A report from Syria 83

Our British associate, Chauncey Tinker, proprietor of The Participator, has drawn our attention to this video.

OAN is a conservative news channel.

The reporter, Pearson Sharp, makes a strong case that the gas attack on Douma was staged for propaganda purposes. We had believed and said that there was a gas attack, so we post the video as self-correction. (Of course, we still cannot be sure whether or not there was a gas attack, and if there was, who launched it. Sharp’s interpreter may have deceived him, for instance; or the witnesses could have been lying.)

In any case, we are glad that the sites in Syria connected with the production of chemical and biological weapons have been bombed to rubble.

Since the Russians have acquired a firm foothold in Syria, and Iran too has a dangerous presence there, was the bombing politically and strategically justified?

Bruce Thornton writes, in part, at Front Page:

Given that our economy is inseparable from the global economy, we have no choice but to be concerned about the critical straits and canals through which global commerce travels, and the airports throughout the world through which people can reach our shores in less than a day. We also can’t ignore the numerous illiberal and autocratic regimes whose beliefs and values conflict with those of the West. The global market … needs a global sheriff so that this astonishing increase in technological innovation and wealth and their global distribution is free to continue. We may not have chosen this role, we may not like or want the job, but history so far has left the U.S. as the only great power with the military capacity for keeping order, and the political beliefs and principles that ensure we will not abuse that power to oppress others.

Yet that truth does not justify the one-world idealism that believes everybody on the planet wants to live like Westerners, or to embrace Western principles and goods like political freedom, tolerance of minorities, free speech, sex equality, secularist government, an open society, and the preference for discussion, negotiation, and treaties as the way to solve conflict rather than brute force. The great diversity of ways of life and beliefs means that transnational institutions, agreements, covenants, and U.N. Security Council resolutions will always in the end be instruments of diverse and conflicting national interests. They are honored as long as they serve those interests, but abused or subverted when they don’t, especially by the more powerful nations. …

The West’s military dominance in the 20th century ensured that other nations would bandwagon with the West and sign such international agreements, with the tacit proviso that they would violate them whenever necessary, even as they paid them lip-service. The history of the last century, which is littered with violated treaties and covenants, proves this obvious truth. …

Indeed, Syria offers a perfect example … of a superficial adherence to international covenants that facilitates violations of them. After Barack Obama issued his empty “red line” threat about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated an empty “solution” to the problem by making Russia the authority overseeing the elimination of Assad’s stockpiles, even though it was and still is not in Russia’s geostrategic interests to disarm Assad. So we got a theatrical compliance that left Assad his weapons, and even worse, gave Russia a sanctioned entrée into the Syrian civil war. The pretense of adhering to international law gave cover to Russia’s strategic aims in the region, one of which was the continuation of Assad’s murderous regime. …

What could justify the raids against Syria? Deterrence is frequently invoked, but it obviously didn’t work last year after the President destroyed some of Assad’s jets. Over the past year, Assad has continued to use chemical weapons on civilians. Indeed, within hours of our latest attack Assad was using high explosives and barrel-bombs to slaughter people who are just as dead or mangled as the victims of his chemical attack. Further consequences may follow. Russia and Iran for now may be blustering to save face, but there still may be some retaliation that we will then have to answer. For once a nation goes down the road of deterring a bad actor by force, it has to continue indefinitely in order to maintain its prestige. It can’t announce publicly that it is a “one-off”.

Americans traditionally do not like constant war or military interventions, particularly “humanitarian” ones. We prefer to intervene when necessary, kill the bad guys, then come back home … Unfortunately, in today’s interconnected world, such conflicts are not as rare as we’d like. But we must make it clear that we will not intervene when necessary just to rush home as though the work is done, nor will we engage in conflicts and occupation of the defeated enemy in order to create liberal democracy.

Rather, we need a foreign policy similar to the “butcher and bolt” policy of the British Empire, or what Israel calls “mowing the grass”. This means when an adversary or enemy challenges our power and interests, or those of our close allies, we should use force to send a message, usually by destroying some of its military assets. We should not rationalize this action by appealing to international law, the U.N., or some fantastical common vales or principles of the mythic “international community.” We should make it clear that there is no time-certain for when we stop, rather that we will return whenever we judge it necessary. And we should do it on the principle that a sovereign nation has a right to defend itself as it sees fit, and owes accountability only to its citizens.

In the near future, bombing Syria will likely still be necessary, not just to deter Assad or change the regime into a liberal democracy, but to let all the players in the region know that the greatest military power in history is watching events in a region we deem vital to our interests, and that we will use force to remind them of our unprecedented ability to project devastating power across the globe. Such a policy will strengthen our prestige, and concentrate wonderfully the minds of our adversaries.

The only remaining question is, Will we the people of the United States be willing to pay the costs and accept the risks of such a policy?

Posted under Iran, Russia, Syria, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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This post has 83 comments.

