Since I heard the news last night about President Trump’s order of missile strikes against the Syrian government I have been struggling. On the one hand, from a purely humanitarian standpoint, I get it. The Assad regime has decimated a segment of the Syrian population and certainly the landscape of this ancient country. And because of this conflict, the flood of Syrian refugees has overwhelmed neighboring countries and Europe.
But earlier this week the administration, through statements by our UN Ambassador and Secretary of State, indicated that “we” were going to take a hands off approach to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In essences, both Nikki Haley and Rex Tillerson stated that Assad was the Syrian people’s problem not ours. And then, a few days later, the images flooded our screens, images of dead children.
The images aren’t new. They are the same images we have been seeing since the civil war began in Syria in 2011. They are the same images President Obama viewed. The same images Donald Trump saw when he tweeted in 2013, “If Obama attacks Syria and innocent civilians are hurt and killed, he and the U.S. will look very bad!” also “What I am saying is stay out of Syria.” and “President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your “powder” for another (and more important) day!”
So what changed for President Trump in the span of two or three days? How did we go from keeping our nose out of the Syria to firing sixty missiles at them? From bashing President Obama relentlessly in 2013 for even considering an attack? I hope this wasn’t his reason as he stated in a tweet in 2012; “Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.”
From a humanitarian standpoint, part of me is glad we had some type of response. Was it the correct response? Only time will tell, but still, our President hasn’t acknowledged Russia’s role in Syria and our administration notified the Russians prior to the missile attack. I don’t understand why Trump won’t simply condemn the Russians for their continued military support of Assad. Do any of you?
So what’s my problem? Once again President Trump tweeted about it way back in 2013; “The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!”
What other big “thing” happened in the Trump administration this week? The removal of Steve Bannon from and the reorganization of the National Security Council. Everyone, including myself, has viewed this move as an absolute positive. But I am concerned that our President could have ordered such a strike, even with the new National Security Council brain trust, without getting, as he tweeted in reference to President Obama, “Congressional approval before attacking Syria”.
Presidential power should have checks and balances. We the people have elected more than just one person to represent our interest, more than one person with the authority to drop bombs on other countries. I don’t know what the Syrian-Russian-Iran reaction will be to Trumps attack. Will they use more than words to retaliate? Or will the praise of the action from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israeli and the European Council simply puff up Trumps already inflated ego and increase his desire for more, maybe even North Korea.
Rarely do I agree with Senator Rand Paul but I do agree with him here; “The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution.” In the less than 100 days that he has been in office our President has done nothing to prove to me that he can handle the power of the Presidency. We need checks and balances now more than ever rather than one man’s finger on the button.
“AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA – IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!” – Donald Trump tweet, September 5, 2013