Syria bombing

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Old 04-13-18, 07:51 PM
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Syria bombing

This isn't intended to be a political statement and if it heads down that path, this thread will be closed.

The "West" has determined chemical weapons were used by Syria and that Iran and Russia are complicit. Russia and Syria insist they had nothing to do with it but that either "terrorists" are to blame or its just a big setup, a smear campaign, russia-phobia, etc.

So who is right? Will we ever know?

Here is one thing I know. I followed the battle of Mosul extensively as ISIS was being driven out of the city last year. I saw numerous photos of piles of mortars that were found inside houses... including what were said to be chemical weapons stores, including Chlorine filled munitions. The source of much of this was said to be either home made, or smuggled into Iraq by ISIS through tunnels and through the non-existent border with Syria.

So, for the sake of argument, let's say there are similar ISIS allies, sympathizers... or other anti-Assad "resistance" forces near Damascus that are in possession of these same sort of stockpiles that were in Mosul, in a house here or there in and around the city. What's going to happen when that house gets bombed with any regular munition? Isn't it going to look like a chemical attack, and have the same effect on the people nearby?

I'm just saying I don't know how you can with 100% assurance that yes, this was Assad, Russia, Iran, et al that did this, and that they need to be taught a lesson.

It's already a bad situation... I hope it doesn't get worse if/when there is retaliation.
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Old 04-14-18, 05:02 AM
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You can't be 100% sure. It's crap shoot. But you play the odds. I for one don't like it, but I agree with the action taken. Most likely there will be retaliation. How will that play out? Could be WWIII! Or just another hot spot.
Old 04-14-18, 02:28 PM
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...What's going to happen when that house gets bombed with any regular munition? Isn't it going to look like a chemical attack, and have the same effect on the people nearby? ...
You don't have much faith in our intelligence community, do you?

The fact that there's a large bomb crater at the center of the contaminated area would be a pretty good clue that it wasn't deployed deliberately. The more-or-less 'default' bomb these days is a Mk82, which carries a couple of biscuits less than 200 lbs of high explosive. In addition to killing every living thing with line of sight to the explosion that's within 200 feet of the blast, it also makes a rather conspicuous hole in the ground. They also used Tomahawk cruise missiles in this attack, which carry five times that much explosive, so the Tomahawk's telltale signs are even more pronounced.

Plus, the heat from the explosion tends to render the chlorine inert. Twice in 2007 Jihadis in Iraq rigged entire tanker trucks filled with weaponized chlorine with explosives, then drove them into populated areas and detonated them. In neither case where any of the victims treated for chemical injuries. In both cases all deaths and injuries were caused by the blast itself. In an operation such as this, it would be reasonable to expect them to throw in a few more bombs than necessary just to destroy the target in order to be sure the chemical weapons have been rendered harmless.

The more potent chemical weapons, such as Sarin (which Syria is known to have), always are of "binary" construction, meaning that as a safety measure, they've been made from two components, either of which by itself is relatively harmless. The separate components only are assembled when their employment is imminent. And the two components always are stored separately, else you're defeating the entire purpose for creating binary weapons in the first place. That combined with the fact that blast heat tends to "cook" the ingredients and alter the chemistry of the components means odds are virtually nil of an explosion accidentally "assembling" them into a working chemical weapon.
Old 04-14-18, 02:56 PM
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I can not answer your question with any degree of expertise but I watched the news conference this morning with a 3 star General & a reporter asked the same question you asked. He said they took that into account when planning the mission & they used specific bombs etc, that would minimize the risk of any of that. Obviously he didn't go into any details.
Old 04-19-18, 06:34 PM
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In support of my earlier claim, this is a satellite photo of one the sites bombed in Syria:

Before (L) and after (R). This came from a civilian satellite imagery company called Digital Globe, so it's not a 'doctored' photo from the CIA. There also was an Israeli satellite company called Image Sat Intl that published similar images, and both jive with the official photos from the US DoD.

The reason I posted the Digital Globe photos is you clearly can see can see the bomb craters where the two silvery buildings in the middle of the frame used to be. The craters weren't obvious in the photos from ISI or the DoD so I presume they're only visible here because of the particular angle of the sun and the position of the satellite when taken. But I doubt an investigator in the ground could have missed them (in the unlikely event that the Syrians actually gave an investigator access to the site).

It's not unlike a crime scene analyst studying blood spatter at a murder scene. Bomb blast area tends to be circular and cruise missile blast damage tends to be elliptical. The press insists on calling this a "missile" attack but I'd bet my Mickey Mantle rookie card those are bomb craters.

And if some chemical weapon residue happened to be found in proximity to these features, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to reach the conclusion that it got there on account of the blast damage and not through a deliberate release.
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