Roughly 24 hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated, a convoy of about four vehicles carrying American troops that included some armor and a helicopter gunship escort made their way back into Syria from neighboring Iraq.
Then-President Donald Trump was adamant about staying as far away from Syria’s civil war as possible and as such reduced U.S. troop presence to a minimum in that country ahead of pulling out altogether in a second term, most likely.
But there were a few instances where he was forced to act — to help allies in the region including the Israelis, the Kurdish rebels, and the Turks.
And when he did, he was roundly criticized, just as he was in every other foreign policy decision he made (though we haven’t heard too many people whine about his administration’s multiple peace deals).
“…[W]hat is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country,” then-private citizen Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, tweeted in 2017.
Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) April 7, 2017
Biden himself was quite critical of the Commander-in-Chief as well.
“Trump’s erratic, impulsive actions are the last thing we need as Commander-in-Chief. No president should order a military strike without fully understanding the consequences. We don’t need another war in the Middle East, but Trump’s actions toward Iran only make that more likely,” he wrote in 2019.
Trump’s erratic, impulsive actions are the last thing we need as Commander-in-Chief. No president should order a military strike without fully understanding the consequences. We don’t need another war in the Middle East, but Trump’s actions toward Iran only make that more likely.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 23, 2019
And let’s not forget the vice president, Kamala Harris, who also tweeted in 2018 her “concern” over the “legal basis” for U.S. strikes in Syria.
So, @PressSec@jrpsaki questioned the legitimacy of US strikes on Syria. @VP@KamalaHarris said the legal rationale is bunk. Still waiting for my reporter colleagues to ask… https://t.co/I8B8um6Cgkpic.twitter.com/LZ4qvISepA
— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) February 26, 2021
Gosh — what’s changed?
“Whatever legal justification exists today for strikes in Syria in 2021 almost certainly would have existed in 2017. Indeed, if anything, the Trump presidency was marked by his efforts to reduce U.S. involvement in Middle East wars, not expand a president’s authority to involve the U.S. in them,” the Washington Times’ Victor Morton wrote on Friday.
Nevertheless, some voices who were against getting involved in Syria (and elsewhere) during the Trump administration remained consistent following news of the Biden administration’s strike, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who, rightfully, never met a military quagmire he liked.
“@POTUS dragging the US into Syria’s civil war is a huge mistake. I strongly condemn this foolish military adventurism,” he tweeted.
@POTUS dragging the US into Syria’s civil war is a huge mistake. I strongly condemn this foolish military adventurism.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 26, 2021
For its part, the Biden regime justified the strike, which officially shattered Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy of remaining out of other peoples’ fights.
The U.S. attack “specifically destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militia troops, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said.
“This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners,” he added. “The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel.”
It’s disturbing to see how administrations can change but the excuses for meddling in the conflicts of other countries when our own national security is neither challenged or threatened is always the same.
But what’s more disturbing is that this is Biden’s second action involving Syria — the reinsertion of American troops the day after he was inaugurated and this latest direct military strike.
It sure seems like the military-industrial complex running Biden’s foreign policy is itching for a new place to justify continued massive military budgets.