By Craig Hastings
I’m on the fence with an opinion. Was the limited missile strike in Syria a couple of weeks ago worth the time, expense, and risk? We endured two weeks of day and night media coverage building us up for what I assumed was going to be something big. No, I didn’t expect America and their allies to measure by numbers (of deaths) the success of a bombing run. I’m in the majority opinion that America needs to leave most all of our presence in the Middle East civil wars behind us. Intelligence resources will need to remain as they do all over the world, but bring all of our non-essential military personnel home. President Trump announced a month ago this is his very plan.
You will remember a year ago President Trump ordered an airstrip in Syria to be obliterated because intelligence sources concluded this airstrip was where deadly chemical agents were loaded into aircraft and dropped on Syrian rebel forces at war with President Bashar al-Assad. President Trump promised then that if Assad used chemical agents on civilians ever again that the United States would again respond with military force. One of those infamous President Obama’s “red line in the sand promises”. The big difference being President Trump delivered on his promise two weeks ago. This time Great Britain and France rallied with American military forces to show Assad the civilized world will not stand idly by while he slaughters his own people via chemical warfare.
I also vaguely remember some ridicules “Family Feud” looking red button then Secretary Hillary Clinton had presented to a crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s. This was her signature political publicity stunt that her party had hoped would help propel her to the White House. The Russians had made it quite clear that they opposed any attack on the Syrian regime by America. Russia had even threatened to respond with military action of their own if America attacked Syria in response to the chemical drop on civilians. Since we didn’t witness a response publically I assume Putin must have put a few firecrackers under the Clinton red button and blew it up in his back yard.
But seriously, did we really punish anybody? It was reported that over 200 missiles were delivered from both sea and air by the coalition of three. At dawn news cameras and civilian cell phone videos began to report the damage assessment from those 200 missiles. What we saw were three structure compounds each comprised of a few buildings made of concrete. The compounds were located in three different parts of Syria and all were reduced to ruble. What we saw was dust and debris and a small fire or two. We were told these buildings were where chemical agents were manufactured and/or where the science of design and mix had been taking place. After all of this footage of nothingness was shown to us the bomb with the greatest impact of the 200…no injuries! Somebody please tell me how three enormous military building compounds were destroyed where dangerous chemical agents were allegedly manufactured and/or designed and no one suffered even a scratch?!
Were all the employees out with the flu or on vacation?! Wouldn’t there be security guards inside and outside 24/7/365?! Remember; these were reportedly locations used for the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction, not deodorant or hairspray mind you. This has to be the most politically correct bombing in the history of the world. Two-hundred bombs and no injuries! Spare me any political propaganda that might come from the White House. Spare me if trying to sell me some bs report about how this attack was of complete surprise to the Syrians. I want the President’s press people to step up and tell us the truth.
General Mattis did reveal as we all suspected that the Russians were alerted that something was on the way and for them to clear their own military personnel out of the three, targeted areas. I hope all of you at home went ahead and assumed as I did that the Russians then alerted the Syrian troops to what was on the way. And…American, French, and British, military strategists surely expected Russia to alert Assad to stand clear and move his personnel away from these targeted sites. So millions of dollars in weaponry, countless labor hours, and tremendous amounts of wear and tear on equipment all expended for what?
President Trump, I’m disappointed. Way too much money and risk for nothing. You might as well have not done anything. All of this effort was coordinated under the guise of an illegal use of chemical weapons. The leaders of the coalition of three stood before their citizens and sold this attack to them based on a report that forty plus Syrians died and many more injured from a chemical attack. That attack orchestrated by their own president, President al-Assad. After this attack we learned that approximately 17 other individual chemical attacks had taken place since the American missile attack on a Syrian air field a year ago! What made this one different than the others?
American, French, and British officials knew more than a year ago that Syria was continuing to stock pile chemical weapons. No one did anything during all this time. Here’s the best part of this joke: two years ago then President Obama stood before a world audience and told us he had worked out a solution to the chemical weapons problem in Syria. Russian President Vlad Putin was going to make sure and guarantee that any and all chemical weapons would be destroyed or moved out of Syria. After this grand statement by Putin our own President Obama confidently puffed up and declared he was going to draw something. Remember the red line Obama drew in his sandbox made out of cherry Pixie Stick sugar candy that he dared al-Assad to cross? Remember Assad promptly turning his cats loose in Obama’s sandbox to use as their own litter box? Remember Obama disappearing and not responding, not even with an additional warning of something, anything?
So who were the winners and losers from all this chaos? America, France, and Britain win by showing the world they can conduct coordinated air and sea strikes in precise timing and targeting. America wins by showing the world they’re back. Their military might has been restored. America, France, and Britain lose, because after firing 200 missiles they destroyed nothing of consequence. America, France, and Britain lose, because they showed a sense of fear of Russia because they warned Russia of the imminent attack. Russia responded that they would strike back should any of their own equipment or personnel be hit. Syria loses, because America, France, and Britain proved they can obliterate Syria at any time they wish to do so. Syria wins, because they again got away with killing people with weapons of mass destruction after being told over and over not to do it or else. Syria loses, because America is going to pull out of Syria and the country will be split up with part going to Russia, part will go to Iran, and a small portion will be left for Assad to dictate. Russia wins big, because they will have a strong root base in the Middle East from which they can wreak havoc on that part of the world at their will. Russia loses, because once established in the Middle East they will forever be engaged in skirmishes with different opposition tribes popping up in the region as history has proven for hundreds of years.
Finally, the world wins because unexpectedly, under the leadership of President Trump; America, France, and Britain have knitted themselves together as the single most powerful military coalition of modern time. My last thought. This big deal happened, allegedly, because someone used chemical weapons against their own people and this will never be tolerated in modern times; right? So Syria is used as an example to the rest of the world; forget about ever using chemical weapons on anyone or else be bombed by America, France, and Britain……but wait. What happens if tomorrow either Russia or China uses chemical weapons on their own populations somewhere in their own countries?
Will America, France, and Britain rain 200 missiles or more into one of these countries? I think not. Americans come home, and let’s spend our time and money taking care of our own. Please. I’ve said this before here; if we can’t keep what we’ve paid for, what’s the sense of it all.