U.S. missiles did as little damage in Syria as possible, and Russia chose not to use S-400 defense

Donald Trump ordered the United States military to fire fifty or more powerful Tomahawk missiles into Syria tonight, creating visibly explosive fireworks in what looked on TV to be an overwhelming response to Bashar al-Assad’s chemical gas attack on his own people. But a closer examination reveals that the U.S. missiles inflicted minimal damage. And despite Russia’s built in ability to have blown those missiles out of the sky, it chose not to do so – suggesting this was all mere military theater.

The U.S. Tomahawk missiles used in the attack could have been struck down by the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air weaponry which Russia already had in place in Syria, specifically to defend against this kind of attack (source: Washington Post). But Russia chose not to do so. That suggests Russia knew in advance that the U.S. missiles would not be imposing serious damage. Russia could only have known this if the U.S. told it as much in advance.

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Accordingly, NBC News is reporting on-air tonight that at least one Syrian air base, the U.S. strike only took out planes and fueling stations, while leaving the two airstrips fully intact. The airstrips would have required significant reconstruction, but the equipment can theoretically be replaced tomorrow if Russia opts to bring in replacements. So with the airstrips intact, the Syrian air force is still fully in business.

Tonight’s U.S. attack seemed tailor made to look fierce to casual viewers at home, while inflicting as little real damage to Assad’s air force capability as possible. Trump went out of his way not to substantially impair Assad, and in return Russia decided not to defend the attack on its close ally Syria. For that matter, Russia seemed to have already known what the U.S. would hit when it made the decision not to take out the incoming missiles.

Regardless of any public jawing between the U.S. and Russia tonight, this reeks of carefully crafted military theater. I explore their likely motivation in detail here. Palmer Report calls on the relevant Senate oversight committees to investigate. Contribute to Palmer Report

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  1. Claudia Groh on April 6, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    According to CNN USA did tell Russia military about the missiles being used, I also recall reading now Russia wants a satilite base in Syria, this could be the location now, and thanks to USA we paved the path for Putin.
    Should it ever becomes known this was all staged to make Trump look like a tough guy, and allow Putin have his way, or is a part of this election farse, lord help those involve, as several have literally died.
    I wonder if in our time if we will ever know.
    Wish the investigation hurry up, as they need to step up damage control.

  2. Diane Conroy on April 6, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    Donald Trump knew about the genocide attack and also chose not to do anything to stop it.

  3. BT on April 6, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I would think that the soldiers would reveal what their orders were in a Senate inquiry………

  4. Doris P on April 7, 2017 at 12:53 am

    I said this was a distraction, a deflection to take the focus off the Trump Russia connection. No retaliation by Russia, Assad seems strange. Russia could have countered the missiles with their own. Theatre folks, theatre folks.

    Trump said for years, “stay out of Syria.” What changed? Why the Russian investigation. Don’t lose focus. Keep your eyes on Russia, Trump and follow the money.

    • Joe Caldwell on April 11, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      I agree.

  5. vcragain on April 7, 2017 at 5:18 am

    My first reaction was ‘oh so why would Russia allow this ?’ – seemed immediately to me like a way to help Trump get away from his problems – change the subject from a Russia connection, to a Russia-the-enemy status again, so Trump is no longer suspected of treason ??? I do not think that the treason question will go away, altho the RW will feel happy ‘their guy’ has shown he is tough ! IF things are as reported this morning, then Trump’s status is definitely upgraded, and if as reported, it would seem to be the right play, but how the hell do we know who-is-up-to-what ? The only reason I feel better this morning is because of Bannon getting side-lined, he was my main worry – sorry twin-baby’s Daddy – your sweet children & family did not have to die, when will the world stop playing politics & strategic nonsense with human lives ? I hate this stuff !

  6. Wendy M Burke-Bartle on April 7, 2017 at 5:28 am

    We already know the US informed Russia at least a little in advance. It was in the news that we let them know so they could get their people at the airbase out of harm’s way.

  7. DFHart on April 7, 2017 at 5:29 am

    So, more Kabuki theater, to bolster Trump’s sagging numbers. This will raise his stature with the Yahoo set. And he’ll be taken more “seriously” by a portion of a broader public who were horrified by the expertly placed videos of dying children.

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