America stood up for Muslims barred from entering the United States by President Trump’s suspended travel ban!
Less than 48 hours after the city of Sheikhun, in Syria’s Idlib province was bombarded with a lethal nerve gas which killed more than 80 including at least 30 children (presumably by the Assad regime), United States launched 59 Tomahawk missiles from US Navy destroyers (USS Ross and USS Porter) in the Mediterranean Sea with the goal of destroying / damaging Syrian government’s ability to deliver more chemical weapons.
The US attack on Syria’s Shayrat airbase was surprising, especially given President Trump’s laconic initial reaction to the massacre in Sheikhun and his vehement opposition to US military action following a similar use of chemical weapons on Syrians by their own government just a few years ago. (It is unclear whether this was a one-time retaliatory action or a beginning of a larger U.S. military campaign.)
The unexpected military action was announced by Pentagon in advance to the Russians to warn their military forces stationed in the area and prevent accidental losses of their personnel or equipment. (It is suspected that the warning which was intended to prevent conflict between the U.S. and Russia may have backfired. According to some reports, our well-intentioned warning may have been shared by the Russians – who support Assad’s government in Syria – with the Syrian regime: several aircrafts have been seen leaving the Shayrat airbase in a hurry just before the U.S. missile strike.)
In a statement, President Trump – apparently moved by images of Syrian children, men and women dying from exposure to nerve gas – said: “No child of god should ever suffer such horror.”
President Trump isn’t easy to understand. He tried repeatedly to ban travel from Syria to the United States. He doesn’t welcome Syrian refugees. His feelings about Islam and its followers are well-known. His sudden urge to retaliate for the massacre in Sheikhun is confusing. It seems to indicate compassion. The statement “No child of god should ever suffer such horror.” suggests that the President may realize that Muslim people in Syria are God’s children even though he’s done more than any other U.S. President to keep them outside of our borders. The sudden act of U.S. retaliation against Assad puts America in a politically difficult position (the missile strike may lead to a conflict between the U.S. and Russia!) in defense of people for whom we – officially! – have no compassion….
Meanwhile, Russian media portrayed the American missile strikes in a negative light, stating that they jeopardize the fight against terrorism in Syria and can be interpreted as an act of United States’ aggression against a sovereign nation. Russia considers calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Bolivia supports it. Iran also condemned American missile strike. American allies: Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UK, Italy and Australia praise President Trump military action.
While President Trump believes that he acted in our “vital national security interest”(?), many Americans disagree. A spontaneous, one-time missile strike did little to diminish – leave alone eradicate – Syria’s capability to manufacture or deliver chemical weapons. Meeting such a goal would require a much larger military commitment and put America at risk of conflict with Russia. As it is, the single strike is nothing more than an act of interference, an inflammatory show of power by a President who referred to himself – during his presidential campaign – “Not a President of the world”. (Let’s be honest, with President Trump’s policy on immigration and his temporarily suspended travel ban, we have no moral authority to interfere or intervene in Syria.)
Neither the United States nor Syria needs a war. There are over 13 million of Syrians in desperate need and nearly a million facing life-threatening circumstances, the Syrians need HUMANITARIAN help which the U.S. under the current administration denies them.
I may not know the cost of a single Tomahawk missile (leave alone 59 of them!) but I can easily imagine that bringing survivors of the chemical weapons attack in Sheikhun to the United States, providing them with medical care, recovery assistance and – yes! – granting them political asylum would be better, wiser and cheaper, not to mention more humane – and American! – than launching missiles. Better, it would help improve America’s image in the world more effectively and lastingly than a one-time military action which can be seen as a political provocation.
Bottom line? The missile strike didn’t relieve human suffering, it won’t prevent future chemical weapon attacks on Syrians, either. If we don’t care to help the suffering, or reach a political solution, why did we waste American taxpayers money on the military action?…. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Syria won’t become another Iraq where we didn’t solve either American or Iraqi problems but sacrificed many American lives and lost money badly needed at home.
Anything L.A. Liberal Magazine’s Editor, E. Elrich