April 6, 2017

"Senior Defense Department officials are developing options for a military strike in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians on Tuesday..."

The NYT reports.

AND: "Rex Tillerson says 'steps are under way' to remove Syrian president Bashar al-Assad."

170 comments:

Bob Loblaw said...

Yuck. We need to stay out of that conflict unless we can figure out how to make them all lose.

Paul Mac said...

Thank link you posted referencing Rex Tillerson seems to go here, not sure why. Didn't read feel like it might not be correct.

http://nypost.com/2017/04/05/sugar-daddies-and-mormon-hotties-inside-nycs-new-sex-party/

Inga said...

How will Putin take this? Things are going to get very interesting and dangerous. Hopefully none of those awful Syrian refugees will be allowed into the US.

Michael K said...

I'm not sure this is a good idea. Killing Assad is a good idea but what about after ?

Original Mike said...

Hmmm, I wonder why Trump may feel the need to be firm with the Russians....

Michael K said...

Hopefully none of those awful Syrian refugees will be allowed into the US.

Second time Inga and I agree. They need to be back in Syria.

Inga said...

Sure Michael, especially the children.

MikeR said...

No. Just no. Don't start another war. You want ISIS to take that area instead?
I'm hoping this is one of Trump's negotiation techniques.
Please don't do this.

Mr. Majestyk said...

I look forward to the day when we can send autonomous robot warriors to march into hell holes around the world to just kick all vicious, 7th century a**es that needs kicking.

EDH said...

From the NYT article:

The Obama administration prepared plans to strike Syrian targets with sea-launched cruise missiles after an August 2013 Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians, including hundreds of children.

Those plans were shelved when Mr. Obama decided instead to negotiate an agreement with the Russians to eliminate Syria’s declared chemical weapons arsenal and the equipment to make poison gas.


Maybe we should all wonder how the Russians talked Obama/Rice out of it? So, how did that work out for the Syrians, Americans and the rest of the world? Well, except Russia and Iran...

The development of new options is complicated by the presence of Russian military aircraft and personnel in Syria.

And Trump is the Russian tool? Riiiiight.

Inga said...

"Hmmm, I wonder why Trump may feel the need to be firm with the Russians..."


Wag the dog.

David Begley said...

Considering how the IC was able to spy on the Trump campaign I certainly hope they can find Assad and bomb him to hell.

eric said...

Let's take the Hugh Hewitt approach.

Destroy all of his palaces and homes. Make Assad homeless in his own country.

rhhardin said...

They're planning the Publisher's Sweepstakes winner scam.

David Baker said...

Good: Now the Russians never heard of the guy (Assad); blink.

rhhardin said...

Bomb everything except Syria and flood it with refugees.

madAsHell said...

May you live in interesting times.

David Begley said...

I like Hewitt's idea. Bomb Assad's houses.

Jake said...

Chalk one up for Noam Chomsky.

Swede said...

Do I cancel my Summer plans?

Brando said...

Bad idea when Obama wanted to do it and bad idea now. But I guess the interventionist impulse is too great.

Michael K said...

Inga likes those military age "children."

Bob Loblaw said...

Bomb everything except Syria and flood it with refugees.

I like the way you think.

n.n said...

Russia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Russians mitigated the progression of immigration reform forced by social justice adventurism in Syria. They prevented a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine following the Western-backed coup in Kiev.

They don't indulge in elective regime changes (i.e. Pro-Choice), social justice adventurism (i.e. wars of aggression), they are not a first-order forcing of catastrophic anthropogenic immigration reform, they don't discriminate between individuals based on "color of skin" (i.e. [class] diversity), and they don't deny life unworthy (e.g. selective-child). They avoid devaluing capital and labor through liberal fiscal policies. Russians seem to increasingly occupy the high moral ground.

Inga said...

Allow no refugee children in that are taller than 4.5 feet. They'll have trouble lugging those pressure cooker bombs.

Bob Loblaw said...

Sure Michael, especially the children.

We're not responsible for the world's children. Donate to the appropriate charity if it makes you feel better.

Rob said...

They did a dry run killing Rickles, but Assad won't go as easily.

Brando said...

"We're not responsible for the world's children. Donate to the appropriate charity if it makes you feel better."

Not just that, but we have basically no way to improve that situation over there. Sometimes we have to accept that a foreign problem is not something we can, or should, try to fix. It sounds heartless but it's worse to cause a lot more casualties and chaos and leave a bigger wreck.

Is this an after effect of the Bannon "demotion"?

exiledonmainstreet said...

Inga believes Muslim children are like Peter Pan, they never grow up!

How sweet and naive. However, Democrat concern for "the children" is very, very selective.

Michael K said...

"Is this an after effect of the Bannon "demotion"?"

I wouldn't be surprised. If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Sorry about those cliches but they apply.

David Begley said...

POTUS, "Assad is in charge. Something should happen to him."

Brando said...

"Sorry about those cliches but they apply."

I use that hammer one all the time...

Fernandinande said...

Mr. Majestyk said...
autonomous robot warriors


I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the content of their character but by the killing power of their robots.

J. Farmer said...

Oh brother. Here we go again. This is a spectacularly stupid decision. I cannot believe after 16 years of dumb, counterproductive military intervention, the US still thinks it can solve extremely difficult situations with more precision-guided munitions. Complete and utter folly.

J. Farmer said...

@EDH:

Maybe we should all wonder how the Russians talked Obama/Rice out of it? So, how did that work out for the Syrians, Americans and the rest of the world? Well, except Russia and Iran...

Sure. Because hastening the collapse of the Syrian government is sure to have all kinds of positive repercussions for the Syrian people. The most rabid opponents of Assad are radical salafi jihadist. Why exactly is the US on the same side as people whose ideology is barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda?

Balfegor said...

I'm not sure this is a good idea. Killing Assad is a good idea but what about after ?

