Syria: Not The Nuclear War People Wanted

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DEFCONWarningSystem
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Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:22 pm

On April 13, 2018, the United States attacked Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

This attack came as a surprise to no one (though its timing caught some off guard).

In the run up to the attack, several things happened. The United States sent ships to the region. Russia and Syria began to move assets out of the way of suspected target areas. And the pundits prepared the world for a nuclear holocaust.

Yes, according to a lot of the Talking Heads, Radio Heads, Internet Sages, and the Magic 8 Ball, planet Earth was going to fall into a fiery nightmare as the United States and Russia came to world-ending blows over…Syria.

Don’t let’s downplay this, though. Whenever there is a clash between nuclear powers, anything can go wrong. History has shown that the world has come perilously close to nuclear war over a lot less than things like Syria. A bad light once had nuclear forces ready to launch. Yes, a ten-cent light almost ended life on Earth. Think about that.

But Syria didn’t rise to that, thankfully. And, barring ten-cent lights, it really wasn’t going to.

Almost a week earlier, the DEFCON Warning System issued an announcement, raising the alert level to Blue (DEFCON 4): No imminent nuclear threat, but something was happening that warranted attention. The United States was making noise about an attack on Syria, and Russia was saying they had every intention of defending their ally. That would get anyone’s attention.

Interestingly, as the attack raged on, DEFCON kept the alert level at Blue. This was greatly controversial and met with numerous calls to raise it to Yellow or even Orange. While in hindsight keeping it at Blue may have been the right call, but was it at the time?

When examining a situation, it is important to not to develop tunnel vision. One can not look at just the attack absent the entire picture. What happened before the attack? Who are the actors in play? What will their response be?

That is where the question came in. Now “what was happening,” but rather “How is Russia going to respond?”

Working in favour of life remaining on Earth is the fact that the United States said pretty much what they were going to do. Russia (and Syria) had time to move important assets out of the way. The United States, for its part, specifically selected targets where Russians were known not to be. The targets were not government. U.S. assets were kept out of harms way. Even more so, Russia didn’t engage. They stayed back and let it happen.

All those factors worked to keep things from blowing up, literally. As angry as Russia was over the attack, what other choice did they have? Any response would have had to have been against a U.S. asset, which would have led to a spiralling escalation. Russia may have been mad, but they weren’t insane. And the United States seemed to have counted on that. As long as Russians weren’t targeted or hit, it was believed that Russia would stay out of it.

So The DEFCON Warning System kept the alert level at Blue.

Does this mean that it’s over? Hardly. Russia said they would respond. How is the question. To date, they’ve talked about sending more advanced weaponry to Syria, and there are reports that Russia has already released thousands of bots onto the internet. Propaganda-wise, both Russia and Syria are working to minimize the effectiveness of the attack. And analysts have said that the U.S. strike would likely be ineffective in its goal of stopping Syria and its chemical weapons. As long as Russia continues to back Syria, this analysis is likely correct.

So no, we didn’t come close to nuclear war on April 13, 2018. It made for good headlines though. And it made for a lot of good click-bait. That’s the problem with a lot of reporting these days. It isn’t about reporting what is happening. It’s about getting readers/viewers. And that in itself is dangerous. Truth isn’t reality anymore. Reality is what you perceive it to be. And if politicians perceive war, you’re more likely to get it.

willrod1989
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:34 am

People don't realize- you have to look at how our strategic assets are moving around, as well as our Continuity of Government (COG) procedures. Obviously, at DEFCON 5, things are normal. But at DEFCON 4, the outward changes to our readiness posture is barely perceptible by the general public. Once we hit DEFCON 3, however, that's when things get very noticeable!

Just to put things into perspective, when we hit DEFCON 3 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, we had bombers and jets lines up on the runways ready to take off at a minute's notice. The federal government was shut down for all but essential services, and personnel began evacuating to both the Mount Weather and Raven Rock bunkers, located in the Appalachian Mountains outside of Washington, D.C. Going even further, the Strategic Air Command was put on DEFCON 2, which meant that bombers were ready to take off within 6 minutes.

Indeed, if you want to take a quick glance at whether or not officials are preparing to move to evacuation locations, open up Google Maps and take a look at the traffic. Is there heavy traffic on I-66, US 17 or US 50 heading near Paris, Virginia? How about I-70 and US 15 near Emmitsburg, Maryland? That would give you some indication as to what's going on.

Also, check out what happened the last time DWS went to DEFCON 3 viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5507

That alone really puts things into perspective. While the rhetoric was definitely very bombastic prior to April 13, there was nothing to suggest that the United States government was seriously preparing for nuclear war. If you'd really like to learn about what sort of outward signs you would see in the lead up to a nuclear war, I would recommend reading Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government's Secret Plan to Save Itself- While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff.

Having said that, I must admit, I was somewhat concerned about the risk of escalation either directly proceeding, or after the missile strikes. However, as it stood, just prior to strike, nothing seemed to indicate any strategic moment. Therefore, I completely agree with DWS for staying calm and keeping a close eye on the situation without downgrading to DEFCON 3.

boxingfan382017
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:21 pm

Its interesting that no one knew... at least I don't recall anything about that one.

