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I don't see that he had much of a choice.

I agree with what he did, however, he had the choice to go to Congress and get permission (which is legal) or to just go ahead on his own (which is not legal).

he saw Obama as flunking his test the first time and looking weak

Even though Trump was against takiong action against Syria at that time, AND Congress denied Obama the approval he legally needed to laynch a strike.

You would think that after 50-60 Tomahawk missiles the Syriain airport would have been out of commission for more than a few hours. How much did those missiles cost?

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just go ahead on his own (which is not legal).

I've been googling this. Opinions vary. Obama himself asked for authorization, but stated he felt he was not legally REQUIRED to get it back in 2013.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/world/middleeast/text-of-president-obamas-remarks-on-syria.html?ref=middleeast&_r=0

How much did those missiles cost?

They aren't cheap. Wikipedia says the unit cost is $1.87 million. Do the math and that's about $110 million for the attack. Hopefully they did at least $110 million in damage. Guess they didn't bomb the actual runways.

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I've been googling this. Opinions vary. Obama himself asked for authorization, but stated he felt he was not legally REQUIRED to get it back in 2013.

Well, the analysts I've heard recently stated what I said earlier about the legality. It's probably only illegal if you are a black Democrat president.

Wikipedia says the unit cost is $1.87 million.

So 50-60 comes out to between $93 million and $112 million for just a few hours of down time. Doesn't sound like all that high-priced tech is very effective.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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You would think that after 50-60 Tomahawk missiles the Syrian airport would have been out of commission for more than a few hours.

Not really, airports can function with as little as just a runway which is not much more than a flat bit of land. In polar regions they rebuild runways each winter on frozen ocean/lakes so it doesn't take much. Reportedly they targetted fuel storage and plane hangars. Considering warplanes can cost $50 million each they don't have to have destroyed many to have done more damage than it cost.

Though I believe carpet bombing is still technically the most cost-effective weapon strategy if one measures simply in cost to aggressor vs cost to defender to rebuild. But obviously there are moral & PR problems with that.

Edited by Agilemind

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Not really, airports can function with as little as just a runway which is not much more than a flat bit of land.

Then I have to wonder why they couldn't have made the same point with 5 missiles instead of 50.

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Trump has asked PBS Kids and the Children's Television Workshop (at the last minute) if they could send characters from Sesame Street to the White House annual Easter Egg Roll. Please note that Trump has publicly stated he wants to cut all funding for the arts, including funding for PBS and Sesame Street.

The event has drawn as many as 35,000 attendees in years past but this year, schools, veterans and other groups have yet to receive their invitations. Look for a severely scaled-down party this year, followed by a Trump tweet declaring that it was the best and biggest attendance ever in the event's 140 year history.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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Not sure how some of you can be so sure about the chemical attack. There is no advantage militarily or otherwise for Assad in doing this. It.s jump the gun time again. There is an investigation going on but Trump and his advisors didn.t feel like waiting for the result. He wanted to look decisive, strong and not somebody to fuck with. All this talk about being the World.s Policeman makes me a little sick in my mouth. Who gave the USA carte blanche to march into sovereign states and start killing people they don.t like? There.s a massive hoo-ha when Russia or anybody else does this, even on a small scale, with sanctions, threats of sanctions and dog knows what else. If you asked people outside the USA whether they wanted the USA to invade other countries with impunity or to meddle in their governance, the answer would be an emphatic NO - "just fuck off". However the need to be all-powerful and control resources has been dressed up as protecting democracy. Anybody who disagrees is evil or in Trump's limited vocab, "very very bad"

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Not sure how some of you can be so sure about the chemical attack.

I'm not completely sure but given Assad's history, he's used chemical weapons before. I'm willing to believe until there is any evidence otherwise. Then again, there are CIA documents that were declassified years ago that proved they had planned false flag attacks on American targets to justify an invasion of Cuba, so anything is possible.

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There is no advantage militarily or otherwise for Assad in doing this.

