A full day later and more information has come out which actually makes it look like rather than trying to start World War 3, it was actually my other final through that was correct. The one I thought was actually worse than the other options.
To quote from the bottom of my post yesterday:
"One more final thought, and in a way this one is even worse. Trump is meeting the leader of China today, a head to head meeting, one of the things to discuss is the relationship between China and the United States. Two expanding empires with borders that meet each other. Yesterday Trump was a clown, a chaotic, unpredictable idiot. Today, he is a dangerous unpredictable clown with an arsenal of nuclear weapons, the world's most expensive military and the demonstrated willingness to risk a war with Russia to make a political point.
Worse than risking war with Russia, worse that an act of war with Syria, worse than the utter stupidity of jumping off so quickly on such scant evidence being made public.
Worse than yet another US unilateral attack aimed at toppling another middle eastern leader they don't like.
Worse than all of that.
He may have done this simply to look tough as he meets the Chinese today."
Firstly, yesterday I was worried that Trump was stupid enough to be firing his missiles at a target without knowing if he was going to be killing Russians.
The US military contacted Russia and informed them of the missile attack 30 minutes before it was launched, telling the Russian the target so that it could be evacuated. To quote the US spokesperson they acted to:
Minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel at the airfield.
Which was nice of them, but which also reduced the attack from a punitive response that destroyed the airbase from which America claimed the chemical weapons attack came, to a token measure that blew up a few buildings.
So, not NO risk of war, just a lot less of a risk than launching a sneak attack would have bought with it. This was a significant event and has, as I said yesterday, opened the way to new events but different ones, not good ones, but not a terrible as actually blowing up Russians would have been.
Note, this is still an ACT OF WAR by the US against a sovereign nation based on rumours and un-investigated investigations and some highly dubious videos backed up by proof so secret our governments are afraid to tell us what it was. Because even now, two days later there is not one shred of actual proof that has been made available.
Secondly. The cruise missiles used in this attack each carry a thousand pound warhead, one thousand pounds of high explosives, fifty nine missiles, fifty nine thousand pounds of explosives. A devastation strike, that many cruise missiles would or should take out a town or cripple a city, a military base hit like that should have been devastated. Every bunker, every aircraft and hanger, even down to where they parked the lorries, utterly destroyed.
We are told those cruise missiles have very accurate targeting systems, GPS, terrain following radar, pin point and surgical strikes. They should hit and destroy what they are aimed at.
And yet reports from the area say planes were taking off from that airfield hours after the attack. A thousand pound warhead designed to punch through several metres of concrete to explode inside a hardened aircraft shelter and they did no damage to the runway? ? ?
There should be craters five metres deep and twenty metres wide in that runway, at least there should be if the runway was hit, but what sort of attack claimed to be intended to stop chemical weapons being dropped by aircraft from that airfield doesn't take out the runway? Or the control tower? Or the site radar? Or the fuel dumps?
Fifty nine cruise missiles should have devastated an airfield with a single runway and a dozen concrete hangers. Multiple aircraft survived, hangers undamaged, the runway just needed a good sweep.
Compared to the shock and awe devastation of, say, the gulf, this was a very gentle attack indeed. Which leads to more of those possible events I was talking about, because what the Americans are calling a significant response and a massive attack doesn't look that bad to the sort of people who are likely to be hit by just such an attack in the future.
As strange as this may sound coming from me, the attack makes the US look weak which simply makes its current and future enemies bolder. Yes, I just said that, yes I said the attack was too weak. No I'm not supporting NATO and the US randomly bombing people because of unsupported stories and tweets. But by acting as it did, not with what I feared was a real attack with a real risk of war, but instead with some token demonstration, Trump and the US have opened up a whole new set of follow on events which are just as bad but in new ways.
Someone used a nerve agent to attack defenceless men, women and children. Without waiting for proof Trump launched an attack on Syria, which means that any of the terror groups, the anti Assad extremists, any of the murdering scum that are loose in Syria who want to trigger another attack on Assad, all they have to do is kill more civilians with nerve agents, and blame Assad.
The world is most certainly not a safer place today than it was before the US decided to go Postal.
Third. The worlds politicians have been talking big, but nothing, absolutely nothing has been following these words. There is no action, nothing at all. Lots of people saying Assad's days are numbered, but then they have been saying that for years so that number is bloody big.
US mouthpieces have been threatening more strikes, but there has been no follow up, some minor political pressure to force Assad to step down or else. Bo Jo has refused to attend a meeting in Russia and some voices have been raised blaming Russia and calling for Russia to stop supporting Assad. Exactly what has been happening for the last five years, well apart from Boris but he doesn't count.
Two US warships launched an attack against a sovereign nation, they committed an act of war because their commander in chief was upset by children being killed, while conveniently forgetting that his own air force killed more children than that mere weeks ago in Iraq.
And then, the dust cleared, the fires were put out, and... Nothing.
Friday everyone was talking, every media channel was filled with the terrible gas attack, everyone was talking about war crimes, Assad's murder of children was on everyone's lips.
Now, suddenly, as if someone had flicked a switch and turned off the story, it's no more than something to be mentioned as a filler between the celebrity scandals.
The speed with which the story exploded, everyone repeating it, everyone absolutely sure, no one willing to pause and think about what had happened, or even to investigate what had happened. And now, the speed with which it has died. Yesterdays frothing politicians suddenly have better things to discus so outside of a few talking heads and the UN it's almost as if it isn't important anymore. Just another gas attack on civilians in the middle east, like the more than a hundred that have happened over the last five years.
