Syria — Messaging and Collateral Damage

Big Red Car here pondering the fallout from America’s fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missile strike against the Syrian airbase from which Bashar al Assad launched the airborne Sarin gas attack against his people earlier this week. President Trump took it out without telegraphing the punch and without talking it to death. Ahh, that’s refreshing, no? Syria!

Last night at 8:30 EDT, the Trump administration gave the world an insight into how this President will conduct the affairs of America’s foreign policy.

Trump speech

This guy is now in charge. He is a guy who favors action over words. New foreign policy. New military awareness. New outcomes?

Today, the world will be sorting out the message delivered. The Big Red Car will help y’all with that.

Syria — how did we get here, Big Red Car?

Syrian is run by a butcher, Bashar al Assad, who has killed half a million of his own people. <<< Please read that again. 500,000 dead Syrians and the world is not doing anything to get rid of this POS.

His family has been running Syria for almost half a century. He inherited the title from his father, another ruthless butcher. Believe it or not, the son-of-a-bitch is a doctor who studied in London.

Putin and Assad pic

Thugs shaking hands. The guy on the left is the Butcher of Syria, Bashar al Assad. The guy on the right is the Devil, Vladimir Putin of Russia. This is the face of evil in the world. Remember this.

In the euphoria of the Arab Spring, the Syrians began to resist the repressive regime and the regime began to annihilate the resistance. The casualty rolls are horrific as al Assad has killed or wounded approximately twelve percent of the pre-war population of Syria. This includes almost 20,000 women and 12,000 children. This butcher makes war against women and children.

This has resulted in a flood of refugees — 5,000,000 who have fled the country and 6,000,000 who have been internally displace (meaning they are no longer in their homes but still within the territorial boundaries of Syria). All of these refugees have to be settled somewhere, right? The best solution would be to return Syria to peace and let them go home, no?

He has deployed soldiers with rifles and crew-served weapons (machine guns), artillery, bombs (barrel bombs), and chemical weapons.

The al Assad regime is propped up by the Russians who want to continue to use Syria for a warm water port and airfields in the Middle East. For Russia, a thuggery in its own right, it is all about sticking their finger in the world’s eye, confronting a weak American President Obama, and the strategic implications of military facilities while regaining influence in the Middle East, having been run off after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The Iranians have also stepped up their support of the al Assad regime which really clouds things as the Iranians have more than 100,000 troops in Iraq “helping” that country. If the war widens, the potential for a regional conflict driven by the Iranians is huge. The US under President Obama has really screwed Iraq up. We might as well have given Iraq to the Iranians as part of the Iranian nuclear deal.

What else, Big Red Car?

In addition to the above, the Obama administration floundered for eight years trying to sort out what it wanted to do in Syria. They whispered they were in favor of regime change and slipped support to those rebelling against al Assad. Not enough to make any real difference, but enough to let them chatter about it on Martha’s Vineyard and pretend they were badasses.

That created a problem because some of those folks they supported were al Qaeda in new robes or the beginnings of ISIS. ISIS has their freaking headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.

Then, President Obama in one of the most ill-advised utterances ever proclaimed that any additional use of chemical weapons would cross a RED LINE. He red lined them. [This is the diplomatic equivalent of your Dad saying, “You want me to stop this car? If I stop this car, somebody is getting a licking. You want that?” Yeah, sure, Dad. Maybe Mom’s getting a licking.]

Of course, as you know, when the Syrians actually used chemical weapons, our feckless President panicked and pretended to go to the Congress for authorization to use force (not actually required as there is a longstanding AUMF (authorization for the use of military force, a declaration of war bought on the cheap over at Overstock.com) and that didn’t go well.

The whole RED LINE shit turned into an embarrassing revelation of President Obama’s ineffectiveness and cowardice. Big talker, not so much on the doing. Made the US look stupid and weak.

So, the President did nothing. President is a bullshitter who actually never accomplished much while giving speech after speech after speech. [Admission: At first, the Big Red Car used to love to listen to the guy speechify. Not so much when they all turned out to be crap. The BRC did like the crying. Now, that was special, y’all.]

Then, there was the head fake with Syria turning in all of their chemical weapons — haha, the US cut a deal with a butcher to turn in all of his chemical weapons, paid for it, and just took him at his word, no kidding — and the US paying for their neutralization.

Hello, America, the butcher Bashar al Assad didn’t turn in ALL of his chemical weapons as recent events indicate. How stupid and naive can an administration be?

So, there you have it, feckless American foreign policy coupled with cowardly execution begat the Syrians, Russians, and the Iranians running amok with chemical weapons. Earlier this week, the Syrians used Sarin gas — a deadly nerve agent which assures immediate death — against their own people. Again. Again. Again.