One, people, even intelligent people, do stupid things outside of their rational self-interest all the time. As the cops say, "If people didn't do stupid stuff, I wouldn't have a job" and the prison population seems to bear this out. It's not particularly bright to risk life in prison for shooting someone in a liquor store robbery that nets you two hundred bucks, but people do it. Two, in the messed-up amoral high-stakes bluff-em-out poker Machiavellian world that Assad, Putin, and dare I suggest it, possibly Trump live in, launching a chemical attack on a non-military target may actually make sense. You have to check your morals at the door and think like Assad and Putin, which is hard for a non-sociopath to do. For sake of argument, let's assume Assad is guilty as charged. He's killed about a hundred people, the vast majority NOT being military aged males in the resistance movement. In return, he's incurred the wrath of the United States and lost about two dozen planes, plus a damaged airport, plus he's garnered a lot of unwanted attention. On the surface, not a good tradeoff.

It was a gamble that he lost. However, what if he had gotten away with it? You can't judge it simply by casualties, just like you can't judge terrorist attacks simply by casualties. The goal of bullets and bombs is to kill. Chlorine bombs (and I don't think anyone doubts he uses chlorine bombs) and Sarin are used to terrify and obliterate all lines and are a morale killer. Had he not been called on it, he would have benefitted greatly in that he would assume that he could fight the rest of the war completely uninhibited and Trump would be an empty suit, which means even MORE Russian help.

Trump's response rocked him on his heels, but was not a knockout blow. Seems like a rational (albeit amoral) player in Assad's shoes might well that chemical attack (and possible follow-up attacks) WOULD be a knockout blow and worth the risk.

Using the same logic, where ruthlessness is valued far more than justice and fairness, Trump's attack possibly BEFORE determining with absolute certainty that Assad was indeed guilty makes sense too. I'm guessing Assad and Putin's respect for Trump went up REGARDLESS of whether Assad is actually guilty.

I'm not crazy about this style of thinking, but it does have a certain messed-up brutal logic to it just as "I don't know which one of you killed my brother, so I'm going to kill both of you" does. End result is they'll think twice before launching the next chemical attack. And yes, if it WAS a false-flag operation, Trump's itchy trigger finger will encourage more false-flag operations. But that ties into my earlier points. Truth and proof have been devalued to the point that waiting for a thorough investigation wouldn't change too many minds.

There.s a massive hoo-ha when Russia or anybody else does this, even on a small scale, with sanctions, threats of sanctions and dog knows what else.

I don't think Putin loses a second of sleep over sanctions and the like. He cares about military force and I think there's only one country that he potentially worries about in that regard: the US. That doesn't give us the right to go around doing whatever the hell we want, but it IS a factor, and it inevitably leads to hubris on our side and resentment on our allies' side for not being consulted. It's not a healthy situation for ANYONE. One of the few bright sides of the world not trusting Trump in the "Leader of the Free World" is that it might spur some folks into positive action i.e. beefing up their militaries and putting some teeth into sanctions, etc. so they're no longer stuck following our lead, particularly when they think we're leading them off a cliff.

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I'm still pretty worried that some of you think, "sod it, they did it before, so it must be them again - bomb the bastards".

I don't think Putin loses a second of sleep over sanctions and the like.

I don't think Putin cares too much either, but that's not the point.

That doesn't give us the right to go around doing whatever the hell we want, but it IS a factor...

Well, you know what? I think it does and I think your govt. likes to think so too. This makes interesting reading:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-has-killed-more-than-20-million-people-in-37-victim-nations-since-world-war-ii/5492051

I wouldn't call it gospel and some of the findings I find a little contentious, but I don't think it's too off the mark.

Trump scares me more than Putin. In fact even USA under Obama scared me more than Putin. Sorry if you don't like it, but this "Free World" nonsense is a fantasy. I am probably in the minority wrt this last statement, but I'm not one to gulp down the spin from politicians and some of the media.

