Trump Dipping Toe In Syria

I was heartened Trump activate one of Obama’s old plans for inaction in Syria by hammering one of Assad’s airbases. I think that’s the right idea. Whether proper maintenance of this mindset persists is another matter.

The attack on the airbase was not very serious:

  • The Russians were warned.
  • The cruise missiles are not great on concrete.
  • No attempt was made to go after the toxic inventory, personnel, or even planes.

A real attack would tip Russians that A, B, and C were going to be attacked whereupon the Russians and Syrians would move to D and E. Then those bases would be attacked for more effect on soft targets. A mix of cruise missiles, bunker-busters and areal denial weapons should be used. That would really send a message and reduce effectiveness. Further, air-defences all over Syria should be attacked and close air support of all cities should clear out artillery and armour.

If Trump is worried about refugees he should recruit military aged men with a promise to relocate and protect families either in Syria or USA or other friendly country and raise a real army to defeat Assad on the ground. That’s the only way to force negotiation of a new constitution and settle issues.

It’s just silly to hold that a war-crime involving Sarin is worthy of intervention when those involving chlorine, TNT, starvation and torture are not. Trump should be consistent and get on with it. USA does not have to go it alone. Much of Europe and neighbours of Syria would get involved if there was a coherent plan. Shut down Assad’s air and artillery and Syrians will be able to much of the dirty work.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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20 Responses to Trump Dipping Toe In Syria

  1. oiaohm says:

    Kevin Sorbo
    The Syrians used chlorine, and ISIS used Mustard — required for making Sarin, this is important later
    You have some false information. If you look up chlorine and Mustard and what Sarin is you find neither Chlorine or Mustard are linked directly to Sarin at all.

    Sarin at best stored in binary form has a 5 year self life. So you can forget anything longer than 5 years back. Next if it Sarin in binary form being hit by a shell will cause most of one of the binary halves to burn off harmlessly so almost no Sarin.

    So someone had to have produced a Sarin in the last 4 months for a air-strike to spread it with a conventional shell. Sarin is not a very stable toxin. Of course thing to remember they said they destroyed all the Sarin did they destroy the two binary parts required to make Sarin.

    The correct question is did they have any Methylphosphonyl difluoride laying around not Sarin. Methylphosphonyl difluoride is the binary half that has no other common usage other than making Sarin. Now making Methylphosphonyl difluoride is linked to a lot of chlorine products. So someone making Sarin is likely to use chlorine bombs of some form. Yes the chlorine bombs of Syrian Government are linked to some of their historic Sarin production. Chlorine bombs are more stable than Sarin ones.

    Syrian government claims are right someone had to have mixed up Sarin at the target location. If this is happening this also undermines the idea of using air-strikes and long range bombardment if you care about the population.

    There is something else to consider the SU-22 aircraft used can carry Sarin bombs. Did they get some cheap ammo that turned out to be Sarin.

    Al-Masdar News says cannot be filled with any chemical substances
    This claim you see around is fake. Russia made Sarin bombs for the SU-22 that end up mostly degraded and in scrap yards. If the Syrian mil were not properly aware of the fact there were Sarin shells possible for the aircraft there could have been a loading error and a cheap supply problem. So there are multi levels of possible failure here. Problem is we need to know what it was before the next time.

  2. Kevin Sorbo bombed us with links and wrote, “it is possible that an air strike may have hit a munitions stockpile is far more plausible than the party line Mattis is peddling.”

    Sigh. There is plenty of blame to go around in a war but it is clear that Syria did not destroy all of its chemical weapons. “A disagreement arose regarding the number of chemical weapons sites in contested areas of Syria, with the Syrian foreign minister stating that one-third of sites are in such areas.[79] FSA official Louay Miqdad stated in early October that there were no chemical weapons in areas occupied by opposition forces, “which is something that the Assad regime itself acknowledges, while these storehouses are also not located on the front, so why should we stop fighting?” According to the OPCW chief, one abandoned site is in rebel-held territory and routes to others lead through rebel-held territory. Malik Ellahi of the OPCW states that few of the locations inspectors must visit will be difficult to access.

