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Old 04-12-2018, 11:17 AM
XT XT is offline
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Pres Macron says there is proof that Assad/Syria engaged in chemical weapons attack. What next?

President says that he has stated that "We have proof that last week chemical weapons, at least chlorine, were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad." This is a 'red line' for the President, "the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line"" and "would result in reprisal and an immediate response".

So, what do you all think? Has a line been crossed? Do you think there is actually proof? What do you think will happen now? What do you think should happen?
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Last edited by XT; 04-12-2018 at 11:17 AM.
  #2  
Old 04-12-2018, 11:22 AM
bobot bobot is offline
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The first thing he should do is announce that bombs will fall and then taunt Russia about their ability to shoot them down. That would be the smart thing, anyway.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:24 AM
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The first thing he should do is announce that bombs will fall and then taunt Russia about their ability to shoot them down. That would be the smart thing, anyway.
I don't think Macron does that sort of stupid shit.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:28 AM
Velocity Velocity is online now
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Maybe you should edit the headline to read "French President" otherwise people may think Trump.


Sure, I think the Assad regime should be bombed for doing this, but I disagree with chemical weapons being a "red line." Killing civilians with AK-47s is just as bad as killing them with chlorine. I have never understood the "If you kill your civilians with bullets, it's OK, but if you kill them with poison, that's a red line!" international-community logic.
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Old 04-12-2018, 11:29 AM
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Re-assert the French-Syrian mandate and put an end to the nonsense, once and for all.
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:24 PM
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So, how many innocent people were killed by the reputed chemical attack?

I'm fairly certain that any action taken in response will be sure to kill a greater number of innocent people. So, that will show them!
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:28 PM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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IIRC the French were the only ones who went along with this "red line" idea back when it was Obama. Nothing came of that, and the French didn't do anything on their own.


Perhaps this
Quote:
"the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line"" and "would result in reprisal and an immediate response"
should be amended to add "by the US".

Regards,
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:54 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
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Re-assert the French-Syrian mandate and put an end to the nonsense, once and for all.
I’m not sure that a return to colonial powers carving up the Middle East in borders that cross traditional ethnic lines is really a solution to the problems created by colonial powers carving up the Middle East in borders that cross traditional ethnic lines but I’m willing to entertain more detailed proposals.

One issue that seems to be missing from the discussion about the current Assad regime is why they are willing to use chemical weapons despite near-universal international condemnation, e.g. the threat posed by multiple competing fundamentalist and ideologically extreme opponents (and not just ISIL/Daesh). This does not justify use of weapons of mass destruction against civilian populations, of course, nor the history of Syria in supporting the Ba’ath regime in Iraq or international terrorism by the PLO and other Islamic terrorist groups, but there is a general presentation of Assad as being evil (after the initial view that he would bring a more moderate governance with secular elements to Syria) rather than extremely desperate to maintain civil order in a country that is under constant threat of being torn apart by extremist groups. Bombing Assad and his government out of existance isn’t going to solve that problem and will open of a vacuum that may well result in even more death and destruction.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 04-12-2018 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:11 PM
XT XT is offline
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So, how many innocent people were killed by the reputed chemical attack?

I'm fairly certain that any action taken in response will be sure to kill a greater number of innocent people. So, that will show them!
Unless you think that France (and the US, UK and others) are going to carpet bomb Syria I don't see why you think this. We'd be going after military targets, so the difference would be soldiers killed with perhaps some civilians as opposed to someone deliberately targeting civilians only with chemical weapons. Who is the 'them' that this will show, in your estimation?
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:03 PM
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Dump a truckload of chlorine on some of Assad's soldiers. If it's a particularly nasty way to die, they'll think twice before loading up the next chemical attack.

I don't see the real problem with chemical weapons though, same with the whole barrel bomb thing a while back, it's war.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:15 PM
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Dump a truckload of chlorine on some of Assad's soldiers. If it's a particularly nasty way to die, they'll think twice before loading up the next chemical attack.