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  • Stev60

    My informed instinct (which has proven right on every major issue this century so far) says that the gas attack did not happen as claimed, or was a ‘false-flag’ by the local jihadis, who stood to gain the most by it, and have form. At the very least, rushing to strikes like that without solid and public verified proof was not sound, because more such ‘mistakes’ drag already battered Western credibility into the gutter of world opinion. They also served little purpose in this case, Trump already demonstrated a willingness to such action before, and only make the Russians and Chinese even much more suspicious of Western motives and aims, a bad thing at a time when we need their cooperation to resolve various outstanding issues. If I had been consulted, I would have counseled caution and delay in this case rather than rush to action, which served no useful purpose at all. But I would also counsel a range of other tactics and strategies that the current ptb seem way too far gone and stupid to even consider let alone implement. The current strategic course is disastrous in many ways, and while I agree with the general need to restrain regimes like Iran from things like terror and nukes, the way ‘we’ are going about it is and had been quite wrong for so long it is actually likely to make it worse in the end, far worse, whether or not Syria or even Iran are hit by air strikes or other forms of intervention (which btw were much easier especially in Iran’s case decades ago, but which terrible strategy and diplomacy has rendered near-impossible now).

    • Trump, I am glad to say, doesn’t give a damn for “world opinion”. (Most of the world has no opinion of its own, and of the people who do most are Chinese or Muslim.) He is suspicious of the Russians and the Chinese – that’s what matters, not the other way about. Trump has completely changed US policy since Obama’s treacherous days. Look – he has brought Kim Jong-un to drop his swaggering threats and ask for parley!

      • Don L

        Addition: It isn’t just Trump. Most Americans don’t give a damn either (leftists, of course, exempt). I don’t think Europeans, even our closest and beloved relative the UK gets that when someone points a gun at you, you don’t turn to a bystander and ask what they think. Shoot first or duck and fire.

      • Stev60

        World opinion is not irrelevant, I am no liberal appeaser, I have made arguments that might leave some here queasy, but at the same time, it is not wise to needlessly and recklessly alienate powerful people especially from whom you actually want or need something, basic human relations 101. Suspicion – good idea. But not to the point of jumping the gun at the wrong place and time, especially if it undermines other objectives. Trump has done well on Korea, so far, I have no criticism of him for that, in fact, he’s done just the sort of thing I have been saying needs to be done. Obama was indeed a disaster, I was one of the first to really back Trump online, especially abroad (from a US pov).

    • Don L

      “Note: NK has had certain realities and considerations pointed out by some including myself…”

      “My informed instinct (which has proven right on every major issue this century so far)…”

      Let me get this right: You personally informed NOKO leadership that they had considerations and conditions to consider so they should “kneel” to US. (I liked that use by Jillian?). After all, you haven’t been wrong this century. So, we should be thanking you for the world’s debacles; whereas you have had so much influence and these are the things you’ve been right about?

      Did you get NATO pony up? That’s American slang for pay your bills. Where you right about that?

      Or as I surmised, from your posts herein, one can waffle and pontificate and at the appropriate moment of success or failure then claim, “See, I was right”.

      Candidly, as I’ve read your comments, you seem to be on both sides of all of this and still recommend nothing except do nothing. And, as far as America with problems, turn around and look at your island and the continent to the east … thank you very much.

      You sound an awful lot like a politician. So many comments … not a lot of here is what should be done.

      In a year Trump has brought the NOKO to the table and as of today, the meeting is on ONLY because Rocketman has stated he will de-nuke … just details left now. Were you right about that. Can you show writings from, let’s say, 13 months ago.

      Trump is rewriting the diplomacy book … stand by. America is coming back. What you think you know for sure no longer is.

      • Stev60

        Actually I have commented a lot on Korea on some prominent forums, arguing directly with pro-NK and pro-China commenters, crushing a lot of their false claims and bluster, and making arguments that I have not seen anyone else make on certain aspects of it, I have also some time ago posted on my own channel a set of substantially original proposals for a fair and effective settlement of the issue. I don’t claim some sort of ‘sole credit’, but I have definitely made a decent contribution and been a serious commenter on the issue, if in somewhat informal channels. It feeds into the overall mix. I have been arguing strongly for denuclearization of not only NK but certain others too, for years, and btw I supported Trump strongly from before he was even the GOP candidate. I have also been possibly the single strongest and most persistent critic online of the rotten situation in Europe, including the sort of weakness that is reflected in NATO spending, which yes I have argued for ‘ponying up’ on. DW shut down their English comment forum completely after I was active there for years, primarily on account of me from the targeted trolling I was subjected to even from staff, excoriating them and Merkel’s regime, boosting opposition to her madness, sometimes banned multiple times in one day, and the single most active and critical commenter for most of that period of years.

        As to what to do, I have put many proposals in various places, but as I have also often enough said, I don’t put everything online for free and from my current marginal position. In some cases it’s pointless, in others possibly dangerous. I have gone out on a limb many times, but I have to draw a limit. On big issues I have been right about just about everything so far this century it’s true, from Iraq on. If instead of snarky sarcasm like yours, I actually got constructive engagement from worthwhile sources, we might actually be a good deal better off.

        As for NK, it’s not ‘kneeling’ to Trump, and that’s not a smart way to put it. They have said they are willing to denuke in exchange for effective guarantees, ideas for which I discussed on my channel. Who read it I don’t know, but someone somewhere would have, I am ‘known’ enough on both ‘sides’ for my commenting activity and strong language arguments etc over years on various forums along with other things, and hopefully it’s gone into the mix. It would certainly be better for us if it did – the real point. It’s an issue amongst others I have followed in detail, and commented upon very seriously, and to the general benefit in motvation, but with a natural basis on our side. Scoff all you like, but offer something even half as solid or good first.

