More Questions Than Answers …

In the matter of the U.S. attack on Shayrat air base in Syria, I urge caution.  Much has been said, and I find that the more I read, the more questions I have.  I do not have all the answers, nor, at this point, does anybody.  I have many questions and an almost equal number of concerns, but I think it behooves us to step back for a few moments, to take a few deep breaths before we ascribe to one theory or the other, and identify the questions and concerns.  I present my lists … please feel free to add to them as you see fit.

Questions:

  • Why did Assad use chemical weapons (reportedly Sarin) on civilians in Idlib?
    • He had consolidated his power, the rebels were on their heels and the United States had just declared that ousting him was not a priority – why stir the pot? He had to know there would be a global hue and cry.
  • Why did it take 59 Tomahawk missiles to do minimal damage?
    • While six Syrian military planes were destroyed, the runways were undamaged. 59 missiles at an approximate cost of between $60 million and $94 million, and they couldn’t hit a single runway? Reportedly, only 23 of the 59 missiles hit their mark.  Why?
  • What was the cost of each Tomahawk missile?
    • Estimates from reliable sources vary widely from $1 million each to $1.6 million each. This should not be rocket science. Their value is finite, not a moving target!
  • Why did Fox News, the New York Post, and Breitbart, all right-leaning, less than credible sources, report ominously on Friday night that a Russian warship was “heading toward the US destroyers that launched Syria strikes”?
    • No credible sources other than The Hill reported on this, and The Hill stated that there was no perception of threat, that this was not outside the normal. Was this an attempt to incite fear among the American people? All indications are that there is no reason for concern, if in fact this is not simply another ‘alternative fact’.
  • Why does Trump suddenly care about the civilians in Syria who were killed or injured during the chemical attack on Tuesday?
    • In 2013, when a much larger-scale chemical attack was perpetrated against the citizens of Damascus, Trump shrugged and claimed it wasn’t our problem and we should not interfere.
    • Trump’s stalled travel ban would specifically ban Syrian asylum-seekers and refugees from entering the U.S. But now, suddenly, he is outraged at the treatment of the very people he has subjected to this treatment by turning his back?
  • Who first proposed the strike against Shayrat?
    • McMaster? Mattis?  Or Trump himself? This may seem fairly meaningless, but I think it is an important question to which I would like an honest answer.
  • Russia claims to be incensed over the attack, calling it an illegal act of aggression on a “made-up pretext” to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq, and claim that it will adversely affect U.S.-Russian relations. This seems strangely fishy … is this said, I wonder, with a “wink, wink”?
    • There seemed to be an element of ‘ho-hum’ to this statement, rather than genuine anger.
  • The timing is interesting and puzzling. The attack took place without time for a great deal of planning, just some 63 hours after the chemical attack that allegedly triggered the U.S. response, but more importantly, as Trump was entertaining China’s President Xi Jinping.  Was there a message also being sent to Jinping about U.S. willingness to take a tough stance?
    • And speaking of which, why is Trump meeting with Jinping at his Florida estate rather than the White House, costing the taxpayers millions of additional dollars for travel and security?

Concerns:

  • This takes certain other serious issues, such as the ties between Trump’s administration and the Russian government prior to the election, Trump’s false claims of wiretapping, and other issues currently under investigation, out of the limelight. Is there an intent to do just that?
  • Retaliation by Syrian allies, or by Russia if Putin was not, in fact, part of the plan from the beginning.
  • U.S. involvement into the Syrian Civil War.
  • Additional bombings at additional cost, that do nothing to help the humanitarian cause, but merely take more lives.
  • A trigger-happy Trump could decide at some point to use nuclear weapons.
  • Lastly, and this is in fact my main concern, will the fallout from this attack be used as justification to implement some sort of ‘emergency measures’ that place more power in the hands of the president and his minions? Can it happen?  Certainly it can.  Will it?  I do not know.

