It still is, kind of. What has emerged under Donald Trump is a macabre sequel: humanitarian war not as tragedy but as farce. Trump is considering a second set of air strikes aimed at punishing Assad for using chemical weapons. His administration has justified this possibility in intensely moralistic terms. It’s “an affront to humanity,” Trump declared after the Syrian government’s chemical attack last April. On Monday, after another apparent attack, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that, “The images, especially of suffering children, have shocked the conscience of the entire civilized world.”
One criterion was what the commission called “reasonable prospects.” A military intervention, it argued, must stand “a reasonable chance of success in halting or averting the suffering which has justified the intervention.” When Trump struck Syria for the first time last year, it may have been “reasonable” to hope an American strike would prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again. But it is utterly unreasonable today. That’s because, in the year since Trump’s strike, Assad has used chemical weapons again and again. He didn’t just apparently use them last weekend. According to armscontrol.org, he also allegedly used them on March 11, on March 7 and at least five times in January and February.
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