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Belmont Club

“Napalm”

August 29th, 2013 - 11:00 pm

The BBC is reporting that napalm has been dropped on a schoolyard in Syria, killing approximately ten children and burning a score of others.

Syria: ‘napalm’ bomb dropped on school playground, BBC claimsWitnesses told a team from the BBC’s Panorama programme that a fighter jet had repeatedly flown overhead, as if searching for a target, before dropping the bomb.

The attack killed more than 10 pupils and left many more seriously injured, the BBC said.

Footage showed adults and children, their clothes burned from their bodies, being treated on the floor of a basic hospital. Many had burns to more than 50% of their bodies, it was claimed.

If perpetrated by Syria, it would be backhanded slap at the US which used napalm in combat in World War 2, Korea and Vietnam. The US can hardly accuse Syria of crossing a Red Line by using a munition so associated with US forces. Actually “International law does not prohibit the use of napalm or other incendiaries against military targets, but use against civilian populations was banned by the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in 1980.”

The BBC has video here.

The video does not appear to show the effects of anything like the familiar napalm track. The scorch marks are more localized, suggestive of a thermobaric type of weapon some of which are found in the Russian inventory.

There is not enough data to determine whether or not the weapon used was delivered by aerial rocket or by a shoulder launched tube. The vertical impact of the device could have been from high trajectory weapon or might have been the result of aerial fire. Most people will say “thermobaric, shermobaric”. But the word “napalm” is far more evocative to Western audiences, who will no doubt have reservoirs of indignation buried deep alongside memories of the old newsreels.

However it will be readily seen than if real napalm bombs had been employed against the school the damage would not have not have resembled the scene shown in the BBC clip. Does it matter? In the raw numbers of war, probably not. But in politics, emotions count. So the scenes of civilian victims will only intensify the calls to act in Syria.

Yet the spotlight on a weapon — a particular weapon like WP, thermobarics, napalm, whatever — should ironically draw attention to the obvious American interest in Syria which is to keep the conflict spreading to neighboring countries. Caroline Glick rightly points out that Syria is really all about weapons. Weapons for Hezbollah, weapons like ballistic missiles pointed at Israel. Weapons in the form of armed men ready to pour into Jordan and Lebanon. Weapons galore. It is like a pustule ready to burst. “A reasonable response would be for the US to target Syria’s ballistic missile sites,” she writes. “And that could happen.”

But it won’t happen. And the reason is the Obama administration’s conflicted policy of winning/not winning in Syria itself. In that strange limbo the only cure for weapons is more weapons. The US itself is pouring weapons into Syria, or allowing its allies to flood it with arms, in the belief that creating a stalemate will lead to peace. But what it is objectively achieving, despite its noble intentions, it to pour high octane gasoline — in the form of weapons — on the flames in hopes that it will cool things down. “The superficial logic of arms-for-peace is elegant, to be sure, rooted in the classic diplomatic axiom that a political settlement to an armed conflict is possible only when, for all relevant players, the expected utility of a negotiated peace, E[u(p)], is greater than the expected utility of continued war, E[u(w)]. There are several arguments as to how a calibrated infusion of arms into Syria will help produce this rare condition.”

Unfortunately, none of these arguments seem to work in the real world. And stirring in one or two more carrier battle groups worth of firepower to redecorate the landscape won’t change the equation. The complete failure of the administration’s policy to date has led it to substitute showmanship for reality. In the words of Caroline Glick, all Obama has left is circuses. All he can do now is act the trained seal so that nobody notices the Big Top is on fire. Otherwise the customers might clamor for a refund. So, while the international media is rightly concerned with the real horrors of the Syrian civil war it has now obscured the need for a semblance of rational policy.

In truth the Syrian policy is a mess. And while the napalm of the body is a terrible thing, the napalm of the mind is almost as bad. The one item indubitably burned to a cinder has been our brains. The Washington Post says that both the Syrian rebels and the Assad government are engaged in a scramble to hide from the impending strike. Earlier it was reported that human shields were being imported en masse into Syrian government buildings. Thereafter we were informed that Assad’s bureaucrats were moving into schools, hospitals and other civilian facilities. It must be a madhouse in Damascus, crisscrossed by moving vans. U-haul must be doing a land office business. Were the situation not so serious it would have the appearance of comedy with both “enemy” and “friend” — can we use those words? — struggling over possession of the limited hideouts. But nothing seems impossible any more.