        • Don L

          You, implicitly and inferentially, stated you directly gave NOKO what for. Not true was it? Braggadocios garbage: well, gee shucks, “…I have commented a lot…” This is why you get trolled. You deserve it. LOL you fool.

          Law: When in a hole, stop digging. You were unable to simply say you misspoke.

          • Stev60

            “You, implicitly and inferentially, stated you directly gave NOKO what for”

            You lie. I said I contributed via extensive commenting to the overall mix of ideas and opinion out there, more substantially and originally than most at that. It’s a fair assumption that some of that filtered back ‘their’ way, considering some of the commenters I argued with were their state-backed trolls clearly enough. But the ‘route’ is presumably indirect, and the ‘share’ small, though who knows who might have read eg the extensive proposals given on my site. Contrary to your third-rate hate-spurts, I don’t give a toss about ‘public credit’ (in this case at least), but actual results, it’s to be seen whether anything specifically of mine (which you are on face value at least utterly ignorant of) is reflected in them in the outcome.

            • Don L

              “Note: NK has had certain realities and considerations pointed out by some including myself…”

              This was your exact quote. Where in that post did you say you only commented. Nowhere. That only came out when I challenged you. Say, that original post seems to be gone. Shame on you – did you go and delete the evidence?

            • Stev60

              I appended myself to the ‘some’, because it’s true, in a general sense, whether or not Kim say was actually aware of it. Am I supposed to instead list every specific commenter I commented to or suchlike? I pointed things out in NK’s (and China’s) direction, on my level, as did others, the particular effect in any given case is another matter. I deleted no post here.

    • Don L

      In addition to Jillian’s reply: It isn’t just Trump. Most Americans don’t give a damn either (leftists, of course, exempt). I don’t think Europeans, even our closest and beloved relative the UK gets that when someone points a gun at you, you don’t turn to a bystander and ask what they think. Shoot first or duck and fire.

      • Stev60

        Hey buddy, I know how to shoot, and fight, and am all for righteous (though not reckless) self-defense, in this particular case, no one shot at us however. It’s not a Bond movie we are talking about but the real world. See above for my alternate take on it.

        • Don L

          I am NOT your buddy. In fact, I’m repulsed by your voluminous & self-serving commentary.

          They shot at all of us with chem weapons you blind buffoon! The WORLD banned these weapons. You ought discover Bastiat and Hazlitt and the “Broken Window Fallacy”. I don’t, however, think you’d get it: Too hung on a sense of your own, false, importance.

          There is a character in a TV ad, over here, that runs often (ad isn’t sucessful as the sponsors name is a ?), named Captain Obvious. It fits you. You spew nothing new, the obvious and there is never an actual answer. You speak to get people to approve of you … Oh how intelligent. But not so. You’ve offered nothing but empty words … lots of them …that fail to inform. And, when confronted by first hand fact you deny reality, insult the finder-of-fact and promote your many degrees removed, self-serving tripe.

          You say your not a politician. Yet, you continue to erroneously, to your embarrassment, wave your flag like a politician. You state that you have argued for NOKO to denuclearize … who hasn’t you buffoon! You don’t contribute; you are in the way creating useless noise.

          The only thing that can be said of you, is you have a good vocabulary, you can type (too, too much), you hold to ancient status quo thinking, you contribute nada and one can only guess that you are either a politician (having denied first-hand info – you have no credibility) or a lawyer or someone with to much time on their hands seeking approval.

          Troll, Troll , Troll …ruff, ruff

          • Stev60

            You are either an idiot, or (also) a deliberate provoker. Likely the latter, with your open admission of trolling. Get lost! You are not worth wasting more time on.

            But for others, I will point out, there is NO real (public at least) evidence ‘they’ used chemical weapons in this case, whoever ‘they’ are supposed to be. And enough reason to suspect, even from a pro-Western ‘right-wing’ pov that they did not, and that it’s a ‘frame’.

            • Don L

              LOL, Raspberries!

            • Stev60

              Cretin.

            • Don L

              You friggin joke. I do believe your comment about not giving knowledge away for free. You certainly haven’t provided any here. And, I doubt you can show any evidence where anyone ever paid you for any knowledge relevant to these topics you herein claim to have superior intellect.

            • Stev60

              Shove it lying scum. I don’t own knowledge, I own my original ideas though, until such time as I choose not to. Garbage like yours just makes me think, take my time.

    • Stev60

      Re the recent strike, while I am in principle against the sort of
      beat-up rushes to judgement and military action that it was an apparent case of, we ought to consider that maybe Trump is smarter than he would seem on it – no one died, he boosts his ‘cred’ with the sort of ‘powerful’ people he needs to keep ‘on side’ or under control,
      demonstrates again that he is ready to shoot ‘if need be’ without
      actually doing any real damage this time and the last, and maybe thus
      improves both his negotiating position on various matters, and gains
      breathing space from the relentless efforts of the establishment to
      undermine him and his presidency. No way to be certain, but he has
      proven a pretty smart operator in some ways so far. Let’s see how it
      pans out, keep an eye on Korea for hopefully a good and fair result,
      that can maybe lead to a better situation more widely.

