The response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria was swift and decisive, but we must temper our next response with patience and wisdom.
I viewed the photos of the victims of the apparent Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack on their own citizens with horror and disgust, as did most decent human beings living on the planet. I was immediately filled with compassion for the survivors who lost their families and loved ones in the raid, and also for those who suffered though such an agonizing final few minutes of life, choking and asphyxiating as the gas worked its way into their lungs.
At almost the same time, I was also filled with rage that any human being could release such a torment on any other human beings, much less innocent men, women and children. I admit I wanted someone to take action to make whoever was responsible for this pay for the crimes against humanity they had committed.
Thank goodness I was not the one with the “finger on the trigger’” so to speak, for as the smoke started to clear, I realized a knee-jerk reaction was not the responsible thing to do, as in most cases. I began to wonder what type of action should be taken, if any, and whose responsibility was it to act, and many more similar thoughts passed through my head over the next few days.
I was preparing to write a column imploring President Trump to not allow the passion behind the photographs to drive him to some action that would preclude escalating the situation into a full-scale shooting war with any other nation, particularly Russia. But last night, Trump did react to the use of chemical weapons and ordered a US air strike on strategic targets in Syria, making my point moot.
My biggest concern prior to today was the possibility that someone other than Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have launched the attack, to re-ignite US involvement in the conflict that seemed to be waning with Trump’s administration. I just could not see how the relatively small chemical attack would benefit the al-Assad regime, and wondered why he felt compelled to use chemical weapons he supposedly didn’t have, knowing it would bring about an international outcry.
But Trump’s officials have said they believe with great certainty that the attacks were launched from a Syrian government airfield, the one the US strikes targeted, and without any real conflicting evidence otherwise, I will accept that for now.