Confusion over recent U.S. involvement in Syria

Melissa NunezOpinions and Features Editor

After a lethal chemical attack with a deadly nerve agent leaving countless Syrian children and families dead or critically wounded, President Donald Trump ordered an airstrike to the AL Shayrat Airfield in direct response to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad’s decision to murder so many innocent people.

According to Politifact, Trump’s desire for direct military action in Syria comes as a shift, from him gravely warning former president Barack Obama of the implications military actions could impose on the U.S. back in 2013.

“Again, to our very foolish leader, do not attack Syria,” Trump tweeted, “if you do many very bad things will happen and from that fight the U.S. gets nothing!”

Trump said with Assad’s use of banned chemical weapons and previous attempts to change his leadership failing, this was a call for more direct military action.

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” said Trump to reporters. “It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Trump also recognized his shift in ideology and attributed it to the tragic deaths of so many.

“Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the life of innocent men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror,” said Trump in statement to the press. 

While the suffering in Syria is heart wrenching, many are concerned about further military action and how recent developments will impact the country and its relationship to others. With the president showing such a stark shift from the campaign trail and his previous statements, many are questioning how this reflects Trump’s future attitudes in future military ventures overall.

What do a majority of Americans think about continued direct involvement in Syria? According to a September 2013 NBC and Wall Street Journal survey administered while Obama was considering an airstrike after a previous devastating chemical attack, a mere 24 percent thought direct military action served in America’s best interest, while nearly 60 percent wanted congress to vote against it.

Both Syria and Russia are among those who denounced the airstrike, with Russian president Vladimir Putin, calling it an act of “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law,” according to CNN, causing murmurs of whether this could lead to future conflict with them as well.

While others like Canada and Britain defended the strike, with the Theresa May government, prime minister of the U.K. saying the U.S. has their support.

“The U.K. government fully supports the U.S. action,” said a Downing Street Spokesperson, “which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.”    

Will continued military action in Syria aid in the removal of Assad and halt chemical attacks, or will it cause the U.S. more harm than it does good? Senators, representatives and pundits, both Republican and Democrat have their heads swirling around the questions and the supposed answers. But one thing is absolutely clear: the country is embarking in some muddy waters.

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