President Donald Trump spared no expense ordering an attack on a vacant Syrian airbase. Taxpayers shelled out about $45 million for the US military strike against a Shayrat Airfield in Homs airfield, where the Syrian government’s Air Force stored chemical weapons used to attack Khan Sheikhoun April 4, which killed about one hundred innocent Syrian people, including women and children.
The strike was conducted using a total of 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. As of 2015, the United States Navy had a stockpile of around 3,500 Tomahawk cruise missiles of all variants, with a combined worth of approximately US $2.6 billion, or roughly $750,000 each.
That would put the cost of using 59 TLAMs to destroy runways, hardened aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and radars at over $43 million for the cruise missiles alone.
According to the Pentagon, the U.S. took extraordinary measures to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict, including precautions taken to execute the strike with minimal risk to personnel at the airfield. with such advance notice, it is unlikely the Syrians left any aircraft at the location to be destroyed.
The Tomahawk can be launched from a ship or submarine and can fly into heavily defended airspace more than 1,000 miles away to conduct precise strikes on high-value targets with minimal collateral damage. Launching the weapon from such a long distance helps to keep sailors out of harm’s way.
This video depicts a launch aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) of similar Tomahawk Land-Attack Missiles (TLAM) deployed Sept 23, 2014 against ISIL targets. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)
According to Raytheon, the manufacturer, and US Navy sources, the Tomahawk cruise missile has been employed in combat more than 2,000 times since it was introduced as a weapon used by U.S. and British forces.
Raytheon Company is a 95-year-old defense, civil government and cybersecurity contractor with 2016 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees.
“Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal, and his use of chemical weapons against his own people this week was the latest tragic reminder,” said Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06). “I have traditionally believed in pursuing diplomatic solutions before engaging the use of military force.”
“Tensions in a very fragile part of the world have now escalated and threaten to pull the United States into another intractable war in the Middle East,” said Pallone. “Following last night’s action taken by the Trump Administration, Congress must now be consulted, and we must engage in deliberations as to how to end this crisis in partnership with our international allies with as little risk to our men and women in uniform, and without escalating the crisis on the ground in Syria.”
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