Trump’s 59-Tomahawk ‘Tweet’

In what amounted to a 59-Tomahawk middle-of-the-night “tweet,” an impulsive President Trump reacted emotionally, not rationally, in attacking Syria, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

Before President Trump’s “retaliatory” strike against Syria on Thursday, I had written: “This, fundamentally is the question posed by the alleged chemical attack in Syria this week: Do Western Intelligence Services still retain an ability to speak-out to ‘power,’ warning against going with the easy, immediate, ‘go-along’ MSM (mainstream media) 24/7 news memes – and counsel their governments, rather, to await careful investigation?

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a tomahawk land attack missile from the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price)

“Can they also reflect on the wider strategic implications of any flawed rush to judgment’? Or, is the Intelligence ‘Community’ still hostage to having to make politicized intelligence assessments in order to validate some muscular show of US strength?”

Well, now we know. The system failed again.

Though, perhaps, there was some candle flame of light flickering weakly somewhere in the darkness: It seems that President Trump was in a “rush,” indeed: he was warned. Some senior persons argued the toss. And the military action was scaled down from what had been originally demanded by the President.

Still, the Tomahawks flew, and the question becomes: can the Intelligence Services regain some integrity in the aftermath? In the aftermath therefore, this is the kind of thing that they ought to now say:

–The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed [Syrian Air Force] target in Idlib. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and de-conflict on any upcoming operation (i.e. prevent U.S. and Russian air assets from shooting at each other).

–The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believed was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.

–The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke – chemical smoke – began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Jihadist rebels used that site to store chemicals (not sarin) that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind, and killed civilians.

–There was a strong wind blowing that day and the cloud was driven to a nearby village and caused casualties.

–We know it was not sarin. How? Very simple. The so-called “first responders” handled the victims without gloves. If this had been sarin they would have died. Sarin on the skin will kill you.

Need for Intelligence Integrity

The American Defense Intelligence Agency almost certainly knows this kind of detail. The “state of health” of the Western intelligence system now can be judged by whether such doubts and explanations subsequently emerge in the wake of the U.S. attack, and some integrity is regained, or whether official ranks simply close behind the “Assad-certainly-ordered it” meme – in order to preserve U.S. face.

President Donald Trump announces the selection of Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser on Feb. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Paradoxically, Trump’s “war” on fake news may, on this occasion, rebound against him: already tidbits of information are emerging on well-informed U.S. news sites. And, if it does turn out that this was another false flag, flown by an avid MSM news, 24/7, and not born out by the evidence and facts, what will be the political consequences?

What should an Intelligence Service – with integrity – have said to the “powers that be” about this event? Well firstly, they would warn – from bitter experience – that first initial impressions, in intelligence terms – are often wrong impressions. That to conclude that “Assad did it” because he supposedly had already “done it” (in 2013), is not supported by evidence. It would be facile, and wrong.

Then perhaps, the services would remind the “powers that be” that America was brought into the first Gulf War – in no small part – levitated, atop an emotional wave amassed from a similarly heart-tugging episode: the story of Kuwaiti babies being torn from their hospital incubators by Iraqi soldiers, and left to die on the hospital floor. It was a complete fabrication, but it impacted heavily on America’s decision to go to war.

And, ever since, “activists” across the Middle East have understood this to be the West’s Achilles’ heel: images of dying children simply swamp and erase any subsequently emerging evidence on the truth of the matter. The emotional import eclipses too, any cool-headed thinking.

This is their point. We live in an era in which the media loves to play the heartstrings, and cares little for the subsequent truth of things. All manner of interest groups across the world understand this – and use it to try to force the hand of Western intervention (always in support of those interests).  In short, “beware the false-flag, humanitarian outrage”: it is often deliberately contrived, to provoke an overreaction.

Reasons for Doubt

In this latest instance of claimed “use of chemical weapons,” there was every reason for the U.S. (and European) intelligence services to avoid any rush to judgment – that is, if they still retain that capacity.

Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Firstly, what occurred is disputed; secondly, the Russians (who do have professional intelligence services) have given their differing understanding of events which should be duly considered since they are on the ground, and are also widely present inside all the various arms of the Syrian government.

