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US Intervention in Syria: Open Thread

As I write this, NBC is reporting the US has just launched a volley of Tomahawk missiles against Syria, aimed at a single airfield. Things are developing quickly. Here’s an open thread to discuss.

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JoeB
JoeB
5 years ago

I expect there will at least be more missile strikes. Two DDGs unloading 59 tomahawks is a fraction of what the US has in the Med.

Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
Troubelle: Moonbeam Malcontent + Bard of the New Movement
5 years ago

@Faerie Bard

That sucks infinite ass, and reminds me of why I’m glad to be a few hours away from my relatives now.

One day, you’ll be free. Remember that.

Oh yeah, and @main topic:

…-extended sigh-

Mels
Mels
5 years ago

Cleon:

Still, the destruction of that base has the potential to save many thousands of Syrian civilians from Assad’s air force. Trump did some good for a bad reason, which beats his usual performance.

Regardless of his reasons, now that he has his foot in the door, do you think he’s gonna stop or back down? He has a pathological need to win everything. He certainly wouldn’t hesitate to kill far more civilians than he’s potentially saved if it soothed his ego.

We’re so fucked. Everything’s fucked. I’m gonna go back to hiding in The Sims to stave off the next inevitable panic attack for an hour or so.

JS
JS
5 years ago

This is the sort of thing you get when you tell tyrants like Putin and Assad that you’re not against them being in power. They think, “Oh, hey! That means I’m doing the right thing, so I’ll keep doing it the way I think it should be done!” We’ve got 3 tyrant-style leaders of major powers right now. China is beginning to seem like a relatively sane country now, aside from their support of NK.

Social Justice Sorcerer
Social Justice Sorcerer
5 years ago

I was gonna be useful and clean the house tomorrow. Guess not. Because I’m not sleeping tonight.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
5 years ago

I’m going to head back into my Japanese studies by translating images I find online. At least there I don’t have to worry about impending death.

Scolar Visari
Scolar Visari
5 years ago

@Cleon
If it saved any lives is dependent on the types of targets actually struck. Destroying aircraft would, of course, totally eliminate their capacity to strike targets. Hitting the runways, however, wouldn’t do squat in the long run. It takes a lot of ordinance to put an airfield of commission that way, and repairing damage to the point where you can launch fighters isn’t all that hard. You don’t need a full runway to many aircraft in the first place, and the repairs don’t need to be pretty to do their job even if it’s rough on the planes (if they can’t simply launch from a cleared field as many, even large aircraft can). Helicopters need not worry about runway damage at all, of course, and the 100+ Mi-8, M-17 and Mi-24 helicopters of the SAAF are all very capable of delivering several tons of dumb bombs apiece just as well as aircraft just as their Soviet counterparts did in Afghanistan. Indeed, the SAAF has been using helicopters to drop simple barrels filled with explosives on populated areas since 2012, some of which have been filled with chemical weapons.

Last I checked, there do not appear to be any casualties. Whether or not much in the way of aircraft were destroyed remains to be seen.

However, the Syrian government has already demonstrated has other chemical weapon delivery systems. The 2013 Khan al-Assal and Ghouta attacks, for example, used surface-to-surface missiles, and government forces might very well have chemical shells for their conventional artillery just as some of the rebel groups do. In any event, the Syrian government is still capable of producing more chemical weapons and purchasing replacement aircraft from Russia.

Yet even if the airfield’s entire inventory of aircraft and stockpiled munitions was destroyed, it doesn’t really change anything. Even if the nation’s entire arsenal of chemical weapons was destroyed, there’s still not much anyone can do against the Syrian government without more direct intervention and/or cooperation from the Russian government. They have thousands of tanks, IFVs, and artillery pieces which people are equally defenseless against unless they have the right weapons and the capability to use them.

Yet if the Syrian government was taken out quickly, that might be far, far worse for everyone in the end. A bunch of zealots with technicals and improvised AFVs were able to beat the demoralized Iraqi military for a time, so I can only imagine what they would do with an even more fractured Syria unless there was a massive peacekeeping force there to stop them.

JS
JS
5 years ago

“Commander in Chief” implies just that. He can make unilateral decisions involving the Armed Forces. The current GOP-led congress has made it clear that they’re mostly OK with what he ordered. I don’t see them impeaching him for this, since Congress sees the same news we do, which has been “Yes, gas attack, dead children and babies.” .

Prepare for another big stupid proxy war in the Middle East because Putin, Assad, Trump, and the UN Security Council are useless at stopping civil wars. Even if almost everyone else on the UNSC says, “this is bad, we must investigate the attack, etc”, Russia has veto and used it. Putin’s still fighting the Cold War, which the previous Russian administrations had essentially declared useless wastes of time.

There’s no good answer to the middle east, and probably never will be. There are no real “statesmen” in power to say, “We need to stop this before everyone is dead” It’s always someone else’s fault that the fighting is going on.

JoeB
JoeB
5 years ago

@Scolar Visari

MSNBC saying they destroyed some radar and aircraft and the airstrip will at least need re-paved.

Betrayer
Betrayer
5 years ago

@Shalimar

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/the-us-warned-the-russians-ahead-of-syria-missile-strikes-official.html

So Trump warned Russia and gave them time to evacuate, even though he wasn’t targeting Russian assets. Warning Russia was a way to stealth warn Assad, not to actually warn Russia.

Further, tomahawk missiles are not high-yield enough to cause permanent damage to airport runways. So while some planes were destroyed and damage was done, they can be repaired and replaced pretty quickly by Russia.

Too early to tell, but it really looks like “acceptable loss” targets were hit to make it look like Trump did something. And that he colluded with Russia to do so.

