War… Again: Trump, Syria, and Gary Johnson.

During the last election cycle, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was asked for his policy views on the Syrian Civil War – specifically, what was happening at the time in the city of Aleppo. He replied with a mildly blank stare, “What is Aleppo?”

He was heavily derided at the time as an uninformed moron. Me? It thought it was a great answer. I have never wanted US involvement in the Syrian Civil War. While the other candidates were bloviating over their warmongering intentions with Syria, Johnson stood alone athwart history yelling “What is Aleppo?”

Any day of the week, I’ll take a President who has no clue what Aleppo is over a President who wants to bomb the hell out of Aleppo.

First of all, bombing the hell out of the Middle East has done us little good. Iraq barely manages to exist as a nation anymore. Libya has descended into utter blood-soaked chaos after the elimination of Gaddafi. Yemen has more or less descended into civil war over the US drone strikes that have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent civilians.

Second of all, Syrian President Bashar Assad is fighting ISIS. One year ago, Trump promised to “bomb the hell out of ISIS”. Now, he is bombing the enemies of ISIS. So the ultimate implication is clear: Trump is helping ISIS. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it that way, but that is what he is doing. ISIS can celebrate as their American “allies” bomb their enemies and lead them ever closer to an established caliphate. Allah be praised!

This occurred on April 6th. The irony of this is overwhelming. 100 years ago to the day, the House voted to declare war on Germany in the first World War. That was not a decision I would’ve agreed with, but at least the Congressional approval was there.

Trump has effectively declared war on Syria. What else do you call it when you bomb the airfield of a foreign military? Does Trump have the constitutional authority to unilaterally declare war? No. That belongs to Congress. Did Congress give any approval? No. Trump didn’t ask.

This is not unique to Trump. Fun fact: Congress has not officially authorized a war since the 1941 declaration of war against Nazi Germany. Since then we have had Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (three times, no less), Afghanistan, Grenada, and Panama. Obama’s involvement in Libya was basically a war, as it involved shooting down foreign planes. There may be more that I am forgetting. But none of these had Congressional approval. The President acted alone in each case. So Trump can join the pantheon of useless presidents in this regard.

Mainstream Conservatives, ever appealing to the constitution, don’t seem to care about this so much. They hand wave it and move on. “At least he’s taking action!” So what? That cuts both ways. What are they going to say when a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren takes office and immediately begins moving the US toward something resembling democratic socialism – aka, a government-controlled economy? “At least they’re taking action!”

I don’t like action. Not from Presidents. I’d rather have a useless bum for a President than a smart and actionable individual. At least the bum will probably leave me alone.

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh commented on the situation. On this matter, Limbaugh has got it 100% correct:

“While everyone else’s brains turned to mush upon seeing a picture of a bloody Syrian boy, you wisely reminded us that America must come first; that it is not our job to fight everyone else’s wars; that with $19 trillion in debt we literally cannot afford to make it our job; that an American president’s duty is to his own people, not to the world. Mr. President,” writes Mr. Resnick, “please don’t become Bush III. All we need is more intervention in the Middle East. You yourself said that if our politicians had done nothing during the last 15 years — that if they had just gone to the beach — we would be better off today.

“What’s changed? Why get involved in this Syrian mess? Why oppose a man fighting radical jihadists?” That’s Assad fighting ISIS. “Please, President Trump: Please return to your common-sense approach to world affairs. Please only commit American troops to battle when America’s national security is at stake.”

The Middle East is a visible sign of America’s foreign policy failures. Civil society has been utterly demolished. Tens of thousands have died. Millions have suffered. Perhaps things would’ve turned out this way even if the USA had never gone to war in the Middle East, starting with involvement in the Iran/Iraq War. But at least we would’ve avoided the attention of angry Muslims who now blame us for everything that’s happened.


In 2016, I voted for Gary Johnson. In 2012, I wrote in Ron Paul. Both opposed the expansion of American military empire and endless warfare in Islamic third-world hellholes. Unfortunately, they were effectively the only ones. Almost everyone else wants to join the Syrian Party. Liberals, ever desperate to feel like good people, want to get involved for “humanitarian” reasons. Conservatives, ever desperate to be the Scut Farkus of the world, want to get involved so they can watch Syrian tanks and trucks get blown up. It would be a cathartic experience after watching our own tanks and trucks get blown up by ragtag jihadists and goatherds for the past 15 years.

When Gary Johnson quipped “What is Aleppo?”, I heard this in my own head: “I am a peacemaker.” I knew he was the guy to vote for; that, and also the fact that he vetoed over 700 bills while governor of New Mexico – I love a good “Dr. No”.

Trump is actively betraying his base. He acknowledged the folly of American foreign policy over the past 15 years and made this promise: “America First.” Now he is changing the terms of that promise and becoming Bush IV (I’d change Limbaugh’s designation – Obama was Bush III). He is not very different from most other Presidents, who tend to break their campaign promises as soon as they take office. Ho, hum. Let us pray that he realizes the error of this nonsense and reserves course.

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