Last night, after returning home from a quick trip to see my 92 year old grandmother in Kentucky, my plan was to stay up late and hammer out an angry post about the ineffective sham of an attack the Trump administration launched against the regime of Syria’s Bashar Assad this weekend. Unfortunately, though, when we arrived home from our trip, we discovered that our seven year old refrigerator had decided to die on us, which meant that I’d be spending my evening filling trashcans with what had been frozen leftovers, and scrubbing mold, instead of ranting about how Trump, who, by the way, until recently lashed out at anyone who even proposed air strikes against the Assad regime, reached out to the Russians before dropping nearly $100 million worth of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, telling them exactly when and where to expect the attack.
Yes, Russia was notified of our air strike against Addad’s Shayrat Air Base in advance, while members of the U.S. Congress were not.
I can understand why a country might want to give the Russians a heads-up, as there might be a significant international incident if one of their people on the ground in Syria got killed during an attack, but, really, what’s the point of launching an attack against Assad’s forces when there’s a near certainty that they’ll be tipped off by the Russians and just relocate their planes and personnel prior to the bombing?
I’m not suggesting that no action should have been taken, but, really, what could we possibly expect to achieve when we tell the Russians, who, according to reports, had people working at the Shayrat Air Base on the very day that Assad launched this most recent chemical attack, killing 80 of his own people, before launching our missiles?
Speaking of Russian involvement in Syria, here’s something to chew on. While I don’t know what evidence exists, I think it’s important to note that, according to some in the intelligence community, the Russians weren’t just on the ground in Syria, at the air base from which Assad’s chemical attacks were launched, but also assisted in the bombing of the hospital where the bodies of the victims were taken. According to Politico, “Russian air assets may have been over the site of the chemical attack when it occurred, and a Russian drone scouted a hospital treating the victims of the sarin attack just before it was bombed — possibly to destroy evidence of the attack.”
But bombs translate better to television than diplomacy and sanctions, right?
Perhaps more importantly, though, it doesn’t sound as though the 59 missiles we deployed did much to impede Assad’s ability to wage war on his fellow Syrians.
I know Fox News said our attack was an incredible success, but everything else I’ve read makes it sound as though we didn’t even hit the airstrip, and that Assad’s forces were flying missions from that very base later that same day… Trump, for what it’s worth, took to Twitter after the attack to say that they’d purposefully not targeted the airstrips. “The reason you don’t generally hit runways,” he said, “is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!” Whether or not there’s any truth to that, your guess is as good as mine. Given his track record, though, I’d say it’s likely bullshit.
Speaking of Fox News, I was watching it with my family the day after our missiles rained down, and the network’s anchors were absolutely beside themselves, talking enthusiastically about how decisive Trump had been, and how awesome it was to have a real president in the White House again, instead of someone like Obama, who was too afraid to take action… forgetting to mention, of course, that when Obama had tried to launch an attack against Assad in 2013, after another instance of his having poisoned his own people, the Republican-controlled Congress stopped him. But apparently facts aren’t important… All that’s important is that we got to see some bombs fall, and now no one is talking about the sexual predators that run Fox News, or the fact that one of the Russians suspected of hacking our election was just arrested in Madrid at the behest of U.S. investigators.
But Putin and Assad were nice enough to hand this gift to the Trump administration just when the needed it most, so now we’re all fawning over the incredible show of force in the Syrian desert. Maybe it wasn’t intended as such. It’s hard to imagine a better timed gift for Trump, though.
OK, I have to get back to cleaning the refrigerator now… Before I go, though, I’ve got one question…
How many Syrian refugees do you think we could we have relocated to the United States for the cost of those 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, which retail for about $1.6 million each?