Parts but not the heart

As suspected, Trump exaggerated with his “Mission Accomplished” tweet. Assad still has chemical weapons at his diposal.

President Donald Trump on Saturday declared “Mission Accomplished” for a U.S.-led allied missile attack on Syria’s chemical weapons program, but the Pentagon said the pummeling of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses.

So it’s part of mission partly accomplished, but that doesn’t sound quite so perky.

Dana W. White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman, said that to her knowledge no one in the Defense Department communicated with Moscow in advance, other than the acknowledged use of a military-to-military hotline that has routinely helped minimize the risk of U.S.-Russian collisions or confrontations in Syrian airspace. Officials said this did not include giving Russian advance notice of where or when allied airstrikes would happen.

Russia has military forces, including air defenses, in several areas of Syria to support President Bashar Assad in his long war against anti-government rebels.

Maybe Trump is hoping to get into a war with Russia by way of distracting us from all these pesky legal issues. I wonder if he’s forgotten that his dear friend Putin is Russian.

A former officer in Syria’s chemical program, Adulsalam Abdulrazek, said Saturday the joint U.S., British, and French strikes hit “parts of but not the heart” of the program. He said the strikes were unlikely to curb the government’s ability to produce or launch new attacks. Speaking from rebel-held northern Syria, Abdulrazek told The Associated Press there were perhaps 50 warehouses in Syria that stored chemical weapons before the program was dismantled in 2013.

The military people say the strike is nevertheless a discouraging signal to the Assad regime. Maybe they’re right.

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