Messages delivered

In addition to the obvious message — President Trump is not going to be telling the world about any bullshit RED LINES, he is going to take action without telegraphing it to the world. Syria wants to use an airfield to bomb its citizens with Sarin gas? This President is going to destroy that airfield. Game the fuck on, y’all!

 1. The Syrians and the Russians now know there is a new Sheriff in town and the Sheriff is not going to wait for the United Nations (whereat the Russians have a veto) to sit around and gaze at their navels while talking, talking, talking. This President is going to act and act with tactical surprise and fierceness.

 2. The thug-love-prom-queen-date with Putin is in the trash can. Pretty sure this is going to take the starch out of the Trump-Putin thug love conspiracy theorists. Maybe not?

Putin picture middle finger

Hey, President Trump, you bombed my boys in Syria. WTF is up with that? They’re a sovereign country and I’ve had a good run with that Obama guy. Can we talk?

 3. The Chinese President Xi was sitting down to a nice steak (no cheeseburgers as Candidate Trump threatened, broken campaign promise, y’all, one of the first) at Mar a Lago with President Trump and their wives when our President leaned over and said,

“By the way, President Xi, a minute ago, I had my Navy destroy the airfield from whence that butcher Assad mounted his chemical attack against his own people. Might want to consider that when we talk about what the fuck we’re going to do about that Kim Il Mojo asshole. Your steak good? Bit of bernaise, maybe? Oh, yeah, we need to talk about your “instant islands” in the South China Sea. More mushrooms, pal?”

Hello, China. North Korea? Yeah, we have a lot more Tomahawk missiles.

 4. The guy who lost his dinner last night was Kim Il Mojo the leader of North Korea who thinks he can be a nuclear pain in the entire world’s ass with impunity. Hey, Kimmie, you’re next, asshole.

Kim 2

You’re next, Fat Boy. Yeah, you and your goofy hat and your goofy hatted generals. Get ready, asshole.

 5. So, yes, the relationship with Russia is on a whole different plane now. No RESET madness. Reset this, Russkis!

Reset button

Says the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, “This is way too easy. This woman is nuts. I’m going to call Vladimir and tell him to move on the Crimea. These Americans are into pussy hats.”

And, so there you have it, dear reader. We are a long way from getting the mess in Syria fixed, but the United States of America has a new leader who is going to take forceful action and not talk the world to death. We have needed a doer and not a talker for a long time. This is a good first step.

Pray for our President. Pray for America. Pray for our armed forces. Pray for the world. Pray for peace, but be ready to fight for it. We might just have a chance.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. It’s Friday, y’all. Date night. Go have a blast with someone you love and if you need some transportation, call me.cropped-LTFD-illust_300.png

 

  • sigmaalgebra

    > bernaise

    Ah, maybe he was hoping for Sauce Bordelaise as at

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordelaise_sauce

    I long wanted to make that sauce but first needed to do the demi-glace thing, and for that following Escoffier proved to be a bit much just to get the ingredients.

  • sigmaalgebra

    Overview

    I suspect that we need to consider another view:

    Islam in the Mideast consists of essentially just closed, isolated, brutal, Medieval religious dictatorships.

    Mideast Islam is isolated from the culture of the rest of the world, especially European humanism and what Europe learned in its wars, e.g., democracy and separation of church and state.

    Mideast Islam is closed in the sense that Islam blocks out nearly all changes from the outside.

    There Islam runs nearly everything in brutal, Medieval ways — dress codes, social norms, marriage norms, diet, architecture, the legal system, education, the economy, the media, and foreign policy and is a dictatorship.

    Okay.

    But, two more points:

    (1) There are two main versions of that Islam, Sunni and Shiite.

    (2) Each version of Islam believes that everyone else, including Christians, Jews, the other version of Islam, and everyone else, should convert or die.

    Ways of the Desert

    To me, it’s not very complicated: Those Mideast versions of Islam came from the desert where there were tribes, lots of desert, and very little water or grazing land. So, as population grew, the tribes were in conflict over water and grazing land. So, they fought bloody battles. The battles continued until the population was reduced to alleviate the conflict over water and grazing land. Commonly in such a battle, one tribe won and took all the young women and older girls and killed all the boys, men, and young girls — along with, right, all the babies. For Mideast Islam, killing babies is nothing new.

    Recall General Schwarzkopf’s remarks as at

    on the brutality of the Iraqis to the people of Kuwait — IIRC “not part of the same human race”.

    For more, there was the astoundingly bloody nature of the long Iraq-Iran war — IIRC Iranian boys were stood up basically just to stop Iraqi bullets as if the Iraqis would run out of bullets — they didn’t.

    Recall Saddam’s use of poison gas against the Kurds, likely including babies. And where did Saddam get the gas? There was the joke in Gulf War I about Cheney’s statement, IIRC, “There is no doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction”; we knew he had chemical weapons because we still had copies of the invoices from when we sold him the chemicals — that we hoped he would use against Iran.