I don't see the real problem with chemical weapons though, same with the whole barrel bomb thing a while back, it's war.
Another BBC article talks about this (i.e. the normalization of the use of chemical weapons):

Quote:
On its own, military force is meaningless. It has to be part of a political strategy and in this case the strategy is about bigger issues than Syria itself and only offers a long-shot hope for the Syrian population.

The first objective is to push back against the increasing "normalisation" of chemical weapons being used in wars of any kind.

The taboo against them has been surprisingly strong since the end of World War One. The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 has been one of the most effective disarmament measures in modern history. Syria is a signatory to it.

In 2013 President Obama claimed he would uphold that taboo as a "red line", but then didn't. And despite firm denials from the Assad government, there is an abundance of evidence that Syrian forces, with Russian connivance, have been using chemical weapons against their own people on a regular basis ever since.

Many Western politicians feel that - with all the moral grey areas of this situation - they cannot sell the pass on this issue yet again. It has become a test case for the international rule of law, which is under severe pressure on many fronts.
Anything can become normal with repeated use. Why not nuclear weapons? After all, they are just bigger booms, in the end and people die horribly from regular explosives. Lines have to be drawn somewhere, and if they are drawn then they become meaningless if no one does anything when they are crossed.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:18 PM
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I'm kinda surprised it isn't already raining bombs in Syria. Trump desperately wants to "Wag the Dog" to get his attorney scandal off the headlines...
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:24 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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I'm kinda surprised it isn't already raining bombs in Syria. Trump desperately wants to "Wag the Dog" to get his attorney scandal off the headlines...
I suspect the explanation for your surprise is that you probably don't have a very good understanding of what Trump "desperately wants".

ETA: Do you think the leaders of France and the UK (who are also both contemplating participating in strikes) have an interest in helping Trump "get his attorney scandal off the headlines"? Or is it just possible that there's a real issue at play here and Trump is not just doing this to "Wag the Dog"?

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-12-2018 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:28 PM
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I suspect the explanation for your surprise is that you probably don't have a very good understanding of what Trump "desperately wants".

ETA: Do you think the leaders of France and the UK (who are also both contemplating participating in strikes) have an interest in helping Trump "get his attorney scandal off the headlines"? Or is it just possible that there's a real issue at play here and Trump is not just doing this to "Wag the Dog"?
When POTUS fucking taunts Russia via twitter, I'm pretty confident with the dog wagging theory.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:29 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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When POTUS fucking taunts Russia via twitter, I'm pretty confident with the dog wagging theory.
And May and Macron are in on it?
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:32 PM
up_the_junction up_the_junction is offline
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What is the history of Trump and foreign action?

Firing cruise missiles at an empty field in Syria, sailing his "armada" to Australia, talking shite on twitter - if he can't send a lawyers letter then there's nothing.

Even the expulsion of 60 russians was forced by Congress. The man is a coward.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:34 PM
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If you are implying Trump has made all this up, then no. However, by waiting what this has done in practice is to allow the Syrian's to redeploy their air force and most of their vulnerable equipment to within the Russian's air bases, which I seriously doubt anyone is going to attack. Any attack we do, unless it's sustained is going to be essentially symbolic at this point, just like last time. We hit some air fields, and the Syrian's had them back in service in a few days.

As for Trump, his tweets were idiotic and probably were to try and get the public and everyone else talking about something else than his own issues. And I wouldn't be surprised if he is deliberately waiting at this point to do something so that it increases the tension of the situation and gains him a few more days of relative peace from the distraction of what he probably sees as a perfect opportunity to take the heat off, instead of a critical international incident requiring him to do that presidential shit he's supposed to be doing.

ETA: This was in response to the discussion between HD and Oak.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:35 PM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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I thought he was colluding with Putin and being his helpless puppet. Now he's bombing Russia's allies. How quickly the narratives change.

