Saturday, April 08, 2017

President Trump's Syria attack. Now what?

The wind is trying to blow the front of my house off as I put this together, so forgive me if I'm a bit distracted.

Last night, the President launched his first sizable offensive attack against another country.

In this case, it was Syria.  It was, we are told, in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that killed something on the order of 100 people, about a quarter of which were children.

Syria and the rest of the world have become used to the cowardice and indecisiveness of the clueless idiot most recently president.  Like Ronald Reagan, President Trump is the new sheriff in town, and he has to make up for lost time in a hurry.

Years of cowardice.  Years of lies.  Years of indecision.  Years of backstabbing.

But questions continue.  For years now... decades, even, Americans have built a healthy distrust of their government at all levels.

Regular readers know of the multiple betrayals at the local and state levels; the politicians who've lied to get elected and then lied about their lies.

Certainly, we've been lied to by so many in government that it's the default mode.  Years ago, I nicknamed the "mute" button on my remote control the "Obama" button.

So, it was with some trepidation that I watched the Syrian missile attack develop.

I stayed quiet, more or less.  I needed to process what amounts to the largest Gordian foreign relations Knot on the planet today.

How does one solve the unsolvable?

I'm not going to summarize the Syrian question here.  If you're reading this, you no doubt have at least a rudimentary knowledge of that policy blackhole.

Typically, I have at least some suggestions as to how to solve almost any political problem.  I can also be as wrong as the next guy, but usually, there is SOMETHING that can be said... some plan, some clue.

Here, I've got nothing.

Any strategy I've even begun to ponder quickly leads to quicksand.

Before the day of the strike was out, however, airstrikes by Syrian planes were launched from the same air field we had just expended $75 million attacking.

When we expend $75 million attacking something, I expect... and want... that something to be not functioning again within the day.

Here's a BDA photo of the target.

They did a pretty good nailing facilities.  But I don't see very many wrecked planes (though I understand 20 or so were destroyed) or cratered runways.

Unscathed: This collection of five jets on al-Sharyat Air Base somehow escaped the bombing raid, despite being located out in the open, on a patchy grass plain
Unscathed: This collection of five jets on al-Sharyat Air Base somehow escaped the bombing raid, despite being located out in the open, on a patchy grass plain

The end result?

Syrian forces defiantly take off from airfield hit by onslaught of US cruise missiles


Less than 24 hours after two US Navy destroyers pulled up to Syria's Mediterranean coast and let fly a blistering salvo of 59 cruise missiles, Syrian warplanes took off from the damaged air base targeted by the strike, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory.
The US strike, retaliation for a chemical attack in northeastern Syria that killed at least 80 people earlier this week, targeted "aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars" at Shayrat air base, according to a Pentagon statement.
But Syria and its Russian backers have many air bases and lots of military infrastructure in the country.
The US intentionally launched a limited strike, which was too small and focused to realistically prevent Syrian forces from flying military aircraft in their country.

I'm a bit more old school.

Any such attack needed to include efforts to deprive the base of its runways.

After all, isn't that primarily the point?

That said, this attack amplifies our willingness to use force to achieve policy aims. 

And after the Obama foreign policy debacle of the better part of the last decade, that is a positive step.

This discussion continues as to whether or not the order to attack was "legal."  Or if the attack was a false-flag scam designed to get this reaction.

I don't know for sure.  But what I do know is that President Trump actually acted in the face of the actions of a group of people who violated the Rules of Land Warfare and a host of other laws designed to regulate war... if such a thing can actually exist. And if this was an action designed to "fool" President Trump into acting, that doesn't explain why they did they same thing when a cowardly, inept dillwad was in the White House that the whole world knew would just sit on his thumb as a result.

The attack accomplished some good things.  It also pointed out that we need better targeting information.

It's difficult to trash the President when he was acting because of the hideous deaths of 27 children.

But dead is dead.  And ISIS has done far worse to far more... as in the thousands.

And they, too, are still in business.

Meanwhile, the question continues: What does President Trump do now?

Are we about to become "pot committed" as they say?

Who knows?  With this president, there's no way of telling.

And his lack of predictability is one of his biggest assets.  It's one of the things I like the most about the guy, given what a completely predictable moron he replaced.

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