Fake News on the Syrian Warpath!


MAGA hats off to President Donald J. Trump! After correctly admonishing Fake News for the better part of the past two years, he’s decided if he can’t beat ’em, might as well join ’em!

That’s the best explanation for the limp-wristed Tomahawk Chop Trump delivered on a rural Syrian airbase (think Beale AFB) last Thursday that reportedly killed six Syrians and destroyed a half-dozen ancient Russian-made MiG23s already destined for the recycling bin.

Trump team

The White House tweeted out this photo of the Trump team that delivered the Tomahawk Chop. Photo credit: White House via Twitter.

From a safe distance in the Mediterranean, US Navy warships lobbed in 59 cruise missiles also destined for the recycling bin (more than half failed to hit their targets!) in a weak show of force that nevertheless instantly transformed Trump in the eyes of even his most strident mainstream media detractors, from incompetent fascist buffoon to legitimate leader of the free world.

“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States,” gushed CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who several weeks ago unleashed a profanity-laden live-on-the-air tirade regarding Trump’s prodigious skills as a bullshit artist.

Zakaria was perhaps more correct than he imagined, being that he and the rest of the MSM with few exceptions immediately and unconditionally praised the unprovoked, unauthorized and potentially unconstitutional attack by the United States on the sovereign nation of Syria. Why didn’t I try this sooner? Trump must be thinking.

false flag

A false flag is an attack staged by one party designed to make it look like another party, usually an enemy, committed the attack. Meme courtesy Internet.

Trump’s strike was a response to unproven allegations that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, on the eve of winning a brutal four-year civil war against Sunni Muslim insurgents (“rebels” in MSM parlance), suddenly decided to use sarin gas on innocent men, woman and children, inviting certain condemnation from the West. Assad faced similar allegations in 2013, and the same crew clamoring for his blood now, were clamoring for his blood then, led by notorious neocon warmonger Sen. John McCain.

To President Barack Obama’s credit, he resisted the saber-rattlers and waited for the evidence on the alleged gas attack to come in. Obama had previously stated that use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government would be a “red line” that if crossed would justify direct U.S. intervention. As it turned out, the evidence indicated the gassing was more likely the work of rebel factions seeking to draw the United States into the war with a so-called false flag attack than the Syrian government’s handiwork.

Obama determined the red line hadn’t been crossed and resisted calls to directly intervene in the conflict, perhaps one of the soundest decisions he made during his presidency.

Now Trump, facing a very similar set of circumstances, has made precisely the opposite decision, even though he vigorously campaigned against further military intervention in the Middle East, even though he must be aware that this alleged Syrian gas attack is even more dubious than the last.

The truth about the alleged gas attack in Syria is no one as of this writing actually knows who did what to whom, besides the rebels, the Syrians and the Russians, who are on the ground. The latter two have invited an independent investigation into the incident. That’s what would happen in a world ruled by laws, before any further action was taken.

Instead, in our media-driven world, alleged gas attacks on a handful of civilians are treated as somehow exponentially worse than the millions of Muslims the United States has murdered directly and indirectly during the past five decades.

We are in fact bombing Syria on a regular basis and have been since at least 2014. Obama may have not directly intervened, but in shades of Vietnam, he put U.S. boots on the ground in Syria, to direct airstrikes at the bequest of so-called moderate rebels against Syrian-held positions, occasionally killing Syrian soldiers and civilians in the process. The fact that the Syrian government has invited Russian armed forces to assist it in the civil war has both tempered U.S. actions and ratcheted up tensions in the region.

So in a sense, Trump’s Tomahawk Chop is just more business as usual. Of course, when it comes to foreign policy, Trump was supposed to be the no-more-business-as-usual candidate and I, like many of the people who supported him for this reason, was stunned and more than a little upset that the president, supposedly overcome by pictures of dying gassed Syrian babies, had launched a missile strike that could be potentially the first shot fired in WW III.

That was my initial reaction, anyway. I was watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, who was spinning her usual Trump-Russian conspiracy theories when her show was interrupted by breaking news of the strike.

Brian Williams took over and the script completely flipped. Over on CNN it was the same story with Anderson Cooper and company. After weeks of mercilessly bashing Trump, they were suddenly on his side, joined later by establishment Republicans and Democrats, including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

The MSM, the establishment, the military industrial complex love a good war! It was a baby version of 2003’s “Shock and Awe” attack on Iraq. I wondered how quickly that baby would grow into full-fledged military engagement.

I’m still wondering about that, but I’m not quite as worried. Trump’s strike was limited in scope; two days afterward, Syria was once again using the air base, since the main runway had been more or less unscathed. That’s small solace to the relatives of victims killed in the strike, but the lack of any follow-up strikes so far must be counted as a good omen.

Some supporters (and even detractors such as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell) are touting this as another example of Trump’s 4D-chess genius. They say the limited strike had nothing to do with gassed babies, and everything to do with silencing Trump’s critics, particular on the alleged collusion with Russia issue. Some have even suggested that by launching an attack, Trump is now in a position where he can expose and prosecute the perpetrators of the latest gassing in Syria, should it be proven to be a false-flag attack.

real fake sarin gas

Some journalists have raised questions whether sarin gas was used in the latest attack, as rescue workers weren’t wearing protective gear and would have died handling the victims. Meme courtesy Internet.

I’m not so sure about that. Is spitting in the face of Russian president Vladimir Putin worth the price of getting the media on your side and the establishment off your back? We’ll be provided some clues about that when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov later this week.

I’m guessing Trump’s proposed reset with Russia, so heavily touted during the campaign, has been seriously set back, just like his pledges to remove and replace Obamacare and provide across-the-board tax cuts.

Moreover, our military entanglements in the Middle East have only increased during Trump’s short reign, again counter to his campaign promises. This isn’t the foreign policy I voted for, it’s Hillary Clinton’s. Clinton, in fact, is celebrating Trump’s actions, as are many Democratic interventionists.

If Trump truly is as narcissistic as his detractors claim, I’m concerned that all of this newfound adulation will encourage him to abandon the anti-interventionist philosophy that helped get him elected, in favor of gaining approval from the very establishment he ran against.

If that happens, well, it was a nice ride, but I’ll be getting off the Trump train.

R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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