There’s nothing like a little military action in a war-torn region to get everybody riled up.  Now unless you live under a rock, there’s been some happenings in Syria over the past few days.

Earlier in the week upwards of 80 people died in rural Idlib province from exposure to a chemical agent.  Almost immediately, Western governments, and the likes of CNN et al jumped to the conclusion that it was all Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fault.  Two days ago the US responded with a highly ineffective cruise missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat Air Base.  How ineffective was this attack?  Not only is the base still intact, the Syrian Air Force began flying combat sorties out of Shayrat less than 24 hours later.  Furthermore, only 23 of the 59 missiles launched actually reached their target.  And to top it all off, the attack primarily killed civilians…

So of course when something like this happens, I tend to go a little overboard on my social media posts, starting with a nice, profanity infused rant of frustration to kick it all off.  I get that it can be a little aggravating at times, and perhaps “Songbird McCain” might have pushed it a little over the top, but nevertheless I stand by what I said.  Getting involved in another multi-sided Middle East conflict is the furthest thing from “America first.”

Now by virtue of growing up in a rural area of a rural state, I happen to know, and am friends with people who consider Donald Trump’s decision to “bomb first, ask questions later” to be a good idea.  Oh, and proclaim that people who are anti-war are just hypocrites.  Now to say that about a lot of the anti-war left would have to be true.  Unfortunately, a lot of them did hypocritically remain silent while Barack Obama bombed multiple countries in the Middle East and had his foreign policy team stir up hornets nests in Libya and Syria.  Perhaps part of that had to do with Obama’s unwillingness to full on commit US ground forces for regime change operations, unlike George W. Bush.  Doing so keeps the US casualty numbers down, but also causes a major disconnect of what is actually happening.  The strategy might be different, but the end goal is the same, and more importantly what actually happens on the ground.  For example, as detestable as Muammar Qaddafi was, over-throwing him had drastic consequences.  In the sudden power-vacuum that was created, Al Qaeda based militants effectively took over most of the country.  The militants began killing refugees from other African conflicts, sparking the so-called “European refugee crisis.”  Not only that, but the overthrowing of Qaddafi can be directly linked to the ongoing civil war in Mali, as well as the rise of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.  Meanwhile in Iraq, the US is still trying to clean up the mess created after regime-changing Saddam Hussein.  Over throwing Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh, and replacing him with Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi played a direct role in causing that country’s absolutely horrendous civil war.

A week ago, it seemed as if the US was finally starting to realize that regime change operations tend to backfire more often than not, but then something changed… Ivanka Trump got sad at the sight of some dead kids.  Well Ivanka, if dead and dying kids make you sad, here’s a picture of a starving Yemeni baby.  So what did Donald Trump do to make “daddy’s girl” feel better?  Without getting Congressional approval, without even waiting for an investigation to occur to objectively determine exactly what happened, Trump ordered a cruise missile attack, that from an objective standpoint achieved absolutely nothing, other than to piss off Russia.  Not exactly the best idea in the world, just saying…

Furthermore, this attitude of rushing to judgement before facts can be objectively verified is incredibly dangerous.  As Daniel Larison of The American Conservative puts it,

“Perhaps the most alarming way that Trump’s foreign policy is unlike that of his predecessor is in his decision-making process, or rather his lack of much of a process. Obama was usually slow and deliberative to a fault, and Trump is very hasty and erratic. If Obama sometimes seemed to want to ponder options endlessly, Trump is at the much riskier extreme of acting impulsively without considering the consequences. That has been on display in other ways for a long time, but it is particularly dangerous when it comes to ordering the use of force.”

In other words, somebody who rushes to military action on an emotional swing should not, under any circumstance, have access to the nuclear launch codes.  I don’t know about you, but getting incinerated by a Russian ICBM is not on my “to-do list.”

And, since were on the subject, is there any evidence that Assad’s Syrian Arab Air Force would have dropped sarin based o on civilians?  Well, no not really.  Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air power effectively had the jihadist rebels on the ropes, having killed thousands of rebel fighters in the province of Hama in the past couple of weeks, stopping a rebel offensive dead in its tracks.  Furthermore, since Assad is very much aware that using chemical weapons is a red-line for the United States, doing so is essentially a suicide mission, since doing so could potentially put the US and Russia on a nuclear collision course.  According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Syrian fighter jets bombed a warehouse believed to have been storing munitions.  Instead of exploding munitions, a chemical cloud emerged, and the prevailing winds carried it to a near by village.  Finally, the claim that it was sarin is quite dubious.  If it was sarin, the so-called “independent” White Helmets would have had to have had full-body hazmat suits because skin contact with sarin is fatal.  The only group that this benefits are the various rebel factions.  And for the sake of argument, let’s say that the rebels staged the attack.  With the knowledge that President Trump will respond militarily before any facts can be obtained, they would be emboldened to repeat this action over, and over.

At the very least, it further muddies an already complicated conflict.  How complicated is it?  Well, on the pro-government side, you have the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah, Russian and Iranian special forces and military advisers, as well as militias such as the Palestinian Liwa Al Quds, and numerous Christian militias.  On the opposite side, you have the various militants of Ahrar al-Sham, The Al-Nusra Front (or whatever it is they’ve decided to call themselves, ISIS, and host of so-called “moderate forces.”  Of course, those “moderate forces” aren’t very moderate in actual reality.  Even the Kurds, being the only force on the ground with the distinction of having some form of backing from the US, Russia, and even the SAA have their demons.  According to an October 2015 Amnesty International Report, Kurdish YPG forces were accused of ethnically cleansing Arab and Turkmen from areas previously held by the Islamic State.  At times, the YPG would demolish entire villages, forcing the people living there to leave at gunpoint, or accuse them of supporting ISIS if they didn’t.  Further, the relatively clear, sectarian lines that dominate Iraq’s ongoing civil war, are more blurred when it comes to Syria, with people of the same religious sect often fighting each other.  For example, most of the Syrian army is Sunni, as well as most of the pro-government militia forces.  The Islamic State, and Al Qaeda’s various incarnations are also Sunni.  There’s constant in-fighting among the various rebels, and the US has absolutely no idea who would take power if Assad were to go.  The US might be able to place a compliant puppet in Damascus, but the real power would lie in various tribal and sectarian militias, kind of like how Iraq works today, or Afghanistan.  “Syria, America’s third forever war!”

So why am I anti-war?  I am anti-war for all the above reasons.  I am anti-war because the government in America has incredibly long history of getting into conflicts on proven lies.  I am anti-war because the US government has killed 10s of millions of people to supposedly “free” them from various tyrants.  I am anti-war because no country in the Middle East posses a threat to the United States, nor would any consider attacking the US.  I am anti-war because PTSD is a real problem, and war is one of the primary causes.  I am anti-war because war leads to the destruction of resources that could have been used more efficiently elsewhere.  I am anti-war because war means the disruption of trade, and possible famine.  I am anti-war because war, simply put just isn’t very cool.