Certainly there are more questions that should be asked, and more concerns that need to be voiced, but the hour grows late and Filosofa grows weary.  Please, feel free to let me know your questions, concerns, comments.  It will be some time before we get answers to our questions, assurances to ease our concerns, if ever.  I would likely have fewer of both if I trusted the ‘man’ at the helm of this ship, but admittedly, I do not.  He is not well-versed in the ways of the world, in international relations, foreign policy. His concern is first and foremost for himself. He is not a humanitarian and cares not a whit for individuals either in foreign nations or his own country.  I strongly suspect there is a hidden agenda somewhere, I am just not quite sure yet what it is. Meanwhile, I leave you with a final word of warning:  Do not believe everything you read or hear … stop, think, step back, and ask Ask ASK questions!

77 thoughts on “More Questions Than Answers …

  1. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Donald Trump tweeted yesterday that they intentionally missed the runways because they are so easy to fix. I tweeted him back and said he was an idiot. Crippling an enemy’s ability to take off and land aircraft is warfare 101. I suspect that, in warning the Russians, they said, okay, just don’t take out the runways. He is a sleazebag and I don’t trust a word that comes out of his orange mouth or his tiny orange fingers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hah! Caught you peeking! Funny … Roger, another blogger-friend, said he was taking a month-long hiatus, but he peeked also! 🙂 Thanks for the compliment and take care of yourself, Hugh! You can peek all you want, but don’t let it hurt you …

      Like

  2. Dear Jill,
    This is what have written in a response to 1EarthUnited in another blog:
    Dear 1EarthUnited,

    I have been putting some thought to this whole situation.

    Here is what I know:

    1.) DDT is not one who I would think becomes emotional over pictures of children being hurt to where he does 180 degree adjustment in his thinking. I do not ascribe to him any credibility, integrity or decency.

    2.) President Bashar is more than capable of gassing his own peoples to get them to move to areas under his control. This is not a good guy. Still, his timing was totally tone deaf but then he knew he had the backing of Russia.

    3.) Russia has good control over the area and President Putin is not a good guy.

    4.) Too many witnesses saw a Syrian aircraft strike where peoples were victimized by sarin gas. US military can verify this via its advanced technology. When the Turkish doctors did autopsies, there were UN observers present. The victims all presented themselves with symptoms typical of those gassed with sarin chemical weapon. I absolutely buy this scenario.

    So how could this be a “wag the dog” scenario?

    Here is where new pieces of the puzzle are helpful.

    1.) It turns out that post the Syrian gas attack on the same day, witnesses saw a RUSSIAN DRONE which was followed up with an airstrike on a medical facility where the sarin gas victims were being treated.
    2.) Close up photos reviewed by military experts of the Shayrat airbase indicate that Russian planes are interspersed with Syrian aircraft. This means Russian military are working side by side with the Syrian soldiers to where it would be hard to fathom how Russia would not have been aware of Syria’s plan to inflict a sarin gas attack on its own peoples from this very same airfield.

    3.) This retaliatory US military action did minimal damage.

    4.) US military brass is now looking into any Russian involvement in the sarin gas attack.

    So, the “wag the dog” scenario is possible, even plausible but not likely (my bias), if Russia orchestrated these events to help DDT improve his standing with the American peoples to where DDT would be in a better position to help Russia in the future by the lifting sanctions against it. For Russia’ s effort to be worthwhile, it would require DDT’s tacit approval.

    Russia and Syria’s reaction to DDT’S US military retaliatory action will tell me more.

    Ciao, Gronda
    P.S. Your question as to who(DDT or Generals) first presented the idea of a retaliatory act is an important clue.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jill
    Here’s me supposed to be taking time out, but for so many reasons I cannot rest and thus am drawn back, where oddly I relax in the world of politics and history (‘Go figure’).

    This is going to be a long response Jill, I’m kind of ‘prep’d for it, sorry about that. I’ll answer in order of your questions.

    There are legion of answers, but each one has its own brood of questions and all have their origins in the tectonic plate-like relationships of European/Russian/Near Eastern empire from, probably the 17th century until the 20th Century World War (some historians are beginning to meld the two into one-it has a logic). At its most fundamental are the dynamics and antagonisms of peoples’ intent on establishing by fair means or foul their own hegemonies.

