Showing Restraint

Report: Pentagon Persuaded Trump to Tone Down Syria Strikes

The Pentagon managed to persuade President Trump to tone down airstrikes on Syria after he initially favored a much more robust attack than the one that took place last week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Defense Secretary James Mattis is said to have presented the White House with three options for the attack: one aimed at Syria’s chemical-weapons capabilities, another including a wider range of military targets, and a third alternative that could have included strikes on Russian air defenses in Syria and was designed to cripple President Bashar al-Assad’s military capabilities. Trump reportedly urged the defense team to consider strikes on Russian and Iranian targets in Syria, but Mattis successfully pushed back, warning a more robust attack risked a dangerous backlash from Moscow and Tehran. The strike ended up being aimed at three targets, designed to hamper the Syrian regime’s ability to use chemical weapons and deter Assad from using them again.