Bombs

bomb“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!–President Donald Trump

The claim of Mission Accomplished was likely premature and in any case an unfortunate choice of words.

Bombing campaigns are often ineffective. Here are some examples:

Battle of Britain

German bombs did much damage, but also strengthened British resolve.

Germany

British and American bombs did much damage, but didn’t end the war. Russian success in the East and the Normandy landings did that.

Pearl Harbor

The attack did damage, but didn’t affect the outcome of the war. The attack did strengthen American resolve.

North Vietnam

US bombing of North Vietnam at most delayed reunification.

Laos/Cambodia

Bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail at most delayed reunification.

Libya

Attacks on Libya during the Reagan Administration did little if anything to affect Gaddafi’s government.

Afghanistan

The Taliban continues to control much of Afghanistan in spite of dramatic bombing.

Syria

If the first American missile attack was to deter the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government, it failed.

Doubtless one could think of more examples and counter examples. However, if bombing is said to have been effective, there likely were other important factors. Regardless, bombs kill indiscriminately, and thus reflect poorly on those responsible.

 

 

 

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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19 Responses to Bombs

  1. Anne says:

    Aren’t we all sure that the purpose of this misadventure was really to distract from the Stormy and Cohen (and insert whatever scandal or revelation is going to break next, because here we are with yet another new day, another giddily horrifying news leak sure to be on the horizon) stories? Did ya’ll call your congresscritters’ offices today and demand they rein this guy in?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. josephurban says:

    An old saying: Truth is the first casualty of war.

    My take. The very limited strike on a couple purported chemical weapons sites has no practical value. It does send a message that, after giving Russia adequate warning and allowing the Syrian air force to get to safety, the US will make a PR missile and bombing attack. I am not suggesting we do more. No point in getting involved in another unwinnable quagmire. But this “attack” was really just theater.

    Watching Fox News there were virtual orgasms of pleasure over this limited bombing. Expert after expert came on praising Mr Trump’s “tough stance”. They love it when he talks tough and calls people names. Oh, well. It worked with his base.

    Assad is winning or has won this war with the rebels. He is now , in conjunction with Russia, in a cleaning up mode. Destroying the remnants of his opposition. Nothing the US can do unless the entire international community decides to confront Assad. Not going to happen as long as Russia has a Security Council veto.

    Trump will not send in troops. He is all BS when it comes to a real conflict. A few missile strikes whenever the probes into his finances develop. Distractions. . That is all.

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  3. whungerford says:

    Why would the British and French have joined the fray if its sole purpose were to distract from Trump’s legal troubles? Would they have joined simply to please Donald Trump?

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  4. Rynstone says:

    I disagree with the premise of the op-ed that today’s precision bombing does not work to destroy a country’s infrastructure and industrial complexes. I also do not agree that the Trumpster did this bombing attack to redirect from the investigations going on against the Trump campaign.
    You would have to first say that Trump ordered a covert operation to do teh chemical attack.

    Assuming that the French,British or American intelligence had conclusive proof that the Assad Government used chemical weapons on their own people the Trumpster wanted to send a loud message on the use of chemical weapons. (I still not convinced that the Assad military did this attack. For what purpose?!?!)

    I seem to remember the Obama Administration giving us their “word” that the Syria government working with the Russians destroyed all of the chemical weapons!?!?!?

    This is no different than Clinton lobbing missiles into Somalia.

    And then we have the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama doing indiscriminate bombing in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya (helping to overthrow the government), Somalia & Syria. None of these countries had threatened, attacked or posed a threat to the US or it’s allies or NATO.

    Speaking of the Obama Administration; In February 2016, the Obama administration added Libya, Somali and Yemen to the list of countries one could not have visited — but allowed dual citizens of those countries who had not traveled there access to the Visa Waiver Program. Dual citizens of Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Iran are still ineligible.
    Yet, I don’t remember the Left freaking out over this. I certainly don’t remember them going indiscriminately insane when the Obama White House stopped processing Iraqi visas for six months in 2011 when—surprise! —Al-Qaeda operatives feigned refugee status to get relocated to Bowling Green, Kentucky. And yes, some of the visa applicants who were screwed over worked as intelligence assets and interpreters for the U.S. military, according to ABC News. But remember, there was a Democrat in the Oval Office, so it was okay at the time.
    Here is the Text of the Trump order;
    https://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2017/01/27/text-of-trump-executive-order-on-barring-refugees/

