We Bombed Syria Last Night

So, last night, without warning to the American people or authorization from Congress, Donald Trump launched 59 missiles at an airstrip in Syria.

Because Russian troops are embedded in Syria, as Putin is an ally of Assad, Moscow was warned, so they could get their troops out of the way. Which probably means Assad was warned by Moscow, meaning that the target of the strike knew it was coming before most of the members of the U.S. Congress did, but we're definitely not supposed to think about that too closely.

We're not supposed to think about a lot of things. Like this, for instance.

I did a lot of tweeting and retweeting last night (and some this morning) as events unfolded. I have Storified those tweets, as background and summary, rather than trying to recount everything here.

For now, what I want to do is note the many unanswered questions there are around this military action.

1. What were the casualties of this bombing? Were any of them civilian casualties?

2. On what basis, if any, does the Trump administration believe this military action was legal, given that the required Congressional authorization was neither sought nor given?

3. What was the true objective of this mission, given that even National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster conceded last night that this will not prevent Assad from orchestrating further attacks, including chemical attacks? And also because we know damn well that it wasn't Trump's concern for "the babies," since he has never cared about Syrian casualties before, even after far worse attacks, and he still refuses to budge on his despicable refugee policy, which would do far more to help the babies, and everyone else targeted in Syria, than dropping bombs will.

4. What was the extent of the communication with Moscow that happened ahead of the bombing? Do the White House and Pentagon have any reason to believe—and, if so, why—that Moscow did not warn Assad about the imminent attack?

5. Was there coordination with the Kremlin as part of a grander scheme around U.S.-Russia relations? Is Russia's condemnation real, or part of a plan that simultaneously helps Trump appear as though he's not a Putin puppet and gets Putin out of a tight spot, as he was under real pressure for his continued support of Assad following the latest chemical attack, but now this changes the conversation significantly?

6. Is the press interesting in answering questions about a possible long-term scheme, or just being excited about a president blowing shit up?

7. Is there even any way to get to the truth when the president is a compulsive liar, surrounded by loyalists who will participate in his deceit?

8. When Trump's approval numbers go up, as they inevitably will, in no small part because the press loves it when presidents drop bombs and will shamelessly suggest this is evidence of some emergent competency in Trump's presidency, what will we all do if/when Trump starts routinely killing people to shore up his popularity?

9. What now? What now for Syria, for the U.S., for Russia? What comes next?

This is, of course, not a comprehensive list, as there are so many questions to which we need answers, many of which we'll never get. Please feel free to add your own questions in comments.

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