The overnight missile attack on  Shayrat air base near Homs was the latest instance of the Executive Branch taking military action without Congressional approval.  Senator Rand Paul has taken the lead in condemning this action, on the grounds that Article I, Section VIII of the US Constitution clearly gives Congress the sole authority to declare war.  As Senator Paul noted, the United States was not attacked by Syria.

Furthermore, while the satellite imagery clearly showed that the bombing of the Idlib town coincided with the unleashing of some form of chemical gas, there has been no conclusive investigation, and the Russian narrative–that the site held rebel chemical weapons–is plausible, if not yet confirmed.

The attack took place in the midst of President Trump's Mar-a-Lago summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where one of the hot topics is what to do about North Korea's continuing long-range missile tests and work on completing a nuclear warhead.  Clearly there was an implicit message to both North Korea and Iran in the attack.

Russia's immediate response, in addition to condemning the strikes, was to withdraw from the deconfliction agreements with the US.  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson travels to Moscow early next week.  The Russian government officially confirmed that they were alerted in advance to the pending US strike.

A new and even more unpredictable strategic situation has now emerged in the last 24 hours.  The Constitution has been further eroded, and the global security environment has been set on a course that could lead to a much broader war.

This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Middle East, Russia, Syria. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree with your last paragraph.
    The thing is, the much broader war will wreck Turkey and Saudi Arabia, if not Gulfies, all US allies and friends.
    Just like the Shia-Sunni division is eroding the cohesion of the Gulfies.

  2. Bill H says:

    Well, Congressional approval was not needed because the attack was not war, it was punishment for Syria’s use of Sarin gas. The NYT did admit, however that, “Syria could consider the attack to be an act of war.”
    No, of course I do not subscribe to that theory, and I find it hard to understand how Syria could consider it anything else. But even if one did buy the premise, a) before punishing someone, one must be sure that he did the misdeed for which you are punishing him and b) one must have the authority to issue the punishment.
    If I think my neighbor stole my lawnmower, or have it on hearsay that he did so, can I go next door and put a hand grenade in his pants? I don’t think so.

  3. LondonBob says:

    One of the few journalist I will listen to on the Trump administration is Richard Baris. Says there is a power struggle and unfortunately the Bannon wing is losing. I still find it amazing Kushner, with his family’s background, and Ivanka have such prominent roles, they seem ever present. I actually liked his son Don Jr, never see him interfering.

  4. kooshy says:

    “The Constitution has been further eroded,”
    With all due respect, as a naturalized citizen of US, in my experience the most disrespectful of all to US constitution and what it stand for, have been the few past presidents of the US, ever since i became a naturalized citizen.

  5. sid_finster says:

    The Constitution has been a dead letter for a long time now. Were to God that things were otherwise.

  6. turcopolier says:

    It was not an act of war? No? Then what the hell was it? There is not a state of war between Syria and the US. There has been no declaration of war and as Senators Paul and Kaine point out, the present AUMF does not authorize acts of war against the Syrian government. Nor are there authorizing UN Resolutions for such an action. IOW this was an illegal attack both in international and US law. pl

  7. Stephanie says:

    David Ignatius outdoes himself:
    “Even for a president who advertised his coldblooded pragmatism, the moral dimensions of leadership find a way of penetrating the Oval Office. In the case of President Trump, the emotional distance seems to have been shattered by simple, indelible images of suffering children in Idlib, Syria.”

  8. Mikey says:

    Other than the relative scale of it, how is this any different than Pearl Harbor?

  9. Well, it’s not as if my generation didn’t have to fight an “undeclared war.”
    Please don’t think I agree with this action by Trump. I am just plain tired of this sort of behavior on the part of the executive branch, no matter which party is in control lately.

  10. Booby says:

    About 25 years ago I was in the office of a senior EUCOM flag for a private meeting when his red phone range. He asked if I could move to the outer office for a moment. When he ushered me back into his office, he apologized saying, “Sorry, I just had to approve another bombing of country that we are not at war with.”
    I don’t think that we’ve been to war since WW-II. Only had police actions, conflicts, etc. We’ve invaded, occupied, bombed & droned around the world, all in the name of peace. We’ve used a lot of our blood & treasure creating this Pax Americana and have left trails of blood & devastation.
    Poor Syria. What will we leave behind this time?