Thirdly, the credibility of the White Helmet “witnesses” is open to question. And fourth, because it makes no sense – in terms of “cui bono” – to attribute the chemical bombing of women and children to the deliberate decision of President Assad, this assumption should be rigorously tested.

What a nonsense it would be to take it as a given: why should attacking women and children (or anyone, for that matter) with chemical weapons, conceivably be in President Assad’s interest – particularly now? President Trump should have asked his services for a serious delve into this issue of cui bono. This is not partisan: such questions are the obvious requisites of intelligence professionalism.

So what are the consequences?  Some may assess that there will be almost none: the Russians were forewarned of the missile attack – and they, in turn, had forewarned the Syrians, who had removed most of their aircraft from the airfield before the attack occurred.

And the missile attack was focused on a secondary airport from which the Syrian air attack had launched. In short, the event could be viewed as nothing more than a muscular, missile-delivered, ($59 million) “tweet” from Trump. Message sent and done.

It could be (viewed in this way), but it won’t. It will not be business as usual, after Trump’s firing-off his 59 Tomahawk “tweets” (39 percent of which reached their target), but nor will it precipitate the opening of war. There will be no visible military reaction, and some may congratulate themselves on America having somehow “stood up” for its values.

The Tomahawk “Tweets”

But silently, geo-strategic calculations are being re-formulated. The world today has changed. Tomahawk “tweets” do not strike terror into “non-compliant” governments, as once they might have. The “non-West” has learned a different repertoire of responses against which the U.S. lately has floundered.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. March 15, 2013. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

Consider what happened: less than a week ago, Rex Tillerson was saying (in Ankara), that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.” Then, some 100 hours later, Assad has become a “war criminal”; and Russia is complicit in the chemical “attack” (according to Nicki Haley, the U.S Ambassador at the U.N.), and 24 hours after that, missiles are flying.

The message seems pretty clear: the U.S. has reverted completely. It has reverted to its old, neocon, groupthink. Russia, China, Iran and many others must now factor this in. They will all be amazed at how quickly U.S. doctrine has flip-flopped – with nary a moment’s reflection – on a whim, as it were.

Russia, China and Iran will not launch the cavalry in response, but China will be considering what this means for its South China Sea spat with the Trump Administration; Russia will be re-calculating on Syria, now that “the possibility of anti-terror co-operation with the U.S. has been undermined,” and Iran will be reinforcing in Syria, Iraq (and in Yemen).

More dangerously, the fault line in the region between Iran and its allies, and Saudi Arabia and its allies, will sharpen and become more belligerent – now that the U.S. has explicitly placed itself in the Israeli and Gulf States’ camp.

The point is that these 59 Tomahawks have demonstrated that America’s foreign policy has no strategic “anchor,” and will revert to its neocon “default mode” when faced with a sudden event. Trump really did not pretend at a conceptual foreign policy (as Robert Parry has noted). It was essentially transactional: “demanding that ‘allies’ – from Japan to Saudi Arabia to European nations in NATO – pay more for their costly U.S. security umbrella.” It never amounted to a foreign policy, per se – and therefore is, to a large extent, anchorless.

As a simple message that every American could grasp, however, it worked. Yet those very states give to the U.S. “less than peanuts” in return. The U.S. cannot afford this “generosity” any longer: it needs to rebuild its home. Most Americans can respond to such a plain statement of obvious truth.

Shackled by Groupthink

True, as Parry wrote, there had been some hints of “new thinking including abandoning President Obama’s fitful – and bloody – campaign to force ‘regime change’ in Syria; accepting a more realistic solution to the political mess in Libya; and trying to cooperate with Russia on combating terrorism, such as the fight against Islamic State and Al Qaeda, and reducing international tensions, such as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.”

President Barack Obama concludes a National Security Council meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, April 19, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

But the fundamental weakness to this approach, as Parry observes, has been that the Administration has been “hobbled by its inability to break free from many of the groupthinks that have dominated Official Washington for the past quarter century or so as the foreign policy establishment fell under the domination of the neoconservatives and their junior partners, the liberal interventionists, virtually banishing the formerly influential ‘realists’ as well as the few peace advocates.”

