Pentagon on Syrian airstrike: ‘We didn’t crater the runway’
posted at 6:01 pm on April 11, 2017 by John Sexton
Over the weekend there was a report from Reuters that seemed to really excite people on the left who were eagerly looking for a reason to pronounce the airstrike on a Syrian military base a failure:
JUST IN: Syrian warplanes take off from air base hit by U.S., carry out strikes in Homs countryside – Syrian observatory for human rights
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 7, 2017
Obama adviser Ben Rhodes highlighted the report suggesting it showed the airstrike had only disabled the airfield “for a few hours.”
So Obama was excoriated in DC for years for not taking a strike that disabled an airfield for a few hours. https://t.co/SVyihf3sph
— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) April 8, 2017
Judd Legum at Think Progress said it proved the airstrike had not been a success:
2. The airbase was operational the next day. Equipment was moved out before the attack
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) April 8, 2017
ThinkProgress also published a story titled “The U.S. strike in Syria failed to change anything.”
U.S. officials said the strike was intended to make it harder for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to carry out future chemical attacks against his own citizens. But it didn’t accomplish that.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the air base targeted by the U.S. was back up and running with 24 hours. ABC News reports that two jets took off from the base on Friday and “carried out strikes on areas under ISIS control in the countryside of eastern Homs.”
As this idea that the strike had been a failure because the runways were left intact began to spread, the President responded on Twitter:
The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2017
So the left was pushing the idea that the airstrike had accomplished nothing, but Monday the Pentagon clarified that was not at all the case. In fact, the airstrike had accomplished its goals. From Military.com:
In a Pentagon briefing Monday, Army Col. John Thomas said, “We didn’t crater the runway. We were not trying to make the airfield long-term inoperable. What we did was degrade the Syrians’ ability to carry out chemical weapons attacks from that base in the short term.”
Thomas said the strikes destroyed “tens of thousands of gallons of fuel” and “destroyed or rendered inoperable” more than 20 aircraft.
Gen. Mattis announced the attack had destroyed “20 percent of Syria’s operational aircraft.” Mattis also alluded to the issue of the runways saying, “The Syrian government has lost the ability to refuel or rearm aircraft at Shayrat airfield and, at this point, use of the runway is of idle military interest.”
The airstrikes did significant damage to Syria’s air force as well as fuel storage and other targets at the base. But the progressive left is so eager to proclaim the strike a failure they are ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit their agenda.