What You Need to Know About Trump’s Syrian Airstrike

Ford Williams/U.S. Navy via Getty Images, Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

By Kai Sinclair, Staff Writer
Posted 9:45 PM EST, Fri., Apr. 21, 2017

President Donald Trump increased the nation’s involvement in Syria’s six-year civil war when he ordered a fleet of about 60 missiles to be fired at the Shayrat airbase on April 6 in response to a chemical attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad.

Some victims’ last moments were spent convulsing and foaming at the mouth as the muscles that controlled their breathing became paralyzed from their direct contact with Sarin, a deadly neurotoxin that allegedly filled the air in the town on April 4. Almost 90 civilians died as a result of the attack on the rebel-held suburb of Damascus.

In a statement made after the retaliatory airstrike was carried out, Trump explained his reasoning behind the ordered attack and called on the world to join in the fight to stop the “slaughter and bloodshed” in the war-torn country.

“It was a slow and brutal death for so many, even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” Trump said. “It is in this vital, national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”

Trump’s order was carried out as swiftly as it was because he did not seek formal congressional approval.

While many lawmakers, like Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), supported the president’s decision, others were much less enthused.

“While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. “I call on him [Trump] to come to Congress for a proper debate.”

Politicians on both sides did agree that Trump should proceed with caution in decision making regarding Syria.

On Sunday, Iran and Russia, both backers of Assad’s military, released a joint statement stating that any further attacks on Syria would result in aggression.

With the threat of retaliation raised by Syrian allies, some Howard students fear that the university would be in danger because of its Washington, D.C. location. Others are less concerned about the possibility of an attack, and more concerned about the country’s reputation following Trump’s decision.

“When we do something as a country, we do it as a country. So they don’t see the divide between Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters. It is irresponsible of him to make a decision for the country that only half of the country would agree with,” said Abeni Watts, a junior marketing major from Philadelphia.

“I’d much rather see my tax dollars go toward something like education,” said David Hill Jr., a junior computer science major from New York. “It’s dangerous when our leaders make decisions for the sake of retaliation instead of sustainability.”

According to a recent poll by CBS News, 57 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s airstrikes, while 36 percent disapproved.