During the observance of the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March, President Donald Trump launched a missile attack on Shayrat Air Base in Syria. I started to worry and say “Not Again!” after I learned about the missile attack.
Not again was a knee-jerk reaction because I was reminded of the war on terror that President George W. Bush started in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S.
The war on terror did not only impact and affect the lives of many Americans but also the lives of many people and countries around the world. Accepted policies and procedures related to international and domestic travels were also affected due to national security issues and concerns that were expressed by many countries after the 9/11 attacks. In the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security was established immediately as well to beef-up intelligence gathering and border control.
Not again was also a disappointed reaction to the military action related to the U.S. missile strikes which was made and decided without the consent of Congress and agreement from the United Nations.
It is still very fresh from memory when mainstream America out of and because of fear just accepted the Bush Administration’s line that there were weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq and that Saddam Hussein must be overthrown by military intervention and force because he is a threat to global peace and security not only in the Middle East but around the world. This line was then the main justification for the invasion of Iraq and U.S. intervention in the region.
For the recent missile launch against Syria, President Trump explained that the U.S. had to make the move because of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against the rebel forces and their supporters in the Syrian territory.
Some doubters state that the U.S. action might just be to divert the attention of the public from the ongoing investigation of the alleged Russian connection with the Trump campaign during the last presidential election in November 2016--- a sort of “wag the dog” propaganda by the present administration.
But just like in the past, there are lessons to be learned. I hope that the American public will ask tough questions this time around and not let fear and bias rule against their better judgment. What good did the missile attack do? Definitely, the response to this question must not be an emphatic “Nothing” because wars and missile attacks mean destruction, the loss of innocent lives, and a thousand and one tears to lost hope, dreams, and opportunities.
As we all know, President Trump has been criticized for lacking “coherent policies” and the American people have all the right to ask if the president weighed cost versus benefits, both in the long and short term before the missile attack. If not, I hope that he’ll do it the next time he considers U.S. military involvement and action for that matter in Syria and other parts of the world. Does the military action achieve a true and lasting positive purpose? Does the act make America great and more secure again?
The civil war in Syria is not very easy to understand. It is complicated and there are many foreign forces involved--- including the U.S., Russia, Iran, the Kurds, ISIS, the Syrian Armed Forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces, and many others.
The American people must be well-informed. The consequences of wrong military actions are very costly. Our history tells us this and the bitter lessons of the past must not be forgotten and erased from our memories. I believe that the members of Congress should have a say the next time (and perhaps the U.N. and the U.S. allies too).
War? For what reason? Let us start asking tough questions before getting into another costly war.
Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.