Honestly, I don't think even killing Assad is a good idea. Precisely because I have doubts that what comes after is any better. If anything, killing Assad seems like it would destabilise Syria again just when it looked like things were settling down.

Also, I don't understand what the logic of Assad intentionally using sarin gas here would be. I mean, I could understand if he were losing, but isn't he basically on the verge of total victory, thanks to Russian and Persian support? I'm not going to go all-in on the conspiracy theories here, but the motives don't make any sense.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Yeah, this is stupid. This is like the Iran-Iraq war, in that there is no good side over there. Assad is awful, ISIS is awful. Just stay the f out of there.

Brando said...

"Honestly, I don't think even killing Assad is a good idea. Precisely because I have doubts that what comes after is any better. If anything, killing Assad seems like it would destabilise Syria again just when it looked like things were settling down."

Yep--if somehow there was a clear scenario which our action could lead to, we could discuss if the risks were worth it. But considering the lack of any "good guy" side of the conflict (besides hapless noncombatants), no real ground force ready to go in, and our usual willingness to drop bombs but leave it at that, it's hard to imagine this being anything more than us blowing things up to no real effect, or getting Assad to pretend he's going to clean up his act for real this time. Remember a few years ago, when Assad "backed down" and Obama called that a win? It didn't accomplish squat.

Best to just not make things worse.

Michael K said...

"Honestly, I don't think even killing Assad is a good idea."

Some people just need killin.

But what do we do next ?

Maybe we could send Nancy Pelosi with a suicide vest. Two birds.... Sorry about another cliche.

David Baker said...

If I had to guess, this Syria business will hit the fan during XI's summit with President Trump in Florida. And I believe XI will get the point.

Brando said...

"Some people just need killin."

I'd prefer we just assassinate him. Last time we tried taking out a head of state with a bombing campaign, Gadaffi lived another 25 years.

And why don't we do assassinations anymore?

mockturtle said...

Honestly, I don't think even killing Assad is a good idea. Precisely because I have doubts that what comes after is any better. If anything, killing Assad seems like it would destabilise Syria again just when it looked like things were settling down.

It's not a good idea. If we do it, it merely shows we haven't learned a damned thing from previous mistakes.

mockturtle said...

And there is something fishy about this 'chemical attack'.

David Baker said...

"killing Assad seems like it would [destabilize] Syria again just when it looked like things were settling down."

That's what Trump thought, until Assad started raining down sarin gas. Again.

Bob Loblaw said...

Oh brother. Here we go again. This is a spectacularly stupid decision. I cannot believe after 16 years of dumb, counterproductive military intervention, the US still thinks it can solve extremely difficult situations with more precision-guided munitions. Complete and utter folly.

Even if it seems like a good idea on the surface, there's no way we can attack the Syrian government without having it benefit the sorts of guys who burn prisoners in cages and sell the local women at slave markets. It's crazy.

mockturtle said...

If we overthrow Assad it means we want ISIS to win in Syria. Something I've suspected on a number of occasions.

mockturtle said...

I hope the DOD reads this blog before making any hasty decisions! ;-)

tcrosse said...

Remove Assad and install Hillary Clinton in his place. Two birds, one stone.

Balfegor said...

Re: David Baker:

If I had to guess, this Syria business will hit the fan during XI's summit with President Trump in Florida. And I believe XI will get the point.

What point? That we're willing to kill an opthamologist so we'd be willing to get into a hot war with China over control of the South China Sea? Or perhaps that we're willing to countenance the deaths of tens and hundreds of thousands of innocent people in order to make a point about weapons of mass destruction?

Is the point that we're willing to see Seoul -- a city larger than New York City -- turned into a sea of flame in order to remove Kim Jong Un? Because if so, well, okay, I can see how that would be a point one might want to make. But I'm not sure it's the point we want to make at this juncture.

Maybe at least wait until South Korea elects the repugnant Moon Jae-In President. They might pull back from the brink.

Angel-Dyne said...

Balfegor: Also, I don't understand what the logic of Assad intentionally using sarin gas here would be. I mean, I could understand if he were losing, but isn't he basically on the verge of total victory, thanks to Russian and Persian support? I'm not going to go all-in on the conspiracy theories here, but the motives don't make any sense.

You're right, it doesn't make any sense. Same old, same old after all these years and people are still buying it?

MikeR: No. Just no. Don't start another war. You want ISIS to take that area instead?
I'm hoping this is one of Trump's negotiation techniques.


Yeah, one can hope, but meddling in the Middle East to no good end and plenty of disastrous ones seems to be an irresistible compulsion for every American administration.

mockturtle: And there is something fishy about this 'chemical attack'.

Indeed.

Bob Loblaw said...

That's what Trump thought, until Assad started raining down sarin gas. Again.

Are we even sure that's true? Seems awfully self-destructive on his part. Seems like the sort of thing you'd want to convince the world you enemies did. Assad claims it wasn't his government. Couple this with the fact that Saddam had massive stockpiles of chemical weapons, some of which made their way into Syria before and during the war.

I'm reminded of the run-up to the first gulf war in 1991 where we were regaled with stories of Iraqi troops breaking into Kuwaiti hospitals, ripping babies out of incubators and dashing them on the floor. All fabrications abetted by our government, it turns out. The "witness", we were not told at the time, was the Kuwaiti ambassador's daughter who hadn't been in country since Iraq invaded.

And then again in Kosovo, where Serbian massacres in the hundreds of thousands turned out to be a few thousand people killed in massacres perpetrated by both sides. Where we only interviewed Kosovars and only got their side of the story.

If we're going to start lobbing bombs at people as a result of this attack, we'd better be damn sure we're not being played, either by factions in the US or in other countries.

Inga said...

So how do you like Trump now?

Bob Loblaw said...

So how do you like Trump now?

To be worse than Hillary he has to actually start a nuclear war. And lose.

David Baker said...

"If we overthrow Assad it means we want ISIS to win in Syria."

That's the Obama Doctrine.

