June 27, 2017

Deep State boxing Trump into owning downside of Syrian disaster

Amid the renewed effort by Deep State to escalate our intervention in Syria toward WWIII...

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh had just written an article detailing the nature of the so-called "chemical attack" in April that served as the pretext for the Pentagon sending missiles into a Syrian government airfield. His quoted source is "a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency".

According to this source, the site of the alleged chemical attack was a jihadist headquarters with a weapons depot in the basement, and stores of fertilizers and chlorine cleaning products that were distributed to the local population. When the government struck this jihadist target, the explosion could have affected the fertilizers and chlorine so that it put off a toxic cloud in the area, causing the deaths that appeared to be chemical weapons-related.

So it was not a chemical weapons attack by the government against "their own people," but collateral damage when the government targeted the jihadists.

This report confirms the conclusions reached by lay skeptical observers at the time -- that it was either a false flag by the jihadists, or that a government strike had hit a place where chemical weapons or their precursors were being stored by the jihadists. It disproves the claims that Assad targeted his own people with chemical weapons, for whatever reason.

That's the kind of solid work we expect from Hersh, but there is a disturbing secondary narrative being advanced by his source -- that it was Trump himself who put the pedal to the metal on bombing Syria, against the intelligence community who had told him it was not a chemical attack by Assad, and against the wariness of his military leaders.

Back on Planet Earth, we know from Trump's famous Twitter history that he repeatedly and vociferously demanded that Obama not bomb Syria over an earlier phony narrative about Assad and chemical weapons. He ran his campaign on leaving Assad in place, on reminding Americans that "the rebels" in Syria are jihadists who want to fly planes into our buildings, and on getting along with Syria's patron state Russia.

Only a few days before the strike on Syria, Trump sent his Press Secretary, UN Ambassador, and Secretary of State to spread the message that we are getting out of the regime change business in Syria, and Assad's fate will be decided by the Syrian people, not us. General Mattis was asked about this message at a press conference in London at the same time, and he dodged the question entirely -- hardly what you'd expect if he was the wary one, and Trump the warmongering one in the White House.

But it's not enough for Hersh's source to portray Mr. "We never should've gone into Iraq" / "The Syrian rebels are probably ISIS" as a warmonger, and the CIA and the Pentagon as unsung helper angels struggling to defuse a militaristic escalation in the Middle East.

The source goes to pains to reinforce the elite caricature of Trump as ignorant ("He doesn’t read anything and has no real historical knowledge"), irrational and hot-headed ("emotionally energized by the disaster"), low-info ("a constant watcher of television news"), and a reckless outsider who is out of his element in the world of government. ("He can accept the consequences of a bad decision in the business world; he will just lose money. But in our world, lives will be lost and there will be long-term damage to our national security if he guesses wrong.") The military and intelligence leaders are "the adults in the room" babysitting the toddler Trump.

This endless string of slander is clearly coming from a Deep State swamp creature that views Trump as an uncouth interloper. The tone that is dripping with disdain should be a clue that perhaps this source has ulterior motives.

Then there's the risible attempt to paint the chief proponent of "getting along with Russia" as hostile to even letting Russia know beforehand that we were going to bomb an airfield where they had their own people stationed. ("The president was also initially opposed to the idea of giving the Russians advance warning before the strike, but reluctantly accepted it.")

The only way this makes sense is for the source to be targeting an audience that had already been skeptical of the official story about the chemical attack, and trying to pin the blame on Trump rather than the CIA and Pentagon whose leaders clearly pressed Trump into doing their bidding, against years and years of his own exhortations against militarism in the Middle East. The target audience is anti-imperialist or anti-militarist, more on the Left than on the Right, and prone to believing the elite caricature about Trump the mouth-breather.

All rational analysis pointed to the Deep State and Pentagon being the culprits behind the strike on Syria, and the escalation there since -- but some people are so consumed by a bitter disdain toward Trump the person, that all a psy-ops agent has to do is pander to that caricature, and the audience will ignore the facts that are staring them in the face. Along with their cheerleading for James Comey (after he got fired), there may be a good size of the Left that begins to believe, "That stupid Cheeto Hitler -- thank God for the CIA and the Pentagon, or we might get sucked into another war in the Middle East!"