But hey, maybe I’m just so used to Trump doing Putin’s bidding, I can’t fathom him doing something Putin doesn’t approve of. We’ll see in a few days as more information comes out if I’m being paranoid and foolish.

Betrayer
Betrayer
5 years ago

@JS

No, that’s not what it means. The President does not have the authority to declare war.

JoeB
JoeB
5 years ago

@Betrayer

Not legally but congress has punted on war powers so hard that the President can do a lot without them.

Betrayer
Betrayer
5 years ago

@JoeB

Yes, for 90 days at least the President can do a fair deal without congressional approval. However, even on a practical level, it’s not yet true that “Commander in Chief” means “can make unilateral decisions involving the Armed Forces.”

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Maybe I’m being just paranoid here.

But within about a day the administration said the UN isn’t doing anything about Syria so we will and China isn’t doing anything about North Korea so we will. I’m wondering if this is some sort of test balloon for a larger conflict with North Korea? There’s no strategic geopolitical reason I can think of to start shit with N. Korea. It could only hurt both North and South Koreans and would be costly for us. That’s why even George W Bush and his administration never did more than a bit of saber rattling. But this is Trump. He’s motivated by ego and that’s about it. I think he would love to be seen as a great war president like Washington, Lincoln or FDR are. I also think he would love to have the media forget about everything else he and his cronies do. Which would happen if we went to war. His presidency is already a major clusterfuck less than three months in. If something big doesn’t happen, he’ll be remembered as a corrupt and incompetent failure. Being a war president is the only chance he has at being remembered well by the history books and probably the only way he can get reelected. Remember that Dubya was headed towards a forgotten one term presidency before 9-11 happened and the country descended into a warmongering frenzy.

I hope I’m just being super paranoid here. I have been kind of depressed and anxious lately. So I hope I’m wrong. But I fear things are going to get a lot worse.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Betrayer,

Yeah, but the GOP led congress would almost certainly authorize whatever use of force he wants. And unfortunately, a bunch of Dems will probably cave to him too. The defense industry is so wealthy and powerful that there’s never going to be much standing in the way of any president using as much military force as they like.

Technically presidents can’t declare war, but effectively they can and do all the damn time.

Zatar
Zatar
5 years ago

Fuck.

LindsayIrene
LindsayIrene
5 years ago

Hilary Clinton has come out in favor of bombing Assad’s air bases. Meanwhile, some nazis are not happy about Trump going against Assad.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
5 years ago
Scolar Visari
Scolar Visari
5 years ago

@JoeB
For all we know, the aircraft destroyed might have been a couple of target drones left behind while others were evacuated after the warning. More info is needed, but destroying the radar would only be relevant if the U.S. takes future militant action with its own fighter craft. The various rebel groups in Syria do not use aircraft for the radar to spot.

@weirwoodtreehugger
The difference between Bush Jr.’s war in Iraq and a speculative war with North Korea is that Saddam’s Iraqi military was universally seen as an incompetent welcome mat after the first Gulf War. A lot of Iraqi soldiers didn’t even bother fighting the second time around, very ware they couldn’t put up any sort of resistance against the coalition forces.

North Korea, on the other hand, basically holds a fair amount of the South Korean population hostage under its conventional and rocket artillery. In any plausible war, North Korean guns would inflict tens of thousands of casualties within a few minutes before counter-battery fire silenced them in turn. An invasion from either side of the DMZ would easily be far more horrendous in the number dead, and it’s not like North Korea is really good at handling famines even before they’re disrupted by destroyed infrastructure. There’s also the chance (however remote) that the one nuclear armed ballistic missile they fire might work and make it past ABM defenses and hit a populated target in a area like Japan or Hawaii. While it’s clear to us that North Korea’s led by a brutal despot, we can’t count on North Korean solders simply deserting en masse, particularly if they’re attacked first.

TLDR: War’s not over before Christmas.

Ironically, this situation sort of reminds me of a military operation against Iraq made under Clinton in 1998. Few people seem to remember it, though most fondly recall that other ongoing scandal. What makes this much worse is that Trump very vocally decried further intervention in Syria multiple times prior to the election despite the fact that multiple chemical attacks occurred before. It’s almost like he’s operating under a double standard!

Betrayer
Betrayer
5 years ago

@LindsayIrene

They’ve been told American news (aside from FOX) and national intelligence is all fake, while Russian propaganda is factually accurate for months, so no surprise they think the gas attack is fake. The #RussiaFirst mentality is so strong, they’ll even pick Putin over Trump apparently.

As for the people who genuinely didn’t want a war (but for some reason ALSO didn’t want to spend money on diplomacy) it’s great to see some of them finally realizing Trump is a conman who lied to them.

Cato the Middle
Cato the Middle
5 years ago

http://www.vox.com/2017/4/6/15215376/alt-right-trump-syria

There may be unintended consequences for Trump. Richard Spencer’s twitter account is also pretty interesting/entertaining.

Valentine
Valentine
5 years ago

There has been British and American soldiers on Russian border for a while before this.

@ betrayer
As far as i know trump “did not warn putin”. Russian and eastern european meadia is reporting russian solder deaths from chemical attack.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
5 years ago

Are thoses strike significantly different from the numerous airstrike of Obama ? I didn’t followed the various warmongering of Obama, but I remember him bombing things left and right and basically avoiding only land troop deployement.

Not that it make Obama and Trump the same. Obama have common sense at least.

Valentine
Valentine
5 years ago

@ohlmann

I am in agreement. It has been war for a long time and the us has been making drone strikes for a long time. Maybe not popular, but i agree that Obama is not the good guy. He was doing the same as trump now.

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