By Lee Camp, the creator, host, and head writer of the comedy news show “Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp” that airs every Friday on RT America and at YouTube.com/RedactedTonight. He’s a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comedian for 18 years
If you’re worried that Trump is taking this country down some horrible uncharted path – leading us into the great unknown of orange demise – you can worry no longer! In some ways Trump is boldly and predictably behaving exactly like many, if not most, former presidents. I’m speaking specifically about lying us into war.
So I’m saying – Have no fear that Trump is unpredictable; his reasons for shooting explosive devices into foreign lands are AS false as those of so many American leaders before him. He is following a grand tradition of lying to the American citizenry in order to gain their ill-informed yet blisteringly enthusiastic support for blowing up other nations (or rather bits of other nations – but usually the important bits). So if you’re looking for the comfort and security of routine, you have found it.
This week famed Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the motivations (and facts) given by Trump for bombing Syria were about as truthful as an OJ Simpson testimony (unless that testimony is about Hertz Rent-A-Car, which I still believe Simpson legitimately loves).
To simplify the story, Hersh reported that the Syrian military did NOT use chemical weapons, that the US military knew exactly what Assad’s military was doing at the time, that the bombing was meant to hit “a high-level meeting of jihadist leaders” – and did just that. The resulting deaths caused by any form of chemicals were due to stores of chlorine, bleach, and fertilizer in the building that was struck – the literal fog of war. Here’s what Hersh’s source said:
This was not a chemical weapons strike. That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. [Military grade sarin] is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?
But instead there was a slow-moving cloud of chemicals:
A Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) by the U.S. military later determined that the heat and force of the 500-pound Syrian bomb triggered a series of secondary explosions that could have generated a huge toxic cloud that began to spread over the town, formed by the release of the fertilizers, disinfectants and other goods stored in the basement…
Patients on the scene “smelled of bleach, suggesting that they had been exposed to chlorine.” (Remember Sarin gas has no smell.)
Hersh states that although senior members of Trump’s national security team knew the truth and tried to impress it upon the president, Trump could not be talked out of viewing this as chemical warfare. Hersh said:
In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
All this time I was under the impression Trump was just dumb and misinformed. What a relief to learn he is informed correctly but actively chooses to ignore the truth.
Keep in mind that it’s not only The Don who is involved in this crime; our corporate media apparently ONLY buys Trump’s snake oil by the gallon when it involves ONE solitary topic: The reasons for blowing up pieces of other countries. And not just do they believe him, but they’re downright giddy about it!
When Trump decided to actively bomb Syria (as opposed to our standard operating procedure of dumping money and guns into the hands of rebels we don’t understand nor have control over), he was lauded by nearly every mainstream outlet. Even his nemesis-du-jour Joe Scarborough celebrated Donald’s brilliant decision made over “the best” chocolate cake. Brian Williams’ crew had to wipe off the camera lens following his reporting on the glowing missiles fired into the night sky. Essentially no serious discussion was given to questions about the “chemical attack” Assad has perpetrated.
With every other lie Trump tells – and we all know he makes Lance Armstrong look like a lightweight – our mainstream media calls him out for being chock full of shit. The ONLY thing they celebrate the veracity of is war propaganda. It’s the equivalent of being upset with your friend for his endless manipulation and selfishness in regard to everything from foosball scoring to who bought the last round of drinks – EXCEPT when it comes to the Tinder dates he’s been murdering and storing under his bed. For THOSE, you are not upset and in fact congratulate him on a job well done.
And this is not the first time a U.S. president has led us into bombing a sovereign nation with the willful (and some might say gleeful) assistance of the mainstream media. Here are just three examples of many:
1) Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this minor moment in America’s distant past. The year was 2003 and a young man named Saddam Hussein had really gotten our goat. Following the traumatic events of 9/11, Hussein was discovered committing the unforgivable crime of ruling a country in the general vicinity of the country that actually birthed the hijackers who attacked us.
On top of that, he sat atop a lot of oil that he stubbornly refused to give us free of charge – even though we asked nicely (not nicely). Luckily, his aggressive weapons of mass destruction program gave us an ironclad reason to invade. He was preparing to kill a million innocent people!
Later –after he had been toppled, arrested, hanged, and we had killed roughly a million innocent people – we found his weapons program consisted of four guys with a sling shot (but the sling shot could be retrofitted to launch stones as large as a papaya).
In our defense, after the million people were killed, the New York Times DID issue a correction on the whole “weapons of mass destruction” thing. It read: “Correction: Over the past four years we reported that Saddam Hussein had a fully-realized program to produce weapons of mass destruction, and therefore the U.S. needed to invade Iraq, destroy their society, topple their government, and kill a lot of people….Please ignore that reporting.” (It did not actually read as such, but you get the idea.)
2) The Gulf of Tonkin Incident: This “incident” which got us into a protracted and altogether unpleasant war in Vietnam was a lie from the beginning. Even the name is a lie. “The Gulf of Tonkin Incident” is actually two incidents that are actually only one incident, which is actually only a half an incident.
The incidents took place on August 2nd and 4th of 1964. One of them didn’t happen and the other kind of happened. On Aug 2nd, the USS Maddox exchanged gun fire with three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats. The US claimed the North Vietnamese fired first, but in fact the USS Maddox fired the first shots.
Then, fresh off the heels of THAT horrible battle, on Aug 4th, two US ships spent four hours firing on various radar targets that were attacking them. They sunk two torpedo boats – which may sound like a win, but once you take into account that those torpedo boats did not adhere to the traditional definition of “existence,” it’s surprising the US navy didn’t sink far MORE than just two imaginary boats. Yes, that’s right. The US military spent four hours shooting at rain clouds in the Gulf of Tonkin. Considering the awesome power of our weaponry, it’s surprising we weren’t able to win that battle in no more than two hours.
Following that confrontation Defense Secretary McNamara advised President Johnson to retaliate and the president agreed. So our justification for getting involved in Vietnam was two incidents which were actually one incident which was actually our fault. Over the next several years 58,000 US service members and as many as 3.8 million Vietnamese would die in the fighting….But those rain clouds knew not to mess with us from then on.
3) Afghanistan – Almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and Osama Bin Laden was ultimately found hiding in Pakistan. But MAN did we fuck up Afghanistan!
So ask yourself: How much mainstream media reporting have you heard of the fact that Trump bombed Syria for completely false reasons? Our media has a seemingly limitless amount of time and energy to get the story wrong but just can’t seem to find enough free hours to get it right.
Also ask yourself WHY while Assad is winning the war against the rebels he would choose to do that one thing that would get the Americans directly involved. Strategically it would be about the dumbest thing he could possibly do. It would be like if the Golden State Warriors were up by 20 in the last sixty seconds of the NBA finals and suddenly Steph Curry stabs Lebron James in the thigh with a knife. Sure, it might take James out of the game, but it would also land Curry in jail following a game the Warriors were about to win.
If there is anything our nation’s fourth estate should take seriously, it’s war (especially considering the fact our presidents clearly don’t take it seriously). So corporate media – please drop your pom-poms and do your damn job before you allow our ruling elite to lie the American people into massacring another million human beings half a world away.
…That was my less cynical pretend-the-media-wants-what’s-best-for-America ending. …Here’s my ACTUAL ending:
The corporate media serves no purpose if not to buttress aggressive nationalism and unquestioned jingoism. They perpetrate a fraud on the American people in order to make sure we support the seemingly endless bombing of other countries. If they do not bolster blind American hegemony, then they will be stripped of their cushy positions, gold-plated healthcare, and sparkly cocktail parties.