You know the media had them ready to go. I’m going to take a page out of ‘ette MWR’s book here:
I honestly don't know how I feel abt the missile strikes on Syria last night. I have the luxury of being able to ruminate on the situation.
— ((Notorious MWR ن)) (@nowhere_nh) April 7, 2017
I’m also unsure. My stance prior to this was “this is a mess of epic proportions, a total Charlie Foxtrot.” I think that still stands. There are however a few things that should at least be talked about.
- Suddenly the War Powers Resolution is the Bee’s Knees again! CNN was busy asking the MS senator if it was “shirking of duty” not to hold a vote to “retroactively approve this.” Never mind that the WPR doesn’t really cover “retroactive approval.” I’m curious where all this was when we invaded Libya, or have boots in Yemen and if memory serves Somalia too. (I think there’s an attempt to stretch the 2001 AUMF the latter 2, but as Gabe Malor notes, that’s…a big stretch. Libya was just hand waved to “Well NATO” which amazingly was an even bigger stretch.)
- Speaking of CNN we’re back at “So we must take in refugees again.” Whatever your stance on the travel ban (and mine could be described as “benign ambivalence”) I have argued and continue to argue that looking at this through the lens of “But refugees!” is so very wrong because it clouds the bigger issues. It can be both true that Assad can be a monster creating conditions so horrible as to be a violation of human rights and that increasing refugees isn’t going to make a noticeable dent in the underlying problem. This isn’t an argument for or against refugees or arguing about how many we should take. It’s a plea to realize that it’s just a metaphorical Band-Aid for what is akin to lethal wound. (More accurately it’s probably like stitching up the wound while paying not attention to the continued internal bleeding, but metaphors suck.)
- At the end of the article in #2 you’ll see a link to a WaPo article saying that getting America to ignore Syria may be Obama’s greatest achievement. This still rings true. We are, in part, where we are because we didn’t pay attention to anything leading up to how we got here. And that also leaves us ill prepared for where to go from here. Now again, this doesn’t mean Obama should of shouldn’t have invaded. But anything resembling a plan would have helped out a lot.
- Being basically absent even at a base diplomatic level for 6 years, there’s no good sides left in Syria. We obviously can’t support Assad and his biggest rival broadly is ISIS and ISIS affiliated groups. Yes there are Kurds, but not enough to take control of all of Syria. At best they can strive to control a section of it.
- Hillary Clinton and John Kerry were clearly outmatched by Russia, repeatedly. Will Tillerson do better? Hell if I know. He knows Russia well from his history at Exxon no doubt. The question is: Does that make him to friendly to them, or does it make him shrewdly knowledgeable?
- The media will attempt to paint anything and everything done by Trump as bad. I disagreed in part with @GayPatriot saying we’d attack Syria because of social media. This is only half true. The other half is the media trying to hang Syria (and pretty much anything else) around Trump’s neck like an anchor. Whatever your thoughts on Trump, this is a bad thing. For starters, there’s #3 in the list above. If we had laid blame where we should have when we should have maybe we wouldn’t have reached this point.
Secondly there’s what comes next. Already NPR (I listen so you don’t have to) was running commentators criticizing this attack not as unnecessary or possibly provocative with Russia, but for not doing enough to oust Assad. If Assad is ousted and we get drawn into a quagmire, you can fully expect these same commentators to be saying we shouldn’t have gotten involved. The media gleefully ignored Syria when it suited them to protect Obama, and now wields its as a weapon if they think it will harm Trump. This is not the sign of a healthy media, and it’s the type of thing that causes an ill informed populace to get ginned up into sudden outrage over what’s been an ongoing problem for 6 years which will cause reckless action. If Trump is as mercurial as they want to believe you’d think they’d be concerned about inciting outrage over things at random times. But, nah, gotta score partisan points.