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Old 04-12-2018, 02:37 PM
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I thought he was colluding with Putin and being his helpless puppet. Now he's bombing Russia's allies. How quickly the narratives change.

Regards,
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Who's narrative? Not mine. I don't know of anyone saying Syria is 'helpless', though certainly they are a Russian puppet.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:39 PM
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And May and Macron are in on it?
They likely have their own reasons, possibly even altruistic ones. That doesn't change Trump's motivations. He wants to bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity that usually follows military action...that kind of thing makes his dick harder than Stormy Daniels ever could.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:53 PM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is offline
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Probably at most, a token airstrike on something of secondary importance with the effect of mildly inconveniencing Assad for a few days.

The twitter description, though, will compare it to Hiroshima.
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:37 PM
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Should we not first establish whether there has actually been a chemical attack by Assad?

XT, I would like to remind you of what you said after the previous chemical attack.
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...2&postcount=49
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:40 PM
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Maybe you should edit the headline to read "French President" otherwise people may think Trump.
Aye; what's up with that?
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Old 04-12-2018, 03:45 PM
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Who's narrative? Not mine. I don't know of anyone saying Syria is 'helpless', though certainly they are a Russian puppet.
Trump, not Syria. I will assume you don't need a cite that the idea is that Trump is Putin's puppet, that Trump was colluding with Russia (I think it may have mentioned on these boards once or twice).

As I mentioned earlier, I suspect the French President is not going to be doing any bombing on his own.

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Old 04-12-2018, 04:28 PM
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Should we not first establish whether there has actually been a chemical attack by Assad?

XT, I would like to remind you of what you said after the previous chemical attack.
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...2&postcount=49
Absolutely. I agree with my earlier post, and in another thread I brought this up. That said, the French President (which I apparently need to specify) said he DOES have proof, so part of the OP is asking about that as well. Of course, we get into an analysis paralysis situation as well, with the longer we wait (and with our own idiotic president tweeting about attacks) the longer the Syrian's have to redeploy their critical systems and personnel to be shielded by the Russian's.

Myself, I'd be fine with taking our time to look into this to really ensure we have all of the evidence, but if it is found to be the case (yet again), then I think a more sustained effort against Syria is in order...as well as more pressure on Russia to step aside. Personally, I was a bit suspicious about this chemical attack when I first heard about it, but the evidence does seem to be mounting, and while I think Trump is stupid in Biblical proportions that doesn't preclude Assad from being as stupid or even more stupid.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:33 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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I'm kinda surprised it isn't already raining bombs in Syria. Trump desperately wants to "Wag the Dog" to get his attorney scandal off the headlines...
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Originally Posted by Oakminster View Post
They likely have their own reasons, possibly even altruistic ones. That doesn't change Trump's motivations. He wants to bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity that usually follows military action...that kind of thing makes his dick harder than Stormy Daniels ever could.
It seems you don't even have a consistent theory, in your own mind, about why Trump might bomb Syria. Within half an hour you went from "to get his attorney scandal off the headlines" to "bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity". It'll be fascinating to watch whatever additional made-up motives you ascribe to this hypothetical action in the future.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:57 PM
up_the_junction up_the_junction is offline
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That doesn't change Trump's motivations. He wants to bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity that usually follows military action...that kind of thing makes his dick harder than Stormy Daniels ever could.
I'm surprised anyone thinks Trump is inclined to military action.

Make no mistake, this is serious shit. Any response is a genuine escalation of the confrontation between the west and Russia - an attack on Assad must be considered in the context of sophisticated Russian air defence systems. And cruise misslies won't cut it - we know that from Trump's last token response.

John Bolton will be inclined to action. Theresa May has no choice other than to follow after the international support following Salisbury. But make no mistake, for the first time in 20 years the USA will not be attacking guys in SUV's, there are all manner of risks here.