The consequence has been that Trump’s team periodically lurches off in pursuit of one or other of these dominating mantras, whether it is “pandering to the Saudis and the Israelis; repeating the neocon mantra that ‘Iran is the principal source of terrorism’ (though that is clearly not true given the support for Al Qaeda and other Sunni terror groups coming from U.S. ‘allies’ such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar); [or] falling into line with NATO’s hype of Russia as the new global villain.”

“But without any strong strategic thinker” Robert Parry has argued, “capable of separating one from the other and leading the administration in a thoughtful direction,” foreign policy will lack any real geo-strategic directionality.

Indeed, it is not clear that the “team” as whole (i.e. members such as Nikki Haley) ever truly concurred with Trump’s pivotal foreign policy insight: that America’s security interests, together with those of Europe, fundamentally intersect in détente with Russia. That notion, now, has been – possibly irrevocably – undermined.

How did this all go so wrong?  One can only speculate. But it seems that Trump was reeling from the series of legislative and operational setbacks. Perhaps he was attracted by a wish to demonstrate decisive, bold, immediate action – and this chemical weapon episode seemed to offer him this possibility? There are too, profound rivalries at play in this new Administration, pulling Trump policy in different directions: Politico sums this up saying: the “Big fight [in the team] is between nationalists and the ‘West Wing Democrats’”. Steve Bannon and allies are the “nationalists,” and the “West Wing Democrats” is a reference to Jared Kushner (an erstwhile New York, Democrat), and his circle. And Bannon has just been removed from the U.S. National Security Council – either by his own volition, or by Kushner and National Security Adviser McMaster’s maneuverings (it is not so clear).

The rift is deep between the two key advisers, and no doubt is adding to policy volatility, as Kushner vies for the more liberal and popular approach (he complains that Bannon is weakening his father-in-law’s popularity). Bannon represents the more radical and nationalist line.

Perhaps bombing Syria was somehow viewed as a bipartisan and widely popular move in America – a low hanging ($59 million) fruit?

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

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61 comments for “Trump’s 59-Tomahawk ‘Tweet’

  1. Ld Elon
    April 8, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Those drums @ airbase we’re already decommissioned…
    There is NO chemical weapons at the airbase…
    STOP THE LIES.

    • Marko
      April 8, 2017 at 9:21 am

      Attaboy !

    • dave
      April 8, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Umm, I missed the part where anybody claimed that there were chemical weapons at the air base. Did you actually read the article?

      • Marko
        April 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

        Dave ,

        I took Ld Elon’s attack as being more directed at the U.S. / Trump admin. regarding the rationale for bombing the air base. In the comments that followed the first , I read “you” to mean ” America ” , rather than Alastair.

        Just guessing , though……

    • Monte George Jr.
      April 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Are you mistakenly responding to a different article? I see no claim in this article that chemical weapons were stored at the airbase.

    • Skip Scott
      April 10, 2017 at 7:57 am

      From the article:
      “The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke – chemical smoke – began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Jihadist rebels used that site to store chemicals (not sarin) that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind, and killed civilians.”

      Maybe these gases don’t qualify as chemical weapons, but it looks like they killed people.

  2. Ld Elon
    April 8, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Prove there is chemical weapons @ thee airbase you illegally bombed.

  3. Ld Elon
    April 8, 2017 at 8:25 am

    You bombed Syria to protect terrorists like Israel…

    • Dr. Ip
      April 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Conflation of “Israel” with the current regime in charge there is a big mistake. Most of the Israelis I know are atheists and their parents were from eastern Europe and Russia and they are not at all in sync with the neo-fascist and neo-liberal Master Plan which has been foisted on them. You should remember that there were many “real” socialists (in the Marxian sense of the word) who escaped Nazism and Stalinism and the McCarthyism with the dream of building a country that would reflect the true Marxist program, which was the banishing of the capitalist class with control taken over by the workers themselves. These were people who fought against Franco in Spain and were fighting against British colonialism in Palestine.

      Did the movement get subverted and taken over by capitalist-supporting factions? Yes. Did the governing factions move closer to the right wing in the USA? Yes. Without the help of the regressive forces in the western alliance, none of that would have been possible. Money and direction comes from Mother America, even if sometimes the tail wags the dog.

