On Wednesday Trump’s Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, otherwise fondly known as Mad Dog, said Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government backed down on a chemical attack after a stern warning from the United States.
“It appears that they took the warning seriously,” Mad Dog told reporters. “They didn’t do it.”
It is common practice now for the government to make outrageous claims and not bother to offer a scintilla of evidence. This was certainly the case with Mad Dog’s claim earlier in the week that the evil al-Assad planned to gas his own people.
It’s equally common for the establishment media to not ask for evidence and report fantasy and fairy tales as granite-hard fact.
Members of Congress also take this fallacious “intelligence” as gospel truth, as demonstrated by Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He said Trump will bomb the be-jesus out of Syria if they launch a chemical attack.
It’s interesting Mad Dog’s claim came soon after Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in the German publication Die Welt. Hersh questioned intelligence related to the supposed April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhun. Trump launched a Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for the alleged chemical attack.
“The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives,” Hersh writes.
A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement, its effect magnified by the dense morning air, which trapped the fumes close to the ground.
Intelligence sources told Trump Syria was not responsible for the alleged chemical attack, but the president ignored this and went ahead and launched a bevy of very expensive cruise missiles at the Shayrat Air Base regardless.
Last year Trump promised us a new government that would not engage in the reckless behavior of the past. Of course, this was offset by his remarks on bombing Syria, stealing oil from Syria and Iraq, waterboarding suspected terrorists, killing their families, and other belligerent statements. It was obvious at the time he would continue the agenda of his predecessors, albeit with typical Trumpian braggadocio.
Donald Trump does not have the fortitude or intelligence required to “drain the swamp” and close down the neocon war agenda. By and large, it is a mission impossible. Congress is largely in the neocon camp and a day does not pass that some member of the political class issues a violent threat against an array of manufactured enemies.
The tissue-thin transparency of Mad Dog’s claim reveals the bankruptcy of the ruling elite’s propaganda agenda. Either they are intellectually lazy or the population is so misinformed and apathetic it really doesn’t matter if outrageous claims are transparent nonsense.
If a poll conducted after the debunked Khan Sheikhun attack can be believed, nearly 60 percent of Americans supported Trump’s cruise missile attack.
“The poll, conducted by CBS, shows that many Americans support the attack because they believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons—killing 87 people last week—was an immoral act,” the New York Post reported in April 10.
Meanwhile, no such moral outrage exists for the victims of illegal US bombings in Mosul and Raqqa. More than 4,000 civilians have thus far died.