If anything the attack is a baited trap.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:42 PM
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for the first time in 20 years the USA will not be attacking guys in SUV's
In Allied Force in 1999, the US was going up against conventionally equipped, reasonably-modern armed Serb forces. In 2003, there was still conventional resistance from the Iraqi regular military. In Desert Fox, Saddam's military was conventional and modern by regional standards likewise.
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Old 04-12-2018, 05:52 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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... If anything the attack is a baited trap.
You think the Syrians are trying to bait the USN and USAF (and RAF and French Air Force / Navy) into attacking so that they can "spring a trap" on us, perhaps in conjunction with the Russians and their fancy S-400 SAM system?
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:02 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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In Allied Force in 1999, the US was going up against conventionally equipped, reasonably-modern armed Serb forces. In 2003, there was still conventional resistance from the Iraqi regular military. In Desert Fox, Saddam's military was conventional and modern by regional standards likewise.
There was also Odyssey Dawn. I don't have a particularly high opinion of the martial prowess of the forces that were under Gaddafi's command in 2011, but it's certainly more comparable to the sort of organized military forces that are under Assad's command today than just "guys in SUV's".

Note: The Russians could make it significantly more sporting, if they choose.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:11 PM
up_the_junction up_the_junction is offline
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You think the Syrians are trying to bait the USN and USAF (and RAF and French Air Force / Navy) into attacking so that they can "spring a trap" on us, perhaps in conjunction with the Russians and their fancy S-400 SAM system?
There is no such entity as "the Syrians". What I think is that message board over simplifications contribute nothing.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:21 PM
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... Within half an hour you went from "to get his attorney scandal off the headlines" to "bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity". ...
These are not different reasons. Each would be an easily predicted rationale for Trump dropping bombs. Trump ain't all that deep and complex.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:30 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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There is no such entity as "the Syrians". What I think is that message board over simplifications contribute nothing.
You weren't able to pick up, from the context of that comment, that I was referring to the forces under Assad's command?

ETA: I was asking for clarification on your "the attack is a baited trap" comment. You seem disinclined to offer any.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 04-12-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:35 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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These are not different reasons. ...
Of course they're different. It's possible they're both factors in Trump's decision-making, but they are clearly "different reasons". One is not just a synonym or restatement of the other.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:38 PM
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I thought he was colluding with Putin and being his helpless puppet. Now he's bombing Russia's allies. How quickly the narratives change.
For now all he's doing is a bit of saber rattling. If he does as before he'll launch several million dollars worth of bloated defense spending to shut down an airbase for a week or two until Assad can clean it up. I actually think that an increase in perceived tension up to and including one or two Russian Casualties, would probably be good for both sides. Trump can claim to be being harsh on Russia, and an international tough guy, Putin can focus the discontent of his people on an exterior boogieman. As long as no one hurts the Russian Oligarch Gravy train, or Putin's greater strategic ambitions it's Win-Win.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:40 PM
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There is no such entity as "the Syrians". What I think is that message board over simplifications contribute nothing.
Ironic coming from a poster who generally posts in one line replies that are simplistic and generally contribute little to the discussion (I'm being generous here). As for what you probably think of as a sophisticated and nuanced reply here, while it's true that there are a huge number of factions in this civil war, the reality is that 'the Syrians' can, in this case, be summed up by Assad, since only he has access to (Russian built) advanced air defense systems...the average faction, whether on Assad's side, on one of the various rebels sides or even on ISIS/ISIL or on factions supporting their side don't. So, nice try and thanks for the laugh.

Quote:
I'm surprised anyone thinks Trump is inclined to military action.

Make no mistake, this is serious shit. Any response is a genuine escalation of the confrontation between the west and Russia - an attack on Assad must be considered in the context of sophisticated Russian air defence systems. And cruise misslies won't cut it - we know that from Trump's last token response.

John Bolton will be inclined to action. Theresa May has no choice other than to follow after the international support following Salisbury. But make no mistake, for the first time in 20 years the USA will not be attacking guys in SUV's, there are all manner of risks here.