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Top Rated Comments   
Meanwhile, no one is talking about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS war on the GOP, Voter fraud (2014 mid terms coming up people) Unemployment, the expansion of Federal workforce.....

Syria, with or without chemical weapons is easily about 10th on my give a crap meter.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is increasing apparent that Assad has been using thermobaric weapons for quite some time. This still eludes most -- especially those in the MSM.

The BBC video clearly shows all of the hallmarks for thermobaric injury.

The jet bomber angle is curious. Assad's air crews are paranoid by now. If there is ONE thing you don't do: it's repeatedly flying over the same target.

I knew some inmates at the Hanoi Hilton. The second pass was how and why they came to be occupants there.

Uploaded videos from the SAA show that they're using Iranian rockets, knock-offs of Soviet designs, to toss thermobaric payloads all over the landscape.

Ethylene oxide is by far the most common fuel used in these Fuel Air Explosive warheads. It vaporizes in a flash and is inflammable in the extreme.

It's also famously toxic -- and cheap to make.

The symptoms of the Islamists reported by in the MSM are identical to ethylene oxide poisoning.

The implication being that the firing crews set their timers incorrectly. So the rockets hit the ground and spewed EO all over the place. The Iranian (Soviet designed) timers are mechanical count-down clocks built to 1960s technical standards.

The agitprop videos and pictures clearly show unprotected parties at the graveside; something that's impossible if Sarin is the cause of death. It's THAT toxic.

However, ethylene oxide is so volatile that it's possible to sheet the dead via the Islamic burial rites without trouble. It will fade away in minutes -- particularly in August weather.

While very, very nasty; FAE weapons are in common use by the Russians, the Red Chinese, the USAF and our allies.

Hence, there is no casus belli. Assad DID NOT fire off Sarin tipped rockets. Thermobaric weapons were, and are, nasty enough.

They were famously used to root out AQ at Tora Bora. By running a precision munition into the throat of a deep cave it's detonation must create an over pressure pulse that shoots all of the way to the end. Such an effect is very much like that of a diesel stroke in a truck engine. The cave replicates the dynamics of an engine cylinder wall.

With any luck, the cave collapses.

In all of the PR released by the Pentagon, none mentioned that the magic fuel in thermobaric weapons is wildly toxic. Naturally, any video of duds is edited out.

=====

As for the British doctor working in Syria: Assad figures if he totally enrages the opposition then they'll put down their guns.

Go figure.

In retaliation, all over the ummah, Sunnis are targeting Shia -- civilians.

Read the Long War Journal to keep up with all of the atrocities.

(They're propagandized globally; murdering locally.)
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
What would put out the fire is what the Democrats have labored to destroy for decades. Ever since the Reagan years, in fact ever since 1968, it has been the policy of those who control the Democratic Party to make common cause with Communists and Islamists and other enemies of America to reduce the influence of America. The wanted to take down the hegemon and make the US a normal nation, only less so. They succeeded.

To put out the fire we would have to flood the zone. That means not adding arms like droplets of fuel in concentration just dilute enough to form an explosive mist. It means putting 250,000 boots on the ground while having sufficient forces available to ensure that characters like Kim stay in their holes. It means having 15 carrier battle groups and 15 active army divisions and four marine divisions. It means having 5,000 deliverable nuclear weapons. It means having what we had, could afford, and could have again. It means not pissing away our patrimony in front of the world on everything that the Democrats have funded or assisted.

Who benefits from Obama? Professional grievance collectors and race baiters and sexual obsessives. People who are more concerned with giving Pvt Bradley Manning and Maj. Nidal Hasan their chance to find themselves than protecting America. If we simply went back to what worked then the world would be safe.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (72)
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Presbypoet, Blast/Past:

Re the Twain quote below, I know Gordon well and he will affirm that a form of that quote can be found on: www.great-quotes.com, on the 11th page of the Twain section, 3rd quote down.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
With this latest announcement about getting approval from congress, the great narcissist dithers yet again under the delusion that we are fascinated by the torturous workings of his great mind.

Conrad Black in a newspaper article here http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/08/31/conrad-black-have-americas-red-lines-all-been-erased/

makes this comment:

"The United States is right not to become exposed, as it once was, to being drawn into virtually every conflict all over the world. But eventually, some American leader will have to pronounce in a definitive way what the U.S. national interest is and convince the world that it will be protected. At present, it is no longer clear that the United States would do anything if the Russians invaded Canada. Would Obama do more than send some ships to the Arctic and then propose that Russia and Canada divide Canada, leaving Toronto and Montreal to the Canadians, but giving Edmonton and Winnipeg to the Russians?