  11. turcopolier says:

    The undeclared wars that you are talking about were just about all covered by some kind of law. This one was not. pl

  12. The Beaver says:

    @ LondonBob
    They want to be the political couple in addition to be socialites in NY and Palm Beach. Jared is working his wife since she knows how to get her father to comply to her demands and wishes: that is, sit at the table with the big boys and girls – from Justin to Angela to the Saudi dauphin and most probably at the G7 /G20 meetings
    Check this
    Bibi and AIPAC are loving it

  13. turcopolier says:

    If you are referring to VN, the authorization was contained in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed by the US Congress as well as the annual appropriations voted for the war by the US Congress. And then of course we were requested by the sovereign state of South Vietnam to assist them. The sovereign state of Syria has not invited the US to do anything. pl

  14. bj says:

    Linked is a thorough and excellent analysis by Denis O’Brien, neuroscientist, of the Shajul Islam video that was released 10 hours after the ‘attack’ on Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday. This vid apparently was much used by the MSM in their cries of “Sarin!”
    Opening paragraph:
    “One of the first videos to hit the internet on Apr04 claiming horrors of a sarin attack by Assad on Khan Sheikhoun (KS) is a 10.5 minute YourTube that I have designated as Vid-002 in my playlist of KS vids. It is basically 10 minutes of full-face selfie of a guy named Shajul Islam wandering around in what appears to be a clinic, purportedly in KS. I will have a full analysis of this head-chopper himself in the coming day or two. Suffice it for the moment to note that I don’t refer to this terrorist as “Dr. Shajul Islam” as the MSM does, and the reason I don’t is that his British medical license has been revoked and I have no information of him being licensed to practice medicine anywhere, not even the Islamic Caliphate.”
    His exacting analysis of the Ghouta Mass Execution in 2013 can be found here: http://logophere.com/Topics2016/16-01/16-01-27.htm

  15. divadab says:

    “how is this any different than Pearl Harbor?”
    Really? Pearl Harbor was US territory, right? Bombed by a hostile foreign power. Which US territory did Syria bomb?
    Give your head a shake.

  16. HankP says:

    I was the biggest Trump supporter. From the get go. I campaigned really hard, gave a lot of time and money, and tried to persuade people why Trump is the candidate America needs. Today I threw away my 5 Trump shirts, my Inauguration paraphernalia, my Trump Presidency coins, et al. I feel like a fool. I am now more anti-Trump than Michael Moore and Ashley Judd on bath salts. I want this orange bastard impeached. #NeverTrump.

  17. Fred says:

    Bill H,
    Where in the constitution is that authorization?

  18. bj says:

    I know it’s hard and heartbreaking, but we gotta wake up kids — rub the sleep out of our eyes and clear the delusional dreams from our minds. It’s gonna take a growing group of sober, sane, rational and hopeful people, regular folks, to come together — past the illusional divisions of left and right, black and white, us and them — and hold accountable the power drunk mad men and women who are raining destruction down on all we hold dear: innocent people, the rule of law, our very world.

  19. optimax says:

    So it’s your fault.

  20. kao_hsien_chih says:

    One reason that we elect presidents, rather than emperors or “dictators” (in the Roman sense), used to be that we can consider presidents to be bound by laws, while we can only rely on the “good character” of the emperors and dictators as the latter are beyond the law. Somewhere in the past couple of decades, we seem to have crossed that line: I am not sure if any of us should be surprised at this sudden turn of events, if indeed, Trump is “Emperor Trump”–he can change his mind if and when he wants to and no one, other than himself, can keep him in check. Hardly a knock on Trump: he was, after all, running against a madwoman who vowed to do exactly this with all sincerity.
    The real “solution,” and the only solution I think, to this mess is to, first, try to rebuild the legal framework that limits abuse of power for whatever purpose, and, more importantly, try to place in high office(s), not just presidency, but all public offices of import, with those who recognize the import of keeping their power constrained, not try to blind the masses with the allure of “the right thing.” The latter will be a challenge: we are too much drawn to the dangerous image of a crusader, a Mr. Smith, who will “do the right thing and will let no law stand in the way.” I’m talking about politicians of all stripes. If we give up the law for a little bit of righteousness, we shall soon have neither, as Franklin would tell us.

  21. JohnH says:

    Now we know how WWIII may start. First, stage an atrocity. Second, if Trump doesn’t respond immediately, accuse him of being weak…like Obama. Being perceived as weak is not tolerable for Trump. He will attack.
    McCain, neocons, Israelis, and liberal interventionists now know how to play Trump…the Syrian gas attack might have been the trial run.

  22. Virginia Slim says:

    This strike is being portrayed as a snap decision based on media coverage of a single “attack” — is that credible? In the weeks before last night’s events, Trump met w/ the king of KSA, the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan (the latter was in town with the putative attack took place). What do those three fellows have in common? Their nations are the backbone of the old US-Sunni alliance (viz. after 8 years of “Iran first” policy in the ME, “Trump is getting the band back together!”) One imagines that the current state of play in Syria was a top topic of conversation in each of those dialogues.
    So, this “attack” happens and Tillerson chides both Russia AND Iran for failing to properly pull their puppet’s strings. So, this “attack” happens and lo and behold, look who’s due in town. President Xi! How convenient that he could be here to witness this show of resolve just as POTUS needs to sit down and have a talk about North Korea. You’ll recall that just last week, SecDef Mattis very publicly identified DPRK as the most pressing NatSec concern facing the US, e.g.
    Additionally, one should not overlook the largely symbolic bit of news that appeared on Wednesday (D-1): Steve Bannon, he of the “America First! No wars of choice!” was very publicly (and again, largely symbolically) removed from NSC. What’s the point of such a story? Well, it’s a signal of course, and I imagine the folks who get paid to watch for such things knew that it meant the pivot had come.
    To sum up, this seems to have been a well-planned and well thought-out operation. And bugger all if doesn’t have strategic coherence to boot. PRC and RF will be brought under enormous pressure to act as internationally responsible hegemons.
    Will it work? Hell, who knows.