If anything the attack is a baited trap.
I picture Admiral Ackbar with that last line there. It's funny coming on the heels of the first post I quoted there that you have such a simplistic view of all things America and a really overblown view of Russian technological capabilities and forces deployed in Syria. While I have no doubt that the S-400 system is every bit as formidable as it's touted, you really don't know that much about how it's deployed in Syria and what it's capabilities are wrt guarding even the parts of Syria that Assad controls as opposed to what the US and it's allies can bring to bear. While I doubt that Trump has any more of a clue than you seem to, and I doubt that Trump will do more than a token retaliatory strike (probably more to take the pressure off him at home than out of any sort of conviction that the US should be involved at all), the US and it's allies can bring overwhelming force to bear in Syria if it and it's allies so choose.

Your ridiculous prejudice against the US has blinded you to the fact that in the theater those cruise missiles alone, which you so disparage can almost certainly bring to bear enough to overwhelm the air defense network the Russian's have deployed...and that's if we actually went for them where they are most concentrated, which we certainly won't. This doesn't count the air assets that the US, UK, France and the rest could deploy in strikes...just the cruise missiles. Just to put this in some context, each destroyer the US has carries over 50...dedicated missile cruisers carry more. US boomers can carry over 100 of the things, and even attack subs have over 50. The Air Force, of course, can launch a huge number as well. No idea how many missiles you think the Russian's have in the area, but even assuming they could shoot down half or even 2/3rds, which is fantasy, they are going to shoot themselves dry a hell of a lot faster than we are. And, of course, there are all those attack air craft.

As to your other point about the US fighting 'guys in SUV's', I have to ask you...who do you suppose the Russian's have been fighting during the same time period? Even if we accept this silly assertion on your part, that's more experience that the Russian's have.
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  #37  
Old 04-12-2018, 06:41 PM
up_the_junction up_the_junction is offline
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You weren't able to pick up, from the context of that comment, that I was referring to the forces under Assad's command?

ETA: I was asking for clarification on your "the attack is a baited trap" comment. You seem disinclined to offer any.
tbh, I'm somewhat disinclined to engage with you.

This is a nuanced calibration which is why it is taking days. I think it's helpful to acknowledge that. It's partly intended as a test of John Bolton, partly to throw light on the extent of the chaos in the White House, partly to flesh out the state of play in a tapestry of alliances. Not so much a boys own match up in military systems, though it may come to that as well.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:50 PM
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It seems you don't even have a consistent theory, in your own mind, about why Trump might bomb Syria. Within half an hour you went from "to get his attorney scandal off the headlines" to "bask in the rah-rah patriotic boost in popularity". It'll be fascinating to watch whatever additional made-up motives you ascribe to this hypothetical action in the future.
The two are not mutually exclusive, to intelligent people. He can, and likely will, "bask in the rah rah" while enjoying his attorney scandal not being in the headline. But feel free to continue your patented pretzel logic. It amuses me.
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  #39  
Old 04-12-2018, 07:05 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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The two are not mutually exclusive, to intelligent people. He can, and likely will, "bask in the rah rah" while enjoying his attorney scandal not being in the headline. But feel free to continue your patented pretzel logic. It amuses me.
"mutually exclusive" was not a claim I ever made. I said "It seems you don't even have a consistent theory". I suppose one could fairly summarize that as a claim that they were "different.". That's what bobot did. He jumped in with "These are not different reasons", which I suspect you'd agree is patently false.

