John Oliver Explains Why We Should All Be Worried About the Recent U.S. Airstrike Against Syria

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You can always count on John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight to provide a thoughtful breakdown of any particular week’s goings-on, and last week was no different, with the biggest story, of course, being Trump authorizing an air strike against a military target in Syria in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. Check out Part One of the segment above, and Part Two below.

In addition to breaking down the “near orgasmic” response to the airstrike by some press (Seriously, WTF Brian Williams?! Were you high? The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill has an appropriate response), Oliver asks some very important questions that he believes need answering before we get too comfortable with a President Trump who bombs other countries. Concerned that this airstrike was largely symbolic, he says:

“Maybe a symbolic airstrike was strategically the best move for Trump, but I don’t think he’s thinking strategically. Because there is no indication that he’s taken the time to answer some fairly basic questions, like: if this was a warning shot, what are we warning against? Do we only want to stop Assad using chemical weapons or are we going to push for regime change? If he does it again, are we prepared to go to war to stop him? If so, are we prepared for how significantly this may deteriorate our relationship with Russia? And how will that affect our fight against ISIS?

Oliver acknowledges that this is extremely complicated and doesn’t profess to have all the answers. And the super-enthusiastic Brian Williams (and the less enthusiastic Rachel Maddow) interviewed Republican Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who discusses the air strike as necessary for reasons on which both Trump supporters and detractors agree:

However, Oliver emphasizes a very important point in his segment, saying, “Right now, we have a president who feeds off praise and he just got a lot of it for bombing someone. And that should make everyone very, very worried.”

Whether or not our country gets involved in military action is difficult and complicated enough when it’s ordered by a President who’s rational, thoughtful, and normal. Trump is not a normal President. We cannot take anything he does for granted, because we can never be entirely sure how he’ll react.

And so, whether or not you believe that military action against Syria is a good idea, the fact is that our Commander-in-Chief cannot be entirely trusted to make rational decisions. And that is a frightening prospect.

(via The Daily Dot, image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.