    In July 2014, Assad disclosed to the OPCW “a facility for the production of ricin” but stated that “the entire quantity of ricin produced was disposed of prior to the entry into force” of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The lateness of this disclosure raised doubts about the completeness of the government’s declaration of its chemical weapons stockpile.[14][15] The Israeli intelligence community believes the Assad government retains a “residual” chemical stockpile of somewhere between several hundred kilograms to several tons of chemical weapons, about 1% of its original stockpile.” See Wikipedia

  3. Kevin Sorbo says:

    See Mattis: ‘No Doubt’ Syrian Regime Responsible for Chemical Attacks on Citizens

    Follow up on Carla del Ponte’s interview on EuroNews — she was part of the investigation, as well as privy to an impressive track record being the ICC’s lead prosecutor in the investigation of war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. she stated that there was no evidence linking the gas attacks to the government, but much of the circumstantial evidence points to the “rebels” (source: )

    the resulting report could not conclude fault for who launched the attacks, you can skip to page 12 for the conclusions ->

    2014-16 the OPCW (like IENA but for chemical weapons, under the purvue of The Hague) confirmed, along with the United States (aboard whose navals vessels it was done) that the last of Syria’s Sarin and Sulphur Mustard stockpiles had been destroyed under the terms of the Russian brokered disarmament deal [key note: the deal excludes chlorine because it is dual-use] (source1: Source2: )

    2013 the OPCW affirms that 21 of Syria’s 23 chemical weapons production and storage facilities have been destroyed or dismantled (source: ), the remaining 2, in Homs and Hama, being inaccessible due to at the time being under ISIS control.

    A 2016 UN report that has not been made public and insofar as I know, only the New York Times has seen, corroborates the previous reports in outlining that it was the first time the UN concluded fault: The Syrians used chlorine, and ISIS used Mustard — required for making Sarin, this is important later — repeatedly. (Source: )

    2016-17 the joint YPG (Kurds) and SAA (Syrian Army) iniative, Operation Dawn of Victory liberates eastern Aleppo, chemical stockpiles found in liberated areas (source: ) US-made weapons also found (source: only eastern outlets are covering this ) Under UN pressure, Syrian forces allow Al Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) jihadist safe passage from east Aleppo to Idlib [important later] (source:

    2017 – Chemical attack in Idlib, chemical used is reportedly Sarin. (source: )
    Either everyone has been lying through their teeth, or Syria has no Sarin, based on evidence it couldn’t have been the government (unless it was a chlorine attack, except it wasn’t), the Russo/Syrian story that it is possible that an air strike may have hit a munitions stockpile is far more plausible than the party line Mattis is peddling.

    THIS WEEK – bus transporting refugees from besieged government held town to government territory blown up, 100 dead, including 68 children, western hypocrites silent because no one cares about the “beautiful babies”, elsewhere in Syria, shelling in Damascus, which is firmly held by the government [so they’re not shelling their own positions] (source: )

    Obviously, the UN, OPCW and the Kurds are all colluding with Russia and Syria in a giant conspiracy — or, you’re being lied to by people who know you’re too intellectually disconest and cognitively dissonant to fact check or question what you’re told.

    But yes, let’s trust the American general, not the actual investigators or experts, and lets us especially not use deductive reasoning.

    bonus level:

    You’ll hapilly and blindly take the CIA, FBI and friends at their word (but never, ever read the actual reports) when they say what you prefer to be true, but I’m sure in this instance they’re just echoing Russian propaganda: (quote: “the intel didn’t state that Iraq had WMDs. The Bush-Cheny WH made that misinterpretation”)

    Fun one from that last link:
    “February 14, 2003 – Blix and ElBaradei brief the UN Security Council. Blix reports that the inspectors have not yet found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Blix also reports that Iraq is in violation of UN resolutions concerning its al Samoud 2 missile program.”

    “March 20, 2003 – (local time) US and coalition forces begin military action against Iraq.”

    “October 6, 2004 – The final Iraq Survey Group report is released. The report concludes that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction.”

    “February 6, 2004 – President George W. Bush names a seven-member commission to investigate the nation’s intelligence operations, specifically to study the information about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction.”

    “October 6, 2004 – The final Iraq Survey Group report is released. The report concludes that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction.”

    “March 31, 2005 – The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction reports that the intelligence community was “dead wrong” in its assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities before the US invasion.”

    And hee you are, 14 years after the fact, still arguing that the whole world was wrong, because you know best, and Iraq did indeed have WMDs, and that those WMDs were found, despite no investigation turning them up and the people who insisted Iraq had them afmited that they were wrong.

