McCaffrey said it would be a "mistake" to conduct "limited political signaling" in response to Bashar al-Assad's chemical attack on his own people.
Four-star Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey took aim at Donald Trump’s Syrian response on Thursday, claiming it would be a mistake for the commander-in-chief to rush the military into action without thinking it through.
McCaffrey said it would be a “mistake” to conduct “limited political signaling” in response to Bashar al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own people.
When MSNBC’s Chris Matthew’s asked McCaffrey what the rationale is behind Trump’s probable military intervention in Syria, besides political, the four-star general said:
I don’t think there is an argument. I think it would be a mistake to conduct limited political signaling using naval airpower or F-16s flying out of some place in the region … Military power invited unknown consequences when you carry it out. The question might be why don’t we consider significant humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees and border regions of Turkey and Jordan and Iraq in lieu of ineffectual military strikes.
As the general said, it’s obvious that the only real justification for engaging militarily so soon after Assad’s chemical attack is pure politics. There is never a good reason to recklessly jump to war, especially after the U.S. has essentially been engaged in endless military conflict for over 15 years.
But Trump has spent nearly three months in office racking up nothing but losses on issue after issue. In recent days, in particular, his administration has been drowning in scandal and incompetence, both with respect to Russia and the president’s paranoid claims about President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.
Rushing to war will likely provide no positive, lasting impact on Syria, but it will change the subject and play into Trump’s phony strongman schtick.
But like McCaffrey noted, the U.S. should be emphasizing its humanitarian role in all of this, like, say, helping the refugees or funding humanitarian aid, not rushing to engage our military.
Not only would this be a sensible response to this international crisis, but it would be much more effective than dropping bombs in order to score some political points.