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Pentagon Sucks the Air Out of Trump’s ‘Mission Accomplished’

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Pentagon sucks the air out of "Mission Accimplished"

Almost as soon as Donald Trump declared “mission accomplished” in Syria, the Pentagon dialed the claim back substantially.

In reviewing the Pentagon’s assessment of what U.S. warplanes and cruise missiles did last night to three suspected chemical storage and production facilities, U.S. defense representatives defined success in the most tactical of terms. That formulation resolved none of the relevant questions over the ultimate impact of a strike that Trump ordered after a substantially similar one last year failed to deter Bashar Assad from launching a chemical attack.

But the Pentagon claimed tactical success. Unlike last year’s 59-Tomahawk-missile fusillade, no Tomahawks malfunctioned. Syria’s vaunted air defenses along the Mediterranean coast failed to shoot down any U.S. hardware, despite Russian claims of interception. (Though, for good measure, the U.S. launched most of Friday’s Tomahawks from ships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, and its B-1 bombers fired missiles with a 620-mile range.)

Most of the 40 Syrian interceptor missiles launched after the U.S. cruise missiles had already struck their targets. And a threat from a Russian diplomat to target American ships proved empty.

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