    Seriously. Stop.

  4. Frankie says:

    Frankie quoted extensively from articles published on the web basically echoing the Russian views of the gas attack. Rather than violating copyright and not linking to sources, I’ve replaced the extensive quoting with the link to Wikipedia. rp
    Two unnamed senior Trump administration officials briefing journalists last Tuesday asserted that a Syrian regime airstrike in the city of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4 had deliberately killed dozens of civilians with sarin gas…

  5. Mats Hagglund wrote, “Funny how Pogson trust more on CIA. How about Saddam Hussein’s WMD?”

    CIA was not wrong about WMD. They found ample evidence that Iraq was gathering material from all over the world and had actually used chemical weapons on their own civilians. What was wrong in the event was that Iraq was claiming to have an abundance of WMD but actually had almost none by the time of the invasion. The real mistakes were made later when the Iraqi army was dismissed to fend for itself, and join Al Qaeda and Daesch.

    Mats Hagglund wrote, “As for our own sources, they need to be protected so we cannot reveal them.”

    So, we should ignore hundreds of eye-witness accounts from non-combatants on the ground and instead believe a few unknown or imaginary reporters? Nope.

  6. Mats Hagglund says:

    During my life i have seen so many US-coalition made false flags that it’s hard to believe that Pogson is so f–kin naive that he still believes in CIA/Pentagon bullshit. Perhaps Pogsy has too strong love affair with guns?

  7. Mats Hagglund says:

    Funny how Pogson trust more on CIA. How about Saddam Hussein’s WMD? Have you found them in Canada? OK. Let’s take a look again. VIPS memo:

    “2 – Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.”

    Coleen Rownley:

    “As for our own sources, they need to be protected so we cannot reveal them. We would be delighted if a whistleblower would come forward, although that individual would have to be prepared to face consequences similar to those faced by truth-tellers such Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Thomas Drake.”

    So here we are. American units and soldiers knew pretty well the whole chemical weapon accidents was not caused by Syrian Air forces using chemical weapons.

    I’d say this case 99,9% just another false flag just like the case of Ghoutan in Syria 2013. It’s confirmed that chemical hit was done by terrorists group themselves. That case is closed.

    There is no basis to the Trump Administration’s accusations that the government of Bashar al Assad was involved in deliberately triggering a chemical weapons attack with a view to killing Syrian civilians.

    This December 2013 article by Carla Stea at UN Headquarters confirms that the “Opposition” rebels were in possession of chemical weapons. According to the UN mission report, Syrian soldiers as well as civilians were the target of chemical weapons attacks led by opposition rebels.

    The US sponsored “rebels” had been trained in the use of chemical weapons by specialists on contract ot the Pentagon.

    The chemical weapon attack in Ghouta on August 21 would, therefore, credibly point to Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed as among the perpetrators of that attack, particularly as the Assad government had no motive to use chemical weapons, especially with the UN inspectors already on the ground in Syria, and as the Syrian government was in a strong position militarily in its struggle with the opposition.

    The opposition, on the contrary, had both the capacity to launch a chemical attack on innocent civilians, (as evidenced by several documented prior chemical attacks on Syrian soldiers), and the motive: to distract and disrupt investigations of previous chemical attacks that had victimized Syrian soldiers as well as civilians, and to garner international sympathy, which the sympathetic mainstream media’s distorted reporting guaranteed.

    Seymour Hersh’s final paragraph should be taken seriously:

    “The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as an-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm….No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone.”

  8. “The only source the document cites as evidence that the attack was by the Syrian government is the crater it claims to have identified on a road in the North of Khan Shaykhun.
    I have located this crater using Google Earth and there is absolutely no evidence that the crater was created by a munition designed to disperse sarin after it is dropped from an aircraft”

    Ah yes. Google Earth. [SARCASM]There’s a reliable source. Updated every few years with fresh satellite imagery. Just what one needs to deal with current events.[/SARCASM] Postol is apparently actually “professor emeritus” at MIT but his resume does not impress me as anyone knowledgeable about Sarin in Syria.