    So, in a nutshell, Obama restricted visa waivers for those seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — and now, Trump is looking to bar immigration and visitors from the same list of countries.
    That being said I cannot believe that the US, The British and the French governments attacked a sovereign country whose government has not threatened, is not a threat and has not attacked the US, NATO or it’s allies. We voted for the Trumpster to get us out of Syria.
    The US is hot the world police force.
    Without UN approval we had no business in Syria at this time.
    Of course one can easily make the true statement that the UN would not take this matter up and do anything about it.

    Maybe more people will see that the UN is a worthless and corrupt body.
    The list of UN failures reads like a novel. Most of Africa and the entire middle East has been not protected by the failed and corrupt UN. Rwanda, Somalis, Yemen, etc.

    We have to quit bombing indiscriminately and going against the US Constitution.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. whungerford says:

    Gary, your remarks make little sense. President Obama did ask Congress to authorize military intervention in Syria; I believe you agree with him on that. Trump went ahead without authorization; I suppose you would oppose that.

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  6. josephurban says:

    When will President Obama finally give up directing U foreign policy? The man has been out of office for over a year and he still is the magnificent obsession of the right wing. they just can’t get over him.
    Was Obama’s foreign policy perfect? I think not. Of course, for the last 6 years he was hampered by a Mitch McConnell who was determined to sabotage everything he did. Still, he managed to come up with a verifiable nuclear deal with Iran, keep the lid on N Korea, hold Russia in check, kill the man responsible for 9/11, abide by the GW Bush deal to leave Iraq and take 80% of the ISIS territory and drive them back to a few strongholds. All the while keeping us out of a land war and fully supporting the Kurds. Not bad. Not bad at all.
    He understood that ONLY CONGRESS can declare war and asked the GOP for authorization to attack Syria. Still, Obama (illegally?) continued to bomb ISIS bases while asking Congress for a war vote. Obama asked for a war authorization in 2013 and again in 2015. The GOP Congress refused both times. They did not want to take responsibility, just lay blame. So, Obama went as far as he thought he could, legally, without violating the Constitution.
    Watching Fox this morning I was struck , once again, by their obsession with Obama. They fail to inform their viewers that Mr Obama (besides being labeled “Deporter-in-Chief” by the Hispanic community for his record deportations of illegals) asked for war authorization an number of times.
    Of course, if Trump TV and right wing blogs is your main source of news you will believe that stuff. So be it.
    I am confident that Trump will not send troops into Syria. He fears a confrontation with Putin. And, for once, he is right. Assad has pretty much destroyed his opposition. No need to make the same mistake Bush made in Iraq.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. whungerford says:

    Even if the Pentagon is right that significant Syrian chemical warfare capability was destroyed, Assad’s willingness to use such weapons in the future if he can get them isn’t affected at all. How to get desperate dictators to eschew chemical warfare is a much bigger problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rynstone says:

    Under Obama and under Trump we should not be in Syria. Period…… We are not teh World’s Police officers. All most everybody in the Middle East hates America. We should end funding and end military involvement. The Afghanistan War is the longest war in American History!

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  9. whungerford says:
    • Under Obama and under Trump we should not be in Syria. Really, no matter what?
    • We are not the World’s Police officers. Yes, but does that mean we should let the world go its way no matter what?
    • Almost everybody in the Middle East hates America. Really, where is the evidence for that? Israel?
    • We should end funding and end military involvement. Why?
    • The Afghanistan War is the longest war in American History! If true, what does that have to do with Syria

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  10. Rynstone says:

    * Under Obama and under Trump we should not be in Syria. Really, no matter what?
    Only if they threaten or attack the US it’s allies or NATO.
    * We are not the World’s Police officers. Yes, but does that mean we should let the world go its way no matter what?
    When you have no direct UN narrative and plan and tney do not threaten teh US, yes, let tj=hem go their own way
    *Almost everybody in the Middle East hates America. Really, where is the evidence for that? Israel?
    Watch the people of many middle east nations cheer when something bad happens to the US
    * We should end funding and end military involvement. Why?
    We should not be involving or funding American troops in Syria see #1