  23. b says:

    Trump has established a mechanism for al-Qaeda to “call for help” just like the Israelis have done on the Golan (al-Qaeda lobs mortar towards Israel, Israel hits SAA).
    – When under military pressure ..
    – hoax some “chemical weapon” incident ..
    – produce pictures and vids that will impress Trump ..
    – have the U.S. dropping on your enemy.
    Rinse. Repeat.
    It took some 10 weeks for the deep state to domesticate Trump. I hadn’t expected that he would be so easy to defeat. He will love the role for now. Strutting like Bush on that aircraft carrier. When the inevitable “blow back” comes, asymmetrical and harsh, he will again be the bad boy, be hated and hate it.

    The Russian’s say that this attack was planned some time ago – way before the incident. Is there a point that one can fix when exactly?

  24. Farmer Don says:

    Here is Nassim Taleb’s take on the attack.
    “An offer very hard to refuse
    There is this formidable scene in the Godfather when a Hollywood executive wakes up with the bloody severed head of a horse in his bed, his cherished race horse.”

  25. VietnamVet says:

    Steve Bannon is sidelined. The search for new Chief of Staff is on; most likely from Goldman Sachs. The soft coup worked. Donald Trump will serve out his last four years alive. A more suitable figurehead Emperor will replace him in 2021. I agree that this is meant to scare the shit out of Xi Jinping in order to continue the rule as the Hegemon. Wish us luck. Things are cracking apart; F-16C crashing, errant cruise missiles, collateral damage. A rouge Empire, camouflaged by fake propaganda, runs the world.

  26. pj says:

    On March 16 of this year, the US Air Force bombed a mosque near Aleppo, Syria, killing at least 46 people. After some delay, the US Air Force said an investigation was required to determine what actually happened.
    On April 4 a suspected chemical weapons attack took place in Idlib Province in an area controlled by al-Qaeda affiliates. The Trump administration immediately, and without a proper investigation, blamed the Syrian government and sent 50 cruise missiles to bomb the air base where supposedly the attack originated. (As an aside, if this base had originated a chemical weapons attack, why would you bomb it and potentially release chemical weapons into the air when villages are nearby?)
    Throughout the Trump administration, the media and the Democratic establishment have, mostly rightly in my mind, criticized the Trumpers for all manner of suspected unethical, or potentially illegal acts.
    On April 7, the Trump administration violated the Constitution itself by committing an act of war through the bombing of a Syria military target without congressional approval. The mass media and the Democratic establishment applauded him.

  27. doug says:

    It’s been quite some time since Dec. 11, 1941, which was the last time Congress followed the Constitution’s requirements for declaration of war. Like some other provisions in that great document, it seems to be viewed as a quaint vestige of no current significance.

  28. Mikey says:

    It would be wonderful if Jared’s Journey were published. It would make an excellent Neocon children’s book.
    BTW: the link has one too many http:’s

  29. Laura says:

    Priam’s Crazy Daughter…
    You are not crazy. Amen.

  30. plantman says:

    This is an excerpt from an interview with former CIA officer and Director of the Council for the National Interest, Philip Giraldi, who explains what’s happening behind the scenes in the Middle East where “military and intelligence personnel,” “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, say that the narrative that Assad or Russia did it is a “sham.” (The interview took place just hours before Trump launched the attack on the Syrian airfield)
    Philip Giraldi– I am hearing from sources on the ground, in the Middle East, the people who are intimately familiar with the intelligence available are saying that the essential narrative we are all hearing about the Syrian government or the Russians using chemical weapons on innocent civilians is a sham. The intelligence confirms pretty much the account the Russians have been giving since last night which is that they hit a warehouse where al Qaida rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties. Apparently the intelligence on this is very clear, and people both in the Agency and in the military who are aware of the intelligence are freaking out about this because essentially Trump completely misrepresented what he should already have known — but maybe didn’t–and they’re afraid this is moving towards a situation that could easily turn into an armed conflict.

  31. Richard says:

    Could the legal justification for Trump’s military action have been derived from this?
    S.J.Res.21 – Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons
    Of course, this is only an authorization of use of military force subject to the condition that the Syrian government did *in fact* use WMDs.

  32. Old Microbiologist says:

    Plus, on a larger issue, what has this to do with the US at all? We are illegally in the country already and now we have created a situation far more dangerous than is justified even if the gas attack was true. Why is it we believe we are the policemen of the Planet?
    I admire Putins restraint. I would have sunk 2 ships immediately. Putin always plays the long game so we will have to wait and see where this goes. If this was an elaborate charade just to get Gorsuch approved and the Borgistas off Trumps back, then that might explain why the attack was so amazingly ineffective. The removal of Bannon and Priebus are also coincidentally interesting. There seems to be a lot in play and it is confusing. Maybe there is a much larger gambit going on here that we don’t see yet?