    Like many the Syrian state was an artificial construct out of The World War and in similar vein to others ran a state in a mix of nationalism and communism, which itself caused tensions with the Islamic spectrum; layer on top of this the myriad of differing communities and you have a potential explosion. Assad’s father Hafez al-Assad made his way up the ladder installed himself through coup and power politics and ran Syria in a ruthless; the 1980’s suppressing armed rebellion by the Muslim Brotherhood in a manner his son is trying to emulate, but his father was a more efficient man. Bashar al-Assad was not groomed for government but following the death of his brother was shoe-horned in. In the Levant (Syria) folk play for keeps. al-Assad’s family belong to a sub-division of Islam which is essentially consider heretical, and the clan structure is also strong. I would judge he sees this as another round in fight for survival and domination is the area. The actions, responses, tactics, judgements are no different from other states or groups in the area, but he Russian Backing and the nastier weapons. He and his court will do this for as long as it takes, and as long as Russia backs him he cares not for World opinion.

    We read a lot about how ‘wonderful’ and efficient weapons are these days. One newspaper extoling the virtues of the Tomahawk claimed it could fly through a targeted bedroom window. My response would be, ‘Yeh. So can pixies’. No weapon is perfect and all responsible military will tell you that. Only in a politician’s dreams can you have a ‘Tom Clancy’ outcome. (Sardonic use will be encountered here).They fired that many because it was in effect a barrage, ‘fire a lot and we guess some will hit and do damage. The intention being to knock the airfield about, although damaging a runway is ideal smashing up other bits is good too. However military airfields are designed with this in mind, so the infrastructure can be quite strong. Unless you drop in a large number of troops onto an airfield with a lot of ordinance and a lot of time complete destruction is very rare. Cost? I don’t know to be honest; in terms of civic spending in a small town ‘a lot of money’ would be the answer.

    I gave up believing what newspapers reported a long time ago. The fact would be, sure the Russians would send a destroy for a look-see; Syria is militarily and politically their back-yard. Both militaries would be expecting that. The danger is when TWO fleets start approaching each other.

    And we come to the President and his Whitehouse. (More sardonic words) And ‘Hi Guys’ welcome to the Real World. Newsflash, ‘You are running the USA. And if you had bothered to read any histories you will find, see the beginning of the 20th Century that The USA is, by its size, location and general disposition always drawn into world affairs. It’s a big nation for Pity’s Sake; it’s got no option!’
    The issue is does this administration have a long-term and coherent foreign policy or are they making it all on The Hoof? I’m guessing the latter and that means Amateur-Hour, which is ok in a placid time, but this is not a placid time. Think and learn fast children, you’re in the Big Boys and Girls world now.

    And Russia…(even more sardonic words)…Oh authoritarian guys! You mis-calculated again! Democracies are the most volatile of governments; you can never tell when they give way to pressure of one sort or another and after all that friendly stuff suddenly turn awkward. It’s not like The Cold War, where everyone played by a rule-book. Honest lads did you really think a character like President Trump was going to be…..presidential? Yep, you have to play the Outraged game, of course, but tell me you didn’t actually trust this president to ‘behave’?
    (Nothing new here folks, it’s the Old Game…It’s the weapons that worry me)

    Trump has to learn about China. Good luck with that.

    In short Jill (yep I am concluding), we have another International Situation. Their roads are winding potholed ways thick with a fog of mis-information, mis-calculation and hidden obstacles. We now have to wait and see how this develops. I suspect the administration is over its head, I place my hope in the military, congress and the senate shoved on by The People to block some of the more outlandish ideas they may have. Bear in mind there are no Good Guys here and across the Middle and Near East as well as sub-Saharan Africa countless thousands are suffering and dying (Who mentions South Sudan these days?)

    Me? Oh, I’m all for taking out a few dictators by extreme means, just so the others get the message, it might lower the temp a bit; ISIS and Al-Qaeda being a different set of problems.

    OK, I’m done.
    (for the moment-that was the short answer)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Taking out dictators is not necessarily a bad thing….it’s replacing them with worse tyrants that is the issue. Once they manage to take out Assad and toss him in the ocean or whatever, just WHO will take his place? YIKES!