This is obviously a far-fetched example. But the point is that no one in the world — friend (insofar as any remain) or foe — has any idea where the United States draws the “red line,” or if it will enforce it."
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wow! The president just indicated that he will wait for the approval of Congress before he will attack Syria. A delay of perhaps up to 6 weeks.

The last time I felt that this country was begging, begging for attack by our enemies, was when Jimmy Carter was president. I remember being on the USS Kitty Hawk in the Arabian Sea in support of actions against Iran for the Embassy takeover in Iran, and seeing Soviet Warships bristling with weapons a mile off either port and starboard, aggressively challenging us and in a sense uttering "Bring it, Biatch." To which, we humbly skulked away.

It takes this president ages to make a decision. If we were attacked we would be leaderless - until someone – most probably an unelected someone - took over. Breathtakingly scary.

He's fundamentally changing America, all right, and convincing everyone that America is today a blind behemoth boxer unaware that the referee in the ring is not adhering to the rules offered by the Marquess of Queensbury, but those of the Marquis de Sade.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nobody was expecting anything that morning of December 7th, 1941, either.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama "taking it to Congress" so he can blame wascally Wepublicans. I guess Brits did him a favor after all showing him a path to climb down as well as avoid political flak.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kinuachdrach

Let's call Putin's bluff. He is in a mode of granting asylum to persons out of favor in the USA. Have him offer asylum to Assad in exchange for a truce and a new election. The rebels get regime change at the top. The pro-government people get a do-over trying to form a new more widely acceptable government, without the need to spend scarce resources on war.

We tell them to make nice or go hungry.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
You missed it: Putin needs to grant asylum to Barry.

Anyone who can stand Chicago - nix Honolulu - would have to love Moscow.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blert's hypothesis of a fuel-air bomb which failed to explode properly seems plausible. But let's never forget that, in a world in which one can't trust a .pdf of the President's supposed "Birth Certificate" or the UN IPCC's report on Anthropogenic Global Warming, nothing can be believed. There is essentially no on-the-ground reporting from either side in Syria by reliable sources without an axe to grind. And the Palestinians (with the assistance of EUrotrash BBC etc) have been demonstrating how to fabricate attrocities for decades.

Meanwhile, President Putin has called on those Norwegian brain-dead idjits who gave Lil' Barry the Noble Peas Prize to revoke the award, given his now-demonstrated war-mongering tendencies. It is a sad day when a barely-reformed Communist is the most credible & sensible person on the global stage.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Buddy Larsen

From your link

"Bosnia today is a broken and impoverished polity that appears to be an indefinite ward of the West. Hopes that intervention would resurrect Bosnia in political, social, or economic terms have proved fruitless and today the country is just as divided along ethno-religious lines as when the war began nearly twenty years ago. The only difference is that the sides are largely disarmed, so a return to full-scale war appears impossible."

A disarmed, but truculent, population is preferable to open warfare. Even the warring sides ought to be able to see that. Shipping progressively greater amounts of arms to the area is stupid. The last thing we need is those arms spreading to other places. Fast & Furious anyone?

Quarantine is the best option. Sea off the sea lanes by USN destroyers in the Med and seal off the Iran-Syria routes via a no-fly zone over IRAQ. Without Russia and Syria pumping in more arms, the combatants will use up their supplies and end up having only rocks to throw.

Back to the Seventh Century they go. Then we can ask, "Is this what you really want?" Make them think before they ask for something because they just may get it. Either you figure out a way to live together or you will be sent to your rooms without supper!
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Problems with the NFZs between Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom was they were costly, exhausting, interminable (exdept by the second war) and in the end rally point issues for Ba'ath while their air front went to low fly helicopters and moved around the country despite the NFZs north and south. In the end Saddam and his foreign advisors were using the sorties as drills to dry fire and sharpen their AA stuff. For sure the zones prevented another Anfal rampage but still, an adversary can drain a lot of your stuff over time at almost no cost or effort.

And, not to pick nits, but that 'broken state' of Bosnia may not have been the optimal end point. Look at today --one wonders how much a fight gets prolonged by the prospect of drawing in a big gun to wipe out the other side. It's perhaps possible that without the west standing along the sidelines clicking pictures and writinhg romance a la SDamantha Power, the Serbs would've sent the muzzies back with one good show of determination --a short, not very bloody, skirmish, like.

