Sunday, April 08, 2018

What happens when you have a gullible low-information president ordering something the military establishment does not like

Today the headlines are blaring that Assad used chemical weapons in Syria, They blared so much even our clueless president noticed. Trump cares about this too, because he allegedly fixed the chemical weapon problem in Syria when he shot 59 cruise missiles into a Syrian airbase last year, preventing the Syrians from using that base for a couple of hours. Despite the clear ineffectiveness of the attack, this was largely touted as one of President Trump's only clear foreign policy successes by people across the political spectrum.

But you can only call it effective if it actually deterred Assad from using chemical weapons again. And it didn't. Assad's regime kept using chemical weapons periodically. Just in 2018, Syrian rebels reported evidence of chemical weapons attacks by Syrian military on January 13, January 22, February 1, February 23, and March 8. Trump likes to mock the ineffectiveness of Obama's deal to get Assad to give up his chemical weapons stocks, but that deal caused more of a break in the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria than Trump's missile strike did.

Why is this attack getting so much more attention than the other chemical attacks that have occurred every few weeks? I suspect, the people who were freaked out by Trump's decision to pull out of Syria are pushing the story to get him to recommit U.S. forces to the country. Trump seems to have taken the bait and so now he will feel compelled to commit to another showy strike and probably a slowdown of the withdrawal timetable.