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I'm not offended. I'm generally pretty thick skinned about stuff like this. I require honesty and good faith in discussions and you bring that. With good faith and honesty, I can handle some pretty deep gulfs in opinion before giving up a discussion as intractable. I think it's quite important to not make too many assumptions. Perfect example of that is the "Leader of the Free World" idea. It's pointless to debate who should hold that title if we don't agree that that the "Free World" exists or should exist and that someone needs to be the leader of it. Obama being more scary than Putin coming from a Welshman is a little hard to process. I'd be interested in how many of your countrymen feel that way. If you're not in a small minority, then I'm way out of touch. I have a pretty small sample size to work with, but the Europeans/Canadians/Aussies I know haven't lost THAT much faith in us.

NATO is the key, I think, or at least the easiest to solve. Trump isn't right about much and Lord knows he has an uninformed and stupid view as far as "billing" NATO members, but only four European countries spend the agreed-upon two percent of GDP on defense. Drop out of NATO, renegotiate the agreement, or ramp up defense spending to the agreed-upon two percent. Do that and you're much harder for Trump to ignore.

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Obama being more scary than Putin coming from a Welshman is a little hard to process. I'd be interested in how many of your countrymen feel that way.

As I said...

I am probably in the minority wrt this last statement

I'm not anti-USA by any stretch, but as reluctant as Obama was to engage in a full military shebang in Syria, the capacity to do so was always there and he was in charge during some pretty dubious goings-on. He oversaw the military at war for every year of his presidency (a record in fact). Overt incursions / strikes / raids on Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. To be involved like this on the global stage is terrifying.

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I think this figure really sums up the problem with NATO. The USA accounts for 3/4 of all NATO military spending, so it's hard to convince all the other countries that whether they spend 1% or 2% of their GDP on defense spending really makes any difference in practice. Likewise it's ridiculous to suppose one of the other countries taking over as "leader" of the alliance.

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Assad just made a statement claiming that the photos of the dead babies following the chemical attack are fake. I'm waiting for Trump to issue a statement like "Who does he think he's fooling with this fake news crap?"

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Ron Paul is on record saying that Assad did not do it as well. No qualifiers like "maybe", "probably not", "we need an investigation". He flat out says there was "zero chance" Assad did it. To my knowledge so far he is the only high profile American politician taking that public stance. Ron Paul is certainly controversial and some people think he's a kook and write him off as such. I personally believe he's not a kook or publicity hound, and he's a smart guy not prone to hyperbole or rashness in my opinion. I rarely agree with him and would never vote for him, but it gives me pause that he's taken this position and I wonder why he's so certain. He's a FORMER congressman, so as far as I know he would not be privvy to Intelligence reports, though his son is currently in the Senate and has taken the position that Trump must get Congressional approval for attacks on Syria.

I trust Ron Paul more than I trust Donald Trump.

Jim, you're so right on this one. If I was in the press pool, that'd be the question I'd be asking Sean Spicer and there's no good answer. He has the WORST job on the planet. If he makes it a full year without being fired or having a heart attack from the stress, I'll be amazed.

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I think Assad is the most likely culprit. Ron Paul is less of a liar than Trump, but he is an ideologue (tend to be certain in their beliefs and resistent to argument/evidence) who is anti-intervensionist and who doesn't have direct access to the evidence, so his confidence means very little to me. [Just as Bernie Sanders having confidence the banks are responsible for some bad thing would mean very little to me]

There is no really good reason for anyone to have commited the attack if they were purely rational actors with sensible goals (though people generally aren't that). But Assad has a somewhat plausible motivation as a way to test Trump on both of his pro-Russia-ness and his anti-interventionist stances. The direct effects of the attack also benefit Assad the most in terms of demoralizing his enemies. Plus we know Assad has the capability to commit the attack (I haven't seen much more than speculation that other groups could have) and he has committed similar atrocities during this same war (the seige of Alleppo was hardly sunshine and roses for civilians).

