Liberals should not cheer Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria. Regardless of the emotions at play, we must be rational about the situation. On the surface, it seems to be an attack on people responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians. However, there is too many facts left unclear, and consequences unknown.
Donald Trump is trying to appear strong in his decision to strike a Syrian airbase. He is being praised by the DC establishment endlessly. Republican hawks such as John McCain are giddy about the strike. Neoliberal Democrats are also praising Trump, as is the mainstream news media.
Brian Williams called the missile strike “beautiful.” Fareed Zakaria said that Trump is now “president” and that his action shows America now stands for “justice” in the world again. Apparently one doesn’t become presidential until they start a war.
Across the board, Trump is being painted as a strong president who made a brave stand against a bloodthirsty tyrant. Almost no skeptical attitudes are being presented. What Trump did was highly illegal under international law. Many liberals who are some of Trump’s most vocal critics are now praising him to no end. Most important, no context is being given about the conflict in Syria.
Syria is a geopolitical quagmire. The conflict is nowhere near black and white. There are no right or wrong sides per-say. Bashar Assad is a dictator, and his forces are responsible for a wide array of atrocities. Having said that, his opponents aren’t much better. The rebels are mainly jihadist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda. While they don’t have air forces, they too have attacked civilians in Syria, often by shelling.
Assad’s forces have been dropping bombs, with Russian support, which has killed untold numbers. The rebels also launch mortars and rocket fire into civilian areas controlled by the government. Rebel forces have also committed other atrocities, including an incident where they beheaded a 12 year-old boy. Then there is ISIS, which is a horrific entity unto itself, one which is also fighting against Assad’s government.
As it pertains to the specific chemical attack in Kahn Sheikhoun, there haven’t been enough facts determined. While reports say it’s “likely” that the attack came from Assad’s forces, it hasn’t been proven. Donald Trump’s decision to launch a strike was certainly rash. Evidence has not been proven to effectively blame the government.
It is not unreasonable to raise questions about the nature of the chemical attack. Bashar Assad had no incentive to launch such an attack. His forces are currently winning in Syria. Why would Assad jeopardize his gains in such a way? Assad had no real reason to commit such an attack, and neither did Russia.
Critics will argue that I’m going to sound like a conspiracy theorist. However, it’s not unreasonable to question the narrative here. The term “false-flag” is used mainly as an insult against skeptics of US foreign policy. However, the US has in fact conducted false-flag operations in the past to justify foreign intervention.
The Tonkin incident is a good example. It was reported that North Vietnamese gunboats attacked a US navy ship, and this in turn is what LBJ used to justify escalating the war. The incident never happened. The Vietnam War was ramped up based on an incident that didn’t occur. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was justified by false-evidence of WMD’s and Saddam Hussein’s ties to Al Qaeda. Neither the weapons nor Al Qaeda ties existed.
Since it is clear the US has lied about incidents in the past to justify war, why is it unreasonable to raise the same question now? This doesn’t mean that Assad is off the hook. It is possible his forces are responsible. There are too many questions surrounding this. Things don’t add up the way we are being told.
Unfortunately, many liberals are praising what Trump did. They do so ignorant of the context in Syria, and ignorant of history. They are also extremely ignorant of the international consequences this could cause. Attacking Syria brings the US closer to a conflict with Russia. Many liberals have harped on Russia hysteria since 2016, and now we are closer than ever to a hot conflict.
War with Russia is not something to take lightly. Russia is a nuclear armed power with a capable military. They aren’t as massive as they were in Soviet days, and are not as far reaching as the US. But, they can shoot down our planes more effectively. They also have warheads that can wipe out entire cities.
Since Trump’s strike on Syria, Russia is now beefing up their air defenses with advanced missiles capable of shooting down even the most advanced US warplane. Russia has suspended its military cooperation agreement with the US in Syria, meaning that US planes could now be targets for Syrian or Russian air defenses.
Russia is also sending an advanced frigate from its Black Sea Fleet off the coast of Syria to deter US navy ships. Russia has made clear they are defending their ally. Is this a bear will really want to poke at?
Aside from ignorance surrounding Syria, this ignorance also extends to US foreign policy in general. The US is extremely selective in its outrage over civilian deaths in international conflicts. While Trump and the US establishment lambaste the death of civilians in Syria, they are largely silent over the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen.
US ally Saudi Arabia has bombed and blockaded Yemen into starvation. The Saudi’s have intentionally bombed civilian targets including hospitals, open-air markets, a school for the blind, and food plants. Is Nikki Haley or Trump going to make passionate speeches of when America is going to “care” about the children of Yemen? Are we going to launch strikes at Saudi airbases? This is only the tip of the iceberg. The US has supported some of the most ruthless dictators in history, who slaughtered their people with impunity and our support.
The US itself has killed countless civilians. Just recently in Mosul, US strikes killed some 200-300 civilians. The media has tried to whitewash this atrocity. Make no mistake, if Assad did such an attack, we would demand justice and regime change endlessly.
It seems that the US only expresses outrage over slaughters when there is a geopolitical interest involved. The US has planned regime change against Syria for years. There is a deep-seated interest in removing Assad from power, and that interest isn’t really about civilians. The US hasn’t minded civilian deaths before. It only matters if US foreign policy interests are at stake.
Even with these nuances, liberals are jumping on board the war-train. It is disheartening that once again some liberals are falling in line with jingoism and military adventurism. No good will come from Trump’s action in Syria.
Trump doesn’t care about those “beautiful babies” in Syria. The US foreign policy establishment doesn’t care either. They care as much for those Syrian babies as they do for Yemeni babies, Iraqi babies, or Afghan babies. Trump is getting us involved in another imperial adventure for war profiteering. Liberals and progressives should be the last to cheer this act of aggression.