  33. Dr.Puck says:

    Jack Goldsmith at Lawfare ends his analysis with this:
    I can imagine the smile on Trump administration officials’ faces when they figured out that they would both enforce a red line that Obama wouldn’t and rely on Obama administration legal thinking to provide cover for doing so.

  34. Cold War Zoomie says:


  35. charly says:

    In the number of death obviously but in my guess is that those tomahawks carried in the same order of explosives and hit more targets.

  36. charly says:

    Laos and Cambodia?
    To be fair a drunk lawyer could get you out of those legalities. For wrong i would look at Central America.
    ps. I only care about international law as an outsider to America.

  37. sid_finster says:

    Am I the only person who finds it utterly rich that the CIA, which tortures people, and Trump, who gives the go-ahead to torture people, have proclaimed themselves to be the Defenders of Human Rights(tm) in Syria?

  38. turcopolier says:

    It is clear that they simply used the target package from the 2013 planning. They have similar target packages for the other Syrian air bases. The pattern is clear to me. From now on AQ derivatives will stage a gas attack whenever they want to have the US attack Syria. The Borg (deep state/US) has mastered the man easily. I am told that McMaster successfully argued for the smallest strike package among the three options offered. The knowledge of the fraudulent TV propaganda nature of the Idlib attack is widely known in the US government. There was a strategic level recon drone watching during the attack because of Russian notification. It will be difficult to keep the truth hidden but the Trumpians will try very hard. pl

  39. turcopolier says:

    I guess you are too young to understand that the opinion of “drunk lawyers” counted for nothing. pl

  40. sid_finster says:

    Good to admit that you made a mistake. I was never a fan, but a limited apologist.
    No more of that for me.

  41. anon says:

    all those sitting ducks on the med are being joined by anothe frigate and a monster sub.radar love is in the air

  42. Kooshy says:

    It’s the fault of the imperial presidency we all loved and didn’t stop when started.

  43. Colonel,
    I’ve lurked here for about a year and a half and love the boards yet have never posted until today. Thank you for allowing me to absorb thoughtful discussion.
    Syria is known to have SS-21 Missiles and SCUD variants capable of delivering CM. However I know of NO aircraft remotely capable of delivering either weapons. Those are the only two known Syrian-owned missile systems capable of being outfitted with CM. So it was no missile strike by an aircraft.
    The ZAB-incendiary bombs and PTAB 500 cluster bombs, both in use in the region, could possibly be outfitted to carry CW and are air deployable by their very nature. If in fact Syria did deploy one of the latter two bombs it would be the first known use of either as a CW and the development would have had to have been post-2012 and to go a bit further the development program would have had to have eluded OPCW. With the US gov’t doubling down on this apparent abhorrent attack as being Assad generated and releasing the “flight path” then shouldn’t they be able to answer one simple question…. how the hell did they do it?

  44. BraveNewWorld says:

    “Somewhere in the past couple of decades, we seem to have crossed that line”
    That day was 9/11. On that day the US government went from being owned by the American people to owning the American people. (Thanks Dick) Bin Ladin could never dream that the results of the attack he planned would be the US government funding, arming and performing attacks for his organization. It’s a surreal world.

  45. ancient archer says:

    I still think this was a fake attack (with minimal damage – only a few old MiG23s which were in maintenance hangers with airport runway still in operation and some 6 people – who exactly we don’t know but that’s what has been told to us) in response to a fake chemical attack propaganda. Perfect reply I think.
    Now that trump is fighting with Russia – with words if not missiles – there can hardly be the continuation of the Russia story in the neocon controlled media. And war hungry commentators could hardly go back to bashing him after praising him on tv so publicly. If Trump keeps on this charade for another week or two, the neocon media will have forgotten what they were attacking him before this sham chemical attack event happened.
    Secondly, with this much hooha from certain quarters within the US as to the legality of this strike, you can be sure that any further aggression will be stymied for the time being. It’s not as if Trump is going to be impeached for this attack – AIPAC won’t let its domestic dogs in the senate and the congress do that. There was much more chance of Trump being impeached if he didn’t order this attack.
    So, the benefits of this. Trump-Russia story in the media now grounds to a complete halt. Trump gets his own trumpet blown by the neocon media who like missiles on Syria.
    Trump’s words immediately after 911 were very insightful. He has seen through propaganda time and again. He know what is fake and what is not. No way he was taken in by the fake chem attack propaganda. But he has paid back the fakers in their own coin! A fake attack on Syria in response to a fake chemical attack propaganda. Bravo!!

  46. Kooshy says:

    Don’t take me wrong I am not trying to defend Mr. Trump, but what we all exprinced here in US,10 weeks of constant 24/7 politicaly getting beat up in media, with no suport from his own party, getting blocked at everything he said he will do, that did him in. IMO, he soon understood it is easier to be a waiter instead of the cook, and take no heat in the kitchen.

