In 2013, Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people. President Obama had to figure out what to do with Syria. He could have bombed Syria. He could have tried to do some sort of joint military action with our western allies. There was a lot of hand wringing, as there should have been. We are talking about life and death. Instead of making the decision to bomb Syria, Obama threw the decision to Congress, which did not give him authorization to strike Syria. I’m not sure that he was truly all that whipped up to strike Syria. He turned to Russia; who helped (Russian help is kind of an oxymoron) broker a deal for Syria to destroy all of their chemical weapons. Well, we know that this “deal” wasn’t what anyone would have hoped, since al-Assad just gassed his own people again. It is completely unclear whether al-Assad has more chemical weapons or not. We have to assume that he has.
Many Americans have applauded Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria. I’m not so sure. I think that Donald Trump took the only option that was open to him. He couldn’t make another deal. That was out. There is no coalition of “the willing.” No one wants to invade Syria. With that option off the table, what was left? Bomb them. That was the only other option.
I just don’t know how bombing Syria will help the problem. As far as we know, there were no significant military leaders killed. I think that we know we did not kill -nor even injure- al-Assad. So I’m not sure that we have changed any behavior.