James Howard Kunstler’s hypothesis is that Trump had to bomb to avoid appearing weak and indecisive. From Kunstler at kunstler.com:
Close your eyes, click your heels three times, and tell me if you actually know what the fuck is happening in Syria. There’s an awful lot about the poison gas attack that doesn’t add up for the casual observer. It was only a week ago that the US enunciated a new policy that we would be content for Bashar al Assad to remain in power presiding over the Syrian government — after years of grousing and threats against him. Apparently Trump Central had concluded that Assad was a better alternative than another failed state in the Middle East with no government at all.
That policy change was a yuge benefit for Assad since it removed any pretext for US subterfuge or “black box” mischief against him. He was rather busy fighting a civil war, after all. Against whom? A mash-up of Jihadi forces ranging from Isis (so-called), to al Qaeda and Jabhat al Nusra, its spinoff gang dedicated specifically against Assad personally. Assad’s relations with Isis were ambiguous and complex. Isis had used Syria as a staging area for its operations next door in Iraq. It was rumored that Assad purchased oil from Isis. Yet Isis had participated in actions against Assad. In any case, all of the Jihadis were Sunni, in opposition to Assad’s Iran-leaning regime. Assad himself belongs to the Alawite sect of Islam, a twig on the Shia branch. Syria as a whole is a majority Sunni population, so Assad and his father Hafez before him (President 1971 – 2000) have represented a minority (12 percent) in an era of inflamed Sunni-Shia passions.
Trusting that your are not additionally confused by all this, why would Assad choose this moment — only days after the US granted him a pass on remaining in power — to do the one thing guaranteed to bring the wrath of the US down him, namely, kill a lot of civilians, including women and children, with poison gas? Either Assad is inconceivably stupid or possibly the gas attack is not exactly what happened.
To continue reading: Bombs Away!