Almost like the outrage was fake, made up and acted out to achieve some agenda or another, and then forgotten about. Has anyone seen the stream of Trump Tweets about how appalled he was by the deaths of children, the President of the United States was so moved by this gas attack that, without consulting with his own Congress or the UN he launched his cruise missiles at Syria. A man that upset, a man who commits an act of war because he is so upset, a man well known for posting tweets because he is annoyed about something. That's the sort of man you would expect would be talking about the gas attack a lot, be hard to shut him up on the subject. Or not.
Even in our short attention span world this has been a fast moving and fast forgotten story.
So! Someone launched a gas attack on the civilians in Syria, some complete and utter piece of shit used a nerve agent against defenceless men, women and children. Was it Assad, what exactly does he have to gain by doing something so stupid, just as the world seems to have accepted that he is winning and they can't get rid of him. The answer is nothing, he gains absolutely nothing from a small use of nerve agents, it doesn't help his troops take control of the area, it offers no tactical or strategic advantage, as Hoz said Friday, if Assad did it he would have to be the biggest cunt on the planet because all using gas does is get the big dog, the US, pissed at him for no gain.
But someone used it, everyone was saying Assad, just as everyone was saying Sarin. But as I pointed out, there were a number of inconsistencies and having been talking to actual NBC qualified military types the use of Sarin is more and more questioned, but our media and our leaders were so absolutely sure it was Sarin, just like they were absolutely sure Assad was the one who used it. If they are wrong about one, chances are they are wrong about the other as well.
So who was it, where is the investigation, who stands to benefit.
Until there is an actual, independent investigation we won't know.
But in the mean time, Trump has had his political gesture, he can stand tall on the world stage or perhaps he just thinks he can. We don't know what China is being told in these meetings but I image US cruise missiles being fired in large numbers is in the background somewhere. Though the Chinese media don't seem exactly in awe of Trump and his $94 million dick waving exercise.
A massive military attack, a day later has become a political stunt. The terrible dangers of war with Russia are diminished but not removed, the US punitive strike has been demonstrated to be a wrist slap, the gas attack is still not investigated, there are still too many questions about what happened.
But the fact remains that Trump, in what looks like an act of political posturing, used the US navy to commit an act of war against a middle eastern nation, without declaring war but with 30 minutes of notice of the attack so it didn't come as a nasty surprise.
No US president has declared war on anyone for more than fifty years but every US president apart from Carter has gone to war with someone over that same time. Now Trump has joined the club, no declaration of war but an act of war none the less. Was he that worried about his poll numbers?
Friday morning I was worried, I was afraid the world had wandered over a critical line and we were now close enough to an event cascade that war between NATO and Russia was within reach. Not just because I'm paranoid, but because the US was firing cruise missiles in the general direction of the Russian military.
Now I'm not so worried about world war three but more worried about the continuation and expansion of the irregular warfare that is engulfing most of the middle east. Trump has acted with a knee jerk military response that not only made gas attacks in Syria more likely, but also made attacks against America and its allies (which is the Western world) and their citizens more likely.
Two days of examining what happened and things look just as bad or worse than they did Friday morning. Trump's attack was staged, the damage was far too light for it to have been anything other than an empty political gesture. Yes I'm saying this, yes I mean it. Because Trump acted but he did so in a way that will embolden not just Assad, and Putin, but anyone else who wants to take a shot at us, the West, NATO, the USA.
In order to minimise casualties, and damage, America told Russia and therefore Syria that the attack was coming, so the Russians didn't detect a surprise cruise missile attack and fire back, so those two US warships that were committing an act of war against Syria weren't attacked and sunk by surprised Russians acting instinctively to being attacked. So Russia didn't mistake this for an attack on Russia itself and respond accordingly. Basically the US politely warned Russia so Russia wouldn't respond. By firing back and maybe starting that war I am worried about.
Polite, considerate, a rather clear sign that the US is worried about Russia responding, something that is hardly going to go unnoticed in Russia. And as Russia throws away the limited cooperation in Syria that ensured US aircraft would not be shot down when bombing (mostly) Islamic State it seems to be the US that is going, cap in hand to Russia, asking for the agreement to be reinstated.
I just... I don't know. The world is getting more and more crazy, unravelling at every edge.
Becoming more and more unstable as I sit here and watch.
Trump's attack did not intimidate Assad, or Putin, it didn't stop airstrikes being launched from that airport. What it did do was embolden Assad, and Russia because the US just demonstrated it was afraid to launch a surprise attack or a serious one. What it has done is tell anyone who has access to nerve agents that they can use them and blame Assad, no proof needed. What it has done is tell anyone that as long as they have Russian (or Chinese) troops helping them or if they are allied to those governments then they are also protected from US attack. Just like the Saudis are protected from attack no matter how many men, women and children they murder in the Yemen because they are allied to the US.
The world today is a more dangerous place than it was on Friday, not because war between Russia and the US is more likely, but because so many more people have been encouraged to commit atrocities, to launch attacks, to perform acts of terror they can blame on Assad or they can hide behind the cloak of friendship with the other two super powers.
Trump has, in one single knee jerk action, pushed the world back toward the days when we had three superpowers and the world was allied to one or another of them. Because that was the only way to protect a nation from the other super powers. Does anyone think Russia and China aren't mentioning this to anyone who fears having the US turn up to bomb them into a regime change?
But then I'm paranoid, or overreacting apparently.