If you’re not paying attention, you probably saw that the Trump administration gathered hard evidence of a chemical attack by Assad’s forces in Syria, then launched a major military strike that degraded the Syrian government’s military. If you were paying attention, however, you saw that it was actually very different: Trump and our European allies launched a largely symbolic and inconsequential military strike on Syrian government facilities, after relying “to an unusual degree” on open source material and social media to assess the suspected chemical attack. And if you think our elected officials have strong merit-based feelings on US military action in Syria, think again. If you look at resolutions demanding Congressional approval for military engagement in Syria in the Obama-era compared to a recent one in the Trump era, you see a peculiar partisan reversal. It’s almost like our elected officials care more about partisanship than genuine policy, and our administration is more interested in theatrics than piecing together sensible policy that actually benefits the Syrian people or at least addresses their extraordinary suffering.