The words of George W. Bush keep coming back, our forty-third president saying, “I’m a war president, I make decisions here in the oval office…in foreign policy matters with war on my mind.”
And then he took us into Iraq, shoring up his presidency for two full terms. His approval rating which at one point stood at 90% eventually tanked at 25% shortly before leaving office. It took us a long time to get there but eventually most of America decided that George W., wasn’t so hot after all.
And now comes Donald J. Trump, who, after six years of civilian slaughter in Syria from barrel bombs and chemical warfare suddenly realizes babies are being killed and announces, “The world’s a mess, and we’re gonna fix it.”
How is it possible that Donald Trump, who has admitted he gets his news from television, has missed hundreds of reports over a half-dozen years about the carnage waged by Bashar al-Assad against the people of Syria? Has he suddenly forgotten his tweets, advising former President Obama to “stay the hell out of Syria?” Of course not. It isn’t possible. Therefore, Trump’s affectation caused by recently seeing “babies” being killed in Syria, is an act. He knew the word “babies” would resonate, so he used it repeatedly. There is no other explanation. It’s nothing but a con, the same thing he did when he sent his “investigators” to Hawaii to check out Mr. Obama’s birth certificate or he saw “thousands” cheering when the twin towers came down in New York. It’s the same old Donald, except this time he wants us to believe he was emotionally torn after seeing babies being attacked in Syria.
Then, after notifying the Russian military, presumably giving them time to get their people out of the way, he launched fifty nine cruise missiles, not on a primary, top of the line airfield in Syria, but an older less important airfield, allegedly used to launch the gas attack on Syrian citizens just days earlier.
There’s no question about the need to stop the violence in the Middle East and North Africa, a fight between warlords and religious factions that’s been going on for more than a thousand years. The real question is whether it’s realistic to believe the United States, or any other country, can get it done militarily.
The Obama Administration, had apparently pretty much decided that the only permanent solution would have to be diplomatic, an idea that was not addressed by the hawkish Senator John McCain on one of this morning’s talk shows, as he appeared nearly giddy with joy over the missile strike in Syria – which will accomplish what? What does Donald Trump do now?
With no easy answers a couple of things are apparent. One is that George W. Bush’s Administration was buoyed by Bush declaring himself to be America’s “wartime president.” The other is that “Russiagate” will probably be less of a problem for Donald Trump following the missile attack on Syria. Like Bush, Trump’s numbers will undoubtedly get a positive bump now that he’s taken military action.
With media reaction that the attack he ordered was “swift” and “decisive,” on the one hand to “smart” and proportional,” on the other, one wonders how Mr. Trump, who feeds off of approval like a child craving candy, will react.
We went into Afghanistan and Iraq with Vietnam-era warriors warning us against taking on any military engagement without an exit strategy. We were promised that we wouldn’t get stuck in a military quagmire, but that’s exactly what happened. The promises of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are now all but forgotten and to this day there appears to be no end-game in sight, only violence begetting more violence with the ever-present danger of the world’s largest military-industrial complex gobbling up taxpayer dollars as it defines our goals to be anything but diplomatic.
Diplomacy, after all, is so messy, shot through with setbacks and difficult to understand. Warfare, on the other hand, is easy to understand. These people are killing babies. How can anybody argue against stopping that? And besides, who doesn’t love a good war?