If you want to understand the Trump Doctrine, study General Mad Dog Mattis.

Inga said...

"So how do you like Trump now?"

"To be worse than Hillary he has to actually start a nuclear war. And lose."

Don't tempt fate.

David Baker said...

"Are we even sure that's true?"

Yes, beyond a shadow of doubt according to Army Intel; Assad's planes were above, gas was simultaneously deployed below.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Headline is misleading - "developing" makes it sound like they are starting from scratch. They have had these options for decades, and I guarantee that Mattis had them re-looked as soon as he took over DOD. 'Refining' or 'prioritizing' would be a more accurate description.

Bob Loblaw said...

Inga, do you really think Clinton wouldn't be bombing Syria already? Have you forgotten how involved she was in turning Libya into the hellhole it is today?

Inga said...

"I think what Assad did is terrible," Trump told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One en route to Florida.

"I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity and he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen," Trump said."

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-idUSKBN1782S0

Inga said...

" ...do you really think Clinton wouldn't be bombing Syria already? Have you forgotten how involved she was in turning Libya into the hellhole it is today?"

Sanders wouldn't be bombing anyone. I haven't made any defense of Hillary.

Bob Loblaw said...

Sanders never had any chance of being elected.

buwaya said...

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Noor-Salman-orlando-shooting-extradition-11055472.php

Noor Salman was the wife of the Orlando nightclub killer. She is accused of conspiring with him. Note that BOTH of them are US born, to Muslim immigrant parents - he Afghan, she Palestinian.

This is also true of many if not most of the US Islamic terrorists, as well as many if not most of the European ones.

It is risky letting any of these people in, children or not, as the risk persists across generations.

AprilApple said...

Inga- lol-- love the new look.


Clinton doesn't do anything unless it fills her bank account.

Leftists should care about innocents being burned alive with chemicals.
They don't.

Michael K said...

I'm reminded of the run-up to the first gulf war in 1991 where we were regaled with stories of Iraqi troops breaking into Kuwaiti hospitals,

I remember all the children starving because of the collapsing embargo.

Funny how you remember what you want to remember.

Achilles said...

Inga said...

Sanders wouldn't be bombing anyone.

Sanders would try turn us into Venezuela or Cuba. He would fail but it would be a mess.

Michael K said...

This sounds like a better option.

It’s smarter and more effective to go after the regime in Tehran. Not militarily, but rather supporting the tens of millions of Iranians who detest the Khamenei regime. Call it political warfare, or subversion, or democratic revolution. It worked against the Soviet Empire, and there are good reasons to believe it would work in Iran as well. Most Iranians, suffering under the failed regime, want a freely chosen government that will address their problems instead of dispatching their husbands and sons sent to the battlefield.

Regime change in Iran would be devastating to Assad and Putin, and its positive effects would be felt in North Africa and our own hemisphere, striking at the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah in Latin America. And it would remind the tyrants that America’s greatest weapon is political. We are the most revolutionary country in the world, and we should act like it.


We should have done this when Ahmadinnerjacket stole the election but Obama was determined to befriend the regime and let all the Iranians get massacred in the streets.

Mosque attendance in Iran is at 2% and if the regime fell, the country might reject Islam completely.

Achilles said...

We should kill Assad, then promptly turn Syria over to Russia in return for free reign to target ISIS and Russia stops backing Iran.

Bob Loblaw said...

Funny how you remember what you want to remember.

No, I remember that too.

All I'm saying is we don't know what's going on and it's all too convenient to act on without an investigation. What's the hurry?

Michael K said...

I tend to agree with Ledeen that the focus is in Tehran.

As the Germans would say, the schwerpunkt

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/trump-supportive-of-avoiding-military-response-syria-2013

Balfegor said...

Re: David Baker:

Yes, beyond a shadow of doubt according to Army Intel; Assad's planes were above, gas was simultaneously deployed below.

I . . . I hope "Army Intel" has more than that. I mean, when the Germans bombed Bari during the war, there were German planes above, and mustard gas deployed below . . . but it wasn't actually a German gas attack (we had been shipping mustard gas to the front for potential use, and our ship got blown up).

mockturtle said...

More needs to be reported regarding the Sunni vs. Shiite factor in all of these issues.

Balfegor said...

Anyhow, I will wait to see how this plays out, but if Trump escalates our involvement in Syria with a goal of ousting Assad, then that will be very disappointing.

Robert Cook said...

Has there been proof the Syrian government is responsible for the gas attack?

Also, as horrible as the deaths are, and they are--they are no more horrible than the deaths of innocents--yes, of children, and the elderly, and every age in between--in every military conflict. Our own drone bombs have killed plenty of children. Of course, being blown to bits, we don't see pictures in the media of their heart-broken fathers holding the toddlers' bodies.

David Baker said...

@Balfegor

We just went through 8 years of so-called smart diplomacy. And you can see where that got us.

The time for global equivocation is over.

Michael K said...

"More needs to be reported regarding the Sunni vs. Shiite factor in all of these issues."

You know what makes a lot of sense in all this is Amir Taheri, book "The Persian Night."

I finally understood Sunni Shia after reading it.

Drago said...

Robert Cook: "Has there been proof the Syrian government is responsible for the gas attack?"

Probably more proof than the insane ideas underlying the "October Surprise" conspiracy.

Having gotten that in (need to keep up appearances and besides, it has the added advantage of being true) we will never know who is actually responsible for the gas attack. There are probably a handful of groups that are capable of such an action, including groups opposed to Assad and would be more than happy to use this type of incident to destabilize him.

There does appear to be a great deal of chatter about how little sense this makes from an Assad viewpoint given the delicate dance of relationships right now with Trump recently installed in the white house and Putin's long term objectives.

khesanh0802 said...