      • Stev60, although I do not agree with you about the missile strikes on Syria, I do appreciate your comments. Please give me a link to your own website. I am interested to read what you have written there. I like the fact that you are in general a Trump supporter.

    • Stev60
  • Here’s another account, this time from Robert Fisk at the Independent (a UK paper known for bias and part owned by a Saudi)

    “The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack”
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

    Edit: known for bias as they all are of course.

    • Robert Fisk is one of the most anti-Semitic (and anti-Israel of course) journalists in the world. Years ago the British Foreign Office arranged a lunch for him and me – actually to confront each other – after my book on the rise of the PLO was published, contradicting everything he ever said about that group of terrorist organizations. I found him to be no less the consistent liar I had come to expect.

      • I’ve heard similar things about Fisk before, but when the different sources are saying the same things it adds some weight, and it does at least look as if he was actually in Syria.

        • Oh yes, I’m sure he was there. And some of what he says might be true. He will tell the truth occasionally if it suits his purpose. But as he lies so habitually, you can never rely on his word for anything.

          • Stev60

            I don’t agree there – Fisk apparently believes what he writes, and is ‘fair’ as he sees it, even though, he is somewhat naive about Islam and Islamists, and certain aspects of Israel’s position, which however certain other aspects of Israel’s conduct tend to undermine the inherent strength of – something all Western powers fail badly in terms of – not really grasping the linkage between various aspects of conduct/policy and portrayal/perception, as well as the need for a quite different approach to things than has so far been the case, not just tactically and even strategically, but structurally and even morally (and I don’t mean standard lefty bromides about ‘international law blah blah blah’).

            • Don L

              Let me see if I understand this notion:

              “Fisk apparently believes what he writes, and is ‘fair’ as he sees it ….”)

              So, others recognize the guy as bias but you don’t because he believes what he writes. Is that the measure of credibility? Wow, I guess I have to believe in God now because biased theists believe in one when they write about the mystical people.

            • Stev60

              I did not say he was not in any way biased, few are not, but the accusation was of systematic lying, which I don’t buy. The guy is somewhat of a fool in certain regards, credulous of things he should not be in some cases, but seems honest enough in his intent otherwise to me.

            • When I was in Lebanon during the war of 1983, gathering info for my book on the rise of the PLO, I stood near Fisk at a Beirut hotel when he was reporting to his London office. Twice. Once he started by saying “I am standing in the Bekaa valley …”. The other time we were on the roof of the hotel. One lone Israeli reconnaissance plane appeared on the horizon, and slipped away again. Fisk shouted excitedly into his recording machine that a whole flight of Israeli planes were approaching to bomb the city. His false reports appeared day after day in the British press, often accompanied by fauxtography. He is a thoroughly partisan lying reporter. The leader of the pack. If he condemns the Armenian massacre, that is good, but it is the only good thing I have ever heard about him. He is one of those rare persons whose name has got into into dictionaries as a verb. (Pilger is another such person.) To “fisk” something has come to mean to lie about it in a fake news report.

            • liz

              Ha! Great story! The guy sounds worse than Brian whatsisname who lost his job as anchorman.

            • Stev60

              Well that’s your impression, and that of some, not that of some others, maybe some things were misunderstood, his line about the Bekaa may have been later verbatim transmission back home of a report from there, a common enough journalistic gimmick, he may also be somewhat sloppy at times, he may even ‘lie’ in some cases, deliberately or not, few don’t, on various sides (reasearch bias, most are not even aware of it and its effects in themselves), but he has also been on the ground in many situations and given ‘front-line’ reports, beyond any serious doubt, even if with his own spin. I have actually taken him to task myself on his Indy blog (along with others) when it was open to disqus comments. It (ie comments) closed soon after.

              I have noticed a tendency on the part of some to over-vilify anyone who criticizes their favored cause, be it Palestine, Israel, or whatever. Fisk criticizes Israel sometimes, or reports things that don’t seem to favor it, but he also does the same regarding Israel’s foes, which is primarily why I consider him to not be merely the one-sided liar that many accuse him of being (from both sides depending on the story).

              Pilger I find to be more of a one-sided leftist hack, he is knee-jerk against the West and for its opponents, on just about any issue. Fisk may seem so sometimes, but he does exercise some overall balance.

            • Stev60

              I was going to add, that if Fisk is such a liar as you and some others think, then it ought to be solidly documented with references in a case-study or expose, it would be a useful instance of such if true, he is a pretty famous and influential journo. Maybe a joint effort if too much bother for one person, only don’t make it TOO long-winded. Document and skewer the lies one by one, at least key cases, but make due distinction between presumably deliberate lies, and possible misunderstandings or unconscious biases etc, to be and seem fair.

            • It has been done, innumerable times.

              Glad to see you advise against being too long-winded.

            • Stev60

              Can you give a reference to such? Something that matches my ‘specs’, not just a limited and/or partisan answer on one issue.

            • Djeezis no! In the 1970s and 1980s the iniquitous Fisk was much written about. You can explore the archives of the major newspapers, the political periodicals, the Middle Eastern organs, as you wish. You can refuse to take my word for what Fisk is and does and has done, and my word that he was praised by such as the PLO, Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein and the Saudis, and much abhorred by the rest. But I will certainly not go to any trouble to convince you of anything,

            • Stev60

              Oh really? How conveniently shallow. I noticed you seemed to have taken my idea originally (mentioned above without reply) and turned it into another expanded post without credit, alright, but how dare I question the ‘party line’ on an ‘enemy of the party’, however politely or qualifiedly. Not impressed.