    * The Afghanistan War is the longest war in American History! If true, what does that have to do with Syria
    We do not need Syria to turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan for America

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  11. josephurban says:

    I agree with Ryn (stop the presses!!!) that Us should not be the world’s policeman or unilaterally involved in the Middle East.
    But the reality is that the world is highly integrated and what happens in the Middle East does effect us, like it or not. An ISIS caliphate would be a worldwide disaster, spreading fundamentalism and terror.We cannot just ignore it. It is real. As is N Korea and Iran, etc.
    The problem is an international one of human rights. The problem is that since the 1980s the US has often undermined the UN and ignored international law ourselves. (The Iraq invasion is the best example) We need to strengthen the UN,especially peacekeeping forces. We need to end the one nation (US, Russia, China, UK, France) veto power in the Security Council which makes it almost impossible to take meaningful action.
    The answer is not isolation (WW2 should have taught us that) but further international cooperation. And strengthen, not weaken, international bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. whungerford says:

    Of course we are not the world’s police, and I do agree that we should strengthen the UN, but that leaves many questions unanswered:

    Did we have any right to intervene in the Korean Civil War (called a Police Action), even under the auspices of the UN?
    Did we have any right to intervene in the Civil War in Vietnam?
    Did the invasion of Kuwait justify the First Gulf War?
    Would the annexation of Crimea justify war with Russia?
    Did the attack on the WTC justify our long war in Afghanistan?
    Would an attack on Taiwan justify war with China?
    Would attacks on the US or US citizens launched by ISIS in Syria or another country justify intervention in that country?
    Can a regime murder an ethnic or religious minority within a country without fear of intervention?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. whungerford says:

    The UN Security Council, where “great powers” have a veto, is essential to the working of the UN. It assures that the UN only takes action when there is a consensus. The alternative might be to pit the great powers against each other, as did happen during the Korean War with potentially disastrous consequences. The worst was avoided when General MacArthur was sacked, and the Eisenhower Administration negotiated a long lasting ceasefire.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. josephurban says:

    whungerford. To answer your questions I would rely on my understanding of international law. I am not an expert but I do have a pretty good idea of the workings of the UN, etc. Regarding the SC veto power. I would change that so that if all other 14 members of the SC agreed on an action, then one of the “great powers” could not veto it. They would need at least one vote supporting that veto.

    Your other points…and my answers.

    Did we have any right to intervene in the Korean Civil War (called a Police Action), even under the auspices of the UN?…Yes, authorized by the UN Resolution 82
    Did we have any right to intervene in the Civil War in Vietnam?… NO
    Did the invasion of Kuwait justify the First Gulf War?…Yes, authorized by the UN Resolution 678
    Would the annexation of Crimea justify war with Russia?…NO
    Did the attack on the WTC justify our long war in Afghanistan?…NO, only a short interventiton aimed at al-Qaeda.
    Would an attack on Taiwan justify war with China? NO, however The Taiwan Act authorizes the US to DEFEND Taiwan against any invasion. Not necessarily a war with China.
    Would attacks on the US or US citizens launched by ISIS in Syria or another country justify intervention in that country?NO.
    Can a regime murder an ethnic or religious minority within a country without fear of intervention? NO. The US should support human rights everywhere, but not necessarily with military force.

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  15. whungerford says:

    Joseph, I fail to see any guiding principle in your answers:

    Korea, Kuwait–yes (citing UN resolutions)
    Crimea, Vietnam–no
    Afghanistan,Taiwan (hypothetical)–maybe if limited

    Reliance on UN votes seems shaky; if the USSR had not boycotted the UN during the votes on Korea, Korea might be united today. If Russia had vetoed the Kuwait resolutions, Kuwait today might be a province of Iraq. What is it that makes the annexation of Crimea tolerable? Is it that there is no practical recourse? Why aren’t UN resolutions against Israel enforced? Would it be acceptable if Iran or another country or countries attempted to enforce them?

    Here are more challenges:
    Bosnia
    Kosovo
    Libya
    Panama
    Granada
    Somalia
    Georgia
    Yemen
    South China Sea islands claimed by rival nations.

