"....one would have thought that all weapons would have been loaded and waiting for them."
British aircraft fired eight Storm Shadow cruise missiles from outside Syria's airspace, and out of range of its air defence system.
Storm Shadow is one of the most sophisticated air-launch weapons in the world. When launched by a Tornado GR4, it drops to a very low altitude, and starts its fast, ground-hugging run to its target. As it makes its final approach, it jettisons its nose cone,revealing a high resolution infra-red camera. This looks at what is ahead, and compares it to a stored image of the target.
When it arrives, it first cuts a hole into the building. Then it drops inside and detonates. Once it's on its way, the target is as good as destroyed.
The world , after a million or more were killed in WW1 with chemical weapons, banned their use. Syria has used them over 50 times. They were warned to stop, but ignored the warnings. You can’t threaten retaliation then not use it, or Assad will go on using them. No one wants a prolonged, hot, war but the world can’t ignore these crimes. The response of Corbyn and Abbott talking of “using diplomacy” is frightening, a bit like Chamberlain beforeWW2