A Whole Other Way to Look at Syria

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159264981001/the-syrian-gas-attack-persuasion

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159300836386/the-syrian-air-base-attack

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/159418166356/trusting-your-government-in-a-time-of-war

We recommend that everyone read them in order, including our Russian and pro-Russian readers.

Adams concludes, in the first post, that we probably won’t ever know what is really happening over there. After throwing out some intriguing suggestions, and pointing out something that Russia’s partisans and agents have noted: a chemical attack would be illogical for Assad, since he was winning conventionally. If not Assad, then who?

If faked, by whom? For what reason?

Adams’s “persuasion” prism is a very useful way of looking at things that are caught up in propaganda.

46 thoughts on “A Whole Other Way to Look at Syria

  1. Eric

    If there is a rogue agent that “set the President up” here, whose is it?

    Not Putin. Not Assad. So who?

    The DNC has the means and the will to do it… and they have the media to cover it for world wide eyes to show us how our President is, in their jaded eyes.

    Intriguing discussion, thank you.

    Reply
  2. Trone Abeetin

    No word of the reaction to the Tomahawk Missle attacks from the government of Elbonia yet?

    Reply
    1. Daniel

      If you wrote Albamia, I’d ask how this attack on Syria impacts the development of the B-3 bomber….

      Reply
  3. Aesop

    Okay. Duly digested. Now my response.

    No. No. No.
    Not just No, but Hell No.

    Scott Adams is probably a nice guy. Definitely a funny guy. Apparently a pretty bright guy.
    But.

    What he’s lacking are two things:
    He doesn’t know what he thinks he knows.
    He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
    These, IMHO, are rather critical flaws, particularly on the topic at hand.

    In this case, what he thinks he knows, is how dictators think and act.
    He thinks Bashar Assad is just an ordinary, reasonable eye doctor who somehow ended up in this crazy spot of having to fend off the people of his country, who’d like to see him dead. In interesting and rather medieval ways. Crazy, right?
    And after all, who doesn’t know an eye doctor who bombs villages and gasses his people, as Assad has already done in the past?
    He think Assad could never have done this, because reasons, therefore he didn’t. Because Assad is really just Scott Adams, except in Damascus, with this crazy rebellion problem.
    If I wanted to know how a cartoonist from Cubicleville thinks, Adams would absolutely be my go-to guy for that.
    If I want to know how a Middle Eastern dictator from another culture thinks, I think I’ll look at people like Khaddafi, or Saddam Hussein. So with Muammar, after getting a lapful of airstrike via F-111, who would push the envelope by blowing up a Pan Am flight over Scotland? That would be Muammar. Using Dilbert logic, why do that? He already got handed his butt once, so therefore the Pan Am flight must have been a false flag op as well, right? QED
    Then there’s Saddam. After having the sixth largest land army turned into the first deadest land army in 72 hours, who would f**k with the US-led coalition, and violate no-fly zones not once, not twice, but hundreds of times? And after 9/11, which he supposedly had nothing to do with, but knowing we were looking for a reason to blow someone up, who would play footsie over WMDs, which again, he supposedly didn’t have, and talk smack right up until Baghdad Bob’s memorable “There are no Americans in Baghdad” speech, as tank cannon fired and lines of M1A1 Abrams rolled by in the background? That would be Saddam.
    Using Dilbert logic, that wasn’t Saddam. It must have been a double, lip synching all that smack he was talking. Funded by War For Oil, Inc., doubtless.
    But the problem is, that’s all so much horsesh…er, fertilizer.

    Because screwball psychopaths are who ends up as dictators, not amusing cartoonists. People of an entirely non-Western mindset, with a far different worldview on the value of life, human rights, and gassing the strays, or feeding them feet-first into wood chippers.