Trump is sending a message. Just as he says, something needs to be done. As he plans something Xi will be here for discussions and Tlllerson goes to Russia next week.. Trump has not jumped in to anything, he is researching the possibilities. If he is as impetuous as so many claim, he could easily have ordered some kind of attack from the carrier Bush which is on station. He did not. When he is ready and when he knows the ramifications of any move, he will make one. I doubt that it will threaten Assad per se and the Russians will have quietly agreed to it. Whatever move Trump makes I will bet it will not result in making the mess any worse in the ME, but will be punitive and restricted in nature, sending a big message to the rest of the world.

Drago said...

Cook: "Of course, being blown to bits, we don't see pictures in the media of their heart-broken fathers holding the toddlers' bodies."

Of course we do. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry on the left that is willing to create images such as that to discredit the democracies: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328141/Israel-claims-iconic-images-showed-death-Palestinian-boy-Gaza-13-years-ago-staged.html

This should surprise no one as the muslims routinely move their weapons caches, anti-aircraft positions, etc to locations adjacent to or upon schools, hospitals, orphanages, etc.

Why? Who can say? All we know is the left tells us their societies and values are superior to ours.

You know what, I think I'll continue to disagree with the left on that point.

johns said...

Inga said: "Hopefully none of those awful Syrian refugees will be allowed into the US."

How many refugees do you want, Inga? All of them? Or the token number that Obama wanted. Does that token number make you feel right? Like you're on the moral side, as opposed to those evil Republicans who don't think admitting refugees is the answer?
Do you have a number? Or is it just the idea of Right versus Wrong?
And the border wall is an abomination, right, Inga? So how many illegal immigrants should we allow in? Should we abolish the border patrol? Or is the number coming in during Obama's time the "right" number?
Are you capable of looking at anything with a little critical judgment?

Paul Mac said...

OK, just a sanity check am I crazy or my computer at least or is the link about Tillerson to an NY Post article about a sex party?

mockturtle said...

Paul, I had the same result. Weird, no?

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

It’s smarter and more effective to go after the regime in Tehran. Not militarily, but rather supporting the tens of millions of Iranians who detest the Khamenei regime.

No, no, no. Ledeen is an anti-Iranian fanatic whose advice on the subject should always and forever be ignored. Take the signature issue vis a vis Iran: the nuclear issue. The so-called green movement that people like Ledeen were clamoring for the US to get behind support by a wide margin Iran's right to enrich uranium. A democratic Iran would still be an Islamic Iran. Further, Iran is a rather weak actor in the regime. They have no substantial ability to project military force outside their border, and the Gulf Arab countries all have far more technologically advanced and better funded militaries. Iran's only significant proxies in the region, Hezbollah and Hamas, are small, geographically-focused organizations much more focused on antagonizing the Israeli occupation and pose very little threat to global security or stability. Compared to the radical sunni salafists that are funded, aided, and equipped by the Arab monarchies are a far greater threat to the region than Iran. The completely false notions of Iran being on some kind of march of conquest across the region is part of the hysteria over demanding that Assad must go.

The Godfather said...

After 8 years of a spineless America that none of the bad guys were scared of, it's time for a reckless violent act to get everybody's attention. If we can figure out where Assad is, blow him up. If necessary blow up all his palaces until we get him. If he's hiding someplace else, bomb bomb bomb bomb Assad.

Yancey Ward said...

It is utterly depressing that nothing seems to matter- US interventionist policy never fucking changes. We seem to literally be incapable of learning. Even worse, this gas attack is almost certainly a false flag operation since it makes literally no sense otherwise.

mockturtle said...

What motive could Assad have had for such an attack? Politically, it was a stupid move. ISIS wants nothing more than to have the US do their dirty work by removing Assad from government, giving them free reign in Syria. Making such an attack appear to be government-inspired would be most convenient.

khesanh0802 said...

See Scott Adams' blog for an interesting take on Assad's "Suicide by Trump".

Jack Wayne said...

if Trump does this he will lose me. Best plan: stabilize Syria and end the refugee crisis. Find a decent leader and then assinate Assad as punishment.

mockturtle said...

See Scott Adams' blog for an interesting take on Assad's "Suicide by Trump".

Excellent! Thank you, khesanh.

John Lynch said...

Anyone clicked on the second link?

mockturtle said...

Anyone clicked on the second link?

Unfortunately. :-(

Ann Althouse said...

@john lynch

Oops

I'll just leave it that way.....

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Loblaw said...

"We will conquer Iraq in three days" - George Bush

Got some documentation for that quote? Doesn't sound like something Bush would have said, for a lot of reasons.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

"I'll just leave it that way....."

Good call.

J. Farmer said...

@The Godfather:

After 8 years of a spineless America that none of the bad guys were scared of, it's time for a reckless violent act to get everybody's attention. If we can figure out where Assad is, blow him up. If necessary blow up all his palaces until we get him. If he's hiding someplace else, bomb bomb bomb bomb Assad.

I really hope this is supposed to be satirical. Eight years of a spineless America? Can you actually type that sentence out with a straight face? Over the past eight years, we've bombed eight different countries and carried at a CIA-led global assassination campaign. We dropped over 25,000 bombs in 2016 alone.

I know this blog is full of a lot of bullshit machismo, but sooner or later people are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the US cannot control the world, and there are very few problems that are going to be solved by the US unleashing even more violence and destruction.

Michael K said...

" A democratic Iran would still be an Islamic Iran. Further, Iran is a rather weak actor in the regime. "

No, according to Spengler, mosque attendance is 2% and the Iranian people who have been so oppressed by Islam, which was imposed by conquest centuries ago, might well throw off Islam completely.

I don't doubt they would want nuclear but that is national pride, not a Muslim suicide wish.

Ledeen happens to be very knowledgeable on Iran, which you are not.

I have no idea what you mean by " Iran is a rather weak actor in the regime."

That makes no sense.

Big Mike said...

The last time we tried to blow up a Middle East dictator we came nowhere near to killing Qaddafi but did succeed in killing a little girl. Perhaps Trump will do better than Reagan, munitions having improved in the intervening thirty years.

