SyrianThe Airstrikes in Syria: The Best Option in a Bad Situation

This morning, to the extent the joint American-British-French strikes in Syria are still in the news, they’re the focus of complaints about being insufficient or ill-considered. The Washington Post rushes to inform us of “the many things Trump didn’t accomplish in the latest Syria strike.” Thank goodness there are experts to tell us that launching 105 missiles did not “take ownership of the Syrian endgame.”

It’s abundantly clear that neither the American people, nor this president, nor many figures in his administration, nor most members of Congress, nor our NATO allies, nor our regional allies want to “take ownership of the Syrian endgame.” We would rather not deal with it at all, and for most of the Obama administration, that was more or less our policy, even when presidential “red lines” were crossed. A half-million deaths later . . .

Color me among the few who actually think this strike was about right. It seemed appropriate that America and its allies contemplated striking Syria during Holocaust Remembrance Day, since once again the Western powers confronted the question of how to deal with a hideously brutal regime that uses poison gas, attacks civilians, and builds giant crematoriums, led by a dictator with a poorly-groomed mustache. No, sending 105 missiles isn’t going to alter the course of the Syrian Civil War. It’s just going to demonstrate to Assad and his allies that every time they reach for the chemical weapons, we’ll blow some of their stuff up*. Stick to conventional weapons — war is awful enough without poison gas becoming a standard part of the arsenal.

(*The strike also demonstrated that those highly touted Russian air-defense systems aren’t all that effective against the United States or its key allies. Back in 2012, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey told Congress that “a long-term, sustained air campaign would pose a challenge because Syria’s air defenses are five times more sophisticated than Libya’s” and that “suppressing the Syrian air defenses would take an extended period of time and a significant number of aircraft, an effort that would have to be led by the United States.” Perhaps for a sustained air campaign, but last Friday night four British Tornadoes, five French Rafales, four French Mirages, two U.S. E-3F AWACS Sentries, six U.S. C-135 tankers, and two U.S. B-1 bombers all took the skies, all 36 missiles launched from aircraft hit their targets, and all aircraft returned safely.)

Andrew Rawnsley, writing in The Guardian:

To let yet another use of chemical weapons happen without any form of response would have given a complete sense of impunity to the Assad regime and its sponsors in the Kremlin. Every dictatorship on the planet has been getting the message that there is no penalty for the acquisition and use of weapons prohibited since the First World War and that has chilling implications for future conflicts.

Elsewhere in the U.K., Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn retches a mealy-mouthed collection of tired clichés about diplomacy that apparently hasn’t been updated in years:

We have to remove the scourge of chemical weapons but also use our influence to end the still greater scourge of the Syrian war. A diplomatic solution that will allow for the country to be rebuilt, for refugees to be able to return home and for an inclusive political settlement that allows the Syrian people to decide their own future could not be more urgent.

Oh, hey, a diplomatic solution! Gee, why didn’t we think of that? Corbyn just ignores that the Arab League launched peace talks in 2011, the United Nations in 2012, additional talks in Geneva that year, and again in 2014, and in Vienna in 2015, and in Riyadh in 2015, and back to Geneva again in 2016, and a very short-lived ceasefire that year, and then back to Geneva yet again in 2017, and then talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, throughout last year. Wishing for a diplomatic solution is like wishing for a unicorn.

Corbyn writes, “There can be no question of turning a blind eye to the use of chemical weapons. Their deployment constitutes a crime, and those responsible must be held to account.” Well, nobody’s heading over to Syria to arrest Assad or to knock on bunker doors with search warrants. You want to hold somebody accountable, you send Tomahawks and Storm Shadow missiles.

On March 10, 2016, Derek Chollet, former assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs, said, “Imagine if Syria’s chemical weapons were still there today.”

Way, way back in the National Review archives in 2004, before the Kerry Spot days, some wire-service reporter wrote, “even Assad has to wonder whether he wants to be the last Middle Eastern dictator bragging about having chemical and biological weapons.”

