On Thursday, the U.S. military launched 50 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield in retaliation for a devastating chemical attack by President Bashar al-Assad that killed at least 80 people, marking the first direct military action the United States has taken in Syria since the start of the country’s civil war.
The New York Times reports that the attack is the first to come directly from President Trump’s orders and was likely done quickly in order to maintain an “element of surprise” and also to perhaps “send a message” that President Trump is unafraid to act on extremely short notice. Trump’s decision to use force so quickly after Assad’s attack is a sharp contrast to former President Obama’s more careful and considered approach to military force, the Times notes. U.S. troops currently stationed in Syria are now possibly under greater danger as a result of this strike, the Washington Post reports.
The decision comes on the heels of a quick change of heart for President Trump who seemed to only realize the extent of the attack on Wednesday after images of its aftermath filtered through the news. CNN reports that as this attack is the first significant and direct military action launched in the region, it could very well be interpreted by the Syrian government as an act of war.
Update (April 6, 10:30 p.m.): In brief remarks delivered from Mar-a-Lago, President Trump opened by saying that President Assad “choked out the helpless lives of men women and children,” touching on the “beautiful babies” harmed in the attack.
A reminder: The second and more evil version of his travel ban called for a 120 day suspension of the Syrian refugee program. It is currently suspended indefinitely due to the actions of a fast-acting federal judge in Hawaii. His concern for the “beautiful babies” in Syria is an exceedingly hollow bullshit sentiment.
Speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Marco Rubio said that Trump’s reaction Wednesday was “real” and that President Trump will “do what it takes” to stop Assad.
Update (April 6, 11:01 p.m): “I look forward to the administration further engaging Congress in this effort,” says Paul Ryan, who also called the attack “appropriate and just.”