ROME — It’s hard to say just which of the photos of the dead babies affected President Donald Trump the most.
Whether it was the one of Abdul-Hamid Alyousef clutching his nine-month-old dead twins as rigor mortis set in, or the one of a pile of dying children, their noses and mouths still foaming from a suspected sarin gas attack in Idlib province doesn’t really matter.
“It was a slow and brutal death for so many,” Trump said as he announced the attack on a Syrian airbase, retaliating for the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
But, here’s the thing: More than 55,000 children have died in the six-year civil war, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. They died in air raids, car bombs, and chemical attacks. Yet until this week, the rhetoric and policy of this administration was moving toward at least tacit cooperation with Bashar al-Assad and his Russian backers in Syria.
And now Trump appears to be reacting to grim, glossy pictures, not the very messy problems behind them.