      So, condemn the government all you like, but remember that there are a great many people who have had their opinions silenced and that, like in the US and other western states, they do not like the fact that their children are forced into 3 years of military service, where the re-education programs are well-oiled and very effective. The same as in every other military.

      Listen to these brave ladies: https://youtu.be/dWSZmH6oP7s

      By the way, Richard D. Wolff can explain Socialism to you, if you have the patience to listen: https://youtu.be/PheA4BPXQzg

      • April 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

        Thank you, Doctor.

        Allow me to spell it out for the complacent:

        Rana Choir – I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier – Official Video
        Here and everywhere else in the world – “There’d be no war today if mothers all would say: I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier!”
        A renewed version of our song, the lyrics of which are based on a song that was written during World War 1 in the USA. Mothers of the world, unite!

      • April 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

        The link to Wolff is precious. Thank you again. Praxis makes perfect.

      • Skip Scott
        April 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

        Yes, I think it is very important to remember that just like here in the USA, Israel has many good people who pray for peace. They have no more control of their government than we have of ours.

    • Peter Loeb
      April 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

      THE ISRAELI FINGERS OR FIST

      It is almost amazing that no one has focused on the fact that
      Israel has for years dreamed of an attack by the US on Syria.

      Incidentally, PM Benjamin Netanyahu is running for re-election….

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  4. Kiza
    April 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Trump failed on virtually all election promises he made – all of them gradually approach the opposite outcomes to what the US voters voted for when they voted for him. So what is the easiest way out? – bomb, bomb, bomb. Trump is trying to outhillary Hillary, since he already outobamed Obama – even Obama did not openly bomb Syria (his was a “mistake”).

    It will be really sad to watch how US under Trump keeps declining as before, because he Made America Israel’s (and banksters’) Bitch Again.

  5. Kiza
    April 8, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I read somewhere that Jared Kushner has a $260M loan from George Soros for his real-estate investment business. This would mean that Trump is as owned by Soros as Hillary Clinton is. Kushner kicked Steve Bannon out of NSC and ordered the bombing of Syria, just as Soros ordered.

    • zman
      April 8, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Trump, Kushner and Bibi are in Adleson’s pocket. Adleson and Soros are supposedly competitors. Soros is not (supposedly) pro-Bibi as is Adleson…who it looks like is pushing Trump and cabal to push the Israeli line…abandoning Trumpets and out doing Obama, in regard to Syria/Russia, who was on the outs with Bibi/Israel. All this crap is benefiting Israel, as if Israel wrote the script. But Trump and Soros have a long history together in business also. Soros project is Ukraine, Adleson’s is Syria/ME. Expect new BS development in Ukraine shortly. War by next fall?

  6. zman
    April 8, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I almost have to laugh when there are reports from those who should know better that 1) Trump jumped to the conclusion that Syria ‘did the deed’. He did no such thing, he’s just following scripted schedule, like GW and Obama…only he jumped aboard with both feet. 2) He decided to retaliate with an attack on airbase. Another line of manure. The attack, from opinions of nearly every specialist out there(including Russian military), state that days were required to set up missile attack, hence the attack was planned long before so-called ‘gas attack’. The only thing questionable about this whole fiasco is WTF happened to the 36 missiles that went ??? Romanian sources say it was jamming that caused them to crash, others said it was Russian intercepts(which the Russians deny). Just to venture a guess(and that’s all it is) I would have to go with some sort of interference (jamming?) that affected programming or geolocation. Tomahawks are notoriously accurate, yet not one hit a high value target…in fact, they were anomalously inaccurate. We either saw a faked attack by US (not likely, but who knows) or a demonstration of technology that no one is making claim to. If the Russians didn’t do it, then who? and with what? Iranians?, maybe, they took down a US spy drone a couple years ago by hi-jacking control. Guessing is just that, guessing. No one is claiming credit for the ‘missing’ Tomahawks, which is the most interesting aspect to this event , IMHO.

