Trump’s act of war is in violation of the Constitution, which requires congressional authorization for such an offensive use of military force, provoked by no aggression against our nation.
.. Bashar al-Assad’s continuation in power, dismal as that prospect may be, is in no way the worst conceivable outcome for American national security.
.. If the United States has not been attacked or threatened, congressional approval should be sought, not merely for legal purposes but also to ensure that complexities have been thought through and public support for a risky intervention has been won. Here, quite apart from the want of American legal footing, Trump lacks even the fig leaf of international legitimacy
.. count me out of the virtue-preening that obsesses over the type of monstrous weapons employed when the issue is the monster using the weapons — of any kind. Both Assad and his opposition jihadists regularly commit atrocious war crimes targeting civilians. It is not beneath Assad, his enablers, or his enemies — al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their fellow militant Islamists, all of whom seek and would use weapons of mass destruction — to enter a village and firebomb or shoot up several dozen civilians (including women, children, and “beautiful babies”) with conventional arms. That is a commonplace
.. The barbarism characteristic of Syria’s years-long civil war is not materially different because chemical weapons have been used
.. There is no American interest is deposing Assad if he would be replaced by
(a) a Sunni sharia-supremacist regime that is more likely than Assad to make Syria a platform for jihadist attacks against our homeland and interests or
(b) a Libyan-style failed state that has the same effect.
.. the principal American enemy pulling Assad’s strings is Iran
.. Until we have a strategy for both vanquishing the Sunni jihadists and choking the regime in Tehran
.. accommodations had been made with Russia — particularly in sharing air space — in order to promote U.S.-led coalition attacks against ISIS. Last night’s missile strike against the Syrian air base puts an end to those accommodations. Is the Assad attack worth it if it makes the ISIS campaign more difficult?
.. Proportionality means that a use of force, and the collateral damage it is sure to entail, should be reasonably related to the military value of a lawful objective. It does not mean that an unauthorized, unprovoked attack is legitimate as long as it’s not too big.
.. what are we going to say when Putin cites last night’s strike as justification for his own unilateral but “proportional” attacks in Eastern Europe?