Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Facts Are Stubborn Things

Got home tonight, and this took about a minute and two mouseclicks to call up:

Note that this was posted online four days ago, which is three and a half days before all the catatonic armchair commandos (example) were self-assured that the US airstrike was a flop.

Reality is a bitch, ladies.

Nota bene the additional before/after pics at the site.
h/t to Navy matters blog, where this was in comments

April 7, 2017
Based on very high resolution imagery captured less than 10 hours after the attack, ISI presents in-depth battle damage assessment.

The Shayrat Airfield base was attacked by the US military using Tomahawk cruise missiles. According to the Pentagon, 59 missiles fired at the base, 58 of them hit targets. According to the Washington post, the Tomahawk cruise missile was last used by the Pentagon in October, when the military launched Tomahawks from ships in the Red Sea at three coastal radar sites in Yemen.

“President Donald J. Trump ordered the attack on Al-Shayrat Air Base, the base from which the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province launched. The missiles launched from U.S. Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea”, says the Pentagon announcement.

“Shortly after the president’s address, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis issued a statement providing details of the strike. It took place at about 8:40 p.m. EDT — 4:40 a.m. April 7 in Syria, he said.

“The strike was conducted using Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, or TLAMs, launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Davis said in his statement. A total of 59 TLAMs targeted aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars.”
Syria 1
The results of the attack

ISI very high resolution satellite imagery was able to reveal the results of the Tomahawk cruise missiles attack on the Al-Shayrat Air Base. According to ISI experts, the total of 44 targets hit. Several targets may have hit twice. Photo and analysis of the attack were carried out within 10 hours of the attack.


An in-depth examination of the damage to the objectives shows that 13 double hardened aircraft shelters (HAS) got 23 hits. 5 workshops got hit. The workshops are not necessarily related to WMD, but to aircraft and their ability to do maintenance and fly.

Hangars 1

Ten ammunition storages got hit. Seven fuel reservoirs of the AFB got hit at two sites with eight hits total. Two locations remain untouched. One SA6 Battery utterly destroyed along with its radars and control systems. In total, five SA6 Battery elements hit.

The results show that the target hits were accurate and that the Tomahawks have been used effectively against quality targets. Although 58 missiles hit the base, it seems that the overall damage to the base is limited because the warhead of the Tomahawk is not considered large and weighs about 450 kg.
That's 58 hits out of 59 launches, while one failed and hit the ocean before arrival on target.
Not 23 hits, as the Russian propaganda media claimed.
It's been elsewhere reported that 20 Syrian aircraft were turned into scrap as well.

So for the strategically and tactically challenged, here's the result, again:

The premise that the attack failed is nonsense.
1) Assad’s forces were punished for the use of WMDs. He cannot afford the loss of further forces, and cannot replace those losses without serious cost and difficulty, plus time. He has none of those in abundance.
2) His Russian ally was shown to be completely impotent to stop, deter, or mitigate the attacks.
3) As a consequence of 1 and 2, both Assad and the Russians will eventually be gone from the region. Regardless of what follows, that is a net plus for the region.
4) Displacing Russia to the other side of the Black Sea deconflicts the area for further unilateral US action, should we choose to take it.
5) It will leave the area ripe for a USAF/SOF-driven solution to the ISIS problem, exactly as A-stan was originally handled in 2002, without putting 100,000 troops on the ground or trying asinine experiments in nation-building (which is about as likely as having an Arab swallow a crate of Lego blocks and expecting him to poop out a completely constructed city of skyscrapers.)
6) This also snuggles ISIS right up to the border of Turkey, and leaves Erdogan with the choice of returning to a more secular and Western-friendly government, as they formerly did, or else joining the caliphate and rejecting NATO. The latter opens them up to Russian adventurism. It would also possibly finally wake up Eurostan to the fact that they are now back at the status quo ante Lepanto 1571, minus the will for self-preservation.
7) As its mere existence simultaneously pisses off Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, which is a 5-star win, we should expedite full diplomatic recognition of a de facto independent Kurdish republic, weakening multiple enemies, and giving us two stable allies in the region, instead of one.

Nota bene none of this requires landing so much as one brigade of US infantry anywhere in the region, and a Syria in chaos is hobbled, hamstrung, and pre-occupied for some number of years, which takes them off the table, gives Lebanon a fair shot at sorting themselves out internally, and pushes Putin back inside the Bosporus, probably for the rest of his lifetime.

If you’re going to play chess at that level, that’s how it’s done.

Like I told you yesterday.

And for the would-be military and strategic geniuses out there, life moves pretty fast. A goodly number of you should probably just stay on the porch. I won't name names; you know who you are.

If you'd been following this last Saturday, you wouldn't be wearing your trousers as socks now.

For those convinced the chemical usage didn't exist, and that the attack never happened, I'll just leave this here:

AP News: Russians knew about chemical attack

The United States has made a preliminary conclusion that Russia knew in advance of Syria's chemical weapons attack last week, but has no proof of Moscow's involvement, a senior U.S. official said Monday.The official said that a drone operated by Russians was flying over a hospital as victims of the attack were rushing to get treatment. Hours after the drone left, a Russian-made fighter jet bombed the hospital in what American officials believe was an attempt to cover up the usage of chemical weapons.
The U.S. official said the presence of the surveillance drone over the hospital couldn't have been a coincidence, and that Russia must have known the chemical weapons attack was coming and that victims were seeking treatment.

Still not my guy. Still smarter than you, Putin, and the MSM combined.

FFS, Reagan had to wait two years for the Libyans to bomb a disco to get this opportunity.
If he lands the 1st Armored Division in Syria, and tries to build a better nation, give a holler. I'll join your march, and subscribe to your newsletter.

In the meantime, he's punished a tyrant, given his regime a nudge towards the abyss, made Putin look like a pussy, and put three other threat nations on notice, for the cost of no American lives at risk, and less than 5 dozen aging cruise missiles, for some good Navy surface action live-fire training.



TheAlaskan said...

Bravo. Now on to the next "player" Kim, the pillsbury, gangnam style, doughboy.

Anonymous said...


1) Pork Chop is about to get his comeuppance
2) THAAD deployed in-theater
3) China cancelled all shipments of NORK coal.
4) China proceeds to purchase coal from USA.
5) Pork Chop will most likely perform a test launch.
6) US Forces will most likely bitch slap his toy rocket down with the hammer of the Gods.
7) Pork Chop will be very embarassed, believe me, folks.
8) Pork Chop may act out over his toy rocket bitch-slapping.
9) SoF proceed to perforate Pork Chop.
10) Pictures of Dead Pork chop are used by Information Operations to demoralize the Dear Leader cultists.
11) Multinational Coalition Cleanup Crew deployed to aisle 7, the area formerly known as Best Korea.

Anonymous said...

BTW, your column got a brief read (your bullet points read verbatim) by none other than John B. Wells, last evening.

Thanks for this one. Your optimism is deeply appreciated.

Iceni 26AD

Aesop said...

Starting @ 19:47

Well, color me tickled.
Didn't know I was writing for radio.
Might have to clean my language up for broadcast.

Or not.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Anonymous said...

No need. John B. (a National Treasure, imho) is quite adept in 'edit on the fly.' He appeared both amused and impressed.

Articulation like that you possess is nothing short of a gift. The more real it is, the more impact it has, and if I had a vote, I would vote "no change." The adults in the room get it.

Iceni 26AD