      Liked by 2 people

      • A good question. One which probably the Russians are working on. His end might come in ‘a palace coup’; it won’t be the first time that a dictator’s ‘best friends’ have been the ones to have him replaced or assist in the process.
        Whosoever would replace him would certainly be no Ghandi.
        The best hope would be for some tough and manipulative type with a talent for doing deals. It may be too late for even one of these characters and the country will end up as separate states, which in turn will have a knock on effect in bordering countries such as Jordan.
        None of this is good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • he does have some complicated enemies…I don’t believe he responsible for the gas, last time I thought they pretty well proved it. Look what happened with Saddam…a dictator followed by destruction and mayhem.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Sadly, I do believe based on family history and the passions that are currently running rampant through the region he is more than capable.
            I think with difference with Saddam like Gaddafi he had managed in the end to annoy everyone. al-Assad has Russia, because they want to keep a warm-water port and one sort of dependable client in the region; of course as said before, if they decide they can get on better with someone else…… There again he can also rely on Iran for their reasons and Hezbollah which shows another layer of hypocrisy seeing as how his Alawite background should make him, in their eyes a heretic and thus blasphemer to be wiped out….
            Ha! Politics! It would be grimly funny if it were not for the terrible casualty lists.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Roger, Roger, Roger … you and I are kindred spirits indeed! You just couldn’t stay away, could you? I am the same … I have tried to stay away, but a few hours and I find I simply cannot … it draws me like a picnic draws ants! I must admit my joy when I saw your comment this morning! But … do not let all this affect your well-being or your marriage!

      That said, I do honestly believe you are a walking encyclopedia! I always learn from you! Your observations, are astute … and I believe quite sound. I still think there is more here than meets the eye, but will patiently wait until I have some facts on which to base my theories, lest I start to sound like Alex Jones! As re Trump and his foreign policy … nope, I would bet my ten toes that there is no such thing as a long-term, coherent policy, but rather they are winging it ‘on the hoof’.

      What disturbs me most is, as I said to Keith earlier, We The People have already been forgotten. Our needs are of little concern to the bozos in Washington, and will remain so until next fall, as they gear up for the mid-term elections. Meanwhile, they all have their own agenda and it has nothing whatsoever to do with us.

      The other thing that disturbs me is that a portion of We The People still worship at the altar of Trump’s smelly feet, and think that he is doing everything just perfect. Or so they say. Perhaps some are rubbing the sleepy-dust out of their eyes and beginning to awaken, but far too many still believe in his fairy tales.

      To sum, I say let the impeachment begin!!! I will buy a ticket for a front-row seat! Thanks for your sardonic wit, and your astute answers to my questions, dear Roger. Take care of yourself, though … 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks once more for your kind comments Jill, they are appreciated and very valuable at a testing time for us, which is mostly caused by poor medical care of my wife made worse by one obdurate doctor……long story.
        The current administration has to face a raft of international problems that the US is unable to just walk away from; Syria, North Korea along with Russia and China each experiencing a periodic rise geo-politically and that is before we consider the World War 4 that is international terrorism. These would challenge the skills of the ruthless but very effective Bismarck, Germany’s ‘Iron Chancellor’ of the mid-to-late 19th Century.
        I don’t hold with Conspiracy Theories, being a firm believer in the ‘Screw-Up’ and its hapless children ‘Snatching at Opportunities’ and ‘Hair-on-Fire’ as factors in history .
        Viewing from this perspective, this is possible.
        1.The Trump Administration is having trouble with its previous Russian connections. These need to be severed
        2. Folk justifiably are angry of the chemical attack.
        3. ‘2’ will be seen as a solution to ‘1’.Hit Syria, that upsets the Russians, (like who needs them anymore?) and everyone will think We are doing good by standing up to ‘those dirty, tricky russkies’ and roll back in the Cold War….Hey we’re safe in the Whitehouse..Problem solved.
        Wrong!
        The world is a more complex place that the Cold War era; more players, more variable not under control of any of the ‘Big Powers’.
        This manoeuvre by design (or by accident) might take the Impeachment Pressure off. However with Russia playing her old long game and the predictable hysterical response by the less (but popular) responsible press, a fear factor could come in with the spectre of Nuclear Weapons. How will that work ‘at home’?.
        These are not the people for these times, not unless they have the good fortune to get a couple of real hard-nosed practical folk in the Whitehouse staff who are not afraid of The Court of Trump (most of whom strike me as Paper Tigers or school-ground bullies not suited to the Big World).
        Take care Jill, keep democracy alive.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhhh …. what you say makes sense … #1 & #2, rather like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, fell neatly into place, providing #3 that could ‘kill two birds with one stone’. But with no actual policy in mind, it has no hope of long-term success, as I see it. Rather like building one room of a house before pouring the foundation. The only person in Trump’s regime I have seen exhibit both intellect and the backbone to stand up to Trump so far is McMaster, and I think he may have a great deal of integrity, but just how far Trump/Bannon/Kushner will allow him autonomy remains to be seen.

