Intro to ‘The Only Moral Choice’
John R. Houk Editor
By Justin O. Smith
Syria is an enigma to American Foreign Policy, National Interests and National Security. Just about any action along a policy choice is a damned if we do or damned if we don’t.
There is no doubt that Bashar Assad is a brutal and nefarious dictator that butchers the Sunni majority in his nation. YET much of the Sunni majority is fractured under the control of Islamic terrorist entities that are just as if not more so brutal than Assad. AND the Sunni rebel militias that claim no affiliation to the Islamic terrorists are less organized and/or unreliable in their moderate assertions.
Military action taken by President Trump against the Assad controlled airbase that launched a chemical weapon attack on the civilians of Khan Sheikhoun was quite proportional as a warning against continued chemical WMD attacks.
AND YET Syria took advantage of Russia and Iran’s version of a redline warning against the U.S. claiming (or pretending) they’d retaliate for their little/widdle client if more military action is forthcoming.
I do like Justin Smith’s analysis of the Syrian enigma as relating President Trump’s proportional response to a chemical weapon attack.
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The Only Moral Choice
By Justin O. Smith
Sent 4/9/2017 1:29 PM
Making the only moral choice and protecting the United States vital interests, President Donald Trump ordered the first direct U.S. attack on Syria in six years, in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s use of a sarin gas nerve-agent on his own people and the images of little children dying and foaming at the mouth, on April 6th 2017. While President Trump seemed to act solely out of humanitarian concern, his decision sent a clear message around the world and to all America’s enemies, that the United States is back, strong as it ever once was, and willing to act with its military might should it prove necessary.
On Tuesday, April 4th, U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies tracked Syrian SU-22 jets leaving Al Shayrat Airbase, for Idlib Province, where one jet dropped a sarin bomb in the middle of Kahn Sheikhoun. Eighty-seven people were killed, including 26 children, and 546 more were deathly sick and injured.
Approximately 600,000 Syrians have been killed by conventional warfare in the Syrian Civil War, but Assad’s use of sarin changed the entire world’s view of the situation. The horrors of chemical weapons used in WWI have long convinced civilized nations to ban their use through treaties such as the Chemical Weapons Convention, because they kill everyone within range in a most horrific manner.
Unlike former President Obama, whose fear created failed policies, President Trump did something tangible to respond to Assad’s atrocities, even after Russia warned the United States against any strike on Syria at the United Nations, and at 8:40 p.m. EST 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from the destroyers USS Ross and USS Porter. They hit Al Shayrat’s infrastructure in Homs Province, air defense systems and ammunition bunkers, and they destroyed approximately 25 aircraft of the 7th Wing of the Syrian Air Force.
After the cruise missile strikes, President Trump stated: “No child of God should suffer such horror. … It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. … We pray … for the souls of those who passed … Good night and God Bless America and the entire world.”
Most of the world’s nations embraced President Trump’s missile strike as a necessary move, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the action was “an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack.” France, Italy and Israel also welcomed the strikes.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Israel fully supports President Trump’s decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime’s horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere.”
While an originalist reading of Constitution has many in the public and in Congress questioning President Trump’s authority to use immediate military force to counter foreign threats, President Trump’s action against Assad’s heinous sarin attack, undertaken as a second step to prevent the spread and repeated use of chemical weapons, is perfectly consistent with the Constitution, especially so, since U.S. troops are in nearby proximity. In the relevant part of the War Powers Act passed by Congress in 1973, the President is permitted to launch a military act on his own, as long as he notifies or consults Congress within 48 hours. Trump acted within these guidelines.
However, America would do well to recall that U.S. Presidents like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are responsible for the rise of the Islamofascists, like the Ayatollah Khomeini and the subsequent Iranian nuclear program, embedding Hamas in the Palestinian territories; and most recently, Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed the Arab [Islamic, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda] Spring and their “democracy” initiative, which has toppled one strong man after another, undoing the entire Middle East and paving the way for the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria and creating general chaos.
Without oil resources, Syria has never really been of too much concern to the United States, other than being a thorn in our side due to its alliance with Iran, support of Islamofascist Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists and its own pursuit of nuclear weapons, confirmed in 2007. It doesn’t seek to control the Persian Gulf or dominate the region, unlike Iran.
It should be noted here, that generals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard have said they stand prepared to retaliate against America for its strike on Al Shayrat. They claim to have thousands of Iranian “sleeper agents” in the U.S. just waiting for a call to arms.
Assad’s opposition is primarily the Islamofascists of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State, and if they gain control of Syria, the country and its people will face even more heinous atrocities. The Syrian Free Army is no much better, being comprised of anti-American, pro-Hamas Muslims, who are content to accept U.S. funding, if it can place them in control of Syria.
Due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s own brutal nature, their brutality has been met with extreme overkill measures, since the Baath Party rose to power in Syria in 1963. In 1982, a Sunni Islamist rebellion was murderously crushed by Bashar’s father, Hafez Assad, that left 20,000 people dead. Bashar’s insane use of sarin gas is the last crime against humanity by a desperate despot.
Prior to the uprising in Deraa [aka Daraa] in March 2011, Syria had become a proper nation-state with a sense of Saryana (Syrianhood) that had never before existed, and it was evident it Syria’s literature, television, journalism and its own version of Arabic. Assad’s regime had improved access to higher education and health care services, and he had helped to create a new urban middle class with Western-style political aspirations. Agriculture and handicraft industries had revived and were unrestrained by the government. And the Christian population flourished under Assad’s secular authoritarian regime. This all changed through international interference.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said President Vladimir Putin views the U.S. strike as an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law [that] deals a significant blow to Russia-U.S. relations”.
Just how wonderful has Russia turning a blind-eye to Syria’s sarin stock been for U.S.-Russia relations? Russia supposedly assisted in the destruction of Assad’s chemical weapons stores, but since 2015, Russia has repeatedly obfuscated evidence of new chemical attacks by Assad’s regime.
A few hours before the strike, United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley stated: “Russia cannot escape responsibility for this. They chose to close their eyes to the barbarity. They defied the conscience of the world.”
Both America’s and Russia’s interests center more on ending the Syrian Civil War than on any one particular political future for Damascus; but, the sarin attacks have renewed calls for Assad’s removal. Of greater importance, the focus of America and the free world and Russia must be unified on eradicating the Islamic State [Daesh] and the Islamofascists who are destabilizing the entire region.
President Trump acted contrary to the popular consensus and what most presidents would have done. He attacked Syria solely for humanitarian reasons. Now he must clearly articulate the mission ahead and America’s interests in this war, since there isn’t any nation with the capacity to fix Syria’s problems. Getting rid of Assad will most assuredly be hard and have serious consequences, but America’s new, strong and determined President Trump has shown his willingness to effectively counter the world’s dictators, and he will not tolerate egregious, inhuman chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians.
By Justin O. Smith
Edited by John R. Houk
All source links and text enclosed by brackets are by the Editor.
© Justin O. Smith