LASSIE, COME HOME
April 12, 2017
War is like crack for presidents. It confers instant gravitas, catapulting them to respectability, bypassing all station stops. They get to make macho pronouncements on a topic where every utterance is seen as august.
On the other hand, Trump's Syrian misadventure is immoral, violates every promise he ran on and could sink his presidency.
Left to his own devices, uncontaminated by Washington group-think, Trump gets it right.
Back in 2013, when President Obama was being egged on to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack far more sweeping than this latest one, Trump tweeted:
-- Aug. 29, 2013:
"What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.”
-- Aug. 31, 2013:
"Be prepared, there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.”
-- Sept. 1, 2013:
"If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay. Stay away and fix broken U.S.”
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly stated that he had no interest in starting "World War III over Syria," saying, "We have bigger problems than Assad." His policy position was: "Let Syria and ISIS fight. I look at Assad -- and Assad looks better than the other side.”
Trump was right on every point.
Assad is one of the least bad leaders in the entire Middle East. He's not a murderous thug like Saddam, has no rape rooms, isn't into jihad, protects Christians and is fighting ISIS. He provided us with intelligence on al-Qaida after 9/11. He does not have crazy Islamic police slapping women around or throwing gays off buildings. (That would be our beloved ally, Saudi Arabia.)
Trump was also correct about Assad's opponents being far worse, containing large helpings of both ISIS and al-Qaida.