Syria, the many-layered proxy war with multiple, simultaneous explanations
First, great appreciation to Amanda Matthew and the many commentators to her essay today.
In that essay I learned about Morton's Fork.
A Morton's fork is a type of false dilemma in which contradictory observations lead to the same conclusion. It is said to have originated with the collecting of taxes by John Morton.
Under Henry VII John Morton was made archbishop of Canterbury in 1486 then lord chancellor in 1487. He raised taxation funds for his king by holding that someone living modestly must be saving money and, therefore, could afford taxes, whereas someone living extravagantly obviously was rich and, therefore, could afford taxes.
In some instances, such as Morton's original use of the fallacy, it may be that one of the two observations is likely valid, but the other is pure sophistry: evidence of possessing wealth may be genuinely irrelevant to having a source of taxable income.
In other cases, it may be that neither observation may be relied upon to support the conclusion properly. For example, asserting that a person suspected of a crime who is acting nervously must have something to feel guilty about, while a person who acts calmly and confidently must be practiced or skilled at hiding guilt. Either observation therefore has little, if any, probative value, as each could equally be evidence for the opposite conclusion.
This is what happen's to Morton's fork if you try using it--not as functional as we are led to believe.
Next consider Occam's Razor.
Occam's razor (also Ockham's razor or Ocham's razor; Latin: lex parsimoniae "law of parsimony") is the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the one that makes the fewest assumptions. The idea is attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian.
In science, Occam's razor is used as an heuristic guide in the development of theoretical models, rather than as a rigorous arbiter between candidate models. In the scientific method, ; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. Since one can always burden failing explanations with ad hoc hypotheses to prevent them from being falsified, simpler theories are preferable to more complex ones because they are more testable.
In attempting to understand this Syria debacle we must be aware that there are "facts". But the facts change depending upon the transmissible medium through which they pass. Therefore, which is the truth?
As an example of Morton's fork, consider the case of the dueling serial liars: Comey and McCabe. One may be telling the truth but the other must not in order to satisfy the "Fork". But both may be false. Occam's razor cannot cut through such uncertainty. The truth is that there are layers upon layers of subterfuge here, hence the title.
Because of the uncertainties, even the best-informed amongst us are forced to speculate. As with the Delphic Oracle, any one statement is capable--by design--of having more than one meaning. How to choose? When information is suspect, as most about this Syrian War is, we are reduced to speculation. Hence I shall elaborate on speculation after presenting more "facts" or "alternative facts".
How did this begin?
At this point going on 6 years after the fact, the true bases, whether understood or not, are irrelevant. Example: once an avalanche has begun, it matters little HOW it started. The matter is instead how to escape the avalanche. So we need not discuss PNAC, Clinton, Hussein, etc.
Why this began is more relevant. Several explanations are simultaneously plausible, with the possibility that each such alternative is an equally powerful explanation. Think oil--correct!
Think wahhabism. Correct! Think Israel. Correct! This essay is not the place for an expository on any of the issues--unless it can lead to a termination of the proxy war.
Local journalists have long served as a validator of the news coming from Washington, New York and Los Angeles, but when local news doesn’t exist they can’t play the role of trusted intermediary. If voters don’t know any journalists, it’s easier for a would-be demagogue to tell people what they want to hear, while vilifying those journalists from the big city who would tell them the truth as playing them for a bunch of rubes. The truth-teller is demonized, while the con artist goes all but unchallenged.
Of course deregulation by WJC allowed this extinction to happen. A main reason this consolidation was allowed to happen was that the nascent internet with accompanying alternate media was not considered.
News from Syria is exfiltrating in dribs and drabs. Today alone has produced more than 20 posts, probably more than 100.
Russia reveals evidence of staged chemical attack in Syria (15 minutes). This YouTube video exposes what I and many others believe is the core story: the attack on Douma makes absolutely no sense, since Assad's troops were within days of complete routing of those "moderate rebels" with ISIS next on the target list. So why would he perform an act of chemical attack which he KNEW would invite the international murderers back into his country, to capture the hearts and minds of its citizens by killing them? This makes no sense.
But wait! Does any of this have to make sense? I think not. Only a minority of Americans could identify Syria on a map, let alone West Virginia. Before this latest complex charade, most Americans did not care about Syria. They want things like better health care, adequately paying jobs, good infrastructure, etc. Now that the missile strikes have occurred, how many Americans realize how close to a hot war we are? Maybe 10% but I'm optimistic.
The mechanics of the attack, combined with preliminary Trump's tweets, MSM embellishment (read bullshit), Russian and UN responses ARE informative. But the information is not subject to single interpretations. Unlike Morton's fork, two (or more) simultaneous correct interpretations are possible.
The first videos and photos that have emerged on social media show what appear to be the strikes by the US, the UK and French militaries in the Syrian capital.
Syrian state TV reported that Syria’s missile defenses shot down 13 missiles south of Damascus.
The Chairman of the United States Army Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, however, said he was not aware that any missiles were intercepted, adding that the military has yet to assess the operational data. He confirmed that manned aircraft were involved in the airstrikes that hit three facilities in Syria that the US claims are part of its chemical weapons program.
One of the targets was a scientific research center in the greater Damascus area, Dunford said. The second was “a chemical weapons storage facility” in the vicinity of Homs, which, according to Dunford, housed sarin and chemical weapons precursors. The third target was also located near Homs and was identified by the general as a Syrian Army command post and storage facility.
