After the cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield last Thursday, the left and parts of the GOP set about criticizing the attack and, in essence, claiming it was a botched exercise.
The big issue came when Syrian fighters used the runway the next day as cameras rolled. As I pointed out Friday, the runway is the least valuable target if you are trying to destroy an airbase.
Today SecDef James Mattis released a statement on the cruise missile strike:
That last line is Mattis magic.
20% of Syria’s operational aircraft were taken out in one mid-sized attack. This sends the message that the US could take the Syrian air force completely out of action on any given night.
Mattis reiterates that random aircraft using the runway is a meaningless metric. It is is the supporting systems around the airfield that matter.
If the chemical weapons are used again, expect another strike.
I really hope John McCain is happy now that someone who knows his business has told him that cratering runways is a meaningless, feel good exercise. But I doubt it.