So the military/surveillance state got its war against Russia after all. My, that was fast. Merely implementing a no-fly zone was widely seen as tantamount to instigating a war with Russia, and this move is far more provocative.
Perhaps the US thinks it can engage in a show of muscle and stop there. But as Lambert has pointed out, some things can’t be unsaid. Even if this attack was meant as an over-the-top message to Russia regarding its support of Assad, some things can’t be undone either.
Another line of thought is that this airstrike was meant as a warning shot to Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding North Korea, that the US is willing to take aggressive, precipitous actions. Unlike Syria, North Korea would be a bona fide threat to the US if it succeeds in its efforts to build long-range missiles.
From ITV (guurst):
The US has fired dozens of cruise missiles at an airfield in Syria in retaliation for Tuesday’s alleged chemical weapons attack, US officials have confirmed.
Around 60 tomahawk missiles were launched from US Navy destroyers, targeting an airfield near Homs, in the most dramatic military order of Donald Trump’s presidency so far.
Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post points out via an e-mailed alert that:
Donald Trump does not have the legal authority to launch airstrikes against Syria, yet he has done so tonight, multiple news outlets are reporting, and confirmed by an intelligence community source…
Update 10:15 PM. From the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. military launched a series of strikes against a Syrian air base Friday, a response to mounting calls for a display of force in the wake of this week’s suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria.
The strikes represented the first time a U.S. military operation deliberately targeted the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and came a day after President Donald Trump said the chemical attack in Idlib province earlier this week, blamed on Syrian forces, had changed his thinking on Mr. Assad…..
U.S. lawmakers had urged Mr. Trump to strike the Assad regime. There is a growing consensus that the regime used banned chemical weapons in the attack, which killed at least 85 people, including 27 children, and injured about 550.
CNN reports that Trump will address the nation shortly.
Update 12:30 AM:
Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far. And all he had to do was start a war.
— Sam Sacks (@SamSacks) April 7, 2017
I keep reading these Breitbart comments on Syria. Eight thousand new ones in just a few minutes. They are very angry at Trump.
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) April 7, 2017
This is from Howard Beale IV, but I don’t have the images to confirm his take. Readers? Note that the US did give Russia a head’s up before the bombing.
If you see the press pictures of the runway damage of the Syrian airfields, the amount of damage is so minimal they’ll be back in operation in under a week. IOW, it was just a very expensive fireworks demonstration.
Had Hair Furor really wanted to send a message, they would have had to actually destroy the runway with a bombing mission-that’s a very high-risk move, but would have sent a far more serious message that we’re not fucking around.
This may be giving Team Trump way more credit than is due. However, any action against Syria, even if Trump was sold on the idea that this was a warning shot disguised as an apparent act of war, it is first very risk and second has the effect of committing Trump psychologically against Assad, when before he was pretty indifferent.