A purported chemical weapons attack that killed more than 1,000, including many children, has elicited the ire of the West.
The USS Barry and three other warships promptly took up positions off the coast of Syria, poised to unleash a storm of Tactical Tomahawk missiles.
While Syrian and Iranian officials have said they will defend themselves against any Western strike, their best defence seems to be appealing to the U.N. for time.
Nevertheless, it seems their time is quickly running out.
Having seen 30 years of continuous service, Tomahawk missiles are one of the most reliable weapons on the battlefield.
More than 2,000 have been fired in combat -- and they've become so much more lethal since the first.
With advanced contour mapping, they fly low to the ground to avoid radar. Assad has better air defenses than Libya did in 2011, however, thus the need for maximum redundancy.
Each has a range of up to 1,300 nautical miles, more than enough to touch the Syrian capital of Damascus.
They travel at more than 500 miles per hour, meaning they'll barely be seen by ground personnel before they strike.
Tomahawks can be fired from submerged submarines, from batteries on the ground, from planes in the air, and from ships on the surface.
Syria's two 'inactive' subs certainly won't cover the UK's HMS Triumph, poised with the US to launch its 30-Tomahawk store at targets inside Syria.
They can be programmed to hover over their targets for hours, while onboard cameras provide commanders with a real-time view of the battlefield.
All said and done, the Tomahawk is one of the preferred means for reaching out and touching a hostile enemy, with little risk of sustaining casualties.
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