Thing is, as folks have pointed out above, do we really know that Assad launched the Sarin attack? At the moment I don't see how Trump trusts anything the intelligence community says about the Middle East or anyplace else. Before we do anything to punish Assad I'd like to know that it won't create a second Libya.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

No, according to Spengler, mosque attendance is 2% and the Iranian people who have been so oppressed by Islam, which was imposed by conquest centuries ago, might well throw off Islam completely.

According to Pew Research, around 40% of Iranians believe that "religious figures should play a large role in politics." A further 26% believe religious figures should have some influence in politics. More than 80% favor the use of sharia in determining the law. If you have evidence that a large majority of Iranians are willing to "throw off Islam completely," I'd love to see it. Here is a link to the Pew findings.

I have no idea what you mean by " Iran is a rather weak actor in the regime."

That makes no sense.


It's another typo. That should read, "Iran is a rather weak actor in the region." I type my comments on an iPad a lot, and autocorrect often guesses wrong, and I'm too lazy to edit for the most part. By pretty much any definition of conventional military power, Iran is far far behind the Gulf Arab states.

Michael K said...

there are very few problems that are going to be solved by the US unleashing even more violence and destruction.

To some degree, I agree with you. Now is the time to use what our military has learned about Islam.

Bombing is one leg of a strategic triad. It is not worth doing just to bomb.

Obama was spineless in a strategic sense but did drone strikes to appear more macho. He had no plan. Some call it "whack-a-mole."

The "Pivot to Asia" was total bullshit.

In 2007, I posted this.

His later chapters show the origin of al Qeada and its further modification of 4GW tactics. He uses the analogy of a “Venture Capital” financier to explain Osama bin Laden. The Islamist network was well enough established in Afghanistan that, when it was scattered by the US invasion, there were enough cadres to set up a network and become self perpetuating. What later developed was a program in which small cells of the network could propose terrorist plans that, if they seemed to have a good chance of success, would be supported by bin Laden’s people. His major mistake, somewhat on the order of the Vietnamese mistake with the Tet Offensive, was the 9/11 attack. He had not been punished for the earlier attacks on the embassies and on the USS Cole. He assumed that the US would continue to accept punishment and eventually move out of the Middle East, his purpose in the campaign. The Afghanistan invasion and then the Iraq invasion were not anticipated and gave us the initiative. We lost some of that initiative by using ineffective tactics in the first few years of the insurgency. He is supportive of the concept even though the book was written before the “Surge” reversed the tactics and began to use 4GW concepts in counterinsurgency operations.

His book is another good source. We will be fighting these people for the next 30 years. Maybe fighting can be done other than with "kinetic methods."

Michael K said...

"Iran is far far behind the Gulf Arab states."

I could not disagree more.

Then"Gulf States" are dying as fracking makes them bankrupt. They have no population and they are not nation states as Iran is.

The population of Iran is crashing. That does not sound like enthusiastic Muslims.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

We will be fighting these people for the next 30 years. Maybe fighting can be done other than with "kinetic methods."

Who are "these people?" The fact that the enemy is so vague and ill defined should be a huge red flag to why a military solution is such a rotten answer to the problem. If we keep our border tight and don't import more people from these regions (my preferred solution), we'll be largely just fine. Consider the incident that sparked this entire mess...9/11. Every single of the dozen and a half attackers entered the country legally and prepared their attack on our soil. How does bombing some faraway country protect us from this problem? It doesn't.

J. Farmer said...



The Myth of the Iranian Military Giant

Rising to Iran's Challenge: GCC Military Capability and U.S. Security Cooperation

A Reawakened Rivalry: The GCC v. Iran

"The classic military balance in the Gulf region is driven by an accelerating arms race between Iran and its Arab Gulf Neighbors. The Arab countries are decisively winning this arms race."

-Iran and the Gulf Military Balance

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Well well well. There goes Trump reneging on yet another one of his campaign assurances. What could go wrong? Everything. Let's do what we did to Iraq in a country where the sectarian divisions are even sharper.

Trump may end up failing his presidency as badly as W. did yet.

How badly must Republicans hate responsibility? I think every Democrat should be eligible for a pay bonus just to make up for how regularly they have to clean up Republican messes. It's a never-ending pattern.

n.n said...

Alleged. Last time the evidenced pointed to humanitarian terrorists. JournoLists are notorious for receiving their instruction from the twilight fringe.

Drago said...

I can't believe a chemical attack occurred.

After all, obambi and Kerry assured us all those icky chemical weapons were "100%" removed.

But only 100%.

And since obambi and Kerry are the smartest men in the world (similarly to how the left is now telling us that Hillary is the 6th most beautiful woman in the world) then only racists could possibly believe our Nobel prize winning Messiah failed.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

If we keep our border tight and don't import more people from these regions (my preferred solution), we'll be largely just fine.

Agreed.

Build the Wall.

Visa control, which we don't have.

Close the Saudi funded mosques.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Crap. I really wish we would have stayed out of this mess.

AprilApple said...

Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it "welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have bluntly blamed Syria for the chemical weapons attack, whose victims included at least 25 children.

Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that "there is no doubt in our minds" that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack. And in a combative speech at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Haley warned: "When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action."



Countdown to leftwing a-holes who will call this a "war for oil" in 3..2...1.

AprilApple said...

You cross a red line - the real men will step up and do something.

The UN is a joke. Pack of Israel hating losers who cannot stop wars-- They only litigate war after the war is over.



AprilApple said...

There was no immediate reaction from Russia, which Tillerson and Haley have accused of turning a blind eye to Syria's transgressions.

"Russia cannot escape responsibility for this," Haley said at the United Nations. "They chose to close their eyes to the barbarity. They defied the conscience of the world."

Thursday, Tillerson urged Russia to "consider carefully their continued support of the Assad regime."


Drudge link to NBC.

Livermoron said...

And the bombing has begun....

