Sunday, April 09, 2017

U.S. cruise missiles are far from "precision-guided" By The Wayne Madsen Report

 U.S. cruise missiles are far from "precision-guided" 
By The Wayne Madsen Report

The Pentagon is claiming that the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles it fired on the Shayrat airbase in Homs province, Syria were precision-guided from the moment they left their launchers on two U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers, the USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross (DDG-71), on station in the eastern Mediterranean. The Pentagon also claimed that the cruise missiles did not target an area of the base that was being used by Russian forces that were conducting anti-Islamic State operations in Palmyra, 50 miles away, with helicopter gunships. It is also known that Iranian military advisers were bivouacked at the Shayrat base. The Pentagon insisted that it "minimized casualties among third-country nationals," typical DoD language meant to indicate that it could not rule out casualties among Russians, Iranians, members of Lebanese Hezbollah, or Iraqi Shi'as who may have been at the base at the time of the attack.

The Tomahawks used in the attack were manufactured by Raytheon and were armed with 1000-pound conventional warheads. Raytheon and its bought-and-paid for members of Congress and media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and MS-NBC, claim the Tomahawk is "precision-guided," a Pentagon meme used to avoid accusations of collateral civilian casualties resulting from U.S. cruise missile attacks. These missiles are anything but "precision-guided," a term that, like "military intelligence," is misused by the Pentagon.

During the 1991 Desert Storm operations against Iraq, 288 Tomahawks were fired from U.S. Navy ships and submarines in the Persian Gulf. One, targeting the Zafraniyah Nuclear Fabrication Facility outside of Baghdad, crashed into the Al Rasheed Hotel in downtown Baghdad, killing two civilians.

In June 1993, 23 Tomahawks were fired into downtown Baghdad as the result of a phony story about former President George H. W. Bush being targeted by Iraqi agents in an assassination plot during his visit to Kuwait. Although the story was false, the Tomahawks, said to have been targeted on Iraqi Intelligence headquarters, struck three civilian homes, killing nine civilians.

In 1995, During NATO's Operation Deliberate Force, the USS Normandy, a cruiser, fired 13 Tomahawks at Bosnian Serb communications facilities near Banja Luka. Instead of striking communications facilities only, the Tomahawks destroyed water treatment facilities and power plants, killing a number of civilians.

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile -crop.jpg
The Pentagon's much-prized Tomahawk "precision-guided" cruise missile has killed thousands of civilians in "collateral damage."

On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered 79 missiles fired on targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. While there was no indication that Operation Infinite Reach interfered with Al Qaeda's ability to bomb U.S. embassies, as what had just occurred in Kenya and Tanzania and was used as justification for the attack, 13 of the cruise missiles destroyed a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, killing a civilian guard. As far as the attack on a supposed Al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan was concerned, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden revealed that a "few camels and chickens" died in the attack.

In early December 1998, Clinton authorized 415 Tomahawks to be fired on Iraqi targets in Operation Desert Fox. Targets included were six Iraqi presidential palaces, a number of Republican Guard Barracks, and the Ministry of Defense. Critics claimed the attack was conducted to draw away the public's attention from the Monica Lewinsky scandal surrounding Clinton. The "precision-guided" attack on only "military" targets, resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, including those at the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry in central Baghdad, at Baghdad Museum of Natural History and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and at another university in northern Iraq, and at an oil installation in Basra.

In early 1999, 218 Tomahawks were fired against Serbia and Montenegro in Operation Allied Force. Some 528 civilians were killed by the "precision-guided" missiles, including 201 in Serbia, 5 in Vojvodina, and 8 in Montenegro. The civilian dead included rescue and medical personnel. Among the civilian targets were cross-Danube bridges (including the Marshal Tito bridge in Novi Sad), civilian buses and trains, police stations, factories, the Belgrade Heating Plant, civilian semi-trucks, the Yugoslav Radio and Television headquarters in Belgrade, the Pathology building of the Nis Medical Center, the Nis central market, a Nis car dealership, the "Nis Express" parking garage, and the Dubrava penitentiary complex in Kosovo. NATO Commander General Wesley Clark spent most of the time during press briefings "apologizing" for "collateral damage" from his precision-guided munitions. In May 1999, other U.S. "precision-guided" munitions, "smart bombs," dropped by B-2 bombers and which, were supposedly targeted the Yugoslav Federal Supply and Procurement directorate, hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade instead. Three Chinese journalists were killed at the embassy.

U.S. "precision-guided" munitions struck the Chinese embassy in 1999, killing three Chinese journalists. Will Donald Trump boast about U.S. "precision guided" weapons technology used against Shayrat airbase in Syria while talking to visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Florida?

On October 7, 2001, 50 Tomahawks were fired into Afghanistan in the initial stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. Some 76 civilians were reportedly killed by the cruise missiles. In 2003, more than 803 Tomahawks were fired into Iraq. A number of targets were civilian in nature and thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed by the cruise missiles. In March 2008, two Tomahawks were fired into Somalia, killing six civilians. In December 2009, two Tomahawks were fired into Abyan province Yemen, killing 21 children and 14 women. In March 2011, 124 Tomahawks were fired into Libya. Hundreds of civilians were killed in the attacks.

In 2011, America's precision-guided missiles struck the Tripoli home of Muammar Qaddafi, killing children. NATO insisted the home was a "command-and-control" center. Really, with an advanced foosball table at the ready? WMR's editor saw, first-hand, the ridiculous by-product of the Pentagon's "smart weapons" in the hands of dumb commanders-in-chief and flag officers.

This 26-year old Libyan civilian was severely injured when a U.S. precision-guided missile hit his home in Tadjoura, west of Tripoli. Still unconscious, he was not aware that the attack killed two members of his family.

On September 24, 2014, 14 Tomahawks were fired into Syria by the USS Arleigh Burke and the USS Philippine Sea. At least seven civilians were killed in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib province. On October 13, 2016, five Tomahawks were launched into northern Yemen from the USS Nitze. Civilian deaths were reported in the barrage.

Neocons in the U.S. Congress praised the most recent Tomahawk attack on Syria, as did the Wahhabist Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and the Islamist dictatorship of Turkey. The Trump administration has gone full neocon, with national security decisions now being made by Trump's cadre of military interventionists, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser General H. R. McMaster, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, National Security Council deputies K.T. McFarland and Dina Powell, staff advisers Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller, and White House economics adviser and Goldman Sachs alum Gary Cohn.