  47. Mark Logan says:

    Quite. I would suggest as a solution we abandon the tactic of limiting Presidents, it is, IMO, fighting the tide with a bucket. There is nothing in the Constitution which prevents Congress from abdicating their power to the POTUS, and that is essentially what has been happening for a couple decades now. It’s much easier than governing. The tactic is to put good people in congress. People who view their role of that body as something much more than that of getting themselves re-elected.
    We The People have lost faith in the institution. This is how our representative democracy is actually breaking down. We clamor for change but look only to POTUSes to provide it while sending the same people back to Congress every year, and at the same time. Lawyers can not save us from ourselves. We The People have begun, I fear, to crave the simplicity and coherence of one man rule in the form of a constitutional monarchy, and the poorer We get the more We will demand a government which can act swiftly to save us from our condition.
    What to do though…is a troubling question. The system has become a circus in which good people, for the most part, want nothing to do with. Vexing, to say the least.

  48. Jack says:

    Occams’s Razor would say the gambit is simple. President Trump folded. The Borg won. Probably with Jared Kushner as Trojan Horse.
    Reading the comments at InfoWars, it seems that the alt-right feel betrayed. Not easy to regain back trust. Let’s see how this gambit works for Jared and Ivanka.

  49. Sam Peralta says:

    It makes no sense. If Assad had such weapons why would he use it on some poor village with civilians rather than on AQ forces that he’s been battling hard for years?
    This was a false flag bait and Trump decided to be on the same side as Hillary.

  50. Sam Peralta says:

    “I am told that McMaster successfully argued for the smallest strike package among the three options offered.”
    Col. Lang, would it then imply that McMaster is no Dempsey? Or Trump just didn’t care enough to get the facts before acting?

  51. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    Dempsey was CJCS. McMaster is NS Adviser, a member of Trump’s staff, unconfirmed by the senate and subject to dismissal at any time. pl

  52. Sam Peralta says:

    Thank you, Sir. OK, Dempsey had the statutory office and consequently could go public with the scoop of the falsity of Ghouta.
    It looks Russian PM and former President Medvedev has his finger on the crux of the matter.
    “…the U.S. president has proved with his military action both his lack of originality and his extreme dependence on the opinion of the Washington establishment, which sharply criticized the new president’s inauguration speech. Immediately after his election, I knew everything would depend on how quickly the existing machine could crush Trump’s campaign promises. It took two and a half months…”

  53. FB Ali says:

    It isn’t just Syria. The crazies are now trying to go after Russia.
    I see that CNN is mounting a campaign to blame Russia for the chemical attack. While Nikki Haley merely blamed Russia for not ‘supervising’ the Syrians properly, CNN says that the Russians were present at the Shayrat airbase and thus knew what was going to be done. Thus, they are complicit in the CW attack.
    Having discovered that Trump can be ‘turned on’ by the CW button, the Borg is now trying to use that button to get him to authorise action against the Russians.
    There appears to be a serious epidemic of insanity in Washington!
    BTW, Tel has posted on the Publius Tacitus thread a link to a tweet which apparently indicates that a “journalist” called Feras Karam talked at 2 in the night about the “chemical attack”, which is supposed to have taken place next morning!
    The tweet is at http://tinyurl.com/lnxsrmm

  54. kao_hsien_chih says:

    ancient archer,
    I was thinking something similar, then decided that it sounded too conspiratorial and clever by half at this stage. If the attack was a loud nothing (a lot of missiles, great big noise, but not much at the other end…especially if the Russians knew what was coming long before), it would be a terrific thing to publicly shut up the warmongers for now, but, one could imagine that they could play the same game and up the ante, to see if Trump follows up. Even if it were a fakeout, it would take a real leader to climb back down from the precipice to which Trump will almost certainly be pushed. We shall see what Trump is made of soon enough, as well as how crazy the warmongers really are.

  55. Sam Peralta says:

    Your thesis may well be the case. But once you feed the beast, it will demand more. Its appetite is ravenous.
    IMO, he should have used this fakery as a club to beat and discredit the Borg and all the warmongers. He would have kept his base. Now he’s lost trust as they feel betrayed. Just review his tweets from 2013 on this topic. And his tweets when the Ghouta “red line” was crossed. He should have followed his own advice from then.

  56. Fred says:

    If he’s going to sink a carrier to send a message the USS Intrepid makes a much better target. Especially at 4am on a Sunday morning. Nobody dies and all the people and TV cameras and ambassadors to the UN get to see just how capable of defending the Republic the armed forces are. It will give some current meaning to the phrase “the city that never sleeps”.

