Big Stick, Swinging
April 8, 2017 6 Comments
Well, events made me look pretty smart, yesterday, although in the wrong theater. Even as I was writing about taking the North Korean nuclear program apart, the USN was destroying a Syrian air base, that had been used to mount the latest chemical attack on his own civilians. Not surprisingly, I have no problem with that.
It was quite the strike, with upwards of 50 Tomahawk TLAMS launched from the USS Porter, and the USS Ross. The TLAM has about a 1000 lb payload, so it’s a serious weapon. I do read there were problems, and strike results weren’t that good. Mostly because it was necessary to notify Russia, before the strike, and air assets are, by definition, quite mobile. Still, our point was made.
Here’s the video from the Porter.
I do find it interesting that after the last eight years of do-nothingism, the strike was greeted with near unanimous approval, only, Russia, Iran, and Syria objecting. Actually, it’s likely that North Korea does as well, but perhaps it wasn’t the day of the week that the internet is turned on there.
There’s an old saying that a man is known by the enemies he makes. If so, being enemies with the lot mentioned above is hardly the worst thing that could happen to America.
Scott Johnson makes a few points, including that at his press conference with King Abdullah, when asked about the gas attack, the President said this.
It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines.
There are a couple of messages in that, one there is a new sheriff in town, who is not amenable to such stuff, and secondly, he may just do something about it. And he did.
Scott also writes this,
2. Like President Reagan when he fired the striking air traffic controllers in 1981, President Trump sent several messages with the action taken last night. Here are three of them. The Obama era in American foreign policy is over. He doesn’t issue empty threats.
3. President Obama sought to tie the United States down in the world like the Lilliputians did Gulliver. Among the instruments employed by Obama to restrain the United States was the United Nations. President Trump gave the United Nations the opportunity to weigh in yesterday. When it failed to act, Trump proceeded. Again, the Obama era in foreign policy is over.
4. Trump acted with decisive force to achieve a limited objective. He could have gone further to remove more of Assad’s assets. If the goal was limited to deter Assad from doing what he did again, however, I think it highly likely that the mission was accomplished.
Mollie Hemingway also wrote about the strike, saying this:
However, there is a national interest case for striking Syria this week that is easier to make than the case for full-fledged war with Syria, which requires much more discussion and for which congressional approval should be sought. Some would argue that congressional approval should have been sought even for the limited strikes, and a representative case was made here in 2013 when the issue last flared.
That Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used sarin gas against civilians is significant in multiple ways. Yes, al-Assad has been brutally killing people for years, but the use of chemical weapons is a violation of a treaty Syria has signed, and a violation of a norm that Americans have an interest in upholding.
I agree with her, the strike is fully justified, as a repeat would be. Ground operations may be, but they should be only considered after consulting Congress, and the people. Too many times have we gone off on operations without a clear idea of what our objectives are, let alone what a victory looks like. Even for the United States, military hardware, and especially our people are limited in number and should be husbanded, not expended in sideshows.
All in all, and exemplary operation. BZ to all hands.