I just watched a segment I was wanting to watch months ago on 60 Minutes. It was about the Syrian chemical attacks earlier this year on their own people, the one Americans fired over fifty cruise missiles at the offending airbase for. Dealing with and disposing of that kind of atrocity was a job I spent a decade fully trained and prepared to do. Its what I was ready to encounter myself, should it happen as we sat ready to defend Kuwait City International Airport from a chemical attack at the beginning of the Iraq War.

But I don’t care how trained you are or how prepared you may be, seeing a five or six year old with eyes wide open, foam surrounding the mouth, limp except for the reflexive movement of the jaw, so as to look like a gasping fish on a pier because of the seizing of their small diaphragms, you can never be fully capable of accepting what you see. Using weaponized nerve agent against a community is a coward’s move.

Watching family and neighbors use water hoses to try and revive and relieve their loved ones scattered across the streets was heartbreaking. Seeing international aid workers having to pile small, lifeless bodies by the dozens into vehicles to travel 30 miles to get help, because the Syrian government destroyed the local hospital just the day prior, its one of those things you cannot wrap your mind around. And I was just a mere observer from half a world away, watching months later from the comfort of my American prison cell.

Bashar al Assad needs to be held accountable for his crimes against his people. Keep things in perspective the next time someone says Trump is the worst president ever. Remind them that sure, he has his faults, but he’s not the murderer Syria has to deal with. The president who literally destroys the future and suffocates hope.

Rory Andes
for Lgbtqprisonsupport.com