'We must take into consideration that he is taking military action out of frustration with the [Russia] probe.'
Veterans are questioning Trump's motives for launching an airstrike in Syria late Friday night, noting his "instability" and raising the prospect that he could be using bombs to distract from his troubles on the domestic front.
After days of saber-rattling and Twitter threats, Trump announced the airstrike just hours after news broke that his longtime personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen had made a trip to Prague in 2016, confirming a key part of the Steele dossier and providing what may be the strongest evidence yet of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The timing of the announcement did not go unnoticed by Jon Soltz, an Iraq War veteran and chairman of VoteVets, who pointed out that "there is a 'Wag the Dog' element to all of this."
"These strikes seem to be as motivated by the raid on Michael Cohen's office, as much as they are by any pictures of the Syrian massacre that Donald Trump caught on Fox and Friends," Soltz said in a statement.
"Given the severe instability of this president," Soltz said, "we must take into consideration that he is taking military action out of frustration with the Justice Department’s probe."
Former U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, a congressional candidate with 15 years of service in the Armed Forces, expressed similar concerns about Trump's recklessness.
"President Trump's erratic behavior & blatant disregard for the seriousness of his job has left the U.S. without a Secretary of State or confirmed Ambassador to multiple neighboring Middle Eastern countries in the midst of his rush to escalation in a volatile part of the world," Martinez said in a tweet.
"This is yet another reckless decision that betrays our democratic process and endangers the lives of men and women in uniform," he added.
Trump claims he authorized the strikes in response to Syria's use of chemical weapons last weekend. However, the Syrian regime has reportedly used chemical weapons against civilians at least seven times in 2018 alone — but Trump never responded to any of those atrocities.
The last time Trump launched airstrikes in Syria was a year ago, just as the Russia investigation started to heat up.
As Rachel Maddow noted Friday night, regardless of Trump's motives, the utility of the airstrikes will be diminished by the widespread perception — at home and abroad — that Trump may have made the decision to authorize military action "to distract from the catastrophic domestic scandal that is blowing up at home at the same time."
"There are national security consequences to having a presidency as chaotic as the Trump presidency," she added.
Trump has already diminished America's reputation. Now, his scandals threaten to diminish the capability of our military, too.