    • Patricia Victour
      April 8, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      I wanted to know the same thing – what happened to the rest of the missiles? And how did we get destroyers into the area so quickly – almost at a moment’s notice? I don’t know where they were based at the time, so perhaps they were within range, “patrolling.” This whole mess has a “false flag” stench to it. I’d like to know whose idea it really was. I can see the absolute benefit to Trump – he’s now the “war” president America idolizes, and this certainly took the heat off those witch-hunts he was being bombarded with. But did he come up with this all by himself without some urging from the MIC/Deep State/Whatever? Maybe – maybe not.

      • April 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm

        There’s no way he came up with this himself. There is a big secret out there that convinced him.

      • Don Bass
        April 9, 2017 at 8:00 am

        They are based in Spain, I read.

      • Fuzzy
        April 10, 2017 at 8:02 am

        Raytheon missiles have high defect rates. Remember the Patriot missiles launched from Israel against Saddam’s SCUD missiles?

    • David Smith
      April 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      It is called “directed energy weapon” , and does not mean a buck rogers death ray. I am uninterested in techie “stuff” but I do read Aviation Week, where USAF spokesman have bragged about “pumping in the algorithms” to neutralize opposition integrated air defense systems. Radar sends and receives, the cruise missile’s outgoing signal marks it as a target, then it is “hacked” through it’s receiver.

    • Kiza
      April 8, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      You sounded like a Raytheon promotional brochure: “Tomahawks are notoriously accurate”, by whose account? How about 36 total duds, plus 23 moderately bad ones? It is called value for money, after all the US tax payer pays only $1.59M for each, almost as much as for a toilet seat on an AWACS. The tax payer cannot expect too much when paying peanuts, right?

      BTW, Tomahawks navigate both using terrain imaging and using GPS, plus they have inertial navigation, jamming them would be very hard. There is a small chance that they have been shot down by the Russian air defences, but most likely just good ol’ duds.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        KIza yesterday F.G. Sanford came up with an interesting analogy of what may have happened with the 36 missing missiles. See Robert Parry’s article “Trump’s ‘Wag the Dog’ Moment”.

        I think all of this concern over the accuracy of our weapons system should lead us to ask about how reliable our nuclear weapons systems are. I mean we all know about defective Naval ships, problematic F35 planes, and no Vietnam Vet will ever forget the deaths of their fellow Brothers in Arms due to the crappy M16 rifle they were issued while serving in that war. So why should us Americans buy into the idea that we as a nation have a chance with our overestimated Nuckear First Strike capability, and with that we would be survivors of such a catastrophe? Never mind the fallout, and the nuclear winner, that is always left out of the news.

        • Don Bass
          April 9, 2017 at 8:17 am

          http://en.mchs.ru/mass_media/news/item/32915549/

          Talk of drills.
          40 million Russians participated in a nation-wide civil defence and preparedness drill in October 2016. That’s 1/3 of the population.
          More than 40 million people, 200,000 specialists of emergency rescue divisions and about 50,000 units of equipment are going to be involved in the drill.

          EMERCOM of Russia ? For Mass Media ? News
          Large-scale All-Russian civil defense drill to take place from 4 to 7 October

          http://en.mchs.ru/mass_media/news/item/32915549/

    • April 8, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      I agree. Trump’s attack is part of the secret grand strategy of the neocon think tanks. The neocons must have let Trump in on a secret in order for him to change his mind so much. If Trump wasn’t president, he would be condemning the attack too. But something changed his mind.

      The question is, what is the big secret ?

  7. April 8, 2017 at 11:23 am

    The arm chair warriors are wearing out the arm chairs. What we just “witnessed” is the latest version of “The Truman Show.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120382/

  8. mike k
    April 8, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Mr. Crooke’s insights have depth, and are worth considering in the ongoing collapse of rational policies in the US government, in favor of a wild and unpredictable melee among contending actors and their harebrained “philosophies”, which turn out to be bizarre personal delusions, that will nevertheless become the motivations for actions on the international scene endangering the safety of all of us.

  9. john wilson
    April 8, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    There are said to be some fifty thousand or so people working in the security services as a whole in America. The amount of information they collect must be enormous. However, the people who act on this information is relatively small and it is these few people who really control the USA foreign policy. They present Trump with the information that Assad did it but Trump has no idea whether this information is genuine or not. Presidents don’t think or act, they just carry out the demands of their puppet masters.

