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Let The Agitprop Begin

The US is claiming Syria war: US missiles ‘took out 20% of aircraft’. Well they do modify that by saying operational aircraft. No one has shown evidence of more than 6 damaged airframes, and the highest number anyone has stated was 14. but there is no indication of aircraft type. Su-22 Fitters were launching the day after the attack, but the Syrian Air Force also has MiG-23 Flogger ground attack aircraft, and both Russia and Iran can make up any losses.

About the runway – Tomahawks can’t successfully disable a runway long term, but the US has munitions that will do the job. Limiting the strike to Tomahawks keeps US crews out of danger, but reduces the effectiveness of the strike.

The replacement cost of a Tomahawk in the fiscal year 2017 Defense Department budget is $ 1.87 million or $ 110.33 million [1.1 F-35s] to blow-up a fuel tank, a cafeteria, a couple of hangars, and some airframes that couldn’t be moved out of harms way. This resulted in a 24 hour stand down by the Syrian Air Force.

The American people and a majority of Congress were the only people that didn’t know about the strike in advance. The Russians were told, and they told the Syrians. The ‘group of 8’ in Congress were told, but it was classified so they couldn’t talk about it. The American people aren’t told as much about what their government is doing than the Russians. That is not right.


1 NTodd Pritsky { 04.10.17 at 9:57 pm }

Making them stand down every day only costs $40B a year. Still cheaper than the Iraq War!

2 Badtux { 04.11.17 at 12:10 am }

If 20% of the aircraft at the field were disabled, that means there were 30 aircraft at the field before it was attacked. Looking at the field on Google Earth, that looks about right — that’s about how many shelters and pads there are.

Yeah, really pulverizing the field to the point of it not being able to function without major repairs would have required a pass with a B2 dropping bunker busters from high altitude. Clearly the Pentagon didn’t want to risk a $1.5 billion dollar airplane on the job.

3 Bryan { 04.11.17 at 1:36 pm }

We shouldn’t have spent anything, or done anything. Blowing things up is the easy answer, and too often the most popular option, but it almost never solves anything. Trump should understand that Assad will do anything to protect the ‘family business’.

Trump won’t let these children come to the US but he doesn’t mind spending a hundred million to look butch. If they are too dangerous to be allowed to the US, it follows that their deaths should not be our concern. Since my first ancestors arrived on the American continent to avoid wars in the Netherlands in the 17th century, I think we should continue to accept refugees as they are cheaper than wars.

A few FA-18s could drop what was needed for the runway, but they would need some ECM assistance and radar suppression flights before hand, which would probably result in Russian deaths. Yeah, a B-2 would probably be the choice to do it, but you are risking the crew and the aircraft.

4 Badtux { 04.12.17 at 3:11 am }

It’s not just Assad, it’s his whole Alawite sect. The French made them the backbone of the Syria Corps when they enlisted Syrians to join the French Army to enforce French rule in the French Mandate of Syria, and that corps became the Syrian Army upon independence in 1946. And of course after multiple coups culminating in Poppy Assad’s coup in 1970, the Alawi came to dominate the government too.

They aren’t going to give up just because the US tosses a few cruise missiles their way, because they look at the Islamist Sunni who consider the Alawites to be heretics, and what they see is genocide against them if they don’t win. Plus there’s a hundred years of grudges at play here…

If we killed Assad tomorrow with a cruise missile, all that would happen would be that some other Alawite, probably the head of the army, would step up and take his place. It wouldn’t affect things in any way. Remember, Assad is an English-educated eye doctor who wasn’t even supposed to be the next leader of Syria until his older brother got killed and he got pulled back home for a quick crash course in Leadership 101…. he may be a brutal dictator, but he’s not doing it alone.

5 Bryan { 04.12.17 at 2:11 pm }

Bashar has uncles and cousins, as well as a younger brother who would take him out if he appeared weak.

The Brits put a Sunni ‘king’ to rule over a majority Shi’ia Iraq. A Hashemite king to rule a majority Palestinian Jordan. The French put Alawi in charge of majority Sunni Syria, and a Christian/Sunni partnership to control majority Shi’ia Lebanon. All of those rulers and their clans/sects regard any threat as existential. The French and British made such a dog’s breakfast of the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire that the region has seen nothing but coups & civil wars for the last century.

6 Badtux { 04.12.17 at 11:03 pm }

The French didn’t put the Alawi in charge of majority Sunni Syria. The Alawi did that over a long period of time, first dominating the Syrian Army’s noncom corps as grunt cannon fodder from the poorest and most oppressed part of Syrian society, then, as the Sunni officer corps over them went through coup after coup after purge, dominating the officer corps, then of course in 1970 they took over outright with Poppa Assad’s coup. So they took the long way from being a persecuted minority to being in charge. It was a fifty year journey that relied on a lot of things going right and on the Sunni not being particularly interested in joining the Army, which was considered a low-status profession. The difference today is the Islamists. The Islamists scare the Alawi to death, because the Islamists consider the Alawi to be heretics, not even proper Shia despite the protestations to the contrary. The Islamists really aren’t too keep on co-existence with the Shia. Co-existence with people they consider to be total heretics? Not happening.

There’s not going to be a resolution to this war where the Alawi simply give up. They view themselves as fighting for their very survival as a sect, and rats backed into a corner don’t surrender, they throw themselves tooth and nail at their attacker with everything at their disposal and then some. The fact that the Trump Administration is thinking the problem is Bashar Assad is just another indication that the Trumpistas don’t have the foggiest clue about what they’re doing….