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Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Syrian suspicions

Forgive me if I allow my suspictions of what we know and when we know it to interfere with the good feeling that most of us have about Trump's decision to bomb the Syrian air base in response to a chemical attack.

As I said in a comment recently:

If Assad is responsible, this will change his mind. But ...

And here is Scott Adams, who has been more right than anyone I know about Trump back to when he first announced his candidacy. He points out that Trump exaggerates. Even his supporters - and I am one - do not take him literally.  We know when he exaggerates for effect.  But we take him seriously.  (When he said he was "wiretapped" and he was called  a bald faced liar by the press it was the press that was wrong.)  His detractors say that he's a serial liar. But he's believed in this instance, because people want this to be true.

Scott Adams:

The odd exception to our universal understanding of President Trump’s mode of operation is his claim that he is totally certain Assad was responsible for the chemical attack on his own people last week. The President’s critics and most of his supporters believe President Trump when he suggests that our military can track any plane in Syria and know what that plane did to whom.

Do you believe that?

I have it on good authority that the United States can track and identify aircraft in Syria. But does that mean we are watching (or recording) every plane at every minute, and we also know what ordinance they dropped?

Do you believe, for example, that our military can identify Syrian jets doing a normal bombing run at the same time as a hobby-sized ISIS drone drops some sarin gas in the blast zone? Can our satellites see that?

Or suppose rebels lobbed an artillery shell with sarin into a village that was being bombed at the same time. Would our satellites and drones and AWACS pick up the incoming round?


But my experience of life is that literally nothing works that well.

Or to put it another way, if we could do shit like that, the war would be over in a week. We’d know who every player on the ground was, and what they were doing, at all times. Heck, if we can detect a hobby-sized drone with a gas canister strapped to its belly from outer space, we don’t need boots-on-the-ground to beat ISIS. We can kill everyone who needs killing from the sky.

Like Adams, I question whether Assad actually is responsible. The events look staged and remind me of the theatrical productions that the Palestinians produced to make them look like the victims of the Israelis. This is too much like "suicide by cop" on the part of Assad who was winning without chemical weapons.

I also suspect that Trump knows this but is willing to play along by bombing a single airbase. As a result, Assad has lost little. The American people get a new respect for a powerful leader. The Democrats and the press (but I repeat myself) are rallying to his actions and the Loony-Left-Resistance is pulling up its shorts. Putin is shown to be running a second rate power. China wonders what will happen if they don't rein in North Korea. And the "Trump-Conspired-With-Putin-to-steal-the-election" look foolish. And Obama is neutered.  Better yet, they are admitting that they lied about their "success" in removing WMDs from Syria.  

All in all a big win. It's like clearing the table with one shot.

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