  9. Mats Hagglund wrote about VIPS.

    Take a look at just the first one on the list. He was in his prime in the 1970s and 1980s. He retired after 20 years in the military and has been writing about history ever since. What contacts in Syria is he likely to have? What does he know any more than you or I than we see on TV? I can tell you I was in my prime in those days too and I worked on cyclotrons. I know nothing about current developments in that area and I only know one or two guys still working in the area. I’ve started and ended two different careers since those old days. We old guys lose touch. That’s a fact. While we may be very conversant of basic ideas we don’t have anywhere near the intelligence available to CIA/NSA and the military operating in the area. People who have seen the current intelligence report there is information that Russia and Syria collaborated in chemical weapons attacks.

    See Mattis: ‘No Doubt’ Syrian Regime Responsible for Chemical Attacks on Citizens

    Mattis is a well-respected military officer with recent experience and a reputation as a thoughtful person, not a warmonger. He is of my age but he kept active in his field far longer (40+ years) and has a long history of successful smart operations. He’s at least as reliable a source as Mats Hagglund cites.

  10. Matts Hagglund wrote about Theodore Postol who relied on frame rates of video tape to claim Patriot missiles missed…

    “On April 7, 1992 Theodore Postol of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Reuven Pedatzur of Tel Aviv University testified before a House Committee stating that, according to their independent analysis of video tapes, the Patriot system had a success rate of below 10%, and perhaps even a zero success rate.
    Also on April 7, 1992 Charles A. Zraket of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Peter D. Zimmerman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies testified about the calculation of success rates and accuracy in Israel and Saudi Arabia and discounted many of the statements and methodologies in Postol’s report.”

    See MIM-104 Patriot

    You can’t claim a miss just because the frame rate of video is too low to see the hit. You have to look at debris on the ground. The Patriot was not perfect but it was far better than 10%. It was useful. It saved lives. Postol is another nut-case trying to live on earlier accomplishments with his present comments about Sarin.

    How many Scuds did Iraq fire and how much damage did they do? Patriot had a lot to do with that both by deflecting missiles or destroying them in mid-air or pushing the Iraqis to make the Scuds faster and lighter so they broke up on reentry. I remember Postol’s testimony. I was a house-husband in those days addicted to CSPAN… I would not rely on him to be a source for information on Sarin in Syria.

  11. Mats Hagglund quoted That’s a pro-Russian rag, with a long history of opposition to any point of view not supported by Russia. They support WikiLeaks, for instance and here they are saying the big Sarin attack of 2013 was done by the Turks to put Assad in a bad light. The authour of that article is the founder of Consortium News, Robert Parry, the conspiracy theorists’ theorist. As a young man he did some fine work exposing Iran-Contra and the like but has been inventing stuff ever since. Since no news media would keep him on staff he became a self-employed nut-job of a journalist. He’s often written about how innocent the Russians were in Ukraine: The New Cold War: Ukraine and beyond. [SARCASM]There’s a reliable source if there ever was one.[/SARCASM]

  12. Mats Hagglund says:

    Correct: He is Theodore Postol, MIT professor. Here’s something more.

    “Figure 4 shows the possible configuration of an improvised sarin dispersal device that could have been used to create the crater and the crushed carcass of what was originally a cylindrical pipe. A good guess of how this dispersal mechanism worked (again, assuming that the crater and carcass were not staged, as assumed in the White House report) was that a slab of high explosive was placed over one end of the sarin-filled pipe and detonated. The explosive acted on the pipe as a blunt crushing mallet. It drove the pipe into the ground while at the same time creating the crater. Since the pipe was filled with sarin, which is an incompressible fluid, as the pipe was flattened the sarin acted on the walls and ends of the pipe causing a crack along the length of the
    pipe and also the failure of the cap on the back end. This mechanism of dispersal is essentially the same as hitting a toothpaste tube with a large mallet, which then results in the tube failing and the toothpaste being blown in many directions depending on the exact way the toothpaste skin ruptures. If this is in fact the mechanism used to disperse the sarin, this indicates that the sarin tube was placed on the ground by individuals on the ground and not dropped from an airplane.
    Figure 8
    shows the improvised sarin dispenser along with a typical 122 mm artillery rocket and the modified artillery rocket used in the sarin attack of August 21, 2013 in Damascus”

    Only a fool forgetting motives of terrorists and that they have done it many many times before have fallen in love with CIA/Pentagon propaganda. Boys and gals, it was indeed another US false flag. Face the facts.

