"The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term 'Mission Accomplished, '" he tweeted on Sunday.
The phrase immediately evoked former president George W. Bush's premature Iraq victory speech on board the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003. Bush addressed sailors aboard a Navy ship in Might 2003 alongside a "Mission Completed" banner, simply weeks earlier than it turned obvious that Iraqis had organized an insurgency that tied down US forces for years.
The nighttime assault on Syria was carefully limited to minimize civilian casualties and avoid direct conflict with Russian Federation, but confusion arose over the extent to which Washington warned Moscow in advance.
The Pentagon said Syria fired 40 surface-to-air missiles, but most were launched after the damage was done. The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, John Huntsman, mentioned in a video, "Earlier than we took motion, the United States communicated with" Russia to "scale back the hazard of any Russian or civilian casualties".
The strikes "successfully hit every target", said Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman. Officials said this did not include giving Russian advance notice of where or when allied airstrikes would happen.
Syria has been locked in a civil war since the Arab Spring of 2011, pitting rebel groups who seek to depose the Assad regime against Russia-backed government forces. "We hope that will be the case, but we did a strike a year ago for that same objective and it was deemed a success, but the chemical weapons have continued to be used". The U.N. Security Council met to debate the strikes, but rejected a Russian resolution calling for condemnation of the "aggression" by the three Western allies.
President Trump's use of the familiar phrase struck a chord with the American people, many of whom opposed military action against Syria.
"I'm not going to say that they're going to be unable to continue to conduct a chemical attack in the future, but I suspect that they'll think long and hard about it based on the activities of last night", the lieutenant general said.
United States military officials said the air strikes took out "the heart" of Syria's chemical weapons facilities, but it remained to be seen how Syria would respond.
McKenzie admitted the strike did not wipe out all of the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities.
Several U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was not a priority for the administration to push out Assad, who has survived with massive aid from Iran and Russian Federation. Although Trump has been consistent in saying that the US should withdraw and "Let the other people take care of it now", the USA and its most important allies in the region are deeply concerned with the growing Iranian threat in Syria.
The U.S. -led operation gained broad Western assist. The NATO alliance gave its full backing; NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the attack was about ensuring that chemical weapons can not be used with impunity.
She added that while the mission in Syria remains defeating the Islamic State, which has seen its grip weaken in the region in recent months, the USA will not allow Assad to attack "innocent Syrian people".
Assad's presidential Twitter account Saturday appeared to show him unfazed by the military strikes. The truth is, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, mentioned no extra assaults had been deliberate.