    Oh, and this latest incident has “too much” media coverage…?!?
    Sez who? WTBlisteringF?
    This isn’t 1937, or 1997, it’s 2017.
    Everyone with a mothereffing smartphone now has CNN and Warner Brothers in their gorram pocket, courtesy of YouTube and Al Jazeera, at the speed of streaming 4G.
    Can you hear me now, Scott Adams?
    JFingChrist, Scott Adams, Rodney King demonstrated this 26 years ago. Call up the LAPD and ask them how fast things get out these days. The Internet is a thing, you should maybe look into it. Maybe even look into some Apple stock. Even Forrest Gump figured that one out, and that movie came out 23 years ago. Suffering cats.
    So maybe we should start calling him Rip Van Adams. The shoe fits, to a certainty.

    And then, Adams doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
    He knows nothing, particularly at a gut level, or in his lizard brain, about how irrational, cruel, and mother****ingly EVIL people are. He knows ink and paint, and corporate stupidity. But his characters don’t go literally postal, and blow every swinging Richard away in one panel.
    Unlike in the real world.

    Adams hasn’t seen someone whose sister-in-law, in a fit of pique, grabbed a pair of scissors and ripped her aorta, jugular and subclavian arteries into shreds, killing her victim before she hit the floor. She hasn’t seen kids with dozens of old cigarette burns, or set on fire by their parents, of people with their heads blown half off with a shotgun in a botched suicide attempt, or any of the hundreds of things that cops, fireman, paramedics, and emergency department staff see every damned day.

    To say nothing of what he hasn’t seen when young men are turned loose on each other with machineguns, white phosphorous, high explosives, shrapnel, youthful invincibility, and the assurance from the powers that be that they’re doing God’s work.
    Let’s just note for the record that both Matthew Brady and the TIME/LIFE books have soft-soaped the genuine article, just a wee bit, shall we?

    Adams has no f**king clue about any of that, and he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. So he can’t have any idea how much every malign instinct of our baser nature comes out to play, let alone in a war zone, and then compounded by being in the Middle East, under a brutally repressive dictator.

    Adams’ problem is that for some decades, he’s had to write fiction, and be funny, and the one rule of both is that it has to make sense.

    Real life is under no such constraints, as dozens/hundreds of installments of “When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have XXX” have demonstrated, not to mention its highlighting by something between two and six millennia of warfare in the region in question.

    Life is messy. It doesn’t fit neatly into three or four panels. And it doesn’t make sense.
    Wise people, when confronted by this, might perhaps realize there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy, open their eyes and ears, and shut their yawps.

    If real life could be hashed out in a couple of essays by a cartoonist, writing detective TV shows would be child’s play, and we’d call them reality shows.

    His take is interesting, no doubt.
    In the same way The West Wing was interesting.
    Both bore practically no resemblance to real life, any more than every cop or medical drama – or war movie, for that matter – ultimately bears to the genuine article.

    The ratio of glimmers of reality to the actual thing is, as one of my professors – who’d spent his younger days with the OSS blowing up trains and killing Nazis – put it: “It’s like buying a cupful of horse-and-chicken soup. They tell you there are equal amounts of meat from each. But what they means is, one horse to one chicken.”

    We forget this to our peril.

    Reply
    1. Kirk

      The other thing Adams missed is that Assad is not a monolithic bad guy, either–I don’t think he’s running things in Syria any more today than he was when all this shit started. He’s no more in charge than any other figurehead head of state. You’ll note that, unlike Lil’ Kim in North Korea, there was no real purge of the guys surrounding his father after he took over. They’re still running things, behind the scenes, and to discount the potential that this CW strike was an event orchestrated by factions within the Assad regime, rather than by Assad himself? Who the hell knows?

      These regimes are opaque as hell, and every one is different. To be completely honest about it, we still don’t know for sure that Hitler even knew about the Holocaust, let alone have proof he ordered it. There’s no smoking gun, there, either–All we have is his underlings doing what we have assumed was his bidding. Odds are, that’s the right assumption to make, but the actual proof we’d need to say for sure…? Not there. There are still no known documents with Hitler’s signature ordering the events that the Holocaust consists of–So, the idea that Assad may or may not have ordered this is pretty much of a piece with actual experience in these matters. Likewise, try to find orders issued by the Emperor or Tojo for what Unit 731 was doing, or any of the various atrocities we assign them.

