Once again, the US military is ramping up the rate of air strikes against Syria. Some outlets have reported this as something along the lines of “Trump starts war with Syria,” which is a misrepresentation of facts as the US military has been involved in the Syrian Civil War for many years. There are striking similarities between recent actions and those taken back in 2013.
After a chemical weapons attack on August 21, 2013 Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reportedly treated 3600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours, 355 patients reportedly died. MSF general director Christopher Stokes said, “MSF hopes that independent investigators will be given immediate access to shed light on what happened.” At the time, there were conflicting reports on who was responsible for the attack. The Syrian state media accused the rebels of the attack, while other reports put the blame on the Syrian military.
Then-President Obama said he would ask Congress to vote on the use of military force in Syria. The legislation, SJ Res 21, never received a vote. Two weeks later, “the U.S. and Russia reached a preliminary agreement requiring Syria to eliminate all of its chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014.” Around that same time, Donald Trump tweeted, “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”
The Washington Post reports in early April “in the rebel-held town of Douma east of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Warplanes dropped bombs, families hid in basements, and ambulances raced through empty streets to rescue the injured… The victims emitted a powerful smell of chlorine.” Adding, “Exactly what happened [on that] Saturday night may never be established with certainty.”
Despite little evidence of a chemical weapons attack, and even less evidence that the attack was carried out by the Syrian government, “President Donald Trump announce[d] the United States, France and Britain have launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for a suspected chemical attack.”
While Trump’s tune has changed from believing that a President must get Congressional approval for military action, my views remain the same: “I certainly do not condone the violence being perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Neither do I support the violence being perpetrated by the American government. I will continue to speak out against future violence, especially violence perpetrated by the American military.”