On Trump's Syria Strike

Late Friday, Donald Trump ordered airstrikes in Syria, in retaliation for another suspected chemical attack a week earlier, to the site of which investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have been denied access.

On Saturday, Trump declared "Mission Accomplished!" in a tweet — and then subsequently defending using that phrase in another tweet a day later.

Sure. All very presidential, as usual.

But, despite Trump's victory lap, it's not at all clear that the mission was accomplished. (Unless, of course, the mission was to have no effect whatsoever and thus continue to be Putin's lapdog while pretending to be "getting tough" on Russia for their continued support of Assad.)

At the Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor details "The Many Things Trump Didn't Accomplish in the Latest Syria Strike."
There's still uncertainty over what exactly was destroyed during this "pinprick" strike, with some reports indicating that Assad's ability to use chemical weaponry remains intact. Meanwhile, Assad's supporters partied in the streets of Damascus on Saturday, waving Syrian flags and holding up pictures of their leader.

The attack, my colleague Liz Sly wrote, was "interpreted in Syria as a win for Assad because the limited scope of the strikes suggested that Western powers do not intend to challenge his rule."

On Sunday, the Syrian military declared that it had taken full control over Eastern Ghouta. The area outside Damascus was besieged for years by the Assad regime and subject to alleged chemical-weapons attacks, including the assault this month that killed dozens of civilians and triggered U.S. action. That incident, according to reports, prompted the remaining rebels to surrender and agree to be evacuated out of the area. Regime officials crowed on Sunday that Eastern Ghouta was "completely clear of terrorism."

...The fleeting effects of the strike — and Trump's lack of a real strategy for Syria — also exposed how thin his posturing may be, especially if Assad manages to launch a new attack using nerve gas or other illicit weapons.

"The president's dilemma is that strength and resolve do not necessarily equal a well-thought-out Syria strategy," my colleague Greg Jaffe explained. "If Assad ignores Friday's relatively modest military strike and uses chemical weapons, Trump faces a difficult choice. He can escalate, pulling the U.S. military and his administration into a messy conflict that he recently said he wanted to abandon. Or he can do nothing and risk appearing weak."
And let us be blunt about this: If Donald Trump actually gave a fuck about Syrians who have been displaced, injured, and/or killed by the millions during this seven-year-long civil war, he would immediately reverse his reprehensible refugee policy, which has meant the United States has accepted only 11 Syrian refugees so far this year.

If you are like me, and you feel very distressed by the ongoing war in Syria and Trump's lack of a coherent strategy, and you want to do something, here are a couple of ideas:

1. If you have the funds to make a donation, donate to Nu Day Syria.

2. Read this thread by my senator, Bob Casey, and then contact your senators and ask them to hold Trump accountable for failing to get Congressional authorization for military action in Syria.

3. Contact your senators and representative and ask them to hold Trump accountable for his cruel refugee policy which has restricted asylum for Syrian refugees, who desperately need it.

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