by Nick Shepard – Staff Reporter
Much controversy has arisen in recent weeks following President Trump’s green light on the use of military force against the Syrian Assad regime on April 6. The President’s order came in retaliation for the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians two days earlier. Even though the chemical attack left 89 people dead, including many children, and fully justified a return attack, plenty of people are going after Trump for acting on not enough information.
First, one thing needs to be set straight: the Assad regime did use Sarin gas against its own people. The main argument those opposed to Trump’s action give is that there is no proof that it was the Assad regime and could just as easily have been ISIS. But at least 10 victims of the attack were analyzed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons soon after their deaths, and all indicated signs of having been exposed to Sarin or a similar substance.
The Ministry of Defense also announced on April 13 that tests had been conducted in British labs on several blood and hair samples from victims of the attack, and all again tested positive for Sarin.
Russia, Syria’s main ally, has made claims that a regular Syrian airstrike had hit a terrorist weapons depot, and that had released the substances contributing to the mass death – but if Russia is still a credible source of information for world affairs, then I guess they did not meddle in the U.S. election at all.
Now that is clear; it isn’t a question whether or not it was Assad and his regime that did the killing. It is only a question of whether or not military retaliation was justified.
While it is difficult for me to voice support for any controversial thing the Trump administration does, this was the right choice. If arguably the most powerful and well-equipped nation on the planet sits idly by following the slaughter of civilians, and with the use of chemical weapons, nothing is off the table for people like Assad.
During both world wars and most conflicts since, there has been a mutual understanding between combatants that if they deploy chemical weapons, they can prepare to have an equal or greater level of destruction used against them. Much as the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction kept us on the brink but not over the edge of nuclear war during the Cold War, the understanding on chemical weapons saved the world from many awful atrocities that could have occurred in the last century or so.
Under that unspoken agreement, it could be argued that we went easy on Syria. Assad could have expected to be wiped out of existence after what he did – instead of simply ‘degrading or destroying’ sections of the Syrian airbase from whence the plane carrying chemical weapons was said to have departed.
The Russians that were said to have been present at the site of the U.S. strike were given a one-hour notice and according to the Syrian state news they were not among the six killed at the airbase.
Overall, the act committed by the Assad regime was undeniably a gross violation of international law, and if there is any line that can be crossed to provoke military action from us, then Assad crossed it, kept running, and didn’t look back.