    • mike k
      April 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      The amount of information collected by the intelligence communities is indeed enormous, but what reaches the President and powerful members of government is selected and interpreted by the heads of those agencies, and they all have their agendas and the powers they serve, that shapes what is passed on. Like the MSM, it is not all the news that is fit to print, but the pieces of news and the spin on them that serves the powerful owners of those media that is served up to the gullible public.

      In truth, the entire American public from top to bottom is so full of ignorant and delusional nonsense and falsehood, that simple truths essential to our survival are lost and buried under this mountain of bullshit. It is the duty of every person seeking their authentic identity to find their way through this polluted atmosphere of misinformation into the clear air and light beyond the cave of illusions.

  10. mike k
    April 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    The meeting this weekend between Trump and the Leader of China will be a crucial juncture at which Trump’s Korea and South China Seas policies may take a decisive direction. Let’s hope the stupid adulation for Trump’s idiotic missile launch, from his former detractors does not embolden him to do something even more stupid in these sensitive theaters. It is becoming more and more a time to hold our collective breath and pray that the Gods of War do not have their way, and destroy what could still be a beautiful and peaceful world….

  11. Tom Welsh
    April 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Spending some $60 billion a year on (at least) 17 “intelligence agencies” staffed by at least 50,000 people, the US government cannot see through an utterly transparent fake. So the president has started a war with Syria (whatever he says, launching 59 cruise missiles at a country does constitute a declaration of war). If Syria were able, it could quite legally destroy New York or Washington tomorrow as a normal act of war.

  12. Eddie
    April 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    AC — Thanks for the interesting article. This presented the most plausible scenario (at least that I have seen) for what happened at Idlib.

  13. Bill Bodden
    April 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Paradoxically, Trump’s “war” on fake news may, on this occasion, rebound against him: already tidbits of information are emerging on well-informed U.S. news sites. And, if it does turn out that this was another false flag, flown by an avid MSM news, 24/7, and not born out by the evidence and facts, what will be the political consequences?

    You can make a safe bet that the spinmeisters are already working on programs to block any evidence that contradicts their recent stories.

  14. Bill Bodden
    April 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    What should an Intelligence Service – with integrity …

    Does such and organization exist?

    • mike k
      April 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Can we say that spying corrupts like all forms of power? And that a top spy becomes a poster boy for corruption?

    • April 8, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Bill Bodden: I am amazed that Alistair Crooke seems to think there is such a thing as an intelligence service with integrity.
      I really chuckled at that !!! And, no, there won’t be any
      “false flag ” revelation. The Corporate MSM and their
      Masters in the MIC will all just circle the wagons as usual.

  15. Tristan
    April 8, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Excellent article. The actions of the U.S. in this instance are in violation of international law and are easily identified as crimes of war. That the world is now inured to the lurching policies of the only indispensable and exceptional nation on the planet results in these type of actions.

    The unilateral actions and decisions of the U.S. government are post Orwellian now, but this statement attributed to Karl Rove appears describe how the U.S. government operates, “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    • mike k
      April 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      A man with a gun trumps whatever brilliant ideas us intellectuals may offer. As Mao said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” The ascendancy of violence over peace is the story of history. As Jimi Hendrix said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” These words are not fanciful thinking, but they point to the essential understanding that might deliver us from the spiral into unlove that will destroy humankind. Unless we can realize what these words point to, we will destroy ourselves by failing to do the things necessary to transform our world culture into one of sharing and mutual love.

      • David Smith
        April 8, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        And Ben Franklin said “those who beat their swords into plowshares shall plow the fields for those that don’t”.

      • Tristan
        April 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm

        Well stated. “Unless we can realize what these words point to, we will destroy ourselves by failing to do the things necessary to transform our world culture into one of sharing and mutual love.”

        What would be some basic changes necessary to bring about a transformation? We should seek to educate folks about what Democracy is and how it is not Capitalism. The most important falsehood that is imposed on the citizenry of the U.S. and it vassal states is that Capitalism and Democracy are the same thing. Thus the demonization of Socialism. Anyway… it requires some effort and it is against the tide of dominant ideology. We make fun of North Korea and the imposition of ideology. A little introspection reveals quite a bit.