      In the final analysis, the head of state is responsible for what his minions get up to in the darkness. Which is why Obama had better have some damn good lawyers if he and his are ever called to account for the BS they got up to during his administration. I have a suspicion that he may just take up residence in some country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US, once all this crap from his so-called “scandal-free” administration comes out–Which it looks like it is, one drip at a time.

      I don’t think he picked Tahiti as a vacation spot to work on his memoirs by accident, either. I wonder what his Secret Service detail would do, were they to get orders to return his ass for arraignment?

      Reply
    2. Blackshoe

      Well said.

      I also find one of the major flaws people like Adams who advocate these ideas make is that they make the US central to everything-eg why would Assad do this knowing what the US reaction would be (ignoring Assad might do it for reasons that have aren’t primarily about the US, and also ignoring Assad was 1/1 for on previous uses of nerve agents and got away with it, so why not try it again, and a close friend used it a month and half previously and got away with it, so why not?).

      Also, interesting theory from the Russosphere about why Assad used them (and sort of other people making “our country central to everything”)-among other reasons, to put pressure on Russia to increase their support, especially on the ground (ie “If you don’t step up, we’ll have to resort to using the CW we’re not supposed to have to win the war!”). That actually kind of makes sense, along with testing Trump’s reaction willingness (another reason I think Assad used it).

      Reply
    3. Jim Scrummy

      Logic and reason need to go flying out the door when dealing with bat guano crazy dictators. Unfortunately, too many “smart” people apply their world of logic and reason to the real world. That’s where things start to go sideways.

      Reply
    4. John M.

      ‘Then there’s Saddam. After having the sixth largest land army turned into the first deadest land army in 72 hours, who would f**k with the US-led coalition, and violate no-fly zones not once, not twice, but hundreds of times? And after 9/11, which he supposedly had nothing to do with, but knowing we were looking for a reason to blow someone up, who would play footsie over WMDs, which again, he supposedly didn’t have, and talk smack right up until Baghdad Bob’s memorable “There are no Americans in Baghdad” speech, as tank cannon fired and lines of M1A1 Abrams rolled by in the background? That would be Saddam.’

      Saddam clearly wanted the world to believe he had an ongoing WMD program. It seems obvious to me that he was well-served by having his neighbors think that he retained the capability to make their people die awful deaths. And if he didn’t have WMDs, then he didn’t have them so that he could get the sanctions lifted. He was playing both sides against the middle. This seems perfectly rational to me, even if it didn’t work out in the end.

      -John M.

      Reply
      1. Aesop

        Congratulations.
        You’re brighter than the entire CIA, MI-6, Mossad, DGSE, BND, CSIS, FSB, JIA, Interpol, the OPCW, and just about every intelligence and defense analyst on the planet. Not to mention Shrillary Clinton and the entire US Senate.
        Which is a pretty neat trick, even after the fact, with 20/20 hindsight.

        There’s also all the ancillary bits and bobs of actual weapons we kept tumbling over for the next several years to indicate that of course he had the weapons, and had shipped them out to Syria at the 11th hour, thinking that no one was going to come calling with armored divisions, just a lot of ineffective UN dweebs with clipboards.

        As I said, psychotic and sociopathic are hallmarks of the breed.

        Reply
  4. Desertrat

    What I’ve read about the 2013 gas attack supported the idea of a false-flag deal. ISIS, not Assad.

    What bothers me about this present contretemps is the question of why would Assad or a general do it? Use against an ISIS target, I could understand. But this doesn’t make sense. Regardless of one’s view of Assad et al as evil, why assume automatically that they are stupid?