              As for Saudi ‘praise’, it seems little is more sought after in some Western quarters nowadays, just as that of those others was at the time, and I don’t mean Fisk’s.

            • Don L

              I see Jillian replied before I got back to do the same. My comment would have been and now definitely IS: You seem to be easily fooled.

              Again, are you a politician?

            • Stev60

              No, I’m not, on both counts.

            • Don L

              You are calling Jillian a liar based on …? As I already posted … you deny fact in favor of self-indulgent pretense of knowledge.

              Troll, Troll, Troll

            • Stev60

              You lie again, I did not call her a liar anywhere, and don’t try and twist my words, it was not my intent at all, rather to give an alternate interpretation of the same quite limited as given info, it’s up to her to respond, clarify, or expand as she sees fit. Now get lost!

            • Don L

              “Well that’s your impression, and that of some, not that of some others, maybe some things were misunderstood…”

              This was your reply to her personal account of Fisk’s reporting.. You just called her a liar … she shouldn’t believe her own eyes and ears? so she’s got a wrong impression? She’s stupid because you accept this guy as a source?

            • Stev60

              You lie again. I did not call her a liar, full stop. I noted that impressions of Fisk differ widely, a reasonable statement, and that misunderstanding can occur, especially in rushed or stressed situations. It’s up to her to insist or clarify otherwise, in response. That’s what dialogue is, not just total acceptance of strong claims without demur. If Fisk is a real systematic liar and scoundrel, I want stronger proof than has been presented so far, a reasonable request, because he has a pretty long standing and reputation as an ‘independent’ journalist. I don’t accept him as gospel either, but his report this time was backed by some other evidence and probabilities, to make a plausible case.

  • Jeanne

    Thanks for posting Thornton’s article, Jillian. Questions: Which side does the US and our allies and the UN want to win? If it is not ISIS, then why don’t we let Assad win? If it is ISIS, then how do we benefit when Syria is run by ISIS? Or is there an alternative win that benefits us and our allies, which is more similar to nation-building with a US promoted “strongman” …and isn’t that what we had done with the Assad dynasty?

    • Jeanne, your questions imply – not unreasonably considering that there is no sorting out the interchanging rebel groups in Syria – that the US needs to choose between Assad or ISIS as the regime to govern Syria. (Little difference between them, actually. As far as we know, ISIS is probably even more cruel and ruthless than Assad.) But the choice to be made is much bigger and more critical than that. It is between letting Russia and Iran become powers in the region or not letting them. The bombing, in addition to signaling Assad that the US would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons, also warned that Russian and Iranian domination of the Middle East was not going to be tolerated. How President Trump will follow up his warning on that score remains to be seen.

      • Don L

        NOKO listening/watching, also.

      • Jeanne

        Well…then, the US is choosing; it is working against Assad, Russia and Iran. I understand the implications of the gang of those three holding power over the region and to the safety of Israel. What Trump and his administration have told us often is contradictory when it comes to this particular conflict, however. I suppose if ISIS comes to power, then this administration believes they can oust them from Syria by another engagement, which will be different from the current one. Perhaps there will never come a time when we are not involved with these Middle East nations, no matter what any of our leaders say or do. Trump tells us and the world that we will no longer police the area and that a coalition of Middle East nations will have to settle their own wars and use their own troops, treasure and time to rid themselves of ISIS. I will believe it when I see it.

        • liz

          Yes, I can’t see much success in attaining the eradication of radical Islamists by allowing factions of varying degrees of fundamentalist Islam to police themselves. Even those who may be “moderate” have the potential for producing them, given their foundation in the Koran, which commands them to kill each other and everyone else. You cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear. I wouldn’t mind leaving them to their own self destruction if they stayed in their own countries, and Russia weren’t meddling in it.

          • Stev60

            Right, Islam always incubates (especially anti-Western/Jewish) extremism, it’s hard wired into its basic DNA (Koran, Hadith, Sharia, and Sira, plus history of jihad etc), only the degree of temporary/circumstantial manifestation varies according to time and place, that is what is so dangerous about the current superficial policy of trying to legitimize ‘mainstream’ Islam/ization by/while opposing/fighting ‘jihadist islamism’ only. One could crush the latter for a generation or more only to have it explode even more fatally in another, as has happened before anyway, and will certainly happen again.

            China and others will meddle even if Russia does not, unless the whole geopolitical and civilizational frameworks are greatly though rationally altered.

            • How altered? By what means?