  16. Bill Taler
    April 8, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Alastair Crooke must have Neville Chamberlain as his mentor.

    • mike k
      April 8, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      War is not the answer, (Quaker bumper sticker I keep above my chair.)

    • chris
      April 8, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      And yours is David Wurmser.

      • Skip Scott
        April 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

        I just wiki’d David Wurmser because I hadn’t heard of him. Just like Cheney, you can see the evil and hatred in his eyes. Another real life Darth Vader.

  17. Realist
    April 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Lessons learned by Russia and China? Yeah, when the Ukies, emboldened by more American goading, make their next incursion in the Donbass, hit them hard and chase them all the way back to Kiev.

    Before the American garrison on the DMV can do anything, nuclear or conventional, China ought to equip North Korea with some reliable missiles to carry their warheads. Ones that don’t blow up on the launch pad half the time. Just as a deterrence, mind you. Otherwise there will be millions slaughtered in North Korea and a fair number in Seoul. America’s illegal aggressions ought to have consequences, not rewards.

  18. April 8, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    The author seems to imply that there is no grand secret that Trump was informed of that has fundamentally changed his mind on how he will conduct forign policy.

    Does anyone believe that there is a grand secret ? I do

    • Realist
      April 9, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Yeah, and I will use my powers of “assessment” just like the CIA. To his face, they threatened to kill him unless he did whatever he was told. Really grand, eh?

  19. Thirdeye
    April 8, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    A 39% hit rate (assuming that all of the “hits” were on their intended targets at the airbase) has got to be alarming for anyone relying on $1.5 million cruise missiles in their strategy. The only possibilities I can think of are 1) the Tomohawk system doesn’t work as advertised, or 2) there is some pretty decent electronic defense in place that reduces the effectiveness of that system to the point that a 59 missile attack doesn’t put an airbase out of operation. Either way, the Russians probably feel pretty reassured about the ineffectiveness of this massed missile attack..

    • Eddie
      April 8, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Well, the old expression ‘snafu’ DID originate in the military, as I recall…

    • Fuzzy
      April 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

      Raytheon missiles have a 65% defect rate so the 39% seems realistic. So if only 23-36 missiles actually worked and hit their target, then why was the airport operational the next day?

      Nothing seems right about this incident. It’s a NeoCon con job.

  20. April 8, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    A crucial difference between a real tweet and our faux president’s Tomahawk ‘tweet’: a real tweet costs nothing. Aside from lives lost and a diplomatic disaster, the White House Squatter’s ‘tweet’ cost American taxpayers upwards of $100,000,000.

    That’s about $88,500,000 for 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at $1,500,000 each, plus an undetermined cost for storage, transport, maintenance, fueling, and launch. (It’s not clear whether an explosive warhead is included in the missile’s $1,500,000 ‘base price’ or gets bolted on as an added cost.)

    Regardless, round it to $100,000,000 for the Loser-in-Chief’s 45-minute fit of pique.

    For a sense of scale, $100,000,000 could have paid for a year’s healthcare insurance for 33,300 people (at a rough-estimate $250/mo. premium cost, averaged across all age groups and plan types).

    Based on findings of a statistical study in Annals of Internal Medicine — cited in a Supreme Court amicus brief — for each 830 people who gain healthcare insurance, one person will live who would otherwise die. Each year. http://fairnow.weebly.com/blog/aca-tampering-the-gops-lethal-lottery

    So among these 33,300 people, 40 American lives would be saved. Forty people who would absolutely die otherwise. We just don’t know which 40. Think of each as a random execution.

    Therefore one might say that our faux president’s fit of pique is like randomly executing 40 Americans this year.

    Sure, it’s a flawed analogy. Missiles unlaunched don’t translate into medical care for Americans who have no healthcare coverage.

    Still, within it lurks a kernel of truth: the grotesque priorities of a nation that spends more on its bloated military than the next seven nations combined — while failing to cover healthcare for all its citizens, which means a death sentence for some of them.

    We just don’t know precisely which individuals. Except they are most likely to be low-income and people of color. — people subject to random execution without judge or jury in the United States of America.

