Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is out with a disturbing report.
It apparently was very clear before President Trump ordered the Tomahawk missile attack on a Syrian air base in response to an alleged Syrian chemical attack that Syria had not launched a chemical attack.
On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.Read that again. It should have been clear to Trump that there was no chemical attack by the Syrians and yet he went on to order the attack.
The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.
Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president's determination to ignore the evidence. "None of this makes any sense," one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. "We KNOW that there was no chemical attack ... the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth ... I guess it didn't matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.“
And it should not go unnoticed that this is one of the few actions that Trump has taken as president that was cheered by mainstream media.
[W]ith the Tomahawks on their way, Trump spoke to the nation from Mar-a-Lago, and accused Assad of using nerve gas to choke out “the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many ... No child of God should ever suffer such horror.” The next few days were his most successful as president. America rallied around its commander in chief, as it always does in times of war. Trump, who had campaigned as someone who advocated making peace with Assad, was bombing Syria 11 weeks after taking office, and was hailed for doing so by Republicans, Democrats and the media alike. One prominent TV anchorman, Brian Williams of MSNBC, used the word “beautiful” to describe the images of the Tomahawks being launched at sea. Speaking on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said: “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” A review of the top 100 American newspapers showed that 39 of them published editorials supporting the bombing in its aftermath, including the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.Is this training the President to ignore facts in the future and choose the military option?
The only tripwire that we may have between the President doing something truly mad from a military perspective and sanity is the military that somehow prevents such a Presidential action.
Reading between the lines of the detailed report by Hersh, it strikes me that the military may have structured Trump's options for the Syrian attack in a manner that caused him to choose a relatively harmless option.
But because of the positive response he received from MSM and the masses, he may be willing to act much more boldly in the future. It appears the military is on alert.
Hersh writes (my bold):
“It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, there might have been some immediate resignations.”So there you have it. We are probably down to a not exactly dovish military preventing a totally mad response to a future crisis.