The United States launched a missile strike in Syria last night. As one of my friends pointed out, it just so happened to the 100 year anniversary of the U.S. getting involved in World War I. Some thoughts.
1) The most important thing that needs to be said is that the slaughter of innocent people must stop. This isn't a statement in favor or, or opposed to, military action. It's a statement about the killing of innocent civilians. Conditions are so deplorable in Syria that people are risking their lives to flee it. We're told that the Syrian dictator has used chemical weapons against his own people. How does the world community put a stop to it? We have an obligation.
2) Let's not rush to judgement against this limited strike, and let's sure as hell not rush to war. Our politics are toxic right now, and that means we're quick to knee-jerk our reactions to events one way or another based upon our politics. This is not the time for that. If the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against it's own people, then a targeted, limited airstrike isn't unreasonable. Any military conflict in this part of the world has the potential for devastating consequences, however. Everyone needs to be sober-minded about this situation.
3) Was this a political move on Trump's part? He's been looking for ways to be seen as less influenced by Russia. He wants to be seen as decisive. He also is trying to urge China to tackle the North Korea issue by saying if they don't deal with them, we will. This attack against the Syrian government helps him on all of those fronts.
4) Situations like this are why it's so important to have credibility with the American people. One of the most important things needed in a crisis situation is to have trust that your leaders are telling you the truth. The Trump administration has had a hard time with this. This isn't a statement on politics; it's a statement on honesty. One of the first things I did this morning after watching Trump's statement was to check to see what other world leaders were saying about this strike. It gave me some degree of comfort knowing that the U.K., Australia and Japan didn't think this move was entirely insane. I should be able to trust my government. It's hard with the group they have in charge today.
5) The world needs to find a way to come together and rid itself of all rogue regimes. How is it that in a world full of so many seemingly rich, powerful, and decently good countries, we can't find a way to dispatch rogue regimes like we see in Syria, North Korea or beyond? I know it's complicated. I know there are a lot of players. This isn't a critique of anyone. But these are two countries. One starves and tortures it's own people and the other launches chemical attacks against theirs. I don't know what the answer is, but there has to be a way to stop this.
So, where do we go from here? Look for ways to promote peace. Look for ways to promote an end to the slaughter of innocents. Look for ways to promote truth. Look for ways to do all of those things in a unified fashion as a country and with our allies across the globe.
It won't be easy and I don't have all of the answers, but that is the task at hand today.
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