The Syrian strike showed us that Donald Trump is no Barack Obama. From JP Sottile at antiwar.com:
We are seeing a lot of hyperbole about the start of “World War 3” and a lot of speculation about how this will play out … so, let me pump the brakes a bit. Here goes …
No, there was no legal or constitutional justification for this strike. Sorry, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, this does not fit neatly into an Article Two-sanctioned use of force to protect America’s invariably internationally-located “national” interests. And no, we still haven’t seen compelling proof that Assad was responsible for the attack in question and, in a throwback to attacks past, the OPCW‘s inspectors didn’t even get a chance to conduct their investigation before Uncle Sam pulled the trigger.
But, to be clear, this also doesn’t mirror the lead-up to, or start of, the Iraq War … Trump’s unintentionally ironic use of “Mission Accomplished” notwithstanding. Trump’s mission was, in fact, accomplished, because the mission wasn’t regime change or a crippling strike a la John Bolton. Nor was it a “message” to Assad’s “enablers,” as Deep State All-Star Oliver North framed it on Fox News.
No, this limited attack was very much like LAST YEAR’S Tomahawk parade (stock tip: buy Raytheon). It was a Mattis masterpiece of shadowy puppet theater designed to give Trump a way out of his self-painted corner. This was a well-crafted face-saving scenario. And this was a way for Trump to prove that his red line bloviations mean something, unlike the red line sissy-dancing of his predecessor.
To get there, Mattis cut down the target package to THREE … yup, just THREE … facilities that, one can safely assume, the Syrians likely knew would be targeted. And although Chief Of Staff Joseph Dunford claimed there was no “coordination” with Russia (as was the case with last year’s ridiculous strike on an evacuated tarmac), “coordination” is itself a specific term that doesn’t preclude the possibility of artfully telegraphed intentions by the Pentagon as they developed their target list. Add to that the use of well-established “deconfliction” procedures and what you have is a military operation that was designed to give Trump, along with British Prime Minster Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, an opportunity to put-up instead of shutting-up and, thereby, somehow risking their so-called “international reputations” as leaders.
To continue reading: The Real Message Behind Trump’s Syrian Strike