            • Stev60

              Ok, fair question, but it’s too big to deal with here and now. My commenting over years has alluded to or even sometimes detailed aspects of it, but it would require a pretty substantial effort to set out in even outline in one place, and some I will not put out there from my current position anyway. But a few brief examples: a very different attitude and approach to Islam, to migration, to security, to the structure and understanding of the West, to ethnicity, to culture, to religion, to secularism, to knowledge, to aspects of morality, to international structures and bodies, even to democracy and politics, to military matters, and so on. Details are of course another matter (from this brief list). Certain of those are more long-term and subtle than others, eg culture and religion compared to UN ‘reform’ for example. By what means? Not easy, there are ways to do most things, but they require adequate leverage, and adequate agreement, even adequate awareness, all very very far from being the case. But the reality is, that otherwise, if things keep going as they are or anything like it, the West will get weaker and weaker, less and less cohesive, less and less powerul and influential, even if with local/passing fluctuations, and will crumble and die, or be replaced by things like Islam and other forms of non-Western substance and power. It’s already so far gone that it’s highly alarming, perhaps/probably futile. One thing is crystal clear: certain orthodoxies and power sources of the left have to be crushed once and for all, for they are perhaps our greatest weakness, the cancer killing us from within (as well as without in eg China’s case). We need some sort of an organization, a leadership and staff and ultimately army, properly structured, resourced, and supported, like none ever before, not just top-down but on new and smarter lines, to carry it through, the usual to and fro of massively dispersed and confused effort and dialogue get us nowhere, just further into the coming grasp of chaos, Islam, AI or whatever other nightmare will swallow us first like a super-massive black hole.

              I could go on but little point here and now, maybe you get at least an inkling of what I am talking about.

              Israel could play a key role, if it wanted to, but like the rest of us, Israel is hopelessly divided and confused, I wince at much of the simplistic drivel I see from Israelis about ‘peace’ and ‘two states’ etc. If even Israel can’t effectively communicate the essential subtleties of national and security fundamentals to its own small people, what hope is there for the greater West? Sauros rides high like a sort of Biblical Beast, hurling billions like thunderbolts from Hell, what is there to counter him? Just a scattered bunch of people like us at bottom. A few governments with other ideas, but they can and will change case by case, as will others, but never a lasting and coherent grouping, basis, platform. One reason I have repeatedly counseled the V4 to leave the EU as a group, but it’s like yelling at the moon.

              Democracy as we have it is not working, despite a few temporary victories, but the overall tide is against us, as it is against the West, only ‘radical’ change (in the sense of at the root also) has a hope of averting the coming collapse/s. Loud lefty (and increasingly Muslim) mobs basically call the shots, on some level, that can’t go on.

            • liz

              Must say I agree with most of that. Not to start World War 3 or anything, but we definitely need to stage a massive (if behind the scenes) counter-coup against the left/deep state, Soros, ect.

            • Stev60

              Yes, but without making some of the same mistakes that have occurred in the past, and that will lead to repeats in the future of the same problems.

          • Jeanne

            The point is that I can’t either. I will believe it when I see it. But…it should be on them. If all of Islam eats itself and the West loses no blood, no fortune and no time over it, well so be it. The only thing we would then have to fear is that one of the nations decides to take the rest of us along for the ride with an EMP or something just as nasty. “Allah, they will not submit, so I will nuke the planet and let you sort them out!”

      • Stev60

        Russia and Iran are already powers in the region, and it won’t be stopped by current approaches, we need to be far smarter but also more really righteous to counter or neutralize that.

        • “Really righteous”? Do you mean morally?

          I thank you for raising these points, Stev60.

          Would you explain a bit more about “rational alteration” and being “really righteous”?

          • Stev60

            Morally, yes, but also practically, in terms of moral as morale, or guiding spirit in action. The reality is that Western nations have made far too many moral errors and compromises, and compromised their own moral/e in the process. I have studied this stuff in great range and depth for a long time, and have a better ‘comparitive’ knowledge of various aspects of history and politics than most. So many examples, here’s but one: when Iran was taken over by the Mullahs, and for some years afterwards, it was easily enough reversible, with the right clarity of vision and moral/e. Instead we got years becoming decades of appeasement and behind the scenes dealing like Iran Contra, even involving Israel (a partial continuation of the ‘strategy of the periphery’), until now we face a much much worse problem. That sad history flowed from a range of other factors, including a failure to grasp key aspects of Islamic, Iranian, and Western history and culture, and strategic and even moral needs and factors. Not on the part of everyone all the time, but on the part of ‘the collective’, overall.

            More generally, even though ‘the West’ is and has been in some ways better than eg Islam, it has not been by enough to really prevail, and now the rot is really setting in, and we are losing bit by bit. ‘We’ have been far from perfect, made too many mistakes, been to lazily arrogant, and are increasingly paying a price for it, with likely far far worse to come, sooner or later.

            • liz

              Yes “The rot” of cultural Marxism is killing the West from within.

            • Stev60

              Absolutely, but now with an even more dangerous new ally, Islam.

        • Don L

          You must be a politician. Such waffle speak.

          • Stev60

            ‘You must be a troll, such trollspeak’. That’s what I would say if you keep that up.

            • Don L

              When the self-indulgent. self-important, pretentious, Captains-of-Obviousness and provider of false bravado walk over my bridge … there you’ll find me! So, keep reading: LOL. I’m all yours.

  • Another claim from the other side:

    “Syria chemical attack: Doct warned KIDS WILL BE KILLED unless they deny chemical attack”
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/947739/syria-chemical-attack-douma-russia-world-war-3-assad-us-airstrikes

    I am more inclined to believe the OAN report though.