AprilApple said...

The UN will stand and watch people marched into ovens - send a strongly worded letter, and then litigate the Jews.

Original Mike said...

Appears attack was on 1 of 6 Syrian air bases. Sounds like a message: Stop gassing your people.

AprilApple said...

Bashar Assad and Lil' Kim need to be taken out. They also need to live in fear for a while first.

mockturtle said...

Well, I sincerely hope Trump is right and I am wrong about this move. If it's a message, then perhaps Assad will get the message.

One thing I learned today is that nearly all of the Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims. Assad is, of course, Shiite, as is the Iranian leadership and most of the population of Iraq so there is little hope that the refugees will be returning home to an Assad regime that allies itself with Iran.

mockturtle said...


When I was dating a Kuwaiti man [Sunni] in college I recall how he and his Arab cousins and countrymen hated the 'Persians'. The two groups never spoke to one another. The Arabs considered the Iranians inferior.

exhelodrvr1 said...

The messages is aimed more at the rest of the world than at Assad. There's a new sheriff in town ...

Livermoron said...

I imagine the Chinese premier is considering ratcheting up the pressure on the NorKs right now.

And Mr. Putin now has positive confirmation that PDT is not the pusillanimous punk that his predecessor is.

mockturtle said...

I imagine the Chinese premier is considering ratcheting up the pressure on the NorKs right now.

Hope so!

mockturtle said...

"The ball is now in Assad's court", observes Sean Hannity just now.

The Godfather said...

@ J. Farmer: You say (in response to my statement that America ought to go after Assad) "I really hope this is supposed to be satirical." If I were being satirical I'd have proposed using nuclear weapons.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Well, I sincerely hope Trump is right and I am wrong about this move."

My question is: get rid of Assad and who fills the vacuum? The Middle East is one big damned snake pit. And we have found that getting rid of one or two brutal dictators over there opens the door for other scumbags - who might be even worse.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Well, I sincerely hope Trump is right and I am wrong about this move."

I mean to say - I agree! I hope I'm wrong too!

exiledonmainstreet said...


Countdown to leftwing a-holes who will call this a "war for oil" in 3..2...1.

4/6/17, 8:47 PM

No, April, what they'll do is scream about risking war with the Russians - you know, after saying for months that Trump is taking his marching orders from Putin.

Big Mike said...

Well, I sincerely hope Trump is right and I am wrong about this move.

@mockturtle, plus 1.

Original Mike said...

Reported that we notified the Russians first. Adam Schiff launches new investigation.

holdfast said...

Looks like a "measured response".

On the downside, it probably won't do a lot of long-term good.

On the upside, it's a relatively cheap and risk free (using missiles and not manned aircraft). And attacking a relatively isolated military target to limit civilian casualties.

Clearly it's more about "sending a message" then significantly attritting Assad's capabilities. Historically such messages have not let to regime change, though they can sometimes convince a strongman to back off, at least for a while.

The only thing to like here is that it happened quick, without a lot of jerking around and telegraphing the punch - that may do some good in keeping Assad looking over his shoulder and wary of crossing any more lines. It may also cause the Russkies to make Assad stay away from any more NBCW attacks if he wants to keep Russian support - the Russkies certainly don't need the hassle of being tied to ChemWeps attacks.

Etienne said...

Bah! 50 cruise missiles on the Presidential compound instead, then we are talking.

Bombing a Syrian airfield is like bombing Fred Sanfords junk yard.

oops, is that racist?

holdfast said...

@Etienne

Nope - if you take a swing at Assad personally, and then miss, you look weak.

Also, if the goal is make a deal, like having Assad abdicate and retire to a nice dacha in Russia or villa in Iran, then there's no point in making it too personal.

David Baker said...

I'm waiting to hear from the 9th Circuit.

Meanwhile, Assad better stay in his bunker. Because it ain't over, not by a long shot.

Thank you, President Trump.

Mike said...

We tracked the chemical bombers to this base and have now disabled the Syrians use of this base. We have the ability to "rewind the tape" and use radar to know which aircraft gassed the kids. The Russians obviously stood down and let it happen. Assad is alive but the message is sent. I don't expect Trump to engage in a drawn out conflict. This was a good response to Assad crossing the red line too many times. How many times have we heard about Chen weapons?

mockturtle said...

BTW, exiled: I received my copy of Paris in the Terror this afternoon and have scarcely been able to put it down. One of the earliest paragraphs says thus:

Is is ironic that of all countries in Europe, France was the only one that could have a revolution--not because she groaned under the lash of tyranny, but, on the contrary, because she tolerated and even invited every conceivable dissension and heresy. Restlessness, a passion for novelty and the pursuit of excitement were everywhere in the air. They were the fruits of idleness and leisure, not of poverty.

Eerily prescient, n'est-ce pas?

Thanks, Michael K, for the recommendation.

Drago said...

exiled: "No, April, what they'll do is scream about risking war with the Russians - you know, after saying for months that Trump is taking his marching orders from Putin"

Actually, they will argue both positions simultaneously.

In fact, you can scoot over to the lefty-only, safe-space, no opposing ideas allowed (you know, typical leftist MO) web sites and see for yourself.

The other combo that caused some amusement was the simultaneous arguing that Trump is so stupid he has already gone off on his own and gotten us into another war while simultaneously arguing that because Hillary said something about this a few days back that this is another (I know, another?) instance where Trump is just doing what the smart dems have been saying.

I have said for years that History begins anew each day for the dems, all the better for the whitewashing and rewriting of history. But in the Age of Trump history begins anew in a continuous vs some discrete fashion.

mockturtle said...

It is, that is...

mockturtle said...

BTW, sorry to post OT stuff but felt I had to get it in, somewhere.

Drago said...

"I imagine the Chinese premier is considering ratcheting up the pressure on the NorKs right now."

Nonsense!

Right about now he is ordering down for a nice midnight snack of chocolate mousse as he watches the Lifetime Channel. He's actually a very sensitive guy.

