The air strike was in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons
Yesterday, Trump ordered a military operation — joined with the U.K. and France — to launch air strikes on Syria. The missiles are being aimed at targets associated with chemical weapons, apparently in hopes of halting further chemical attacks on Syrian civilians.
Last week, more than 40 Syrian civilians died after a suspected chemical attack struck a suburb of Damascus — with many Syrian aid groups blaming President Bashar al-Assad’s government for the latest attack. Syria has been engaged in a lengthy civil war for approximately seven years, and this isn’t the first time the United States has sought to intervene.
The Pentagon just released its first photos of last night's military strikes on Syria pic.twitter.com/fpNVeba6Qu
— Vera Bergengruen (@VeraMBergen) April 14, 2018
In a televised address, Trump said the strikes are intended to be the beginning of a sustained effort to force Assad to stop using chemical weapons — but didn’t elaborate on any further plans beyond the one-night strike operation.
The strike did hit three of Assad’s chemical weapons facilities, according to Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Defense Secretary James Mattis, on the #Syria strikes: "Right now, this is a one-time shot."
— David Gura (@davidgura) April 14, 2018
Joining the United States in the retaliation strikes are France and the U.K. Trump did not seek Congressional approval prior to ordering the strikes, a point which has many up in arms about the legality of the decision.
Chemical attacks in Syria are horrifying, and a clear violation of international law. The world must hold Assad accountable for his violence against the Syrian people – and the US should be part of a planned, coordinated multilateral effort.(1/2)
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 14, 2018
The Constitution gives Congress the power to authorize military action. If @realDonaldTrump wants to expand American military involvement in Syria's civil war, he must seek approval from Congress – & provide a comprehensive strategy with clear goals & a plan to achieve them.(2/2)— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) April 14, 2018
The Administration should seek an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) by Congress if it wants to continue to military actions against Syrian forces - the same way President Obama sought authorization in 2013 in a similar circumstance involving Syria.— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) April 14, 2018
Many people are also criticizing Trump for his sudden interest in protecting innocent Syrian civilians, considering his stance on allowing the U.S. to accept Syrian refugees.
Now that our president has invoked the children as a reason to attack Syria over Assad’s use of chemical weapons, is there any hope he’ll stop dehumanizing them and their families as he rails against them and leads America to turn its back on desperate war refugees fleeing Assad?
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) April 14, 2018
A military intervention in Syria will only mean more suffering and more lives needlessly lost. If President Trump is serious about helping the Syrian people, he should provide a safe haven for Syrian refugees who are fleeing violence.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) April 13, 2018
If Trump genuinely cared about the civilians dying in Syria, he would allow refugees into our country. Instead he cut Obama’s 110k cap to 44k and has actually let in just 10k total refugees.— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) April 14, 2018
No word yet on any civilian casualties or injuries as a result of the latest strike, but it’s important to remember that while Syrian civilian casualty rates certainly existed under Obama, they’ve increased under Trump.
Those bombing raids in Syria have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties. Civilian casualty rates were distressingly high under Obama but have, according to all indications, accelerated markedly under Trump.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 12, 2018
In fact, the acceleration of bombing and civilian casualties in Syria, is in line with a broader trend: in basically every theatre of US military activity - Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan - Trump has increased deadly strikes, while relaxing rules of engagement.— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) April 12, 2018
Russia, a Syrian ally, has condemned the strike: “We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences,” Anatoly Antonov, the ambassador to the United States, said in a statement. “All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris.”
Regardless of how you look at it, the latest military strike seems to begin a new chapter in an exhausting saga of seemingly neverending war for multiple generations of Americans.