- - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Russians are very advanced in their ability to wage war in nuclear, biological and chemical environments. The Syrian air force likely possesses similar capabilities, possibly in older, Soviet versions. Substantial decontamination facilities are probably present near the chemical-weapons storage areas, as well as the flight line.

For the recent attack, the Syrian aircraft ground crews, bomb handlers, pilots and the navigation/weapons systems officers would likely have been completely garbed in chemical suits with hoods and air-filtration protections. The SU-24MK ground-attack aircraft they flew would have had a factory-installed air-filtration system for the pilot and the NWSO. These people, going about their preparatory tasks, would have stood out even to the novice viewer. The Russians could not have missed these telltale sign of an impending chemical-weapons attack by the Syrians.

Yet the Russians did not lift a finger to stop the attack when they had the power to so. In fact, they could have provided technical assistance, including flying the mission.

By any measure, the Russians were complicit in the use of chemical weapons on unarmed Syrian men, women and children. That is a crime against humanity and a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

I’m waiting to hear that the government of the United States, my country, will present evidence to the International Criminal Court and ask for criminal charges to brought against Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, as well as every individual in the chain of command, from the top down to the lowest-ranking person involved.

MAJ. JAMES M. DORN

Special Forces, U.S. Army Reserves (retired)

Chino Hills, Calif.

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