How About Those Syrians?

I confess, I wonder if each president leaves a note for his successor in the Resolute Desk — “If your agenda fails, and your poll numbers are sinking, start a war with some country nobody cares about.” We’ll see if it works this time.

We’re hearing that Trump was so shocked at the hideous deaths of Syrian babies that he ordered air strikes. These are the same Syrian babies who must be blocked from entering the U.S. because they might be terrorists, so I’m not sure who he’s trying to kid.

Frank Bruni :

There’s justification for it, absolutely. President Obama had advisers who wished he’d done something similar, and there were Democrats aplenty — Hillary Clinton apparently among them — who found his restraint when it came to Syria and the regime of Bashar al-Assad to be infuriating, a surrender of America’s role and moral authority in the world.

But Trump’s military action makes little sense in the context of most of what he said in the years before he was elected and much of what he has done as president so far. Let me get this straight: Obama wasn’t supposed to draw or be drawn across a red line, not even when the Assad regime used chemical weapons, but when the regime did that on Trump’s watch, it crossed “many, many lines,” in his words, and compelled an American response?

That’s a “dizzying turnabout,” as Blake Hounshell wrote in Politico, under the headline “Trump’s Syria Whiplash.” And I can’t square Trump’s statements over the last two days that the United States can’t stand by idly in the face of such grotesque suffering with his determination to bar those who suffer from being accepted as refugees into America. The babies prompt outrage and heartache when they’re writhing in Syria, but God forbid they come here.

Some guy at Politico:

It’s a dizzying turnabout for a man who complained endlessly during the presidential campaign about the trillions the United States had wasted on wars in the Middle East–and who urged his predecessor in 2013 not to launch “stupid” airstrikes to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people.  …

… Only last Thursday, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was saying, “Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” and Tillerson, borrowing language from Russian diplomats, was announcing, “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”

Months ago, Trump was insisting that the focus of U.S. policy should be defeating ISIS, rather than ousting Assad. “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he told Reuters in an interview. “You’re not fighting Syria anymore, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk,” he said. That was October. What happens next?

Who knows? I think he does what he feels like doing at the moment.

Charles Pierce :

As policy, beyond snapping back at Assad for the war crime he committed earlier this week, I don’t see how this makes much of any sense. We learned a new word Thursday night–deconfliction–which is fairly defined as, “Blow shit up without killing any Russians because that could be a problem.” I love the new jargon that comes along every time we decide to make war in a place. So it’s unlikely that we will be involved in a shooting war with Russia, which is a good thing.

By the way, how long has it been since anybody asked the so-called president about his secret plan to eliminate ISIS? This might be a good time to roll that out.

24 thoughts on “How About Those Syrians?

  1. Hillary’s pre-endorsement of DT’s missile spasm certainly reminds me of the 2002-era bipartisan consensus on Iraq, in which HRC was also prominent. I feel safe in saying that if Trump and HRC agree on a course of action, the odds are very good that it’ll be at best counterproductive, if not plainly disastrous.

  2. I remember, pre-election all the wingnuts convinced that “Hillary will start WW3”,

  3. I’m afraid that a man with such tiny hands and you know what, might start to like flexing his hardmissile muscles!
    As more poo-poo hits the ventilating blades in DC, I expect t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin to grow many more tails to wag on his dog of a presidency!

    BTW – has anyone else noticed how much better Politico is since Jim BanDeHighRoad and Mike Alien have gone?

  4. Anyone who thinks this was done for any other reason than political advantage for Trump is kidding themselves. Trump could give a rat’s behind about those kids, but saw an opportunity to take advantage in the horror of their being gassed by shooting off a few missiles.

  5. ISIS? The guys we’re aligning ourselves with in Syria, the guys who will will benefit if we manage to oust Assad?

  6. “If your agenda fails, and your poll numbers are sinking, start a war with some country nobody cares about.”

