Sarin and Chemical Warfare

Big Red Car here with a belly full of tacos from Taco Deli — where one goes to get breakfast tacos on a Saturday morning in the ATX. Hard to make the transition to sarin, but here goes.

So, the Syrian butcher, Bashar al Assad used sarin gas against civilians and killed men, women, and children — babies. He is a ruthless, heartless butcher who makes war against civilians and has now killed 500,000 of his countrymen as well as displacing 6,000,000 persons internally and 5,000,000 refugees.

He is a bastard and he is the manifestation of evil on earth. How does the world tolerate such a butcher?

He is allied with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah. The Chinese have spoken out in his favor, also.

When he used sarin previously, President Obama threatened him with retaliation — the Red Line Threat. Of course, when it became apparent he used it again, in 2013, President Obama went to the US Congress pretending to seek authority to retaliate.

President Obama did nothing and from that nothingness the sarin attack of last week was born. Look at the picture below and know these babies are dead because of the ineffectiveness, incompetence, and fecklessness of President Obama.

Chemical gas victims

April 4, 2017: Abdul-Hamid Alyousef, 29, holds his twin babies who were killed during a suspected chemical weapons attack, in Khan Sheikhoun in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. [Chicago Tribune picture]

Chemical warfare

Chemical warfare did not start with the use of sarin by Syria. [Sarin is a deadly gas — a nerve agent which renders the victim’s muscles impotent thereby losing the ability to breathe — which was first formulated by the Germans in 1938. The Germans built a facility but were unable to get it into production before the end of the war.]

The Germans were the first large scale users of chemical warfare in World War I. In that war, they used tear gas (an irritant, but not typically fatal) and lethal gases: phosgene, chlorine, mustard. In WWI, more than 90,000 men were killed by gas (out of a total of 1,200,000 KIAs) and many more were wounded.

The first use of chemical warfare by the Germans was an attack on the eastern front against Russia in which the Germans discharged 18,000 artillery shells containing tear gas at the Battle of Bolimov (west of the city of Warsaw).

The effectiveness of chemical warfare was blunted by the invention of the gas mask which gave victims the opportunity to prevent death, but which makes it difficult to fight because of breathing issues. The Boss, when he served, wore many a gas mask.

To use the right frame of reference, such usage was already prohibited by the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare. These two compacts prohibited the use of “poison or poisoned weapons” in warfare of any kind.

It is useful to note that belligerents have been agreeing to prohibit chemical warfare for more than a century, while routinely violating their agreements.


Sarin is a particularly nasty piece of business as it is odorless and colorless and can be delivered by airplanes (bombs) and artillery. To understand how it works, you will want to get your organic chemistry textbook out and brush up a little; or, you can embrace the notion that a very small dose will make your diaphragm muscles fail and you will be unable to breathe and then, you die.

Sarin can be produced by using “precursor” chemicals which means the ingredients can be kept separate — and, therefore, not lethal — until mixed by either the rotation of an artillery round or the explosion of a munition (bombs and artillery rounds). This mixing produces your sarin gas.

Because a little bit goes a long way and because it can be delivered in, otherwise, conventional delivery methods, it is a dangerous weapon of mass destruction.

The Chemical Weapons Convention

No, dear reader, this is not a conference held in Switzerland annually to talk shit about chemical weapons.

This is a treaty which is promulgated by the United Nations which sprouted from an agreement amongst 18 countries who were loosely joined in an initiative called the Disbarment Committee. Jumping over some tedious history, the UN got into the act and signed the agreement in Paris in 1993 and members would then join the agreement until by 1997 there were sufficient members that the agreement was placed into full force and effect.

This agreement, essentially, said the same things as the 1925 Genera Protocol which dealt with chemical weapons.

The Big Red Car belabors this point to stress that the world has been dealing with getting rid of chemical weapons since they were invented and first used. It is not a new consideration.

Last word on the Chemical Weapons Convention — it is a damn good idea as it mandates the identification of all chemical weapons owners in the world, the identification of all chemical weapons producers, an agreement to destroy all chemical weapons, and an agreement to destroy all chemical weapons production facilities.

The CWC has the same basic flaw as all agreements amongst nations — nations lie.

Syria and Sarin

Syria, of course, is run by a fucking insane person (Bashar al Assad) and has fallen in league with another such person (Vladimir Putin), who have then fallen in league with Iran (largest exporter and funder of terrorism in the world) and Hezbollah (wholly owned subsidiary of Iran).

Even before the issue of sarin gas is broached, you are dealing with undiluted evil, thugs, murderers, and liars. This is the Devil on Earth.

In August 2013, Syria used sarin in an incident the world came to know as the “Ghouta Chemical Attack” which gave rise to all sorts of fussing including President Obama failing to adhere to his threatened RED LINE threat. When President Obama did nothing, the barbarous attack of this week was spawned.

When one does not crush thugs, one encourages them and their bad behavior. This one is on President Obama.

What did happen was, for the first time, Syria acknowledged it possessed and was capable of producing sarin gas. This then resulted in Syria being forced to become a signatory to something called The Chemical Weapons Convention. [Haha, the Big Red Car has already educated y’all on the CWC, right? Were you paying attention?]

The Russians and the Americans agreed to oversee the destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons. The Russians ran the show. The Americans paid for it.

News flash, y’all — The Syrians lied. They did NOT give up their chemical weapons. They can both produce and deliver sarin today, y’all.

Meanwhile, the clueless Obama administration was crowing about their huge diplomatic achievement in which the US paid for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and the Russians oversaw it. [Hello, America, see anything wrong with this arrangement?]

