Two days ago, on the 100th anniversary of U.S. entering World War I, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) ordered the bombing of the Shayrat Airfield in Homs, Syria. The $80-million raid was a knee-jerk reaction from a bully now desperate to create his own 9/11 moment to raise his ratings. The Syrian attack on its own people was horrific, but no more than what Bashar Al-Assad has done to them in the past when he killed hundreds of thousands with starve and surrender, repeatedly bombed hospitals, and carried out two savage chemical weapons attacks. Yet DDT did nothing until his approval ratings were barely better than those of Congress.
Before the attack, senior officials and foreign countries were notified so that they could escape, leaving innocent civilians, at least nine of whom were killed including four children, to suffer DDT’s “presidential” moment. The Syrian military evacuated personnel and moved equipment, and the airstrikes avoided runways and bunkers with chemical supplies. U.S. targets were concrete bunkers sheltering planes or helicopters, fuel tanks, and warehouses probably storing convention arms, supplies, and spare parts. The damage, little in terms of Assad’s overall force, may have been less than currently assessed with fuel and ammunition readily available in the Middle East. Jets took off the day after the U.S. bombing for airstrikes on Khan Sheikhoun, the site of Assad’s most recent attack, and seven other town, again killing several civilians.
DDT has announced that this is a one-time deal, leaving Assad to further persecute his people, and DDT’s “travel ban” goes to court on May 15 so that he can keep Syrians out of the U.S. Russia reported that Syrian authorities are searching for 36 Tomahawk missiles that missed the target and fell outside the base and promised to help Syria strengthen its air defenses by launching one of its biggest deployments in decades. Yet DDT’s priority, according to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, is a regime change by removing Assad.
DDT has no policy except to criticize past unsuccessful interventions—forcing Iraqis from Kuwait in 1991; conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo; and removal of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. The United States is still in Afghanistan and Iraq in the longest war of U.S. history, 14 years old as of March 20. The only past successes have been to create more terrorists, just as this bombing will do. Either DDT will be satisfied with raising his ratings in a one-time shot, or he will be in the midst of the mess that he blamed on President Obama.
A serious question is whether DDT’s actions are constitutional because Syria is not a threat to the U.S. Presidents have been using authority for attacks in the Middle East from the 2001 authorization for presidents to use the military against any entity that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” DDT can claim that he is using the deal that President Obama brokered with the UN, but that resolution prevented military action unless authorized by its Security Council. In his speech following the bombing, DDT used the “national interest” argument which Republicans will repeat ad infinitum on the Sunday morning news shows. Following the U.S. Constitution, however, is not important to DDT or the Republicans who want to “de-operationalize” the United States.
Far-right conservatives are unhappy with DDT’s bombing; they believed DDT when he said that he would “put America first.” In the American Conservative, Daniel Larison explains that position. Today’s protests in ten U.S. cities compare DDT’s bombing to the start of the Iraq “War,” preemptive strikes because Syria is not a threat to the U.S. As of yet, there is no proof that this attack used chemicals just as Iraq had no nuclear weapons.
While GOP members of Congress disagreed about the constitutionality of DDT’s bombing, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked when DDT planned to do something about jobs, infrastructure, trade, and other promises that he made during his campaign. About DDT, Schumer said:
“Instead, he has focused on increasing health care costs while taking away health benefits, signing resolutions benefitting big corporate special interests and polluters, and signing divisive and disruptive Executive Orders.”
The Washington Post addresses 13 questions surrounding DDT’s attack on Syria.
Bombing isn’t DDT’s only destructive activity during the past week, some of them against “innocent babies”:
U.S. Children At Risk from Poisoning: “Innocent babies” in the U.S. are at risk because DDT’s hand-picked EPA director, Scott Pruitt, declared the pesticide chlorpyrifos to be safe. The research about the dangers of the substance comes from Pruitt’s own agency, but he gave Dow Chemical the green light to make more money with its use. No one near farms—workers, children, and consumers—can avoid exposure because the poison is in the air, soil, and food. Infants and children are most vulnerable they cannot assimilate the poison that drifts at least 300 feet from the fields. Effects are slower autoimmune disorders, slower motor development , attention problems, reversal of gender differences, and other neurological effects. Exposure during pregnancy retards the mental development of children, and most home use was banned in 2001 in the U.S.
Killing Wildlife: Unlimited slaughter of wolves, bears, and other “predatory” animals on federally-protected national preserves is a good idea, according to the bill that DDT signed this week. The legislation permits killing the animals from airplanes and helicopters, while baiting them, during hibernation, and in steel-jawed leghold traps and dens—including baby animals. As DDT’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric well realize, this encourages “sport” hunting for trophy kills.
Repeal of Equal Pay Act: The day before Equal Pay Day, highlighting the discrepancies between women’s and men’s wages, DDT signed the repeal of the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order that required companies with federal contracts to be accountable to fourteen labor laws. The order protected women in the work place by mandating transparency in salaries and claims for sexual assault and discrimination. Many of these women are responsible for feeling “little babies.” More information.
Slowing Job Growth: DDT took credit for the job growth in January and February, but he’s said nothing about the March numbers that added only 98,000 jobs, a ten-month low and well below expectation of 180,00. President Obama’s policies brought 11.5 million new jobs and 75 straight months of job growth; DDT’s second full month in office dropped the number since his reduction of regulations and GOP “tax reforms.” Republicans in Congress hope to increase jobs by giving 99.6 percent of the cuts to the top 1 percent. Watch to see if DDT blames President Obama, calls the jobs report “fake news,” or just ignores it.
No Internet Privacy: DDT also signed a highly unpopular bill (80 percent Democratic opposition, 75 percent Republican opposition, and 69 percent independents opposition) behind closed doors. The new law allows cable and telecom companies to secretly sell users’ data, an action making money for big corporations.
Salary Donation: DDT donated $78,000 of his quarterly salary to the Park Service, about half of what taxpayers pay to support his wife and son every day in New York City. DDT doesn’t need this “pittance” because people are paying a fortune to curry favor with him by staying at his hotels and resorts—demonstrated by this tweet from Georgia Amabassador Kaha Imnadze about DDT’s Washington hotel:
“Great #hotel and so far the best service I’ve seen in the United States! Keep it up!”
In another violation of the emoluments clause about not taking gifts, money, or anything else from foreign governments, DDT changed his trust in early February to receive regular financial reports on his businesses and give him the right to pull money from these businesses any time he wishes.
Ultimate DDT Distraction: Accusing former National Security Adviser Susan Rice of trying to “unmask”— reveal names of—DDT transition members who communicated with foreigners under surveillance failed because no one believed it. DDT’s solution to moving the discussion away from his Russian involvement was bombing Syria. In 2013, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused President Obama of wanting a “mere demonstration” when he went to Congress, asking for military action. DDT didn’t bother to ask before he bombed. He articulated his reason for bombing in 2012 when he tweeted: “Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.” In 2013, DDT tweeted his opposition: “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long-term conflict? Obama needs congressional approval.”
One piece of legislation that DDT would like to avoid is the budget. If Congress doesn’t pass it by April 29, the government shuts down. Congress has three days to solve the problem when they get back from a two-week recess facing down those pesky constituents. Meanwhile DDT has no meetings scheduled today because—it’s Saturday?