US slays a dragon.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

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1135 You all know of the US missile strike in Syria. President Trump has found a dragon to kill, and he has dealt it a serious blow, although he did not slay it. The dragon had not attacked the United States, but it had left Syrian children gasping for breath as they died on camera. You could expect any man to react to that. Mr. Trump is certainly one of them.  Only a monster would order that chemical attack, and monsters deserve death and destruction.

Observations:

Apparently all 50 Tomahawks struck home. Assuming that to be true, several deductions are possible.

First, those are slow missiles. Top speed, about 500 miles per hour. They are very accurate, but they are slow. They were in the air for at least half an hour. They went past areas defended by Russian missiles of SA-6 and newer, any of them capable of shooting down a slow cruise missile like a Tomahawk. It is unlikely that the fleet of 50 Tomahawks, fired in a time on target pattern, were not observed; but so far as I know, not one was intercepted. 

Second, the attack was limited to a single military installation which was presumed to be the base from which the chemical attack on the Syrian civilians including children. While limited to that base area, the attack was massive: over fifty Tomahawk missiles, each carrying 1,000 pounds of high explosives, in a time on target attack by highly accurate missiles fired from ships who we may assume took a carefully controlled course during launch. We may assume the base was entirely destroyed. The missiles arrived at 0430, meaning there were few casualties; most base personnel would be in quarters, which we may assume were not targeted.  We may assume the skippers and missile officers of the US destroyers had excellent satellite photographs of the base and knew all its buildings and their purposes. And we may conclude the base was destroyed.

The message is clear: You had six air bases, Now you have five. Do you care to try for four? Or fewer?

I think I would not have ordered that attack, affected as I was by the photographs of the effects of the chemical attack. Yes, it could only have been ordered by a monster deserving slaying. But there are many monsters. We could slay a dragon a month for a year, two years, but we would run out of resources before we would run out of dragons. I agree with John Quincy Adams. We do not go abroad seeking dragons to slay.  We are the friends of liberty everywhere, but we are the guardians of our own. President Trump ordered this strike in the name of national security. It took place while he was at dinner with the President of China the evening before the first formal negotiations with China.  It was only after they parted after dinner that President received the strike report and announced the strike, but the President of China must know that the attack was consummated during their otherwise uneventful dinner.

But if I were to order such an attack, it would have been as President Trump did it: massive, decisive, but limited in scope, destroying its target but with minimal collateral damage.

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A few observations: the gas employed probably was not sarin, soman or any other nerve agent. You do not die gasping for air if exposed to those nerve agents. You just die.  What war gas was employed?

The symptoms resembled those of phosgene, but that war gas is so easily detected and identified that it is unlikely. I don’t know of many war gasses other than nerve agents that have the lethality reported. Wild speculation: medical personnel treated a suffocating gas with massive doses of nerve agent antidotes. Those antidotes plus the initial exposure to the suffocating agent might very well be fatal.  But this is speculation, not to be taken as a conclusion based on anything other than TV observations,

 

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We wait to see what effects this will have. Good night, and God Bless America.

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Was it Machiavelli or Sun Tsu?

Never do your enemy a small injury.

US launches military strike on Syria airbase

US launches military strike on Syria airbase

The United States launched a military strike Thursday on an airbase in Syria, multiple U.S. officials have confi…

 

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Both I expect. And that was my first reaction.  But this was not a small injury.  It was on out of only six operational bases, and it was destroyed.

 

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Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.

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