Drago said...

David Baker: "I'm waiting to hear from the 9th Circuit."

Agreed. I'm surprised the 9th Circuit allowed Trump to speak on this tonight as it infringes on the now well established Judicial control of US Armed and National Security forces.

Strange.

mockturtle said...

"I imagine the Chinese premier is considering ratcheting up the pressure on the NorKs right now."

Nonsense!

Right about now he is ordering down for a nice midnight snack of chocolate mousse as he watches the Lifetime Channel. He's actually a very sensitive guy.


I wonder if Kim Jong-un will take this seriously. While I think that, strategically, going to war with Syria is a bad idea, I believe that blowing North Korea off the map might be a good one.

Mike said...

I guess Vlad and the chinless opthamologist weren't such good buddies after all. Maybe Baby Bashar can set up practice in Tehran.

Mike said...

Very interesting that there was a rush of aircraft out of Damascus about 11:30 local time. We smoked the air base about 4 a.m. The Russians did not activate their air defenses (which coincidentally were supposed to extend to Shayrat Air Base today) and they did not jam GPS signals to confuse the Tomahawks. Seems like only weeks ago Susan Rice was saying Syria gave up all their weapons.

Achilles said...

Well shit.

sodal ye said...

"Well shit"

Totally.

holdfast said...

Russia doesn't need Assad. They need someone to protect their interests in Syria and let them have the naval base there.

That does not have to be Assad.

Qwinn said...

"The last time we tried to blow up a Middle East dictator we came nowhere near to killing Qaddafi but did succeed in killing a little girl. Perhaps Trump will do better than Reagan, munitions having improved in the intervening thirty years."

Guess you didn't hear, but that "killing a little girl" bit was fake news. She is, in fact, still alive and well.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8725024/Libya-Hana-Gaddafi-alive-and-well.html

But it made Reagan look bad, so no one in the media ever questioned if it was true. Same as it ever was.

Qwinn said...

Actually, come to think of it, I never saw the story about Hana Gaddafi being alive anywhere in US news media - only in UK papers. I guess they're *still* invested in propping up anti-Reagan propaganda.

Qwinn said...

On the topic at hand:

Ted Cruz approves of the air strikes. This makes me feel better about it.

John McCain approves of the air strikes. This makes me feel worse about it.

Bruce Hayden said...

"When I was dating a Kuwaiti man [Sunni] in college I recall how he and his Arab cousins and countrymen hated the 'Persians'. The two groups never spoke to one another. The Arabs considered the Iranians inferior."

Works the other way too. Friend works with Iranians in the insurance business, and needles the one in the office next door by calling him a camel driver. The Iranian responds that they have been listening vying in cities for 4,000 (?) years, while the Arabs were driving their camels around the desert. No love lost either way, and the Sunni/Shiite split doesn't help either (but is key to understanding what is going on in Syria).

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

Video of the missile launch is pretty darn cool!

Bruce Hayden said...

Roger Simon made some good points about the strike on the Syrian airbase - that this was win, win, win, win for Trump (and the US)
- Assad got the message that gassing his people is a bad idea. No more Red Lines - the US will act with the overwhelming force we haven't seen since the last Republican was in the White House when a nation so blatantly violates international law and norms.
- As predicted above, it was done while Xi was here from China. Important in dealing with them, esp in their expansionist mood. Let the NORKs attack S Korea or Japan, and the American response to them will be immediate and overwhelming. All while wining and dining him.
- Shot across the Russian bow. Russia is one of Assad's primary backers, and stood aside when he used the Sarin gas. But they also stood aside while we struck his airbase. While showing that our fight was not with them by warning them in advance to get out of the way (and I am pretty sure that Tomahawks have inertial backups to their GPS just in case the Russian proxies try again to jam the GPS signals, as they did in the past).
- The US is back, after 8 years, willing and able to use military force when necessary.
- The idea that Trump and his people were conspiring with Putin and the Russians before the election looks even more ludicrous. Assad is a Russian client. Trump didn't care, except to warn them to get out of the way, which they did. Why again did the Russians want Trump to win over Croojed Hillary (who had given them the "reset button and sold them 1/5 of our uranium supply)?

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting conjecture - was the Sarin gas attack a Russian test of a new US President? That was something that the Soviets used to do to test the mettle of new Presidents. Hard to believe that Assad would have done this without at least the knowledge, and maybe even the approval, of the Russians.

exiledonmainstreet said...

mockturtle: I haven't received my copy yet (hey, no fair, I ordered mine maybe 10 minutes before you did!) and now I am very much looking forward to reading it, thanks to the snippet you quoted.

Rusty said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
"Crap. I really wish we would have stayed out of this mess."
I agree whole heartedly, but the wrong response would have been to do nothing at all.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook: 'Has there been proof the Syrian government is responsible for the gas attack?

"Probably more proof than the insane ideas underlying the 'October Surprise' conspiracy."



Uh, no.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook: 'Of course, being blown to bits, we don't see pictures in the media of their heart-broken fathers holding the toddlers' bodies.'

"Of course we do."


Not without our actively looking for them. We don't see them plastered all over the mainstream media with morning headlines: America blows little kids to meat bits; father gathers up the pieces.

"In fact, there is an entire cottage industry on the left that is willing to create images such as that to discredit the democracies...."

The "democracies" as you call them/us, are doing plenty to discredit (and destroy) themselves.

Robert Cook said...

"After 8 years of a spineless America that none of the bad guys were scared of, it's time for a reckless violent act to get everybody's attention. If we can figure out where Assad is, blow him up. If necessary blow up all his palaces until we get him. If he's hiding someplace else, bomb bomb bomb bomb Assad."

Said by someone who doesn't get it. Our last 16 years have been years of unremitting aggression and mass murder in the middle east, and yet we're "spineless" and "none of the bad guys" are scared of us. More like: the more we continue our grotesque carnage in the region, the more we inflame hatred of us, which serves the purposes of those recruiting for whatever extremist groups are ascendant in the region.