I really do not understand why we always have to be on such alerts all the time. It makes life completely full of anxiety and not worth even living if you will consistently be in fear.

What could possibly be gained on either side (unless you're a conspiracy theorist who believes in the half billion population) by a nuclear war? Nobody wins, it's one of the dumbest things I've tried to contemplate.

Ps22009
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 pm

boxingfan382017 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:21 pm
Its interesting that no one knew... at least I don't recall anything about that one.

I really do not understand why we always have to be on such alerts all the time. It makes life completely full of anxiety and not worth even living if you will consistently be in fear.

What could possibly be gained on either side (unless you're a conspiracy theorist who berlieves in the half billion population) by a nuclear war? Nobody wins, it's one of the dumbest things I've tried to contemplate.
What tbe goal during nuclear war is to destroy your enemy as hard as u try to save yourself from your enemies nuclear missiles
We wont know who shot first or who won, but we will know how bad the fallout is going to be

boxingfan382017
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Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:40 pm

Ps22009 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 pm
boxingfan382017 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:21 pm
Its interesting that no one knew... at least I don't recall anything about that one.

I really do not understand why we always have to be on such alerts all the time. It makes life completely full of anxiety and not worth even living if you will consistently be in fear.

What could possibly be gained on either side (unless you're a conspiracy theorist who berlieves in the half billion population) by a nuclear war? Nobody wins, it's one of the dumbest things I've tried to contemplate.
What tbe goal during nuclear war is to destroy your enemy as hard as u try to save yourself from your enemies nuclear missiles
It doesn't work that way... both countries would largely be gone, nuclear winter would set in, all would die across the planet, and what nukes were not shot, some would still come even after.

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RiffRaff
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Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:11 am

boxingfan382017 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:40 pm
Ps22009 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 pm
boxingfan382017 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:21 pm
Its interesting that no one knew... at least I don't recall anything about that one.

I really do not understand why we always have to be on such alerts all the time. It makes life completely full of anxiety and not worth even living if you will consistently be in fear.

What could possibly be gained on either side (unless you're a conspiracy theorist who berlieves in the half billion population) by a nuclear war? Nobody wins, it's one of the dumbest things I've tried to contemplate.
What tbe goal during nuclear war is to destroy your enemy as hard as u try to save yourself from your enemies nuclear missiles
It doesn't work that way... both countries would largely be gone, nuclear winter would set in, all would die across the planet, and what nukes were not shot, some would still come even after.
This outlook of a global thermonuclear war is hardwired into the minds of Americans, but lacks substance in reality. Nuclear winter was a theory proposed by some very well-meaning scientists in the 1970s, but has largely been disproved today. Certainly millions, if not billions, would die in a global nuclear conflict, and it would definitely be the end of human civilization as we know it, but it would not be an all-encompassing extinction level event. Humans, as a species, would survive, as would most other species. One only has to look at the wildlife flourishing in the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear contamination zones to realize that.

Would it be an easy or desirable way of life for the survivors? Of course not. But they would survive, nevertheless.
"It's in your nature to destroy yourselves." - Terminator 2: Judgment Day

boxingfan382017
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Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:12 am

RiffRaff wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:11 am
boxingfan382017 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:40 pm
Ps22009 wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:14 pm


What tbe goal during nuclear war is to destroy your enemy as hard as u try to save yourself from your enemies nuclear missiles
It doesn't work that way... both countries would largely be gone, nuclear winter would set in, all would die across the planet, and what nukes were not shot, some would still come even after.
This outlook of a global thermonuclear war is hardwired into the minds of Americans, but lacks substance in reality. Nuclear winter was a theory proposed by some very well-meaning scientists in the 1970s, but has largely been disproved today. Certainly millions, if not billions, would die in a global nuclear conflict, and it would definitely be the end of human civilization as we know it, but it would not be an all-encompassing extinction level event. Humans, as a species, would survive, as would most other species. One only has to look at the wildlife flourishing in the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear contamination zones to realize that.

Would it be an easy or desirable way of life for the survivors? Of course not. But they would survive, nevertheless.
I understand, but really... is it a very likely scenario that all of the conspiracy theorists and fear mongers like to make it out to be? I personally don't think so.

Obreid
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:07 pm

The question is a nuclear war or exchange winnable has changed in the world and we need to remember that.

Nuclear winter has come severely into question.

Detante only works with two predictable sides and comparable capabilities and equal risk factors.

Cyber warfare also changes the balance of winability in a nuclear exchange at least in some people’s mind. You can bet China who as based much of their military strategy on asymmetrical warfare has played out the feasibility of using nukes in conjunction with asymmetrical options.

Iranian mulahs have talked of the morality in using a EMP on the US. That the proposed 80-90% casualty after a year would not be on them but due to the weakness and decadence of American citizens.

Non allied or non-state actors accessibility to nukes changes the mix as well.

I am NOT saying we as a nation should contemplate using nukes as a first strike. Only that we should be aware that the chances of and circumstances that might trigger such a war are potentially higher today and much more complicated.

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