    • I quote the Express story on Facebook, as one possibly but not certainly to be believed. So thanks for the link. The trouble with the OAN report – which is impressive – is that the reporter relied on an interpreter who may not have been trustworthy. If we could have heard the witnesses speaking, their testimony in Arabic could have been confirmed. As for the doctors, they have to safeguard their jobs (and probably their very lives) by saying what the power in charge wants them to say. I am not asserting that they probably lied, I’m just saying that if they did, they might have had very compelling reasons for doing so.

      • OK one more thing, I watched a video on the BBC website that showed a very young girl saying a “barrel fell from the sky” and then there was a feeshing sound. I didn’t think it was credible at all because:

        1. The girl looked totally well and healthy, if she had been close enough to hear that feeshing sound she would surely have been exposed to the gas?

        2. She mentions martyrs in the video which suggests to me that she and her mother regard the jihadi rebels as such (might be a translation thing I suppose though).

        3. They were in the basement but they knew a barrel had been dropped, how? How did they even hear a feeshing sound?

        4. The scenes from the hospital show children quite calm, not traumatized.

        Here’s the clip:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-middle-east-43772061/syria-air-strikes-why-now-and-will-they-work

        • I see what you are saying.

          What is your own view of Assad, the rebels, the future of Syria, the presence there of Russia and Iran, and what if anything the US and its allies might do in the region?

          • I’ve been wrestling with that question for several days and not come to a very firm conclusion, but here is my current thinking off the top of my head:

            Assad will not be toppled I don’t believe because the whole world is watching and the only pretext the West had for toppling him is evaporating like an imaginary cloud of Sarin gas. Russia already has increased its influence in Syria and will maintain it – that is part of the price for the whole series of blunders that the West have made in the region since 9/11.

            ISIS will be defeated eventually, which will strengthen Iranian influence in Iraq as well (on top of Assad’s survival). That growing influence will rattle the Sunni players Turkey and Saudi Arabia etc. quite a lot and who knows exactly how they will react. Erdogan is itching to invade the whole region but he is not stupid enough to start wars he can’t win (IMHO). He will wait for every opportunity to expand his influence in all directions which is growing in Europe thanks to the migration invasion. What I think and hope is that a new balance of power will eventually be established and relative peace may come to the region, but it could quite easily descend into wider conflict.

            Ultimately I believe the West should pursue a course of containment of the Islamic threat and stop poking the hornet’s nest (especially since there are a lot of hornets already in Europe). Russia has expanded its influence and I think it’s too late to do anything sensible about that. It’s too late, we have withdrawn and there is no political will to send ground troops back in. We have completely failed to improve matters in the Middle East in any way – in fact we have made things a lot worse. It’s time to stop meddling in the region, in my humble opinion, except possibly in the case that chemical weapons really are being used on civilians, but I don’t believe that they are.

            All the time we are talking about this the West is continuing to deteriorate internally, the migrants keep coming, the debt keeps rising, that should be our focus in the West.

            • Well, thanks for that.

              It is a view from Europe. And as far as Europe is concerned, a realistic one.

              But America – now again in the era of Trump – looks up. Much has improved in the ME. The most important Arab powers are in unofficial alliance with Israel against Iran, and are fed up with the Palestinians. Israel is stronger than it has ever been. Russia is a fading power. Sure it has nukes, but its population is halving with every generation. The Iranian people are stirring to throw off the theocracy that oppresses them. President Trump is purposefully unpredictable, but he has recently appointed Pompeo and Bolton. I cannot be sure of Pompeo (who at least is not contradicting his boss as Tillerson did), but in John Bolton I have much confidence – and that’s one sound reason why I expect foreign affairs to be handled well at last. I cannot foresee what will happen in Syria, but I think that to a large extent its future will depend on what the Trump administration decides.

              Worth adding: Kim Jong-un seems to be kneeling to the great power.

            • I agree that the President does seem to have done well with N. Korea. Russia is a fading power indeed which is why I don’t worry too much about Russian influence in Syria. As for what will happen next I won’t pretend to have any answers either.

            • Stev60

              America still has huge problems which need far more serious addressing and solving than is so far the case. Sunnia Arab powers are just engaged in a tactical alliance against Iran and to buy time for themselves. Israel is not relatively stronger than ever, in some ways maybe, but in others not, or even weaker. Russia should not be underestimated, it has recovered a lot since its low point under Yeltsin (in power terms at least), even population is stabilizing, and the Russians may be somewhat sloppy in some ways but are tough sob’s that always bounce back, especially when forced to, with huge resources, and military power. Iran is not a serious prospect for internal overthrow anytime soon, as long as it has powerful friends especially. Bolton has his strong points but also some real weaknesses, as all at that level just about.

              As long as Russia and Iran (backed by China and at least not seriously opposed by Turkey) stand firm, Assad will not fall, but rather win bit by bit, only the Kurds can maybe hold out for a while at least with Western support (apart from some other doubtful opposition elements in the north mainly), but that is unreliable at best, and depends on a different policy to Turkey and therefore Russia also, which require a very different approach overall. The framework itself is broken, only changing it can effect other desirable changes, especially in time to matter.

              Note: NK has had certain realities and considerations pointed out by some including myself, which give it good reason to talk and bargain instead of bluster and gamble.