"It is utterly depressing that nothing seems to matter- US interventionist policy never fucking changes. We seem to literally be incapable of learning. Even worse, this gas attack is almost certainly a false flag operation since it makes literally no sense otherwise."

Said by Yancey Ward, who totally gets it.

Robert Cook said...

"What motive could Assad have had for such an attack? Politically, it was a stupid move. ISIS wants nothing more than to have the US do their dirty work by removing Assad from government, giving them free reign in Syria. Making such an attack appear to be government-inspired would be most convenient."

mockturtle also totally gets it.

jaydub said...

Cook: "Of course, being blown to bits, we don't see pictures in the media of their heart-broken fathers holding the toddlers' bodies."

If the respective fathers are concerned about this, they should keep their toddlers out of the Syrian hangers, chemical weapons storage facilities and attack aircraft at Shayrat Airfield from where the nerve gas attack was launched. If they do that there is no chance any toddlers' bodies would require holding. Not that you really give a shit.

Robert Cook said...

"Over the past eight years, we've bombed eight different countries and carried at a CIA-led global assassination campaign. We dropped over 25,000 bombs in 2016 alone.

"I know this blog is full of a lot of bullshit machismo, but sooner or later people are going to have to come to terms with the fact that the US cannot control the world, and there are very few problems that are going to be solved by the US unleashing even more violence and destruction."


Said J. Farmer.

Gee, all the smart folks are commenting this evening, (amidst the usual dreary tide of id-shit by so many of the reg'lars)!

Robert Cook said...

"Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it 'welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people.'"

Said by someone with a vested interest in ousting Assad.

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have bluntly blamed Syria for the chemical weapons attack, whose victims included at least 25 children."

Well, that proves it!

"Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that 'there is no doubt in our minds" that the Syrian regime was responsible for the attack."

Well, then I have no doubt, either! Just like them, I also have no proof.

"And in a combative speech at the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Haley warned: 'When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.'"

In other words, when the body legally entitled to act refuses to act the way we want them to, we will violate the law and act as we want anyway! (Why not? We've been doing what we want for most of our history, regardless of the law.)

Robert Cook said...

"Video of the missile launch is pretty darn cool!"

Booyah!!

J. Farmer said...

@Bruce Hayden:

- The US is back, after 8 years, willing and able to use military force when necessary.

What the fuck are you talking about? Regime change in Libya ringing any bells? Obama dropped bombs on eight countries in the course of his presidency. Over 25,000 bombs were dropped in 2016. The US is not "back." It was never gone in the first place. You have a seriously ahistorical reading of what's been going on for the last eight years.

AprilApple:

Bashar Assad and Lil' Kim need to be taken out. They also need to live in fear for a while first.

And what do you think will happen to Syria once Bashad and the government falls completely. I'll give you a hint. Take a look at post-regime change Afghanistan, post-regime change Iraq, and post-regime change Libya. If the answer still alludes you, I'll help: various factions will fight violently for control of territory. And many of those factions are ideologically indistinguishable from Al Qaeda. If the Syrian government falls, and these factions get ahold of their military arsenal, how great will that be for regional security and stability?

AprilApple said...

Bashar is not Qaddafi. We had no reason to kill Qaddafi. He was under control and contained.
As much as I'd like to see Assad removed, I doubt Trump will do it.

In a perfect world, the puppets of the Iranian regime - Putin and Assad - they would/should both be removed.

Instead, Obama delivered 400 million on pallets to the Mullahs. It's a fine mess.

J. Farmer said...

@AprilApple:

Bashar is not Qaddafi. We had no reason to kill Qaddafi.

The justifications for going after Assad are identical to those for going after Qaddafi. He was "killing his own people." It was stupid and reckless to go after Libya, and it's stupid and reckless to go after Assad. Neither Putin nor Assad are "puppets of the Iranian regime." And even if Assad was, we should welcome his puppetry. A secular Alawite government in Syria is far far more preferable to the groups of radical sunni jihadists who are currently vying for control. Again, what do you think happens to Syria once the government falls?

Rick said...

Robert Cook said...
"Ahrar Al Sham, the largest Syrian armed rebel group, told NBC News it 'welcomes any U.S. intervention through surgical strikes that would deter the Assad regime capabilities to kill civilians and shorten the suffering of our people.'"

Said by someone with a vested interest in ousting Assad.

"Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, have bluntly blamed Syria for the chemical weapons attack, whose victims included at least 25 children."

Well, that proves it!


Compare this skepticism to Cook's acceptance of any criticism of America no matter how ridiculous or unfounded.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook: 'Of course, being blown to bits, we don't see pictures in the media of their heart-broken fathers holding the toddlers' bodies.'

"If the respective fathers are concerned about this, they should keep their toddlers out of the Syrian hangers, chemical weapons storage facilities and attack aircraft at Shayrat Airfield from where the nerve gas attack was launched. If they do that there is no chance any toddlers' bodies would require holding. Not that you really give a shit."


A total non-sequitur. What makes you think these toddlers were in "Syrian hangars, chemical weapons storage facilities," etc.?

AprilApple said...

J Farmer

did Qaddafi gas innocent citizens of his own nation?
I don't have all the answers, but unless Trump was acting on faulty intelligence, I'm fine sending Assad a message - secular or not.

Livermoron said...

cook said:
Well, then I have no doubt, either! Just like them, I also have no proof.


So, Comrade Cook, how do you know that our government has no proof?

Fuckwad Comrade Cookie... he just can't hate America enough.

Rusty said...

J. Farmer.
Hence the attack on an airfield ans not one of Assads palaces.
To not act is to give permission.
There should be a devastating response anytime one of the jihad prone nations uses WMDs.
Like all slow learners sometimes it's necessary to grphically demonstrate so that they understand.
Russia can do nothing.