  13. Mats Hagglund says:

    MIT professor Theodore Postal (professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has also totally debunked the claim that Syrian aircraft used chemical weapon on 4th of April 2017 in Khan Shaykhun, Syria. So it was just another American false flag claim.

  14. Mats Hagglund says:

    And here’s the list of names of VIPS:

    For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

    Eugene D. Betit, Intelligence Analyst, DIA, Soviet FAO, (US Army, ret.)
    William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
    Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, (ret.)
    Thomas Drake, Senior Executive Service, NSA (former)
    Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)
    Robert Furukawa, Capt, CEC, USN-R, (ret.)
    Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
    Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
    Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
    Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)
    Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)
    John Brady Kiesling, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)
    John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and counterterrorism officer, and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)
    Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)
    Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
    David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
    Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)
    Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)
    Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator, Department of the Army
    Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)
    Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
    Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, and former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq
    Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)
    Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA
    Sarah G. Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret), DIA (ret.)
    Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)
    Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

  15. Mats Hagglund says:

    “MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

    FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*

    SUBJECT: Syria: Was It Really “A Chemical Weapons Attack”?

    1 – We write to give you an unambiguous warning of the threat of armed hostilities with Russia – with the risk of escalation to nuclear war. The threat has grown after the cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for what you claimed was a “chemical weapons attack” on April 4 on Syrian civilians in southern Idlib Province.

    President Trump at a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on April 5, 2017, at which the President commented on crisis in Syria. (Screen shot from
    2 – Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.

    3 – This is what the Russians and Syrians have been saying and – more important –what they appear to believe happened. ”

    And here’s another for fools believing just mainstream pro neocon/Clintonities media:

    “Did Al Qaeda Fool the White House Again?”

  16. Old Bill wrote, “They fly relatively modern jet fighters and operate the latest Russian tanks as well as Mi-24/25 /35 Russian attack helicopters. The thought of them shoveling oil barrels full of dynamite and ball bearing or even chlorine gas cylinders and rolling them out the door of an old helicopter seems incongruous.”

    Syria’s airforce is decrepit. Their planes are old and short of parts. This one small raid destroyed ~20% of their fixed-wing planes. The helicopters fly high and they drop these IEDs willy-nilly on cities. Of course, there is no military necessity to do that. Assad is the real terrorist in Syria.


  17. Old Bill says:

    “Assad has been using barrel bombs to disperse chlorine”

    That brings up another odd issue. Syria is not so backward and they have very modern weapons obtained from Russia. They fly relatively modern jet fighters and operate the latest Russian tanks as well as Mi-24/25 /35 Russian attack helicopters. The thought of them shoveling oil barrels full of dynamite and ball bearing or even chlorine gas cylinders and rolling them out the door of an old helicopter seems incongruous. Such a hovering helicopter would be vulnerable to AK-47 or similar fire.

  18. Old Bill wrote, “in the past apparently used chemical weapons, but has not been doing so since the ruckus in 2013”.

    That’s not true. Assad has just scaled back the size of the attacks so no one would notice. The hyper-vigilance about the Trump regime tripped him up. Trump noticed and all Hell broke loose, at least for one day. Assad has been using chlorine in barrel bombs fairly regularly to flush out hidden fighters and killing civilians indiscriminately. Even Putin was bombing hospitals…

    Assad has been using barrel bombs to disperse chlorine. That stuff doesn’t mind a little heat. There’s no need for “optimal” effectiveness against such soft targets. These murdering bastards just want to depopulate large areas. Fear does that.

  19. Old Bill says:

    A couple of things occur to me. One is that Assad has, in the past apparently used chemical weapons, but has not been doing so since the ruckus in 2013. With ISIS and the other rebel now on the ropes due to the push helped along by Russia, why fall off the wagon now? Tillerson suggests to the world that the USofA is leaning towards letting Assad be a Syrian citizen problem and the next day we have this heinous act. It is hard to imagine such a cunning despot being so clueless about likely repercussions. Even more ditto regarding the Russians. More likely that some low level armorer at the air base loaded the wrong stuff due to faulty inventory records or general incompetence.

    Another thought is that the “officially leaked” evidence was that the aircraft and the bomb explosions were seen on some sort of surveillance system that described “blast” and “Noise”. Chemical weapons don’t go kaboom, rather they go poof. The Sarin gas would be destroyed in the heat of a conventional explosion yet the reports from the scene describe substantial blast damage. Unusual.

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