The blast from the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles which President Trump ordered to strike the al-Shayrat airfield in Syria on Thursday has since reverberated around the world. Many Americans are still waiting for the smoke to clear, to make sense of exactly what happened and why.
President Trump and his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are unanimous in their conviction that the regime of Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, thus justifying the attack. Everyday Americans are rightly skeptical when it comes to weapons of mass destruction being used to justify a possible war. We’ve heard it before.
Why would Assad use weapons of mass destruction against civilians when he was already winning the conflict? He is not a madman, and he would know the consequences. Who benefits from such a tragedy, if not Assad?
The beneficiaries would include ISIS and the other Al-Qaeda spinoffs in the region. ISIS have made it clear that their strategy involves drawing the West, whom they call ‘the Romans,’ into an invasion and defeat in Syria. It is a major feature of their propaganda.
Many supporters of the Trump presidency in the alternative media are disillusioned with the attack. Many Americans who had given up on politics in despair re-engaged once Trump came along. He promised a change of direction, a break from the cronyism and phoniness of politics under the neoconservative warmongers and neoliberal globalists. Many decided to give hope and change a chance just one more time.
One of the key differences between Trump and Clinton was their approach to Syria and, by extension, Iran and Russia. Hillary promised a no-fly zone which would have brought us close to nuclear war. Trump promised to destroy ISIS and mend fences with Russia. Americans chose the latter. Now many are wondering if there was a choice at all.
The Syrian missile strikes were carried out on the day of the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I. Erich Maria Remarque’s novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” written in the aftermath of World War I, was a scorching attack upon the older generation of civic leaders, teachers, and journalists who had cheered the young men on into the meat grinder of the trenches. Those young men, the ones who returned, had only hatred for the older generations who had sent them to be maimed and die.
When the bombs start raining and bullets start flying, it will not be the old men who made the decision for war who go to sweat, bleed and die in foreign soil. It will not be their pampered, expensively educated sons, either. It will be the young men, sons of everyday Americans, who will go to unknown graves for an agenda that is not theirs against opponents more similar to them than the rulers calling the shots from secure locations back home.
An invasion of Syria is a war with Iran, Mr. President. Iran and Russia have made it clear that they will not stand for the toppling of yet another Middle Eastern government in the name of “nation building.”
We are forgetful of history in the West, yet historical memory in the Middle East runs deep. Should you decide to invade the region and conduct a war against Iran, Mr. President, you would not be the first Western leader to do so.
In the 3rd century AD, the Roman emperor Valerian I carried out a massive invasion of the Persian empire, or what is now Iran. Initial success made Valerian overconfident, and he and his armies were captured by the Persian king Shapur I. He was made into a footstool for the Persian king to mount his horse, and upon his death was stuffed as a trophy.
The defeat of the emperor Valerian’s army precipitated the Roman crisis of the third century. The loss of confidence this created among the Romans led to a currency crisis, widespread pandemonium and ultimately a more totalitarian political system being introduced to bring the empire back under control. It was the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire. The glory days were gone, never to return.
Dear President Trump, please avoid the fate of Valerian I. Don’t be a footstool for the deep state and the foreign interests they serve. America cannot afford any more blood and treasure poured into the sand of the Middle East.
The Sunni extremists who began this conflict with the Syrian government would love to see America commit ground forces to the conflict there. It would be a fulfilment of their propaganda, and would be used by radical imams around the world to motivate their fanatical followers.
This is due to the widespread belief among Wahhabi Muslims that a key battle between the Romans of the postmodern West and the Islamic faithful is coming in Syria. This has been a key element of ISIS’s recruitment propaganda to radicalized young Muslims around the world. Should the United States step into this fight, it will reinforce that message. Should the Wahhabis be able to claim fulfilment of their prophecy, it will resonate powerfully across the Islamic world.
Syria is a landmine, Mr. President. Only the jihadis and your deep state enemies, the neocons and war profiteers, want you to step on it. The rest of America are holding our breath, and wondering: Have we learned anything from this past century of bloodshed and horror?