            • Don L

              OBAMA made things worse in the ME and across the world. I don’t know what your oath is, but over here, part of it is “…against all enemies foreign and domestic.” Obama was the domestic enemy incarnate. Apparently folks seem to think the domestic enemy has a bandolero, a leather trench coat and a russian bear cap. Nope looks like a “clean” black guy who was trained by an actual card carrying communist (I recall it was card #59?). Leading from behind …was destroy America and create chaos in the world to help the slamist buddies. He did a pretty good job and had Hillary won … We’d be you guys: Europe. America tossed the bums out and put Trump in.

              That you think nothing has gotten better in ME … stick around. America is coming back and we mean business – profits – profit necessitates peace.

            • There is little appetite yet among the molly coddled elite for doing anything that might upset the Mohammedans. I spend every waking hour trying to wake my fellow countrymen up to the Islamic threat, but we are at an early stage. I will not rest until there is no Islam in Europe.

              The For Britain party now has a logo, it is the trident of Britannia. You will be hearing more of this party in the coming months and years. The logo has just yesterday been approved by the electoral commission after a long resistance to it:

              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/61ce69f3e0e0fc43a6f3214c5b61341f54ca828e955de165e5b56f97b85dc394.jpg

            • Stev60

              Hear hear! (Though the colour scheme could have maybe been a little different and more meaningful and uplifting. By ‘no Islam’ I will settle for a token and permanently strictly limited and controlled guest presence only, outside a few traditional mainly Balkan enclaves, which should still be encouraged and incentivized to return to the rightful fold. Of course none at all would be even better and safer, but is probably unachievable even in the best practical circumstances.).

            • Stev60

              We do need to ‘influence’ the region in some senses, but current approaches are a disaster as you rightly assess, and burning our limited remaining capital on futile interventions and gestures while our homeland/s collapse is the wrong choice. Sometimes one even needs to shoot, but by god we almost always get the time and place (and even intensity) wrong, with ruinous consequences for us and others.

          • Stev60

            If I may, in brief, first we need to get fundamentals right, at home especially, but also in terms of international aims and structures, which would require major change and courage, and on that basis, implement a quite different approach abroad, this sort of piecemeal dabbling on a rotten basis will get nowhere other than more disaster for us all.

        • Stev60

          The videos with kids being hosed etc did not look credible to me for nerve gas especially or even chlorine (which has really evident and shocking effects even on healthy adults (remember the gassed Tommies) let alone malnourished kids, but rather staged or as also alleged for non-chemical effects like tunnel dust etc. Anyone can stage or misrepresent a bit of panic and hosing, and this seems like a case to me. Western media and governments need to not act so childishly in such serious matters, it burns badly what little is left of their credibility, both domestically and abroad.

    • Don L

      Notwithstanding the seeding, during the Nobama days, of “Deep State” players throughout our gov’t, including the intelligence community, what you are claiming is:

      1. Trump somehow all of a sudden trusts the info coming to him without confirmation;

      2. That a hardass like Sec Def Gen “Mad Dog” Mattis also laid down and didn’t require verification.

      3. That the UK intelligence & May and French intelligence & Macron conspired with the US Intelligence & Trump to, for what purpose – to be found out and add ammo to their detractors – just for the heck of it to bomb Syria … because it just felt right.

      4. That a commie sounding/leftist named/ collectivist implied “One America Network” is without a bias and that the “living the California dream” sci-fi writer and sometimes reporter might not have been duped: Mad Dog publicly stated, “We know about the chlorine; not certain about the sarin.” – I believe Mattis.
      That the OAN and Sharp are intentional or unintentional stooges for the Ruskie/Syrian intelligence & Assad/Putin creation is more believable!

      Why, even today, the inspectors are still not allowed in if the images on this OAN are to be believed … what’s the holdup. And, the fool Cucker Tarlson demands perfect knowledge on this matter to believe Assad did It. He somehow doesn’t need the same level of certainty to believe in gods and immaculate children.

      This OAN-Sharp report doesn’t pass the smell test. And, blind ideology-based pacifism kills. I see lots of “Chamberlain” crap running wild. Don’t you?

      • Thanks, Don L. I enjoyed that.

        All strong points.

      • “I see lots of “Chamberlain” crap running wild. Don’t you?”

        Absolutely. I’m not coming from a pacifist perspective here, I’m coming from the perspective of someone who knows just how weak Europe is right now. Europe’s population is aging and apparently going senile. The leader of the EU’s defence and security has been visiting Iran in the past year, to give you some idea – she is still trying to close the Obama deal apparently (I shared this under another article already):.

        https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12169/europe-trump-iran-deal

        • Agreed. The EU’s Federica Mogherini is a Communist, a Muslim groupie, and a major menace. Yes, she is trying to make the rotten “deal” with Iran a signed agreement. Trump wants it changed or abandoned. The comfort is, Trump will get his way.

        • Don L

          Clarified, Gotcha … Great!

  • liz

    So if it was staged, then what is it we bombed in the strike? Was it actually a chemical weapons plant? If Assad is such a good president, you’d think he wouldn’t be manufacturing chemical weapons.

    • Bruce

      Knowing how spotty and dishonest our “intelligence” community is, I’d place even odds on it being a factory for incubators for premature babies or a food bank for the poor, if they could have wrangled it. That way, not only would the strike fail to do anything, then their fellow travelers in the media could point at Trump and say he’s trying to kill babies and starve civilians.