  57. Yeah, Right says:

    Doug, this is not just a US phenomenon. As far as I know not one single country has “declared war” since the end of World War Two.
    That isn’t just bloody-mindedness, or even laziness. There are sound reasons under International Law why nobody declares war any more.
    It is this: the UN Charter in Article 2(4) says that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”
    That precludes a country from “declaring war”, since the legal effect of doing that is to declare that you are choosing to go to war with whoever it is that is pissing you off.
    You can still fight a war, of course. Article 52 of the Charter acknowledges that. But the war has to be forced on you, you can’t choose to go to war.
    So rather than a Declaration of War the Congress votes the President a AUMF, which satisfies the Constitutional requirements of the USA without violating Article 2(4) of the UN Charter.
    Legal stuff, I know, I know. Pfffffft.
    But it is important enough that every state has observed that legal nicety i.e. regardless of what the domestic legal requirements are – or however hard you intend to sink the boot into the bad-guy – you simply don’t “declare war” on him.
    You just thump him, even as you insist that he started it.

  58. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, Right
    That is why we have an AUMF and not a declaration of war. You seem to be Israeli. Your country just attacks without interest in the niceties of law. pl

  59. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    Dempsey DID NOT go public. He told Obama privately and that was enough. pl

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree, this is like putting lip stick on a pig.
    “I cannot take it any more from the New York Times, find me a country to bomb,; pronto.”

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think you can scare Xi or the Chinese. They will take counter measures that US and the Western Fortress will not like but will have to live with those consequences.
    Likewise for Russia, Iran and others.
    In 1991, after the defeat of Saddam Hussein, North Koreans took their artillery South and proceeded to take Seoul hostage. And now they evidently have taken Tokyo hostage too.
    US is pinned down in Northeast Asia, in Afghanistan, in the Persian Gulf, in the Horn of Africa, in the Levant, in North Africa, and in the Baltic Sea.
    I personally do not see any upside in any of this for the United States, but then I am a Beige Foreigner with limited amount of cognitive capacity.

  62. Yeah, Right says:

    “That is why we have an AUMF and not a declaration of war.”
    Yes, that’s what I said: a AUMF satisfies the requirements of US domestic law without violating the prohibition in International Law on using military force to get your way.
    That we agree on that score is gratifying.
    “You seem to be Israeli.”
    I have no idea how you came to that conclusion.
    You must have access to my IP address, and a simple tracert should show you that I am about as far from Israel as it is possible to be and still be on Planet Earth.
    “Your country just attacks without interest in the niceties of law.”
    Well, yes, it does. But it does so on the coat-tails of the USA, not because it comes up with the idea on its own.
    Unlike Israel, which I agree has no interest in the niceties of international law.
    But I have no tribal loyalties towards Israel, and nothing but contempt for Zionism, and I have no idea why you would think otherwise.

  63. Tel says:

    “No way he was taken in by the fake chem attack propaganda. But he has paid back the fakers in their own coin! A fake attack on Syria in response to a fake chemical attack propaganda. Bravo!!”
    I hope that’s true. It sounds overly optimistic but if you are right then I will be the first to congratulate you and Trump.
    “Your thesis may well be the case. But once you feed the beast, it will demand more. Its appetite is ravenous.”
    Rumour has it, there’s a lot of fake coin going around.
    If it’s a show they want, then Trump is certainly the right man to deliver. And should they demand an even bigger show, Trump might just get into his stride and deliver a really, really big show.
    “Now he’s lost trust as they feel betrayed.”
    He’s got three years until the next election. Surprise comeback at the last minute is jolly good for the ratings.

  64. Bill H says:

    I’m sorry, where did I cite any constitutional authorization?
    Old Microbiologist
    Well, yes, that too. Very good point. Let me correct my analogy. If neighbor one steals neighbor two’s lawn mower, can I go put a hand grenade in neighbor one’s pants?
    To your second point, note Col. Lang’s point as to the Washington groupthink that Russia will back down if we press them. Is the Borg thinking that Russia has backed down?

  65. Bill H says:

    All due respect, Colonel, I did say that I do not subscribe to the theory of it not being war, and that I find it hard to believe that Syria would consider it anything other than an act of war.

  66. Bill H says:

    I wondered about CW dropped in air strikes, but am insufficiently expert to question it. Only use of CW I have heard discussed is either missile or artillery. Perhaps someone could clarify; is air dropped CW likely?

  67. Jack says:

    As this story notes it looks like the “Democrats” are ascendant in the Trump administration and the America First “nationalists” that helped Trump win the election are on their way out.
    So, did the Deplorables vote Trump, only to get Clinton?

  68. Jack says:

    Check out this InfoWars poll on the Syria strike. Looks like 60% felt it was a bad decision. It would imply that the alt-right were not impressed.

