On Saturday, Trump declared: "Mission accomplished", a phrase indelibly associated with President George W. Bush, who used it in 2003 during the Iraq war and which dogged him for the rest of his presidency.
"Even George W. Bush, who nearly never admitted mistakes, said using that term was a bad decision". This premature and public declaration of success, a victory if you will, was dragged into the sand as the Iraqi insurgency persisted.
President Trump declared "Mission Accomplished" hours after US and European forces bombarded three Syrian chemical weapons facilities with 105 missiles - with none intercepted by Syrian or Russian defenses. The military said there were three targets: the Barzah chemical weapons research and development site in the Damascus area, a chemical weapons storage facility near Homs and a chemical weapons "bunker" a few miles from the second target. Under the War Powers Resolution, the president must keep Congress informed of such actions.
But, what does "mission accomplished" even mean? In the aftermath, the president tweeted "Mission Accomplished". Trump ended support for rebels, initiated by Obama, who severed the then-U.S. strategy of regime change, a policy that was never to be accepted by the global community following the Libyan experience.
Trump earlier this month had reluctantly agreed to keep US troops in Syria for an undetermined period of time to defeat ISIS.
The strike on Syria does not represent a change in USA policy in Syria, senior administration officials revealed Saturday.
It is generally accepted that, alongside the anti-ISIS military campaign, the US and its allies are not interested in regime change in Syria.
Assad hosted a meeting with the politicians, and is reported by state media to have told his visitors that the US, Britain and France had waged a campaign of "lies and misinformation" against Russian Federation and Syria. The U.S. anti-chemical weapons policy has been inconsistent and morally incoherent, but Trump's decision to act after the recent alleged attack in Douma shows that the U.S.is aware of the rapidly changing tides in the country, and needs a justification to that its capacity to act militarily has not dwindled.
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President Trump's use of the familiar phrase struck a chord with the American people, many of whom opposed military action against Syria.
If the USA genuinely cared about the Syrian people over its regional power aspirations, then its anti-chemical weapons policy would have been consistent.
McKenzie admitted the strike did not wipe out all of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities. However, how does the tragedy caused by chemical weapons differ from that caused by barrel-bombs, death squads, and incendiary weapons?
Several U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was not a priority for the administration to push out Assad, who has survived with massive aid from Iran and Russian Federation. The answer is only "may be".
The US president said that "it is such a great military term, it should be brought back".
"If Assad doesn't get it, it's going to hurt". Longer-term, she said, Trump had three ultimate objectives in Syria: to defeat the Islamic State group, to contain Iranian aggression and to halt the use of "mass chemical weapons".
"The strikes may convince (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to stop further use (of chemical weapons) by Assad as it remains clear we are pulling out of Syria".