Let that business about a research facility sink in a bit. What kind of research facility? Like Fort Dietrick? Like Porton Downs?
The non-Damascus strikes were allegedly aimed at outlying chemical weapons repositories under Assad's control. No collateral damage? Are we talking about Potemkin villages or ones in which real people lived, until recently? What chemicals? Is exploding already usable chemical weapons a good choice--like perhaps vats of chlorine or tubes of sarin? That stuff kills people even if not intended targets.
A short trip in the WayBack machine to one year ago brings us to the Trumpian chest-thumping bombing of Al-Sharyat airbase on the same cocked up excuse of chemical weaponry. And just when independent chemical weapons experts like the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical weapons (OPCW) were about to go in to verify the charges at Al-Sharyat, boom go the cruise missiles.
Remarkable replay of last year. Only with more missiles and more countries. Remember last time the shot off ~63 missiles but most were destroyed en route or missed the target completely? This time our missile-surplus emptying act didn't fare as well as last year.
The Russian military has claimed that the Syrian air defences, whose most modern weapon is a three-decades-old Russian-supplied anti-aircraft system, shot down 71 of 103 missiles fired by the US and its allies, the UK and France, a claim denied by the Pentagon.
As further details began to emerge about the sites targeted by the US-led strikes, Col Gen Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military said the strikes had not caused any casualties and that Syrian military facilities suffered only minor damage.
It was not possible to verify the claims. The most up-to-date system that Moscow has supplied to the Syrian regime is the short range Pantsir S-1, which has an anti-missile capability.
Syria latest: US 'locked and loaded' if chemical weapons used again – as it happened
Russia said its advisers had spent the last 18 months completely rebuilding the Syrian air defence system, and said the high number of intercepted rockets spoke to “the high effectiveness of the weaponry in Syria and the excellent training of Syrian servicemen prepared by our specialists”.
Think about this also. A year ago, large numbers of tomahawks failed their mission. This year, largely facing the same decades old missile defense system as last year, only 30% of missiles made it to their targets. How much damage those that got through is yet unknown.
Syria protests to UN security council, not exactly an unexpected move here.
“This aggression comes at a time when the terrorist groups in Syria badly needed a morale boost. It will only serve to embolden them for a while. But it will not make a real difference. The armed terrorist groups are doomed, rejected by the local people in the areas they control, and will continue to face one major defeat after another. Syria will not be unnerved by this new aggression,” Syria's Ambassador to China and former ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, told Sputnik.
Here is a multi-facetted appraisal by Aljazeera with references to many different countries--notably not a mention about Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, etc.
According to Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, the US did not notify Russian forces in Syria ahead of the strikes. "We did not do any coordination with the Russians on the strikes, nor did we pre-notify them." The Pentagon said the strikes were a "one time shot" to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Here are two you tube videos, both created today with polar opposite views on this Syrian missile attack. They are both long but worth listening to if you are patient.
Lionel Nation's video on the Mother Of All Bullshit (40 minutes)
Jerome Corsi, with a pro-Trump interpretation (1 hour 18 minutes)
As mentioned above, we are bereft of reliable information in this, as well as many other, situation.
Here are various views, not necessarily contradicting any other.
One dimensional view
This is a testosterone fueled dick-measuring contest between Putin and Trump. Which gorilla pounds his chest more frighteningly. Simple. Straightforward. Possibly correct.
Domestic Politics view, two dimensional
Trump is being pushed into a corner by Müller, Democrats, McCain, MSM to take on Putin, to prove he is not a Putin-loving Quisling, or some such crap. Trump surrenders to the "dark side" (i.e., globalist cabals, etc). Trump reacts to show the rest of them it just ain't so.
Maneuver warfare, three-dimensional
Many say Drumpf is not that clever. He would be unable to pull off the chess moves required. In order for Trump to succeed with his OWN agenda, he has to neutralize the MSM and shuffle his players judiciously amongst the executive branch. This is something Trump has done with great frequency, and will do again as needs must. He must squeeze Rosenstein out. THEN Müller goes without his fairy godfather to protect him. Once this is accomplished, Huber and Horowitz go out for Clinton blood. It's all a matter of timing.
Recently, Trump placed ex-military intelligence officer Ezra Cohen-Watnick into the Justice department, not above Rosenstein but to watch whatever Rosenstein does and read what he reads.
Mike Pompeo, after his stint at CIA, will inform Trump about what he knows is going on in the dark state. More ammunition.
Trey Gowdy withdraws from Congress, me thinks to replace either Wray, or less likely, Sessions. The players are being shifted around.
My belief is that all three scenarios, and perhaps others, are at play here.
1. Dick swinging
2. Sucking up to the MIC
3. Longer term goals, i.e., pursuing his own vision of nationalistic neoliberalism.
This is what I believe:
1. There is a functioning backdoor between Trump and Putin
2. Trumps tweet about new, super, small missiles (or whatever) was a direct tip-off for an impending attack
3. This allowed Putin and Assad to reposition assets. Furthermore Assad did damage to "moderate terrorists" the day after.
4. The failure rate of missiles is more problematic. Perhaps many were targeted to go into barren desert areas, perhaps not. But the failure rate should be cause for grave concern for those warhawks who think war with Russia will be a cake walk. Send them to the front lines.
As far as I know, Trump's domestic situation is much harsher than Putin's. Putin knows this. He is allowing Trump to bluster, posture and do ineffective missile attacks. He wants peace. I think Trump has not fully succumbed to the dark side. At least, I hope has not.