As any kind of false-flag attack it has been largely ineffective and was very likely to be ineffective given Trump's pro-Russia & anti-interventionism. Trump's retaliation has only cost Assad maybe a billion dollars in damage & losses and his offensive is only minorly inconvienenced.

Even as a publicity stunt for Trump it hasn't been that great - sure the mainstream media pundits praised him for a few days but some of his allied R-wing conspiracy nuts criticized him. Plus it was rather unnecessary since he turned the MOAB attack on Afghanistan into a publicity stunt only a few days later.

Edited by Agilemind

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Funny how nobody has mentioned the use of chemical weapons by the US military. I guess it's OK when the "good guys" use them.

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When did the US use chemical weapons? They have signed up to the anti-chemical weapons treaty so it would be illegal for them to do so.

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if you've forgotten Vietnam as well

Yeah. I would think that any reasonable person would classify untold millions of gallons of Agent Orange as a chemical weapon.

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short memory if you've forgotten Vietnam as well

I was born till a decade after Vietnam. Though reading about it, it seemed as though the chemicals used there weren't primarily intended to kill people so are a different kind of chemical weapon, which is a bit less morally objectionable.

Thanks for the Guardian article. Sad to see the US found a way around the treaty. The use of napalm is morally comparable to what Assad has been doing.

Though to me the question we should really ask is whether we would have wanted some power beyond the US to have "punished" them for using chemical weapons. Rather than whether the US is sufficiently virtuous to be the one handing out the punishment.

"Do as I say, not as I do" definitely isn't the ideal situation but is it better than "Do whatever you want"?

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Rather than whether the US is sufficiently virtuous to be the one handing out the punishment

*cough*

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If the phrase "chemical weapons" isn't a term of art, it needs to be. If it isn't, it dumbs down the debate with false equivalencies. Pretty soon CS Tear Gas and Sarin are treated as equivalent if we're not careful.

Agent Orange doesn't make the chemical weapons cut. It just doesn't. It's useless as a weapon since it takes so damn long to have ill effects and take people out of the fight. I won't defend its use. I just won't call it a weapon. It was a defoliant designed to kill the landscape that the VietCong were hiding in. It had some very nasty health side effects, but those were the side effects, not the purpose. Did the US show callous disregard for the health of Vietnamese civilians and its own troops in its deployment? You bet. Chemical weapon? No.

Napalm, White Phosphorous, and similar substances? Intentionally targetting civilians or intentionally targetting enemy combatants NEAR civilians so that civilians might get too is now a war crime (there are a few exceptions). Its use (at least by the US, other countries ban its use outright) to target enemy combatants directly is NOT a war crime, nor is using it for a reason other than to kill people directly (you can use it as a smoke screen or to light buildings and other stuff on fire) as long as you do your utmost to ensure that civilians don't get hurt in the process, but that goes with everything, just doubly so with this stuff. To my knowledge, the US never promised or even hinted that it wouldn't use the stuff, so I'm confused about the "cover-up" aspect of this. Talk to military personnel. They train with the stuff all the time and don't pretend otherwise. Not sure why anyone would bother to lie about using it in Fallujah. The people I've talked to in the know were quite up front about it. They saw using it in Fallujah as no different than using it on Iwo Jima. If they needed to burn down a house and all the people inside, they would do so using any means available, including napalm/WP and the like. War involves killing your enemy, often quite horrifically, and hardening yourself to that. We haven't banned flamethrowers yet. That's napalm or something quite similar. For the record, and lots of people don't know this, the US didn't drop the bomb on the famous "Napalm Girl" in Vietnam. The South Vietnamese did, though I'm sure we provided the bomb. That photo severely curbed napalm's use, thank God. But it didn't end it.

"Chemical weapons" like mustard gas, sarin, and even Chlorine Bombs seem different to me, and dropping them on civilians on purpose to terrorize them like Assad did seems way different to me. That's at a higher plane and THOSE are illegal to use anywhere, even when civilians aren't anywhere nearby. If anyone knows of Americans deploying that stuff post-World-War-One, I'm all ears. If we DO, then by all means, tell us we're as bad as Assad. Till then...

