Donald Trump has stated before that he would work to establish a relationship with Syria and Russia; in fact releasing a statement which indicated although he may not like it, he would accept the "political reality" of Assad's power. But that all changed when the photos and videos of children dying in such a horrendous manner surfaced this week. The U.N. was prepared to do what the U.N. does best: nothing. Amb. Nikki Haley delivered a statement to the U.N. in which she made it abundantly clear that the United States would not tolerate genocide, and if the U.N. failed to take action, we certainly would:
"Yesterday morning, we awoke to pictures, to children foaming at the mouth, suffering convulsions, being carried in the arms of desperate parents. We saw rows of lifeless bodies. Some still in diapers. Some with the visible scars of a chemical weapons attack... Evidence reported from the scene indicates that Assad is now using even more lethal chemical agents than he did before. The gas that fell out of the sky yesterday was more deadly, leaving men, women, the elderly, and children, gasping for their very last breath. And as first responders, doctors, and nurses rushed to help the victims, a second round of bombs rained down. They died in the same slow, horrendous manner as the civilians they were trying to save.
The United States sees yesterday’s attack as a disgrace at the highest level, an assurance that humanity means nothing to the Syrian government... If we are not prepared to act, then this Council will keep meeting, month after month, to express outrage at the continuing use of chemical weapons, and it will not end. We will see more conflict in Syria. We will see more pictures that we can never un-see.
I began my remarks by saying that in the life of the United Nations, there are times when we are compelled to take collective action. I will now add this: When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action. For the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the Council is finally willing to do the same. The world needs to see the use of chemical weapons and the fact that they will not be tolerated."
As everyone also knows by now... Yesterday, the United States followed up on that promise. From the Pentagon:
"At the direction of the president, U.S. forces conducted a cruise missile strike against a Syrian Air Force airfield today at about 8:40 p.m. EDT (4:40 a.m., April 7, in Syria). The strike targeted Shayrat Airfield in Homs governorate, and was in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack April 4 in Khan Sheikhoun, which killed or injured hundreds of innocent Syrian people, including women and children... Every precaution was taken to execute this strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield... The strike was a proportional response to Assad's heinous act. Shayrat Airfield was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian air forces. The U.S. intelligence community assesses that aircraft from Shayrat conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4. The strike was intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again... Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian Government's ability to deliver chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against innocent people will not be tolerated."
President Trump, having been briefed on the Syrian assault, and upon viewing the shocking, sickening photos and videos, was clearly moved to action. He was humble enough to reassess his position on Syria and act according to his conscience, and the basic human values we share with the rest of the civilized world:
"My fellow Americans, on Tuesday Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, 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 cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror. Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council.
Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically. As a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed, and we hope that as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will in the end prevail. Good night, and God bless America and the entire world. Thank you."
I'm very proud of my country, and of my President, today. President Trump wasted no time in taking decisive, precise military action which served two purposes: (1) the strategic purpose of destroying stores and aircraft which could be used to deliver more chemical attacks, and (2) the symbolic purpose of sending a message to Assad and his allies that the United States will not tolerate such hateful and barbaric acts by ANYONE, whether or not it is politically advantageous to do so. We are a country of courage and conviction, and Trump asserted that yesterday in no uncertain terms. Assad, Putin, and Jong-un will take note. We are no longer turning a blind eye to tyranny. That era is over for us...
I've had my doubts about Donald Trump before, but THIS is the man I voted for.
BRAVO, MR. PRESIDENT!