          And at this point, I say Fornacazoni!!!

          At my age, I have no fear and all Trump’s attempts to instill fear have not worked on me. However, if I were 20-30 years old, raising a young family, then I think I would be fearful of this new world we are living in. And I do have fears for the world itself … people say they dislike globalization, but the reality is that no nation can any longer be an island, we are all intertwined in so many ways, politically, economically, environmentally … and what Trump does will affect the entire planet. He does not operate on intellect, for he has little, but operates almost hedonistically, strictly out of emotion and immediate gratification. It is why he has had nearly 4,000 lawsuits in his time.

          On a personal note … I sincerely hope your wife’s health improves and that she will be okay. Hang in there, my friend … it is tough when a loved one is sick, and it is emotionally draining. I wish I had magic words, but as you and I both know, there are none, so I won’t even try, except to say I am sending you and your wife good karma and hugs!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Jill (09:00 UK time)
            Firstly thank you once more for your kind words and karma. Good thoughts are worth so much. As you say no magic words, just trudge on.
            You are so very right regarding the globalisation issue. As technology increases the capacities of travel and communication the ‘distance’ between places in the world shrinks. Nothing takes place in isolation.
            McMaster seems to be a ‘tough old bird’ but that’s no bad thing. We shall now have to see if Mr Tillerson ‘Walk The Walk’ on his Moscow visit.
            (Clumsy move by our Boris Johnson in not going- should have gone there polite, but grim and concerned).
            Now that the Russian/Iranian coalition (advice to both ‘watch your backs guys’) has made ‘drawing line in the sand’ sounds we shall see….
            (The actual astute 101 move should be handled by very tough and experienced folk along the lines of ‘Yes, we understand you want to hang onto your warm-water port and air base…..but Assad….he has to go, the man’s not his father, he’s not up to the job… I’m sure we can work something out….)I know it sounds very cynical but anything is better than civilians dying.
            Take care Jill

            Liked by 1 person

            • Interesting times, populated by crazy people in every corner. I wonder what Act II will bring? I’m sure we won’t have to wait long to find out. As to Tillerson … I think he is either a wimp or a puppet. Or perhaps a wimpy puppet. Not to mention that he is mired in pre-inaugural ties to Russia, and to the fossil fuel industry as well. Somehow I don’t look for him to last too long. But … sigh … I’ve been wrong before. In fact, for the past year and a half, I seem to have been wrong more often than I’ve been right! Perhaps I should switch to writing about relationships … oh wait, I am a dud in that area also. Maybe poetry … nope, that won’t work … I can’t even understand most poetry, let alone write it. 😀 😀 😀 Guess I’ll just stick with my little niche here. Take care, dear Roger!

              Liked by 1 person

                    • Perhaps I shall … humour tends to come to me out of the blue occasionally, but I find that if I TRY to be funny, it usually falls flat.

                      As re your book … I LOVE it! I haven’t written a review yet, but will put that on my to-do list for this week. You need some good word of mouth advertising! I shall ponder on this for a bit … 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Aww thanks Jill; seriously I am glad you’re enjoying it; it was written with two purposes
                      Firstly to work off some steam
                      Secondly just to supply chuckles.
                      Humour coming out of the blue is the best…
                      Tip 1- When you have a silly thought- write it down for future use.
                      Tip 2- When sitting down to write, think silly and take it from there.
                      (Recommended reading for the purpose MAD magazines from the late 1950s through to the 1960s…and Marx Bros + Warner Bros cartoon films).
                      Give it a go Jill.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I shall! I will need to brush up on my silly skills, however, as they are a bit dusty & rusty these days from lack of use! It’s the biggest argument Herb and I have … he says I don’t understand what’s funny anymore, and I say he doesn’t take things seriously enough. 🙂 With your help, I shall work on my silly skills, at least once in a while. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

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