The United States said it has launched more than 50 Tomahawk missiles at government targets in Syria, responding to a Sarin gas attack by the Syrian government this week that killed more than 80 civilians.
US president Donald Trump said on Wednesday (April 5) that video showing “innocent children, innocent babies” suffering from the chemical attack has “changed very much” his view of Syria and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Indeed, his approach seems quite different from opinions he expressed in 2013, when then-president Barack Obama was considering a retaliatory strike on Syria following a chemical attack. At that time, Trump spoke out forcefully against an attack by the US.
Trump also had attacked Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent for president, in the days before the November 2016 election, claiming she planned to attack Syria if she was elected and suggesting that would be a bad idea: “We’re spending $6 trillion dollars on wars in the Middle East, while our own country falls into total disrepair,” he said in a statement released on his website. “Now Hillary wants to start a shooting war in Syria, in conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia, which could lead to World War 3.”
In one respect, Trump is consistent with his previous advice: Today’s attack appears to have been planned hastily in the hours before it was launched, and with little warning.
It’s unclear what the scale of casualties, military and otherwise, will be from today’s attacks. But Trump might heed his own warning to Obama from back in 2013: