During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton forcefully advocated for a no-fly zone over Syria, saying it would save lives.
A lot of Democrats, Republicans, and news commentators said her proposal was a bad idea and that she was calling for a Syrian no-fly zone to show she was tough on foreign policy in order to garner votes. They were wrong on both counts.
Had a no-fly zone rule been in place in Syria, the dozens of deaths caused last week by Syrian planes dropping chemical bombs on a northern rebel-held area could have been averted, and other more conventional bombing attacks by the Syrian Air Force in the last few months would not have taken place.
As for seeking votes, Clinton knew that after 14 years of armed engagement in the Middle East, many Americans wanted nothing more to do with that part of the world. She proposed a no-fly zone anyway, because she thought it was the right thing to do.
So here we are today, with Donald Trump (who opposed intervening in Syria when Barack Obama was considering it after an Assad chemical attack) getting accolades for taking limited military action against a secondary Syrian airbase whose planes would have been grounded if the US had imposed a no-fly zone. It's a casebook study of “too little, too late.”
Martin H. Levinson