“We got a fuckin‘ problem”

by Seymour M. Hersh 25 June 2017

Intelligence officials doubted the alleged Sarin gas attack at Khan Sheikhoun. Welt am Sonntag presents a chat protocol of a security advisor and an active American soldier on duty at a key base in the region.

This conversation was provided to Seymour Hersh. It is betweeen a security adviser and an active US American soldier on duty on a key operational base about the events in Khan Sheikhoun. Welt am Sonntag is aware of the location of the deployment. For security reasons, certain details of military operations have been omitted.

April 6, 2017

American Soldier:

We got a fuckin‘ problem.

Security-Adviser:

What happened? Is it the Trump ignoring the Intel and going to try to hit the Syrians? And that we’re pissing on the Russians?

American Soldier:

This is bad ... Things are spooling up.

Security-Adviser:

You may not have seen trumps press conference yesterday. He's bought into the media story without asking to see the Intel. We are likely to get our asses kicked by the Russians. Fucking dangerous. Where are the godamn adults? The failure of the chain of command to tell the President the truth, whether he wants to hear it or not, will go down in history as one of our worst moments.

American Soldier:

I don't know. None of this makes any sense. We KNOW that there was no chemical attack. The Syrians struck a weapons cache (a legitimate military target) and there was collateral damage. That's it. They did not conduct any sort of a chemical attack.

American Soldier:

And now we’re shoving a shit load of TLAMs (tomahawks) up their ass.

Security-Adviser:

There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.

American Soldier:

I don't know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don't know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible. The Russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs. This is a big fucking deal ... we are still all systems go ...

Security-Adviser:

You are so right. Russia is not going to take this lying down.

Security-Adviser:

Who is pushing this? Is it coming from Votel? (General Joseph L. Votel, Commander of United States Central Command, editor‘s note)

American Soldier:

I don't know. It's from someone big though. ... This is a big fucking deal.

American Soldier:

It has to be POTUS.

American Soldier:

They [the Russians] are weighing their options. Indications are they are going to be passive supporters of Syria and not engage their systems unless their own assets are threatened ... in other words, the sky is fucking blue.

April 7, 2017

Security-Adviser:

What are the Russians doing or saying? Am I correct that we did little real damage to Russia or Syria?

American Soldier:

We didn't hit a damn thing, thankfully. They retrograded all their aircraft and personnel. We basically gave them a very expensive fireworks display.

American Soldier:

They knew where ships were and watched the entire strike from launch to end game.

American Soldier:

The Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real Intel and know the truth about the weapons depot strike.

American Soldier:

They are correct.

American Soldier:

I guess it really didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump. Fuck.

American Soldier:

No one is talking about the entire reason we're in Iraq and Syria in the first place. That mission is fucked now.

Security-Adviser:

Are any of your colleagues pissed or is everyone going along with it and saying this is OK.

American Soldier:

It's a mad house. ... Hell we even told the Russians an hour before impact.

Security-Adviser:

But they clearly knew it was coming.

American Soldier:

Oh, of course.

American Soldier:

Now Fox is saying we chose to hit the Syrian airfield because it is where the chemical attacks were launched from. Wow. Can't make this shit up.

Security-Adviser:

They are. I mean, making it up.

American Soldier:

It's so fuckin‘ evil.

Security-Adviser:

Amen!!!

April 8, 2017

American Soldier:

Russians are being extremely reasonable. Despite what the news is reporting they are still trying to deconflict and coordinate the air campaign.

Security-Adviser:

I don't think [that] Russia yet understands how crazy Trump is over this. And I don't think we appreciate how much damage the Russians can do to us.

American Soldier:

They're showing amazing restraint and [have] been unbelievably calm. They seem mostly interested in de-escalating everything. They don't want to lose our support in the help with destroying Isis.

Security-Adviser:

But I get the feeling [they] are simply trying this approach for as long as they feel it might work. If we keep pushing this current aggressive stance they're going to hit back.