I never actually thought that I would find myself in a position like this. I have been critical of Trump's presidency from the beginning, specifically on his views of Islam and immigration in conjunction with the rise in xenophobia and islamophobia. Considering my last article was an angry open letter I literally wrote at the last minute, this article is going to be a big contradiction on my part. If there is one thing I am guilty of, that I think most Democrats and other leftists are, is that we never give time to listen to the conservative side. Its easy for us to simply shout "xenophobia" when we hear conservatives talk about immigration and Muslims. But we should all learn to do our research to know what views we are argueing. This article will anger some of you, but its not my fault.
On Tuesday, April 4th, 2017, a nerve gas attack was lauched on Kahn Sheikhoun, a town occupied by rebel forces in Northern Syria. 72 people have been declared dead, including 20 children. The rockets lauched contained Sarin gas, a chemical that is banned from use by international law.
Videos and pictures of Syrian children, dead or dying have surfaced all over the internet, sparking up a firestorm in the media.
Trump responded to the attick, saying in a speech given in West Palm Beach, Florida, "Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruely murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer..." He followed up announcing he authorized a military strike on the airfield where the rockets contained the gas agent were launched. It seems to me that Trump is genuinely shaken by the thought of innocent children being murdered, regardless of ethnicity.
On Thursday night, two American warships, the U.S.S. Ross and U.S.S. Porter, launched 59 tomahawk missles upon the airfield which the gas attack was launched from. According to officials of the Syrian army, 7 Syrians were killed and 9 others were wounded. This attack marked the first direct military action by the United States on Syria since 2011.
Trump's decision has been criticized by both the media and politicians on both sides of the political coin on the supposed grounds that he didn't call a meeting with congress to approve the authorization of military action, and the possible tensions increased between the United States, Syria and their allies, China and Russia. Also to consider the fact that Trump was meeting with Chinese President, Xi Jinping at the time the airstrike was taking place. However, many Chinese officials have spoken on the issue and based on what they said, they are still willing to cooperate with the United States on other matters.
However... this military action did not go without congressional awareness.
The United States senate held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, April 5th, at 9:30 am. The purpose was to condemn the Assad regime for its continued use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. By the end of the session, it was resolved that the Senate held the Assad regime responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity, and violating the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the Syrian government entered in agreement back in 2013. This was after a similiar gas attack took place on the rebel-held suburb of Ghouta, which resulted in 1,429 deaths and over 3,600 injuries that same year. I'll get to that later.
While Trump's authorization of the airstrike has recieved harsh criticism in the media but a handful of praise as well.
Kentucky's U.S. Senator, Mitch McConnell has expressed support of Trump's actions during a meeting held by the Senate on Friday, the day after the airstrike.
Kassam Eid, a survivor of the 2013 was interviewed via skype by CNN's Brookes Baldwin. In the interview he expressed praise for the airstrike. In the interview, Eid said: “With all due respect, I didn’t see each and every person who was demonstrating after the travel ban. I didn’t see you three days ago when people were gassed to death, where civilians were gassed to death. I didn’t see you in 2013 when 1,400 people were gassed to death. I didn’t see you raising your voice against President Obama’s inaction in Syria that led us–refugees…that made us refugees, get kicked out of Syria. If you really care about refugees, if you really care about helping us, please help us stay in our country. We don’t want to come to United States. We want to stay in our country. With all due respect, this is hypocrisy." He closed the interview pleading with Trump to establish safe zones and not to stop the airstikes and then he said, "Please, sir, what you did was amazing. What you did was a powerful message of hope."
Syria is a country torn by civil war. As it enters its seventh year, under the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, it has claimed the lives of over 465,000 Syrians, and millions wounded and the number has been rising in the light of these gas attacks. While the United States has expressed opposition to Assad's regime over the years of the war. Former President Barak Obama had been hesitant to get involved with the conflict, and in the aftermath of the 2013 gas attack, Obama called Assad's use of chemical weapons a "red line." Obama did planed a military strike on Syria in response to the 2013 gas attack but was met with hesitations due to domestic opposition from both political parties, and recieved congressional disapproval. Instead, Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who proposed a deal to have all chemical weapons removed from the Assad regime. This is where Syria entered the Chemical Weapons Convention, as I mentioned before. By June 2014, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons declared that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria.This recent gas attack not only violated the Chemical Weapons Convention, but also reflects the visciousness of Assad's regime. His wilingness to break international law and slaughter innoncent people in the effort to fight the rebels. It doesn't matter if its war or not, nothing justifies the killing of innocent people, especially children, the most innocent of humanity.
I think that bein said, its safe to say that the Syrians have more then enough reasons to flee their own country. Since the United States has closed its immigration to the refugees, they have fled to Turkey, Lebenon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and parts of Europe. The UNHCR stated that since the beginning of the war, over four million Syrians have fled the country since 2011, and over half of them were and are children.
If I haven't been made myself clear, I fully support Trump's decision with the airstrike. Considering we aren't letting Syrian refugees into the country, due to our own fear of ISIS attacking us, its good to know that our President gives some sort of a damn about the conflict in Syria. Of course, it wasn't what I wanted to see, but its ten times better then turning the other cheek, which we have been guilty of doing. Rather then opening out borders, we might as well secure their homeland, because when you get right down to it, they don't want to leave their country, but its their only option. If the conservatives don't want the refugees coming in, then they better do something to make them want to stay in their country, and that could only happen by ending the bloodshed the Assad regime has committed.