    Reply
    1. Aesop

      The better question is, why assume that they’re sane and rational?
      Show of hands for sane and rational:
      Lenin?
      Stalin?
      Hitler?
      Mao?
      Pol Pot?
      Castro?
      Khaddafi?
      Saddam Hussein?

      Sociopathy is a psychosis, or we’d call it normal.
      Just because they’re high-functioning and smart, we tend to forget this.
      Ask cops who work around criminals, or ER folks who work around actual crazy people.
      If Ted Bundy had looked like Charles Manson, he wouldn’t have popped nearly as many unsuspecting young female victims.
      But the “saner”, more “normal” looking guy of the two had a far more impressive box score.

      As the Sgt. Major used to say. “Write this lesson on your hand with a laundry pen.”

      Reply
      1. John M.

        None of those people achieved the positions they did in life by acting like street mumblers. All of those men (and roll in both Assad père and Assad fils) were capable of acting in calculating ways to achieve their ends. Their calculating ways are certainly more brutal than typical folks’, and their ends were perverted, but all of them were able to calculate quite well and were able to achieve those ends. If they hadn’t been, their names wouldn’t be recorded in our history books.

        I mean, shoot, call Castro crazy if you want, but the dude holds the record for longest-serving non-monarch head of state in recorded history at over 52 years.

        So the question remains, what was Assad (fils) calculating in this case, and what were his ends? I’m just not seeing it add up.

        -John M.

        Reply
        1. Aesop

          Try the same thing George Carlin posited humorously for the impetus for invention of the flamethrower:

          “You see those guys over there?
          I want to set them all on fire, but I just can’t get close enough to do it.
          F*** them, and everybody near them.”

          It should be instructive that every use of poison gas after 1918 has been oriental thinking in action, and outside of one terrorist incident in Japan, every use has been in the Middle East, and post-1980.

          What was it Ian Fleming said about once, twice, three times?

          Reply
  5. nick

    Aesop, you saved me a whole bunch of typing,thank you.
    Scott Adams post could turn out to be a dangerous thing,comics are funny,life is not.

    Reply
  6. Tom Stone

    Since our mainstream media is roughly analogous to the official soviet press of the early 1970’s I don’t put much faith in anything they say.
    As far as Scott Adams, his posts make me think, not a bad thing.
    And he called Trump’s win based on factors almost no one else considered.

    Reply
  7. robroysimmons

    Damn it you peons, Remember the Maine!

    Anyway the “War” is 27 years long and being lost strategically.

    Reply
  8. bloke_from_ohio

    Chemical weapons are hard. Da’esh has tried to launch mustard (a way easier agent to work with) at the coalition with extremely limited effectiveness. Why do we think they can now use Sarin? Binary agents have to be mixed right? And the creation is not exactly trivial. Its not like you can just strap some M80s to the side of a can of raid and call it a day. If they used a drone, how would they spin mix any shells they stole? It is possible, but not likely.

    Further, how would Da’esh time such an operation? Do they have advance notice of the regime’s air operations? How do they know where Mr. Adam’s conventional attack will be so they can drop or launch a chemical agent at that site timed close enough to be plausible?

    Don’t get me wrong, those goat fornicators are smart, their armored jihadi guided land missiles are a real problem. But, I find it hard to believe they were able to pull off this kind of false flag. The average Da’esh fighter can’t get through half a magazine without putting up a celebration video on twitter.

    Da’esh is just not that sneaky, we just are not paying attention. If they wanted to use chemical weapons they would do it out in the open and not blame it on another actor. After all, murder is kind of their thing. Why would they not take the credit? They actually have nothing to loose since they have made it their stated policy of to not giving a rip what the rest of the world thinks about their brutality. in fact they make a point to publicize their brutality as a matter of course since it meets their goals and purpose.

    Occam’s razor says Assad did it. It does not have to make sense to us, people seldom do.

    Reply
      1. bloke_from_ohio

        Thankfully, you made it through the bulk of my point since the offending “o” key double tap happened late in the comment.

