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  #1  
Old 07 April 2017, 02:47 AM
Steve Steve is offline
 
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Default U.S. Launches Missiles at Syrian Base

The United States launched dozens of cruise missiles Thursday night at a Syrian airfield in response to what it believes was Syria's use of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

Two U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired 59 Tomahawk missiles intended for a single target — Ash Sha'irat in Homs province in western Syria, the officials said. That's the airfield from which the United States believes the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fired the banned weapons.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/...attack-n743636
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  #2  
Old 07 April 2017, 03:27 AM
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I can't help but wonder if this is designed to distract us from Trump's domestic troubles.
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Old 07 April 2017, 06:46 AM
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I thought the received wisdom among liberals was that Trump is simply a Russian puppet. Does his taking this action against Russia's ally count against that?
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Old 07 April 2017, 02:06 PM
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No, it is consistent with his entire personality. "I am great. The previous Nigerian president was weak. Here's what he should have done."
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Old 07 April 2017, 03:56 PM
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Tsk, Tsk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie View Post
No, it is consistent with his entire personality. "I am great. The previous Nigerian president was weak. Here's what he should have done."
Of course when that Nigerian President was in office Trump repeatedly tweeted that he shouldn't do that, especially without the blessing of Congress.
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Old 07 April 2017, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie View Post
No, it is consistent with his entire personality. "I am great. The previous Nigerian president was weak. Here's what he should have done."
It's also given people something to concentrate on that isn't his ties to Russia. Reports are that the airfield was abandoned by the time of the strike and that it wasn't a terribly important field to begin with, so this wasn't an important action from the standpoint of dead "beautiful babies" (who could have been saved if a certain orange-headed imbecile had been willing to let refugees come to America to escape the war).
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Old 07 April 2017, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
Reports are that the airfield was abandoned by the time of the strike
I'm curious where you saw that -- I've read a batch of different reports and while they disagreed as to the amount of damage done, none of them sounded to me as if the airport was abandoned.
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Old 07 April 2017, 07:34 PM
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I saw at least one news report that the strike "wasn't unexpected". He told the Russians, the Syrians are their allies. I don't think the Russians quietly slipped away without mentioning an airstrike was on the way.
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Old 07 April 2017, 07:53 PM
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And all day the media has been fellating Trump as acting "presidential."

See kids, you can be corrupt as all ****, promise to starve the elderly, roll back civil rights, and probably collude with a foreign power to take out your rivals, but if you fire a bunch of missiles we'll forgive all of that!
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  #10  
Old 07 April 2017, 08:34 PM
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The specifics are different, but this quote seems appropriate:
Quote:
Leon, somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor's working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence headquarters. He's going about doing his job... because he has no idea that in about an hour he's going to die in a massive explosion. He's just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You've just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.
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  #11  
Old 07 April 2017, 10:54 PM
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Beachlife!, to clarify: what you're saying (and maybe what crocoduck_hunter is saying) isn't that the base was abandoned some time ago, but that in the time between when the Russians were notified and the missiles they'd cleared the area as much as they could?

Russia apparently was given somewhere around an hour to an hour and a half's notice. I don't know how long it takes to abandon a base; but there do seem to have been some deaths and also some planes destroyed. Although the numbers reported for both vary they seem to be generally in the single to low double digits, which might be consistent with their having made some attempt to clear the place out just before the attack hit, but doesn't seem consistent with the base having been abandoned before the whole thing started.

It does seem unlikely that this has put any large dent in Syria's ability to mount attacks. In fact, they've apparently just attacked a number of towns, including Khan Sheikhoun, again; though without the sarin this time.

Last edited by thorny locust; 07 April 2017 at 10:55 PM. Reason: clarifying numbers
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Old 07 April 2017, 11:05 PM
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I mean that they evacuated in the time they had. I can't say anything about the equipment, but certainly the people were out of there. I don't know what the objectives were, but I don't think cruise missiles would be the right weapon against planes on the ground.
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Old 07 April 2017, 11:13 PM
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At least one person I saw talking about the strike last night stated that this airfield was a minor one with limited tactical value, so its destruction didn't really have any serious effect on Assad's military strength or readiness.

And yes, the claim was that prior to the strike, the US let Russia (along with other countries like Australia and Canada) know, and Russia let Assad know when they were pulling their own people out.
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  #14  
Old 07 April 2017, 11:19 PM
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My own, admittedly uninformed, opinion is that Trump's thought process basically went: They used chemical weapons. I have to do something or people will think I'm weak.

Not that this kind of fear of the appearance of weakness hasn't inspired other Presidents to military action -- sadly, I suspect it's one of the most common motivations for leaders throughout human history -- but for Trump I suspect that it was the entire thought process. Whether the response did anything to further actual policy goals, or whether it would even deter Assad (or anyone else) from further chemical strikes, probably wasn't even seriously considered.

I haven't researched the matter closely, but a story I saw yesterday noted that one thing Obama did supposedly elicit from Assad was an agreement to turn his chemical weapons over to the Russians. So, either Russia was actually complicit in the strikes, or never took the job of securing the weapons seriously in the first place. One doubts Trump will spend much effort in calling Putin out on this.
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  #15  
Old 07 April 2017, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
I don't know what the objectives were, but I don't think cruise missiles would be the right weapon against planes on the ground.
1) There's more to airfields than airplanes.
2) The Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) has a variant that dispenses cluster munitions that could be very effective against unarmored targets such as aircraft in the open or in an unarmored hangar.
3) As much as I hate to say it, there is historical precedent for giving advanced warning of an impending attack, particularly if one wants a carefully measured response.
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  #16  
Old 08 April 2017, 03:27 AM
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This was one of Trump's least bad foreign policy moves as it allowed some sort of response to the use of chemical weapons while also preventing the death of Russian military members.
With that said, Trump had telegraphed a policy of non-interference with Syria during his campaign. On March 30th, Tillerson stated that the US was no longer interested in forcing Assad out as Syria's leader,
Quote:
QUESTION: About President Assad, should he stay or should he go?

SECRETARY TILLERSON: I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.
https://www.state.gov/secretary/rema.../03/269318.htm

Rhetoric matters. Praising Trump over this is a lot like praising a guy for the wise choice of going to the ER after shooting himself in the foot.
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  #17  
Old 08 April 2017, 03:48 AM
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It's worse than that, Dreams of Thinking Machines. This is not a good move, it's merely a good looking move. The situation in Syria is not going to be significantly affected by this.
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