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I didn't claim that anyone was "as bad" as Assad. I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy of the "they shot him ten times but I only shot him once" type of argument. Dead is dead and dying by white phosphor or napalm is probably as bad as by Sarin, Zyklon B, Phosgene or mustard gas. They are all weapons of terror.

The there's MK Ultra. Nobody's hands are clean.

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Let's be honest - war is dirty. It's often a win at all costs for those with most to lose. If somebody invades your country, you'd do anything to kill the bastards. Ballocks to the Geneva Convention, you just wouldn't care, would you? Perhaps I'm thinking more along the lines of guerilla / resistance forces here, rather than an official state army. If somebody was wiping out my compatriots, I'd use anything within my means to inflict such horrendous injury / loss of life, that it would give the enemy real pause. Of course, from the safety of our armchairs in front of the TV, we can all pontificate and say how illegal or ineffective these things are, but say that to the guy defending his homeland.

Assad's a 24-carat waste of oxygen, but I'm still not sure he's the perp. Where's the evidence? But, unfortunately, people are creating their own "alternative facts".

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Diafol, 2017

If somebody was wiping out my compatriots, I'd use anything within my means to inflict such horrendous injury / loss of life, that it would give the enemy real pause.

Machiavelli, 1500 give or take

If you force me to do violence, I shall be so savage and so cruel, and hurt you so badly that the thought of revenge shall never cross your mind

Author Unknown

History and the rules are written by the winners

Somewhere along the line someone decided that there were rules even in war and that chemical attacks were against the rules. I remember debating a soldier in 2003 who said that if the insurgents were real men, they'd fight us in the open. I told him they would be morons to do that and are probably saying to each other that if the Americans were real men, they'd fight us in the open using small arms rather than use artillery, tanks, helicopter gunships, drones, and all the other stuff that the US has and the insurgents don't. We make rules that play to our advantage, no doubt about it. As they say, if you're fighting fair, you're doing it wrong.

It is indeed easy to say what we'd do from our armchairs, but I know there are lines I would not cross even in war. YMMV.

I just think the language needs to be tightened up. It's extra important in a Trump thread. Part of the reason he got elected is that people have gotten lazy with language and defined things as they please till the words are meaningless. The word "liberal" meant something once. Now it means whatever a Trump supporter wants it to mean in order to demonize liberals in a straw-man argument and not have to take a hard look at Trump. It's a slippery slope and starts the dumbing down process till there is no longer any objective truth. It's all "spin" and "alternative facts" as mentioned above. The result is a polarized society and the man we have in the White House says Assad did it and people don't believe him because he lies about everything else, so why wouldn't he lie about this?

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Where's the evidence?

What evidence do you expect to be made public? Anything 100% conclusive would reveal that the US (or her allies) have spies/agents within the Assad regime, or that they have compromised the most secure communication networks within the Assad gov't. There is no way they would reveal that information, so all the good evidence is going to be highly classified.

people don't believe him because he lies about everything else, so why wouldn't he lie about this?

Why wouldn't Elizabeth Warren or other prominant Democrats call him on it if he was flat out lying?

Edited by Agilemind

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There is no way they would reveal that information, so all the good evidence is going to be highly classified.

So you can make it up too by that measure. Smoking guns. WMD in Iraq. etc etc. We know the USA and the UK lied about that.

So we "know" Assad used CW in the past, so this must be him too.
We know the USA lied about use of weapons in the past, so they are lying about this too. Hmmm.

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When the US was lying about WMDs in Iraq they release photos of the "weapons silos" to the press (i.e. making much more effort to make people believe the lie), and they had much clearer intentions/desire for a full-scale war & regime change in Iraq. Why would the US lie just so they can make a mostly ineffectual show-of-force strike? Particularly when they were about to have a major strike in Afghanistan with the MOAB?

Edited by Agilemind

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