    Yes timing is everything. This certainly has distracted the corporate bobble-heads with a new shiny toy to bat around! I wonder once they get tired of just this one bombing what will they go back to first: Trump colluding with the Russians or Susan Rice “unmasking” the criminals?

  7. How soon we forget when Iraqis were being hit with chemical weapons after W and Cheney invaded Iraq.

  8. What about those Yemeni babies? a dozen women and children dead for what? a 75 million $ osprey demolished instead of giving 75 million of food to starving Yemeni families stuck in a civil war, where the houthis just want to run their own country.

  9. I’m glad he warned the Russians, and therefore the Syrians, but what happened to not telling anyone his plans? Ohh… he won’t tell any _Americans_ his plans. So we’re the last to find out, like a cuckolded husband.

    And how long will this adventure last?

  10. It becomes really frightening when you think that Putin is orchestrating this whole ordeal knowing how psychologically predictable Trump is. With Trump’s fragile ego and the constant erosion of his tough guy, bull by the horns facade here at home Trump had no other options other than react in a way that serves Putin’s strategic interests.
    Normally the expression goes..What you loose on the peanuts you make up for on the popcorn..But in this case it’s more like..What you gained on the peanuts is going to compound your losses on the popcorn.
    It’s all become crazy..You hear the talking heads proclaiming that Trump has restored America’s moral high ground with his bombing of Syria, but somehow manage to overlook the fact that Trump is a pathological liar who is incapable accepting any responsibility for his actions. America surrendered the moral high ground when they chose Trump as a leader. And it won’t be regained until Trump and his ilk are sent packing.

  11. I hope President Trump awards Jared a Medal of Freedom.. The boy has earned it. He had to don a flak jacket while he surveyed the troops in Baghdad..What service, what courage!

  12. More strikes on the citizens in the same Syrian city which suffered from the chemical attacks earlier this week.

    Someone is trying to draw the sroange fly into another Middle Eastern spider’s-web!

    Could his name be Satan?!?!?!?!?!
    Probably not.
    More like “Pooty-poot” Putin, I’d bet.
    He’s trying to test t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin.
    (Which would be equivalant to testing a 3 month-old on Calculus.

  13. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if the attack was on an airport, why weren’t any runways destroyed? Isn’t taking out the runways the one major way to shut down an air base?

  14. chris.. You’re only wrong in the sense that you are viewing the missile attack as something other than for entertainment and image building purposes. The attack was designed purely to showcase Donald Trump’s resolve as a moral arbiter and powerful leader. Runways don’t matter in matters of image building.

  15. Wait.. so Putin is using his sockpuppet Trump to attack his own ally and drum up support for a conflict he doesn’t want because… Profit! ?? Gee, I guess I’m just not as smart as you guys, ’cause I really don’t get it. Or maybe the whole Russiagate thing has been complete BS from the start.

    Also, when all the usual suspects who brought us Iraq and numerous other disasters are of like mind — when everyone “knows” what happened before bothering to collect evidence — well, I’ll just be over there in the corner keeping busy. I’m behind on my imaginary chair throwing quota.

  16. I hear that Russian school children are now learning and replacing the concept of Pavlov’s dog with the new term of Putin’s president.

  17. Putin is suffering buyer’s remorse. So are the alt-whites. Is it wrong of me to agree for once with Coulter? Meanwhile _our_ oligarchs rejoice. As for me: may Trump fail them all. He has it in him.

  18. The larger point being that the Russians were told in advance to move their planes and we sent 59 Tomahawk missiles, of which not one hit a runway (news reports say otherwise, but the videos I saw show no such thing). This begets the question: Was the gas attack set up to give Trump his “Grenada” or wag the dog moment? Or am I simply being too cynical?

  19. My present theory: with Jared’s help he got mad at Assad; but he knew it was BS; but he knew it was usefully distracting BS; but he knew he had to warn Putin first, to make sure that it remains BS. So I hope.

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