The larger goal of the psy-ops appears to be making Trump himself own the downside of the disaster that our intervention in Syria is turning into. If it somehow works out the way the Deep State wanted it to, then great -- they don't need credit, or want it. They want to stay relatively out of sight from the public. As long as they get to topple another nation that is independent from the US empire, they don't care whether they get a parade or not.

But if things don't pan out the way they wanted, that failure will have to be pinned on someone -- and it sure as hell isn't going to be the CIA or the Pentagon in charge of things over there. They will try to make the President the fall guy, so that they live to fight another day. "Gee, we really didn't want to escalate militarily in Syria, but that bull-headed ignoramus Drumpf -- amirite? We often get tasked with the impossible by the White House, and we're only human."

Cover your ass, and pass the buck. The fact that the Deep State propagandists are putting this spin out there so early after the first strike suggests that they realize how likely the situation is to get catastrophically worse than it is to get better. Not that that's going to stop them from pushing things in the wrong direction -- only that they are preparing to shift the risk away from themselves and onto someone who is against their ridiculous and reckless plans.

It's the inverse of "skin in the game" -- making those who do not want to take some action, assume all of the risk of taking that action. The elite brass in the military and intelligence sectors are parasites.

The most effective antidote here seems to be ridicule of the portrayal of the CIA and Pentagon as unwilling participants and eager to shed light on intel that should prevent a strike, rather than callous warmongers who prefer to obscure or lie about such evidence. Also remind people of Trump's long and inflexible history of skepticism about rash decisions to escalate in the Middle East, and his cynicism about who "the rebels" are.

The target audience here is more on the Left (commenters at Moon of Alabama), but also somewhat on the Right ("Trump is an idiot who never read Kant, and is easily swayed by tearful appeals from Ivanka"). If our intervention really drags on, though, the audience will grow to the whole electorate. Time to nip this buck-passing narrative in the bud.


  1. What is your take on this latest "warning" by the administration to Syria, Russia, and Iran?


    In the last week, we also have Macron saying that deposing Assad right now would not be wise (taking the pre-cruise missile strike Trump/Tillerson position), then Macron saying today that if Assad commits another chemical attack, he is committed to "joint action" with the US.

    With Trump hemmed in by the media and deep state on Russia and Syria matters, perhaps he has managed to outsource the good cop role to Macron.


  2. Macron did include a "red line" on chemicals in that June 21 statement, so that's not a response to the WH threat last night.

    He's more like Obama -- the liberal party being controlled by the bankers rather than the military, and therefore preferring diplomacy, with a little bombing thrown in here and there to keep their Deep State and military-industrial complex happy.

  3. As for what to read into the timing, probably not Macron's statement, and I seriously doubt it's responding to Hersh's article -- that was published in the German media, and is spreading here mostly among committed anti-imperialist / anti-militarist circles.

    The timing was designed to hijack the evening news period and set the agenda for today's cycle. Maybe they wanted to squash the good news about the Supreme Court upholding parts of the Muslim ban. We know the Pentagon brass must be going apeshit over a nationalist rather than globalist treatment of America's borders vis-a-vis the Middle East.

    Maybe they were hanging onto this threat for a good news day.

  4. And I thought Trump was outsourcing the six-year war and its most likely bad conclusion to his Generals.

  5. If the decision were Trump's to make -- to outsource or to make his own decision -- he would most definitely have done what he's been ranting about for 5-10 years, now that he is in a unique position to put those words into effect.

    So the Generals decided what they wanted to do, and told Trump he could either go along with it (in rough outlines) and look like he's in charge of things, or he could repeat all of the things he's said over the last 5-10 years, get ignored by the Pentagon, and look powerless over his own military.

  6. Nikki Haley tweeted something that sent shivers down my spine. "Any further attack done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad but also Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people".

  7. After her last outburst, she was supposed to get all her statements cleared by the WH before mouthing off in public.

    So either Trump lacks the power to enforce that order, or he got pressured into approving this garbage. Either way, it shows how little influence he has over even the messaging about foreign policy, let alone the actual outcomes.

    Foreign policy is too high-stakes to be left un-fought-over by the hyper-competitive no-skin-in-the-game military elites and militarist politicians.


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