  69. confusedponderer says:

    “But he will do something in retaliation and that something will be effective.”
    Given Trumps and US sympathy for air strikes Putin could make Syria demand a price for this agression by sending them, quietly, modern or modernised air defence systems and/or modern radars and ECM systems.
    Delivering something like that, Putin could quietly piss at Trump and Bibi in the face at the same time. If they like it that way, they could just foolishly go on with their hobbies.
    The US, just like Israelis, wouldn’t like to actually lose aircraft when they are bombing Syria (ignoring the point that it is illegal, and all that).
    Certainly with Bibi the preference is liking domination, not liking to fight someone who would fight back.
    When someones fights back, and does so well, you lose troops. It isn’t a cheap war anymore, in contrast to firing cruise missiles or just bomb at will without losses.
    When Hezbollah showed that they could fight hard and fight back well (as during last Israeli infantry moves in Lebanon) it usually ended with great Israeli disappointment, and withdrawal.
    Bombing Hamas and Gaza is ‘poltically cheaper’ and the Israeli rigtwings love it. I propose that that’s why the Isrsaelis rather prefer bombing Hamas and Gaza over fighting in or over, say, Lebanon or Syria.
    That written, a happy saturday.

  70. LondonBob says:

    Lets see what happens and not over react, suspect Trump might just see this as Reagan and Libya (I suspect this is a similar ruse to the one described by Victor Ostrovsky) with it a one off message to send to various parties. Well informed persons suggesting the Russians will now step up their efforts to end the war and just maybe the chances of US troops being permanently stationed around Raqqa for target practice won’t materialise.
    Encouraging to hear about McMaster, Mattis I worry very much about, I think Obama called him right.

  71. LeaNder says:

    Do you read it as irony? Stephanie. Are you ironic yourself?
    Almost a year later, Assad’s regime killed more than 1,400 people in a chemical weapons attack on the city of Damascus.
    Our own public channels after using that argument over and over again ad nauseam have apparently shifted on the topic. “Allegedly, Ghouta was perpetrated by Assad” or “The issue is controversial”. Not so Ignatius. Just as our journalists do not fully support Merkel’s shift from more cautious: There should be an investigation, she initially demanded, to full support of Trump’s action by now.
    What I am wondering at the moment is, was Russia indeed blocking an investigation as reported over here. Has the UN already moved on to more sanctions on Syria? Not that I could blame the Russians, if they are a bit more suspect of US dominated investigations.
    Western powers put forward the resolution in response to the results of an investigation by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
    The international inquiry found Syrian government forces were responsible for three chlorine gas attacks and that Islamic State militants had used mustard gas.
    British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the council before the vote: “This is about taking a stand when children are poisoned. It’s that simple. It’s about taking a stand when civilians are maimed and murdered with toxic weapons.”

    Maybe I have to shift to lifestyle section of the WP to grasp “the Borg” in this context:
    Pentagon investigates Russian involvement in the attack? Meaning maybe it can be sanctioned too a little harder? …

  72. Old Microbiologist says:

    My cynical side has been thinking overnight. We have an attack which obviously took more than a few days to plan, which launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles of varying warhead capacity. Of which 36 disappeared. The remaining 23 caused very light damage destroying 6 very old and already out of commission Su-23 fighters. They also destroyed the canteen but not much else. As an aside a S-400 battery contains 36 missiles. Coincidence? The Russians were forewarned so moved everything vulnerable out of harms way.
    So, we have a very weak and ineffective attack on a single base in Syria. Who gained from this directly? Trump mostly as now Gorsuch is in and the Borgistas seem quite happy. I believe this is also the end to the Trump is a Russian puppet gambit. There is a lot of verbiage from Niki Hailey, Lavrov, and even Medvedev. But that is all it is talk. The meeting between Tillerson and Putin has not been cancelled which is very telling. So IMHO this was a deliberate theater to shift focus once again away from Trumps Washington problems. Time will tell.

  73. Old Microbiologist says:

    Don’t discount this yet. I believe it is all political theater and the goal is to overcome the anti-Trump efforts. If so, then he has accomplished a lot for only $200 million.

  74. Bill Herschel says:

    Thank you for this insight. I would only add that Trump delegates. That’s it. He delegates. He does nothing himself. Kushner is President of the United States.

  75. Bill Herschel says:

    Russia has always been the target. For, at least, the entire duration of the Afghanistan “wars”. Since before the Crimean war in the 19th century. The resilience of Russia is amazing. They appear to have survived the entire Yeltsin/Harvard fiasco. Taking them on is insanity. But Hitler, Napoleon, etc. etc. were insane. Human beings have done a crappy job taking care of the planet. Maybe that problem is about to be solved. By Russia.
    For the record. Not only did Russia defeat both Germany and Japan in WWII, they created modern theater (modern as in Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront and all the other Stanislavski’s), their musicians have consistently been the best in the world… unless Irving Berlin, etc. etc. etc. don’t count. They are a civilized country, or what remains of a civilized country. Compare St. Petersburg in Russia with St. Petersburg in Florida. Pretty much sums it up.

  76. pmr9 says:

    FB Ali
    The tweets about chemical attacks before 4 April are not incriminating because other such attacks had been alleged in the preceding ten days. Specifically a chlorine attack on 25 March which supposedly killed a surgeon while he was operating, and an “organic phosphate” attack on 30 March which allegedly caused 70 casualties but no fatalities. The source for these is a French NGO called UOSSM, which has as its advisers Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who appears to have been working for MI6 during 2013 in collecting environmental samples from Syria and also providing independent expert briefings to the media, and someone called Dr Raphael Pitti who appears to be his French equivalent (ex-military, collecting physiological samples).
    All this is further evidence that the 4 April incident was planned in advance. It’s possible that the videos showing victims were recorded on 30 March, and uploaded on 4 April after the air strike. If the US was notified in advance of the airstrike, maybe the rebels were notified also.