I am curious though, in your unified theory of Trump's motivations, is there any room for humanitarian causes / international norms similar to May & Macron, or are you certain that's not an issue that plays into this at all with President Trump?
  #40  
Old 04-12-2018, 07:13 PM
Oakminster Oakminster is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post

I am curious though, in your unified theory of Trump's motivations, is there any room for humanitarian causes / international norms similar to May & Macron, or are you certain that's not an issue that plays into this at all with President Trump?
There ain't no good in an evil hearted...POTUS. Trump is motivated only by the greater glory of Trump. He has no core values, no principles, no honor, no respect for the rule of law, and no credibility. He'd likely hire someone to fiddle while metaphorical Rome burns, and then refuse to pay them.
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  #41  
Old 04-12-2018, 07:21 PM
bobot bobot is offline
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The only reason Trump has held the phone just now is because May and Macron have announced a partnered reaction. Trump is now in "take a step back and just do what the smart people are going to do" mode. He's a real leader. Brave. Sad. Unfair.
  #42  
Old 04-12-2018, 08:28 PM
Declan Declan is offline
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[URL="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43740626"]So, what do you all think? Has a line been crossed? Do you think there is actually proof? What do you think will happen now? What do you think should happen?
Even if Assad has used Chemical weaponry and we have both radio intercepts and autopsied bodies, we should ignore it. We would be hitting the wrong people. If we wanted to end this charade, then we need to hit the Russians. No way Bashy would have done this, had he not had assurances that the Russians would back his play. The Russians are pissed because three hundred of their troops that were loaned to a Merc outfit, where killed for no appreciable gain, and if Putin wants to play cowboys and cossacks then double down and start Rolling thunder 3 and dare him to take it wider.

If not , then don't waste western lives on someone that does not care about his own people.
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  #43  
Old 04-13-2018, 06:12 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is online now
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I am curious though, in your unified theory of Trump's motivations, is there any room for humanitarian causes / international norms similar to May & Macron, or are you certain that's not an issue that plays into this at all with President Trump?
Oh, that's great! Thanks for the Friday morning laugh. I needed that.

Wait... you were serious?...
  #44  
Old 04-13-2018, 08:55 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Oh, that's great! Thanks for the Friday morning laugh. I needed that.

Wait... you were serious?...
I was seriously asking a question, yes.
  #45  
Old 04-13-2018, 09:14 AM
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I was seriously asking a question, yes.
In that case my serious answer is: No, I have no reason to believe that there is any room in Trump's severely flawed mind for humanitarian impulse. UNLESS, it is explained to him in a way that would benefit him as a result of having done the "right" thing.
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  #46  
Old 04-13-2018, 09:51 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
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Personally, I believe the main consideration in Trump's mind about sending in troops is whether it might reduce the size of his parade.
  #47  
Old 04-13-2018, 11:03 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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In interesting news around the world this morning, the Russians claim the Brits helped stage the CW attack: https://www.rt.com/news/424047-russi...yria-statement
  #48  
Old 04-13-2018, 11:12 AM
Blank Slate Blank Slate is offline
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I'm kinda surprised it isn't already raining bombs in Syria. Trump desperately wants to "Wag the Dog" to get his attorney scandal off the headlines...
When Daddy Putin gives him permission and approves the proposed bombing site, Donny will unleash some missiles. He'll probably replace Sessions on the same day.
  #49  
Old 04-13-2018, 12:11 PM
Jonathan Chance Jonathan Chance is offline
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Thread title changed to reflect which President via multiple requests.
  #50  
Old 04-13-2018, 12:53 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is online now
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I think there is a good chance this a test of western resolve, perhaps by Putin more than Assad. The gas attack seemed too small to have any real strategic or tactical purpose.

The deployment of the S-400 system is basically telling America and her allies that Putin is willing to shoot down Allied assets if they violate his rules. The S-400 can supposedly take down an F-35, which means the stakes have grown tremendously for a U.S air strike. If the U.S tries to take out another symbolic target and Russia responds by shooting down a U.S. aircraft, it could be a major incident.

It also occurs to me that Putin is trying to shop the S-400 to a lot of countries, and if he could show it being effective in action against the most sohisticated military in the world, he'll have a lot of customers. So far as I know, the S-400 has never been fired in combat.

If the U.S. does not respond, my fear would be that Putin will see this as a sign that his new weapon is feared and it will embolden even more aggressive actions.
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