    If Russia would annex Estonia to protect the large Russian minority there, would the same rule apply as with Crimea? Russia would surely veto any UN resolution. On paper, NATO would be required to act, but practically there would be little they could do short of provoking a disastrous conflict between major powers.

    Maybe an ad hoc response to crises is the the best we can do, weighing the national interest, public opinion, and the severity of the concern in each case. Applied to Syria–there is a national interest in discouraging use of chemical weapons, public opinion presumably opposes war beyond missile attacks, and the humanitarian crisis there is of major concern if only due to the outflow of refugees.

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  16. josephurban says:

    whunger. There are 3 issues at play, in my mind.
    1. International law is the first principle. Both Korea and Kuwait , and to some extent Afghanistan were legal actions under international law.
    2.Treaty obligations are the second principle. We have treaty obligations under NATO and the Taiwan Pact to take certain actions. These obligations are widely known and act as a deterrent.
    In 2004 the Baltic states joined NATO, so they are covered by the US defense forces. The Ukraine was not a NATO member, hence the US had no legal basis to intervene in Crimea (militarily).If Russia tried to annex Estonia the entire military force of NATO would be used to stop that. Which is why Putin picked on Ukraine…so as not to oppose NATO.
    3. I would add the principle of humanitarian crises. Obviously, that one would have to be vigorously debated. Only under extreme conditions should the US use military force outside of the current legal structure.

    There is a difference between UN resolutions which are passed by the entire body (which often condemns Israel) and Security Council resolutions. ONLY the SC can authorize the use of military force. So, no matter how many resolutions are passed condemning Israel those cannot legally use military force . Only the SC. Which is why the Bush invasion of Iraq in 2013 was illegal under international law.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. whungerford says:

    Martin Amis wrote a story about a war between a militant civilization on Mars and forces at the center of the galaxy. The war was over in 12 milliseconds–Mars lost. Something like that would happen if Russia decided to annex Estonia. In my opinion, Estonia’s security depends on maintaining good relations with their neighbor, and in avoiding discrimination against Russian-speaking Estonians.

    In the case of the two missile attacks on Syria, were they justified by international law, treaty obligations, or what? Israeli occupation of conquered territories violates international law; should we or others intervene in this case? If your plan for two votes to sustain a veto in the SC council were adopted, the SC might well condemn Israel–I believe at least on some occasions the US has cast a lone veto.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. josephurban says:

    bill. can I call you Bill?.
    I disagree with you on Estonia. The US and the rest of NATO would be legally bound to assist Estonia. Russia would be starting a massive land war right on the Russian border. Putin is not stupid. He would not do that.

    I personally think the missile strikes on Syria by Obama and Trump are illegal. Obama tried to get a Congressional resolution ti give it some veneer of legality, but the GOP refused. I guess no one wanted an open debate on Syria, why we are there or what we should do. Even today Congress refuses to debate the issue. Their philosophy seems to be: Let the POTUS decide, then we can blame him when things go bad!

    Fighting ISIS in Syria may be legal as an outgrowth of the 2001 Congressional act giving Bush just about unlimited power to go after anyone a POTUS describes as a terrorist. But that would not make it legal under international law.

    You make a good point about the SC veto power. I suspect that when push came to shove and an actual authorization for using military force against Israel were proposed (if it ever would be proposed) a number of countries would vote no. It is easy to vote yes when you know the US will veto it anyway. “Condemning” Israel is different than actually sending in UN forces.On the other hand, as long a Russia holds veto power, nothing will be done in Syria by the UN.

    The real conundrum for me is the humanitarian issue. At one point does the largest most modern military force on Earth have an obligation to stop the slaughter of civilians? That is a tough road to go down, either way.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. whungerford says:

    I agree (except on Estonia): the real issue is the humanitarian issue. I believe we were right to intervene in Bosnia, Libya, and perhaps we should have intervened in Central Africa, Yemen, Burma, and even in Syria. But what sort of intervention would be effective? In my opinion, missile strikes contribute nothing. I just heard an expert on TV remark that in Syria we called for the removal of Assad without a practical plan for doing so. That’s the rub–if our policy is “Assad has to go,” how can we achieve that? Should it be policy if it isn’t achievable?

    Liked by 1 person

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