        By bailing at “loose” you were spared the horror of my missed capitalization in the very next sentence!

        Reply
    1. Hognose Post author

      I have a whole file on this guy in a folder labeled “Postol, that shit.” He’s been a Russian-line guy for almost twenty years. Before that, he was a Soviet-line guy.
      Basically, he’s MIT’s version of Russia Today. When I saw it was him, I clicked back. Anybody can get the Kremlin line direct, you don’t need Ted Postol to intercede for you.

      Reply
  9. LSWCHP

    Well, I’ve been thinking along the same lines as Adams. Which doesn’t really matter of course because it’s all a bit of a sideshow.

    The main game is in Asia, and Australian news reported just a few minutes ago that the US is preparing for a preemptive strike on the Norks, with further mention of SF teams being prepared to decapitate the Nork leadership.

    As our genial host sometimes remarks, that shit could go non-linear real quick.

    Reply
      1. LSWCHP

        I reckon that everybody, including the PRC have decided that Kim is a liability. The PRC are now emitting some pretty bellicose gas towards Kim and I’d say they’re using Wild Man Trump as an excuse to save face while getting rid of Kim.

        And Trump did actually cancel the Vinson battle group’s planned Australian port visit and send them zooming off towards Korea. A CBG is not a subtle thing and the Nork leadership wouldn’t have missed their change of course, nor the message from Syria.

        My money would be on those around Kim realising they don’t have a lotta friends, including Kim, and deciding to save their own skins by feeding Kim feet first into the wood chipper, or the hog pen, or whatever they feed people in to over there.

        So, I’d say forget about Syria. The thing to ponder is whether Kim will still be running the show by the end of May, and whether he can be got rid of without mushrooming Seoul or Tokyo.

        Strewth, these are interesting times.

        Reply
  10. LSWCHP

    The dudes who own MOABs just dropped one on a tunnel complex in Afghanistan.

    Now, this could be a coincidence, but if I was Mr Kim I’d be calling it a message.

    Driving a C-130 through Nork air defences would be a trick, though.

    Reply
        1. bloke_from_ohio

          I wonder if we have any B-36s that can be made flyable? I know there is one at the US Air Force Museum and a couple others in similar displays. That thing could carry a whole mess of MOABs.

          To bad the museum pieces probably can’t fly and you would have to take the buildings apart to get them out.

          It would be a fun “Throwback Thursday” though, kind of like when the USS Missouri shelled Sadam.

          (The “little guy” in the picture is a B-29)

          Reply
      1. Bonifacio Echeverria

        Yeah, you could always use a C-17. But considering that all the open source info on the MOAB I have seen says it was designed to be launched by a MC-130, and that the aerodinamical deployment of the fins that make the guidance possible is an important part of the launching I’d bet speed is a factor in a successful launching.

        Pity. I would love to see which vector on the USAF inventory can fit a 30ft long 10 ton bomb on it’s bomb bay or hung it from it’s center hardpoint and yet retain some meaningful flight envelope to survive in a contested airspace.

        And, BTW, at 16$ apiece, plus the 60+$ mill spent in Syria I’d say that new POTUS of yours has spent something like 80 mill just sending “strong messages” in the last two weeks.

        Does the man know there is something called telephone used to convey information to other people? There are some interesting deals out there for mobile credit, you know. Gee… I know my teen daughter would be grounded for a looooong while if she landed me a bill like that.

        Reply
        1. Aesop

          As Robert DeNiro reminded us in Untouchables,
          You can get further with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.

          We assuredly have both Assad’s and Putin’s undivided attention now. Unlike with a cold call phone pitch.

          Kim, Xi, and the mullahs in Iran are leaning forward rather more attentively too.

          Reply
          1. Haxo Angmark

            “you can get further with a gun and a kind word than you can with just a gun”

            – Bismarck

            OK, he didn’t really say that. But he would have.

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