    Recall what Saddam did after Gulf War I to some Shiites who tried to rebel — IIRC, from one of Saddam’s minister, “Put them down in two weeks.”.

    Killing babies in wars?

    Likely Hitler killed lots of babies in Poland, England, France, the Baltic countries, and Russia.

    The Japanese likely killed lots of babies, e.g., in Nanjing.

    The Allied bombing of Germany likely killed lots of babies.

    The US fire bombing and nuclear bombing of Japan killed lots of babies.

    Yesterday Trump said

    No child of God should ever suffer such horror

    I fully agree, but war killing babies has happened plenty often in the past and is nothing new.

    More Ways of the Desert

    In Mideast desert battles, even the winning tribe lost a lot of young men. But the marriage situation made up for that: There, with the dead young men and, thus, excess of young women, one man had many wives and kept them all pregnant. So, there were lots of young men for the bloody battles and lots of young women to have more babies. The population grew quickly until the next battle.

    Mideast Islam lived that way for 1000+ years and during that time — being closed and isolated — hardly changed. And, thus, we have to doubt that they will change quickly now.

    Europe? When the battles over territory killed off the young men, the excess women went to convents.

    But, in the last 80 years or so, there have been some changes caused almost entirely by money from oil. So now for killing, they have new, more effective weapons — yes, including poison gas. They get architects from Britain and workers from South Asia to build roads, water desalination plants, oil field infrastructure. The buy cars, etc.

    Still, the basic culture has hardly changed and, thus, again, likely won’t change quickly now.

    Efforts at Change

    There have been several efforts to move Mideast Islam away from Medieval religious dictatorships, right, to more modern, secular dictatorships. So, in Iran, there was the Shah. In Iraq there was Saddam. Maybe count some of the leaders of Turkey. Then maybe count the Assads of Syria.

    But soon the Shah fell to a Shiite religious dictatorship. Due to Gulf War II, Saddam fell and left a three way civil war with Kurds, a Shiite religious dictatorship, and ISIS, an especially brutal, closer to Medieval, Sunni religious dictatorship.

    In Particular on Assad

    Now for Syria: So, Assad, Jr. has killed 500,000 of his own people.

    So, it’s Shiite Assad killing Sunnis. They are still fighting as they did for 1000+ years in the desert over water and grazing land and where the goal of the fighting was to kill off all of the enemy except the young women and older girls.

    But with the old battles, say, there are two tribes, A and B, each has 1000 people and suppose tribe A wins. Then maybe half the young men in tribe A die. In tribe B, maybe 80% of the tribe dies — again, all the males and all the females except the older girls and young women. So, there were ballpark 1000 deaths with tribe B gone from the desert.

    The Europeans who came to American discovered that the Native Americans were good at fighting; likely they had been for a long time before the Europeans arrived. And how did they get good at fighting? Sure: Fighting other tribes over territory. Point: Commonly tribes fight with their neighboring tribes.

    There is about the Mideast desert

    A man who brings victory in battle is honored above all other men.

    Extra credit for knowing the source.

    Better than Assad?

    So, Assad’s 500,000 is, in percentage terms, a long way short of the death rates of the old Mideast desert battles.

    Besides, suppose the Syrian Sunnis were to win against Assad and his Shiite and Christian supporters, how many would die then? Millions?

    So, right, Assad is bloody. So, he fits right in with the 1000+ year old Mideast desert culture. And, as we learned in dumping Saddam, the best available alternative might be worse.

    Did I mention that Mideast Islam is bloody, brutal, Medieval, closed, isolated? It long has been and still is.

    The Right Target?

    After the attack on the US of 9/11, in Gulf War II we attacked Saddam but Saddam didn’t attack us. Instead, al Quada attacked us, and all or nearly all the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, not Iraq.

    Now, similarly, we have attacked Assad when he didn’t attack us. Instead, ISIS has attacked us. We need to destroy ISIS. And Assad would also be thrilled to destroy ISIS.

    Again, now, just why did we attack Assad with 59 cruise missiles instead of attack ISIS HQ locations in Raqqa with 59 cruise missiles?

    Teaching Humanism in the Desert?

    Sure, Trump just gave Mideast Islam a lesson in European humanism and the 2017 consequences of their old, bloody, brutal, Medieval ways.

    But since Mideast Islam is closed and isolated, converting it to European, and Trump, norms of humanism stands to take hundreds of years — those Muslims still have the attitudes and norms of small tribes fighting to the death over limited water and grazing land.

    Killing babies? That’s what they’ve been doing, as fast as they could swing a sword, for 1000+ years.

    That’s just what they have long been and still are.

    You can take a Mideast Muslim out of the desert — just put him on a plane for London, Paris, Rome, NYC. But it will take some hundreds of years to take the desert out of Mideast Islam.