The Americans didn’t inspect Syria and didn’t verify the Syrians turned in all of their chemical weapons. WTF? [Note: Same guys who cut the deal with Iran. Oh, shit!]

Trump and Syria

Which brings us to last Tuesday when the Syrians bombed a rebel stronghold with sarin gas killing men, women, children, babies and America’s notion that the Syrians had turned in all of their chemical weapons. American naivete was a victim also.

President Donald J Trump took offense at this war crime, this crime against humanity, this revelation that the US hadn’t gotten all the Syrian chemical weapons.

The President ordered the attack on the airfield from whence the Syrian aircraft launched to deliver their sarin bombs. Fifty-nine Tomahawk cruise missiles expressed America’s and President Trump’s displeasure and resolve. When the first missile hit the airfield something else happened — America served notice on the world that the days of LEADING FROM BEHIND were over.

The Trump Doctrine and American foreign policy

President Trump was having dinner with the Chinese President when the attack was launched.

He informed President Xi between the appetizers and the entree that the US had just struck Syria, which had displeased America in much the same way that North Korea, a Chinese client state, displeases the world.

[Hello, America! Whoa, Nelly! Now, that must have been something. The Chinese President is an oily guy to start with — needs a good face scrub and a bit of witch hazel — but that must have brought the sweat to the surface, no? Fly on the wall?]

And, dear reader, there you have it and now you know.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Take care of yourself. Say a prayer for Justice Neal Gorsuch. Be good to my favorite person, that would be YOU.

Jeff Minch 2 026

Me and my buddy, The Bonanza. Don’t tell him, but he’s on the chopping block. Getting sold. We’v had some damn good times, y’all.


5 thoughts on “Sarin and Chemical Warfare

  1. Thanks, BRC. A question for The Boss. 59 cruise missiles is a lot of ordinance, every bit of bang well-deserved, imho. However, since The Boss has deep experience in military engineering, why didn’t the Navy go ahead and make the runways at least temporarily unusable? It would make it tougher for any remaining flightworthy aircraft to bug out, and they could be targeted for another day. There must be a good reason, just don’t know it.

    • .
      The current state of the art as it relates to taking out runways is ordnance like the Matra Durandal which was developed by the French. The US used them in the Gulf dropping them from F-111s (can also be dropped by F-15E, two seat version of F-15 with weapons officer in the rear cockpit). They are intended to be dropped from a low altitude with the aircraft in the 600 knot range. This makes them fairly vulnerable.

      They are a US Air Force munition and are not typically carrier deliverable.

      This type of munition does several things — first stage (200 lbs of explosive) is parachute slowed (to face straight down) and then rocket accelerated to penetrate and then a secondary charge (35 lbs of explosive) both blows a crater and displaces the runway itself.

      These are fairly light munitions at less than 300 lbs of explosive, but they have the benefit of “lifting” power and are “slow” explosives which lift rather than cut. The secondary stage will detonate while below the runway.

      As used, one would anticipate 10-20 bombs per runway.

      Craters are easy to fix by simply refilling the crater while a displaced runway requires the damaged runway to be jack hammered out and then rebuilt — subbase compacted, base installed, reinforcing steel installed, concrete placed.

      These type of bombs are considered if they can put a runway out of commission for 24 hours and thus they are considered as tactical weapons.

      The critical problem is that a runway bomb has to be dropped from an airplane and the Russian SAMs which the Syrians have recently acquired are, arguably, the best in the world. These new weapons are at every Syrian airfield.

      If an American plane is cruising over a runway in a straight line at a low enough altitude to use one of these munitions, it is a sitting duck for these modern Russian systems.

      An unmanned Tomahawk cruise missile can be programmed to arrive within inches and will arrive with 1,000 pounds of explosives. These missiles were targeted at fueling points amongst other things. They are not suitable for runway busting.

      I would bet it was the comparative danger for the pilots v the unmanned Tomahawks which carried the day. That would be my decision.

      I would bet the US if currently figuring out how to deliver some busted runways as Syria only has six airfields.

      If there is a next time, there will have to be a first wave of jets taking out the SAMs and still there may be casualties amongst the runway destruction pilots. That is a different type of fight and some of those SAM operators will definitely be Russians.

      Pres Trump warned the Russians an hour before TOT (time on target).


  2. Okay, on Assad:

    “ruthless, heartless butcher”


    “manifestation of evil on earth”

    You omitted despicable, disgusting, degenerate, sadistic, Medieval horror show.

    I fully agree with all of that.

    So, Assad fits right in with the 1000+ year old history of Mideast desert Islam.

    But, wait, there’s more: Baghdadi is even worse.

    If the enemies of Assad had their way, then how many, how many millions, of Assad’s supporters — definitely including babies — might be killed, oops, butchered, turned into still warm and bleeding jackal, vulture, and insect food?

    Killing civilians? Killing babies? In lots of wars, lots of civilians and babies have been killed.

    Welcome to the history, reality, and culture of Mideast desert Islam, the land of the 1000+ year old “peaceful religion”:

    Peace be upon you.

    In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

    By the noon-day brightness,

    And by the night when it darkeneth!

    Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee, neither hath he been displeased.

    And surely the Future shall be better for thee than the Past,

    And in the end shall thy Lord be bounteous to thee and thou be satisfied.

    Gee, it sounds peaceful?

  3. .
    Syria’s use of sarin gas against its citizens is just the latest episode of the use of poisonous gases in warfare. It has been banned since 1899 and the Syrians were signatories to something call the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    In 2014, the US paid for the destruction of all Syrian chemical weapons (overseen by the Russians — huh?).

    Apparently, the Syrians did NOT destroy ALL their chemical weapons.

    What will the world do now? Follow American leadership?


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