I know I wasn’t the only one that nearly shit themselves when they heard that 59 thomahawk missiles launched from two American destroyers had slammed into Syrian territory.
I was at work when my wife told me the news and quickly spread the word.
The first person I grabbed was an Iraq War vet, an older guy with 10 years of Army and National Guard experience. “Did you hear we just launched 59 missiles into Syria?” He grinned from ear to ear.
“Good.” He gave me a thumbs up.
“G-good? W-what the FUCK?”
“World War 3, ’bout time it happened.”
Wondering how much ammo I had at home and how much Sailor Jerry’s the nearby liquor store might have lootable, I shared the news with another one of my “fellow workers.”
“Well,” she said with brown eyes cast upwards to heaven, “it did say that Russia would be involved in the end times. It’s biblical. And you did say the Russians were-“
“Street to street with the Americans, yes. Fucking GRENADE distance. Don’t you…don’t you know what these means?” My eyes were practically wild, hands shaking.
“We’re all going to die?”
“Ha! You’ll WISH you were dead. Where you and I are now is outside of the blast radius of most tactical war heads–at least I think so, I remember them telling us this in high school there would be 50% casualties…t-that’s not the point, the point is we’re close enough to a major Airforce base to definitely be affected but far enough to where death won’t come swiftly. No, we’ll be climbing through the GODDAMN RUINS, skin lacerated by the countless fires and exposed to massive doses of radiation. Biblical you say, yeah it’ll be fucking biblical: corpses lying on the pavement, stinking children crying out in the night to parents long since disappeared, dogs roving the streets looking for the weakest of the injured to-“
I stopped, because my wife had just texted me an important detail about the recent strike, one that changed my impassioned sermon to a quizzical befuddlement:
No casualties were being reported.
I had to wait to get home to check the news yet at that point it became even more confusing. 59 tomahawk missiles and not one splattered corpse? Not one vaporized mist where once there’d been people?
(EDIT: RT is reporting five people have been left dead and seven wounded, 3 of them civilians. For such a huge attack this is still an almost miniscule amount and most importantly no Russians hit)
What kind of “strike” was this?
As the details filtered in everything quickly became clear: severe cautions had been made to insure no civilian casualties; Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis said in the briefing to reporters that it informed Russia ahead of the missile strike, which means the Russians were able to warn the Syrians.
In essence the United States, rather than kick off World War 3, had just spent $75 million dollars on a gigantic firework show.
Sure, an airstrip had been blown up and a few planes reduced to pieces, but that was nothing. Trump claimed in his press address that this was in retaliation to the gas attacks, yet why strike an airbase where Russian soldiers would be? There is no evidence Assad was responsible for the attack, and if there was you can bet Jupiter’s beard they wouldn’t hang around any evidence to be implicated in the guilt.
That attack itself defies all logic: why would the side currently winning the war fuck everything up with the same weapons that almost got the US involved last time? Why would the Russians allow Assad to drag the US back into a conflict it had practically walked away from?
Unless of course, the strike wasn’t about the chemical attack at all.
The Atlantic causally noted earlier today the “unusually” large amount “of devastating visual evidence that has emerged” almost immediately after the gas attack occurred, as if cameras were already waiting to capture images that might stir the hearts of outside observers.
Does anybody remember who was responsible last time something like this happened?
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,’ Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
‘This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,’ she added, speaking in Italian.”
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so.
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly.
It Trump has some inkling the Syrian government was not responsible for the gas attack he has no motive to escalate an already cooling war. He does however have a need to soothe the bellicose ambitions of the American public, show his party and constituents he’s “tough,” and make it clear to anybody watching the United States has the muscle and willingness to take the world to the edge and back.
If he believed the Syrian government was really responsible why blow 59 missiles on one airbase? Why not several? If you’re going to warn the Russians beforehand about what you’re going to do you can ensure almost nobody gets hurt just as easily as he did tonight.
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory:
“I am very aware of what is actually going on. I can strike anywhere and I can do it all while your neighbor stands back and lets it happen. Don’t think I can’t do it to you.”
Is World War Three on the horizon? That seemingly appears to be the hope of the American electorate, at least the slightly-off ones that dare to call an entire peninsula sure to be doomed to nuclear fire home. As for this gonzo reporter I’m not so sure. Much of what marks this event is no longer in American hands but in those of Vladimir Putin.
If Russia makes a muted response, as it did in when Turkish gunners shot down Russian jets, it will show Putin is aware that deeper moves are at play. He will remain calm, call for international law, and increase troops in Syria as a sign that he won’t be pushed around either. If I’m wrong and Russia takes this to the next level nothing will really matter anyway.
We unfortunately will have to wait, pieces in a game we gave away control over long ago, hopeful that the ones that dictate our lives won’t gamble them away.
I’m off to bed. See you in the morning. Or not.