The New Yorker:

Somewhere, deep in his concrete labyrinth, the dictator is smiling. Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s President, gambled that he could use chemical weapons to seal a victory in an offensive just outside his country’s capital, and that he and his regime could survive whatever the world would do in response. And he was right.

Any civilized person should feel some satisfaction knowing that a leader as murderous as Assad is being punished for his crimes. If you harbor any doubts about Assad’s villainy, take a minute to watch one of the videos of the scene last Saturday in Douma, a suburb of Damascus, after it came under chemical attack. Assertions about who perpetrated the attack, by both Syrian rebels and American officials, are convincing: the chemical weapons, possibly a nerve agent such as VX or sarin, were delivered in large canisters that also contained chlorine gas—those canisters appear to be far too large to have been delivered by anything but an airplane or helicopter, the kind of hardware which no rebel group is known to possess. If you’re still skeptical, I release you to the realm of conspiracy theory.

There has been plenty of speculation, too, about President Trump’s motivations in attacking Syria, but what matters here are the results. Assad deserves whatever he gets, and if the strikes ordered by President Trump have the effect of deterring even one other chemical-weapons attack, then we should all be glad.

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