From - National Review - by Jim Geraghty

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Cheryl

To the point, well written, rational and logical with a touch of humor( sarcasm might be a better word), opinion on the actions taken in Syria. To say it is “complicated” is an understatement. Leftists don’t want to discuss, understand or come to ANY compromise or agreement as they need to stay on track with their agenda. I have not understood for years how they do not “get it”, that most often the beliefs, values and actions of Conservatives are moral and logical. I guess I have to believe God has chosen to allow their eyes and ears to remain shut, because they are insistent they are right and we are war mongers, thieves and without conscience. Their hardened hearts will be with them for ALL time. Thank you for your articles. I feel I am not alone in this war on the United States. By the way, when my… Read more »

Kim

President Trump is not the first president to take military action without Congressional approval. The last time Congress initiated action was World War II, and since then the “rules” have blurred. Apparently, attacks ordered by the president are “permissible” if Congress gives approval within 48 hours, and if the United States withdraws within 60 days. Mr. Trump promised action if chemical weapons are used on innocent Syrian civilians. The Red Line was drawn, Assad overstepped it, and President Trump did what he promised. Bravo! Anyone with a heart looking at video from Syria showing young children—and adults as well—writhing in pain and gasping for breath certainly would endorse the attacks brought about by the United States and our allies, Britain and France. A strong president, one with steadfast moral conviction, is what we’ve been waiting and hoping for. According to many recent polls, the majority of respondents approve of the… Read more »

Elena Tellez

Our current Congress is worthless. We’re glad Trump acted as he did. I doubt it will prompt our legislative branch to find their latent gonads and act — but at least they see an example of courage. I believe in our Forefathers’ system of checks and balances, but when the Congress is inert — just lining their pockets, kissing up to their special interest donors and keeping the bad status quo — SOMEONE has to act. Time also to get more conservatives into our ailing court system. MAGA, folks. God bless Trump.

Robert Ireland

Congress is supposed to do a lot of things it just to lazy or incompetent to do. Somebody needs to take the reigns and I believe this is the only man with the gumption (to put it politely) to do it. I’d still vote for him. Robert Ireland

Thomas Haj

Is this the same “unbiased” media which talked about the many things which Obeyme didn’t accomplish in Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, Crimea, China, N. Korea, Russia, Syria… oh, wait…

Garland Young

Right Call But will be better off when we leave Syria.

SARGE

I roll with President Trump on all issues. It’s not for us to decide if an action was right, who the heck thinks they can question Donald?? That’s why I love the Marine Corps. Keep it simple, follow orders, and don’t question your superiors. Kept me alive.

Martin Steed

Still not sure that Assad did the chem weapons. Gotta remember there are NO good guys involved in this thing. We are killing ISIS and other “Islamic Extremists” in Iraq, but we are arming and funding them in Syria. Assad is a bad guy, a killer, a thug. So are the leaders of all the factions lined up against him wanting to turn Syria into the next “Islamic Republic” with all the freedoms of Iran. These are the same folks that hide their rocket launchers in schools and hospitals. Would not put it past them a bit to use chem weapons on their own people if it brings our bombers in against THEIR enemy. Just seems to me that if the Syrian Government forces or the Russians would have used chemical weapons, they would have killed a helluva lot more than 40 people. Please don’t misunderstand, I support the President… Read more »

Paul W

I beg to differ. All of the facts in regard to responsibility are far from confirmed. The way I look at it, if you’re doing something uber-globalist Europistan leaders May and Marcon support…you probably should rethink it.

CHARLY

Here’s a thought. We are spending a huge amount of money blowing the hell out of innocent civilians to get their chemical facilities. Wouldn’t it be quicker and final to drop these missiles directly on Assad’s head. He is a war criminal and he would do it here if he wasn’t brain dead.

Andrew Eberstadt

The choice of whether we bomb Syria should be determined by Congress, not President Trump. Congress has abdicated it’s duties and get some backbone.

John L.

I guess all our problems are solved, so we can bomb other countries. why is AMAC publishing this NeoCon dribble?

Gary Cotter

Was it proven that Syria’s leader did use gas ? When Obama was president, the other side was using gas and it was blamed on the Syrian Leader. I have not seen that it was ever proven that Assad used the gas. I do not agree with the bombing of Syria.