    • Don Bass
      April 9, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Meh. No one is bothered about dying Americans. Not even Americans.
      Otherwise you’d have a workable, affordable national healthcare system.
      And there’d be more awareness of the rising rate of preventable premature deaths among middle aged.
      Death on the Prescription Plan
      The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century

      JAMES PETRAS • APRIL 6, 2017 •
      http://www.unz.com/jpetras/death-on-the-prescription-plan/
      Over the past two decades hundreds of thousands of Americans have died prematurely because of irresponsibly prescribed narcotic ‘pain killers’ and other central nervous system depressants, like tranquillizers and their deadly interactions. The undeniable fact is that they have been mostly from the white working and lower middle class from rural and deindustrialized regions.
      The governing elite and oligarch macro-decision makers have quietly dismissed this sector of the country as ‘surplus’.
      :::::::::::::::::::;;;
      ……Mortality in the UK, Canada and Australia among workers remains at about 40 deaths per 100,000 – half the rate of the US, despite similar demographics and participation in the global market. The key to understanding this phenomenon lies in how American capital and the ruling structure have responded to the needs of its labor force, made redundant by shifts in the economy.

  21. backwardsevolution
    April 9, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Good article. Trump needs to get rid of that Nikki Haley, like yesterday – gone. A sensational warmonger, predominantly concerned with Israel, and not a team player in the U.N.

    He needs to get rid of everybody who is NOT a nationalist. All globalists/internationalists – gone.

    He needs to step back and consider all evidence before acting. Just tell the people that they wouldn’t want anybody pointing missiles at them without getting the facts first, that all prudent and responsible people gets the facts.

    He needs to tell the people that they are going to let Syria fight their own battles (which he did last week). He needs to stick to that. Syria will win handily if the U.S. stops arming and funding the so-called moderates (who are moderate in name only). Get out. Tell McCain and Graham to pound sand.

    He needs to tell Israel that they are on their own (Kushner too). They can deal with their own problems. Maybe they can give the Golan Heights back, start dealing fairly with the Palestinians, and shut the hell up.

  22. John Doe II
    April 9, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Each Tomahawk missile, made by Raytheon Co. likely cost $1 million, according to experts.

    Raytheon referred questions around costs to the U.S. Navy’s unmanned aviation and strike weapons program, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

    The missiles used on Thursday likely cost the U.S. military around $1 million, [each] but the latest versions of the missile that would replace those could be more costly, depending on size of the order and other factors, said Loren Thompson, a consultant and chief operating officer of nonprofit Lexington Institute.

    ::

    Trump’s 60 million dollar theatrical production could’ve gone a long way toward building that wall along our southern boarder.
    But how could The Narcissist resist the opportunity for a “Rockets Red Glare/Bombs Bursting In Air?” star spangle banner moment? !

  23. Mark Petersen
    April 9, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I am of the cynical view point Trump indeed was given intel of facts on the ground but went ahead with the tomahawks anyway. The 2 previous presidents could not hold back the maniacs in control our middle east devastation. Why did anyone actually think a president with such limited knowledge of foreign policy and a insatiable craving for acceptance stood a chance against them? This was to be expected. This is our brand now. This is how we make America great again.

  24. Michael Kent
    April 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I’ve just started following Consortiumnews. It is a refreshing change from the simplistic misinformation and disinformation of the so called Main Stream Media, which appears to be nothing more than state-corporate sponsored propaganda. Insightful, critical and informed news and opinion is a rare commodity in today’s world. I hope to add my two cents to the discussion, for what it’s worth. Thanks!

    • Skip Scott
      April 10, 2017 at 8:47 am

      Welcome Michael. This is a great website. Spread the word. As another commenter (Lin Cleaveland) said:
      (paraphrase) “We have been sequestered into a sound-proof free-speech zone.” Maybe if enough of us pass the word we can make a difference.

  25. Gregory Kruse
    April 10, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Too bad one of those errant buzz-bombs didn’t find its way through the front door of the palace in Riyadh.

  26. April 11, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Perhaps, if NATO allies are going to be asked to pay more for their security umbrella (courtesy of the U.S.), then maybe they will be more interested in providing some more thoughtful push back against the moron de rigueur in the White House.

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