  77. LeaNder says:

    Interesting, thanks, bj. Doing something like that, needs a lot of patience. Not sure if I have it. But it no doubt would be important to take a closer cross-expert-perspective on the media productions. At least for this nitwits interested in it to the extend it drives events.
    The doctor: His frequent referral to “another patient with pinpoint pupils” seems to use the hammer-in-technique, there may rarely be supporting visual evidence of the first take. For the layman this devide between what the image does and what the audio may be a challenge in that kind of analysis. Some of the cutting technique may be used to suggest a flurry/rush/hectic which would fit the occasion. Among many things that come to mind, more from the top of my head and from my own background. Anyway: it’s result would be: anti-staged visually. 😉
    Unfortunately not many people will pay attention. See above. This needs patience. And it needs expertise one way or another.
    More arbitrary choice:
    walking while holding his head. He looks a little unstable but walks on his own. He has no beard.
    The limits set by our interpretation: I didn’t check his Ghouta analysis. But from my very, very special background, in this case Film, TV, theatre, a lot of the videos I watched at the time had the feel and touch of a staging.
    Concerning the interpretation of unstableness above. The impression/interpretation could result from the guy being led. In this context, from my own background, my more skeptic mindset, his gesture: “holding his head”, made me wonder admittedly.

  78. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, right
    Maybe your moniker sounds like Israeli attitude to me. It is interesting that someone living in Australia has an Israeli e-mail address. pl

  79. Yeah, Right says:

    Ahh, I see. My apologies for the confusion – I chose my moniker to reflect cynicism, not to conjure images of Zionism. And my email address is a word-play on my moniker, nothing more.
    No drama, though I am slightly offended that anyone could regard me as being in any way “Israeli-like”. That hurts, it really does.
    But, hey, it’s just me that’s offended so….. no drama, I suppose.

  80. J says:

    Will those in the Pentagon and at Langley who advised the President (and put him in an impeachable box) to attack Syria be held accountable in this regard? The attack resulted in deaths in Syria, 5 may not be a big number however those 5 will never breath again.

  81. Thomas says:

    “But I have no tribal loyalties towards Israel, and nothing but contempt for Zionism, and I have no idea why you would think otherwise.”
    Because this place has been under constant attack by Apocalyptic zIOmbie Trolls.
    “But it does so on the coat-tails of the USA, not because it comes up with the idea on its own.”
    No, they use US goober goyim to mask their mad merciless intentions. This past event is the straw that broke the camel’s back and it’s owner is coming to collect. They did what Walrus’ uncle warned about, take the step too far.
    What is to be done when the manipulated masses awaken and tell the Masters “eff u too, it is time to fight”?

  82. FourthAndLong says:

    Is this the beginning of retaliation:
    Supposedly a hacking group released the password to some of NSA’s most secret hacking tools, and the password has passed muster.
    Normally I’d dismiss anything on zerohedge.
    Above my pay grade. Just asking ?


  84. John_Frank says:

    fyi not sure under which blog post the following fits, but in any event people may find the following reports of some value:
    H. R. McMaster Manipulating Intelligence Reports to Trump, Wants 150,000 Ground Soldiers in Syria https://medium.com/@Cernovich/h-r-mcmaster-manipulating-intelligence-reports-to-trump-wants-150-000-ground-soldiers-in-syria-83346c433e99
    Meanwhile, according to various reports, K T McFarland is now out at the NSC and will be appointed as Ambassador to Singapore to soften the blow:
    Via @JenniferJJacobs KT McFarland out at @POTUS NSC. Confirmed. KT new ambassador to Singapore. #Trump wanted new post for KT to soften blow
    On April 7, two ‘senior military officials’ briefed the press on background. Follows are two reports. The first is an article posted on the DOD website:
    U.S. Strike Designed to Deter Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons
    The second is from USAToday, republished by http://www.krem.com:
    Pentagon says Russia could have stopped Syrian chemical weapons attack
    Lastly, according to the DOD website, despite the shutdown of the de-confliction ‘hotline’ between the US and Russian Defense Departments:
    Military Strikes Continue Against ISIS Terrorists in Syria, Iraq

  85. John_Frank says:

    Was the video shown to the President and he ordered the strike anyway, along with the putting together a cover story to justify the strike; or was the video withheld from the President?
    If the video was withheld from the President and the intelligence was manipulated, then someone needs to bring the video to the President and play it for him, (easier said then done) so that he can take immediate action to correct the situation and stop the madness.
    Would the logical conduit be someone like Senator Rand Paul?
    Irrespective of whatever personal views people may have about Mr. Trump, he holds the office of the President.
    Just my two cents.

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