Friday, April 14, 2017
Billy Long: President Trump's actions in Syria were necessary
“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is when we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.” President Obama said those words on August 20, 2012, during a White House press briefing. A year later, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad crossed that red line and used chemical weapons on his people. What did President Obama do? He did nothing. That sent a message around the world that the United States was weak and would tolerate the egregious actions of the Assad regime.
Fast-forward to April 4, 2017, where once again the Assad regime crossed the red line and used chemical weapons against its own people. This time however we had a president who responded boldly by firing 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military base responsible for the chemical weapons attack. This sent a new message.
As the Syrian civil war continues with no end in sight, ISIS and Al-Qaeda will continue to infiltrate the already unstable region. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option and President Trump understood. That’s why he took the necessary steps to show the Assad regime that the United States will no longer accept this type of behavior. This is a matter of national security and making sure that the United States and our allies remain safe.
When I learned of the attacks on the Syrian people I was deeply saddened, but not surprised. Image after image appeared of small children struggling to breath and parents frantically running around for help. I can't fathom what those helpless parents were going through. Waking up each day not knowing what could happen to your children is every parent’s nightmare. That’s why the actions of President Trump were necessary.
As Russia and Iran continue to prop up the Assad regime, it’s important the United States and its allies come together and stand against this regime’s behavior. The use of chemical weapons where terrorist organizations are operating is a threat to the entire international community, not just the United States.
As a member of Congress, I will continue to make national security a top priority. Keeping the American people safe is my number one of priority.