VDH makes a big point of that, as a theme, that wars if they must be fought are best fought to decisive conclusion quickly --best for the loser, too, IOW. Examples are myriad, but Sherman's hateful March to the Sea is a good one --as in, without it, the war last two years longer, the south still loses but is destroyed and killed much worse --and maybe by then they decide to hang Lee, and -poof- we are the Balkans, hate rising out of every valley, revenge ruining the future forever.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Should read "Without Russia and Iran pumping..."
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Red state this morning has a post that some United Nations commission found last may that the rebels used sarin in Syria. So assuming that our prez has blert's info on Iran as well, it means that the really bad guys on both sides do an intolerable humanitarian atrocities and have mullah buraq look the other way, only to put the blame on Assad. Of course nothing is said about those Christians being murdered in bulk.

So what is the deeper game here?

Could it be that mullah buraq is angling for a "grand" peace deal and partition of Syria where al nusra , al Qaeda, and erdogan get one half and Iran/Hezbollah get the other with Assad left out in the cold.

All the bad guys get protected by buraq and buraq gets his peace deal. It's a Lose, lose, lose on a grand scale.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here is a thought re Iran. To pressure them we need Maliki of Iraq. Right now he's got a problem with the Syrian disruption in his rear. Obama screwed the pooch by his lack of a status of forces agreement. So Maliki is feeling vulnerable, but is now open to a deal. He needs some lead for his pencil. Smacking Assad and securing his rear ought to be just the thing before taking on Iran.

So the strategic interest is to strengthen the net around Iran by helping Maliki. So let's do something ceremonial like basing some AWACS in Iraq for a while. The Big EYE in the Sky to watch over everything in both directions, Syria and Iran. Maybe do some JSTARS flights to remind everyone of how the Iranian Air Force once fled to Iraq rather than face being destroyed by the USAF.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Iraqi Air Force fled to Iran during Desert Storm.

And now Iraq is suggesting that they would like for us to come back and bring some of our drones to operate out of their country in order to help handle this little terrorism problem of theirs that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Re blert's comments, I was just now remembering some photos from Baghdad back in 2004 or so --AP photos of a gang of pistol-armed terrorists systematically murdering some Iraqi officials in broad daylight in the middle of a busy downtown boulevard, Wretchard found some oddities in the pix and wrote a piece on Belmont about them.

I just now entered in google 'street execution in baghdad ap photo belmont' --and got back 17 million hits.

No need for me to belabor the keyboard --those who don't know the story just do the search and read a few of the results.

Wretchard's sleuthing --his application of logic and human nature axioms to the image AP sent 'round the world, had some startling consequences in terms of raising consciousness among many of our notions of what must have taken place in order for those photos to appear before our eyes. people looked into many of elements as never before, especially into AP itself, and discovered there something like the bug life --the insect holocaust --ongoing among the grassroots of the lawn of the brightly painted placid little picket-fenced bungalow fading away into the dusk in the opening scene of David Lynch's bizarre-noir 'Blue Velvet'.

Anyway, the piece opened an exhilarating exersize in thinking-about-seeing --and led, over the several days of examination and discussion, inexorably to the sad, proper, ordinary place, that is, the feeling of pity and frustration at those decent lives taken, not lost, and the families left orphaned --and so soon forgotten, except by themselves, as the dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

Okay, so much for that.

Another search done earlier today, 'samantha power balkan war' returns pagefuls of amiable celeb journalism and some accolades for the lady's crusade against genocide.

But I was looking for something about the brief haphazard references in the lit, noticed here and there once or twice every few months or years, to this or that interested-party re-evaluation of that story that Samantha Power reported, and later turned into a Pulitzer-winning best-seller --the story that America hitched up her trousers and went to war for.

Sure enough, among the infotainment items, there is this, blessedly enough in the early pages of the search:

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/forever-bosnia-5095

===

I'm tempted to keep writing on this comment, but i'd be blabbering on about what you should discover (or for present company the better term is 're-discover') for your own self. Just think ''journo list'' and model the five of hearts --Damascus and UN Ambassador Samantha Power in the middle, and in the four corners Haifa Street and Srebrenica, and blert and wretchard and their comments' implications, the question that ends the spec, becuz no way we gonna ever know, becuz all we can do is try to stay out of the trap that traps most folks, AKA 'normal' or 'non-masochist' folks, that is, the trap of forgetting about the questions we know we can't answer.

33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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