Wag the Dog Indeed
In the aftermath of Trump’s missile attack upon Syria, I was initially inclined to give the man credit. Everything he said about Obama leaving this mess to him was true, regardless of whether liberals want to hear that or not. Obama left the Middle East in worse shape than he found it through his single-minded focus on his campaign promises and his total aversion to any new entanglements. However, “leading from the rear” and “Don’t do stupid shit” is a pathetic foreign policy that we are now paying the price for.
But immediately things didn’t add up for me. For example, how can 59 Tomahawk missiles not destroy a smallish Syrian airbase, unless of course the attack was only meant to "send a message" and not actually impair Assad’s ability to slaughter more countrymen?
Why would you only send a message, unless this wasn’t a military action and instead simply a political one?
Why was the White House so quick to assert that all 59 hit their intended targets, and yet that airbase is already back in use today sending more Syrian fighter jets to attack the same city that suffered last week’s chemical attack?
And why did Vladimir Putin not activate the local Russian-supplied anti-missile system to knock down our Tomahawks, even when given advance notice that our missiles were coming?
The reason is clear: the only purpose for this attack was to push the Trump/Russian narrative out of the news cycles, and not to make a military statement. If we were making a military statement, that airbase would have been destroyed if in fact it was the home base of the jets that dropped chemical weapons on Homs. Instead, Trump gave Assad a pinprick with Putin's full support.