This week’s attack on Syria seems like the ultimate in futility. We didn’t damage much of anything, except whatever tattered shreds of credibility we might have had left as a nation. We showed off that we have lots and lots of Tomahawk missiles, and the ability to blow shit up whenever we’re so inclined. We didn’t affect Assad’s ability to carry out chemical attacks in the future, beyond providing a deterrent.
But, then, I’m becoming jaded enough to think that none of that was the true purpose. Doing something that Russia publicly disapproves of both provides an argument against Trump being Putin’s puppet and distracts from the ongoing investigation. And the media lapped it up. Oh, look how Presidential he is. He’s leading with his heart. Yeah, and he’s got ocean front property to sell you in Arizona. Truly fabulous, great ocean views, right in Arizona. Really just the best.
It’s probably too uncharitable for me to say that I have not yet seen evidence that our President has a heart, much less that he leads with it. But it would do a lot more to convince me that this action was out of compassion for murdered Syrian children if he was willing to allow some of them to resettle here.
Nikki Haley’s justification for this blatant hypocrisy is that we just want *vetting.*:
What this president has done is said, ‘Prove to me that you are vetting these people properly. And if you are vetting them properly, then we will resume where we are. But until then, you have to prove to me that these people are being vetted in a way that we’re not putting American citizens at risk.
That would actually have some credibility if the administration had come out with any sort of plan for improved vetting, requirements for what “proper” vetting consists of, or specifics on what’s insufficient about the most extensive vetting of any means of getting into the country.
It would also be more credible if any refugee had at any point carried out a terrorist attack in the US, and if we weren’t currently in the midst of an epidemic of violence carried out by white, ostensibly Christian, native-born citizens. If you check out the gun violence archive, we rarely go more than 2 or 3 *days* without someone shooting up a school, mall, or place of business. We’ve become so inured to these constant, near-daily acts of terrorism that they don’t even make the news unless there’s a body count in the double digits.
America is driving down the road doing 30 miles over the limit in a rainstorm, with bald tires and dodgy brakes, cell phone in one hand, cigarette in the other. But we refuse to stop for a terrified, desperate hitchhiker, because she might be dangerous.