    What Not to Do

    Solution? Don’t do nation building. Don’t try to convert them to some Jeffersonian, constitutional, secular democracy with freedom of speech and press, separation of church and state, three branches of government with checks and balances, equal rights, etc.

    What to Do?

    What to do? Sure:

    (1) Drop some more bombs until get the full and undivided attention of everyone relevant in the Mideast. In particular, kill off al Baghadi and his lieutenants.

    (2) Have the bombs create a new, much worse than now BATNA — best alternative to a negotiated agreement.

    (3) Once all the parties take a look at the bombs and BATNA and are ready to listen up, draw lines to partition the area. So, have a Shiite area in Syria run by, might as well since likely most alternatives would be worse, Assad. Have a Sunni area cut from Syria and Iraq. Have a Kurdish area cut from Syria and Iraq. Have the rest of Iraq Shiite. Set up some refugee resettlement areas paid for by the rich Gulf states.

    Walk away.

    Why not just walk away now, i.e., let the Mideast Islamic culture generate rivers of blood until they have peace, the peace of the grave? Well, they have a lot of oil money that they can use to be a threat to much of the rest of the world, including the US and US allies. In particular, ISIS is executing terrorist attacks in the US, Europe, South Asia, etc. So, at least ISIS has to be stopped.

    I’m willing to interpret Trump’s attack of 59 cruise missiles not just for saving babies from Sarin gas but also getting Assad and others in the region obeying the rules.

    So, destroy ISIS. Then partition the place and walk away.

    Obama

    For Obama, I still can’t reject the hypothesis that his main goal was just to weaken the US as much as he could by 1000 cuts, each too small to cause impeachment. The MSM totally devoted to Obama was a big part of this sabotage of the US.

    For the Obama White House to listen in on Trump team communications is one outrageous action. I have to suspect that there are many more and much worse outrageous actions that will be discovered over the next year or so.

    Net, Obama hates the US.

  • Tim Bates

    While I am not a fan of entering into war my dream here is this marks a turning point where the sane world puts speech diplomacy on the back burner for action. What is wrong and inhuman needs to be met with this from of rapid response. Already Sane nations are behind the action, perhaps a new action oriented version of the Allied forces will emerge and we can stop wasting money and oxygen on the UN or NATO until they Grow a pair.

    China is welcome to the party as soon as they cleanse North Korea, the price of admission for them! Then they need to agree to step back from Hong Kong, the islands that just popped up and other advances. China has much to lose economically if the world goes to war and no nation is safe from the scourge of terrorism. This just leaves our friend Vlad! What do you do with a man like Vlad.? the same thing he does to his enemies! Give him a lethal dose of radiation in his corn flakes! Russia will celebrate.

    • JLM

      .
      For the world to follow, it has to be led. The countries who have expressed support for the strike are the core of the countries one would want for a coalition — Canada, UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey.

      The opponents — Russia, China, Iran, Syria — are the predictable opponents.

      The probability of war is diminished when the US leads and takes bold action. No more “leading from behind.”

      BRC
      http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

      • Tim Bates

        Syria is a bombed out husk, no value! Iran will do something stupid, just their DNA and a demon always dies with a out lash! Russia is a country that without oil et al exports would collapse, lets hope Putin collapses before the economy.

        China does have an opportunity to pivot here , the people would rejoice but as we have found they have little if any influence on what the government does, Sad. The worse scenario is China saves Russia from itself and years in the future? If you haven’t read a book called Ghost Ship written by two current military world affairs consultants. The scenario in general is feasible the story though has a lot of written for TV fluff.

        • JLM

          .
          Iran lusts after a combo of Iran, Iraq, Syria which is, essentially, the same footprint sought by the Caliph for ISIS.

          The Russians want a land bridge into the Middle East and Africa — as well as airports and warm water ports.

          Russia is a small country — 15% the size of American GDP. No nukes and they are Italy.

          China wants the oil for growth.

          This is one of the reasons why the US has to become oil independent as quickly as possible. Trump is a nudge in that direction. What all the liberals missed in the second EPA Exec Order cancellation was the repeal of the moratorium on coal exploration on Federal lands. That was at the core of it.

          The best case scenario is Trump and Putin get rid of Assad and then deal with the Kurds. The Kurds are a problem for Iran, Iraq, Turkey.

          It is complicated but it isn’t calculus. Just arithmetic.

          BRC
          http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com

  • JLM

    .
    President Trump sends 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles to take out the airfield from which Bashar al Assad launched a Sarin nerve agent attack against his own people.

    http://themusingsofthebigredcar.com/syria-messaging-collateral-damage/

    The Tomahawk cruise missile — when you care enough to send the very best?

    BRC
    http://www.themusingsofthebigredcar.com
    #trump #syria #russia #china #northkorea #iran #tomahawkcruisemissile