Coward of the County  

Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!

When I read President Trump’s tweet last week, I was shaken – just like most of us, I am sure – by the supreme arrogance of a man who feels comfortable cowering in a bunker beneath the White House while threatening to fire Tomahawk Cruise missiles (made by the company in which he has a major shareholding) at family groups, children and non-combatants in Syria.

I am not a country music fan. Even so, I found myself humming the first verse of Kenny Rogers’ song, Coward of the County.

Everyone considered him the coward of the county
He’d never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
His mama named him Tommy, but folks just called him yellow
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong

 

Trump, May and Macron claimed that they had no other choice but to launch a massive attack directed at President Assad’s stocks of chemical weapons in Syria. In defence of the ordinary people of Syria,they said. In support of human rights against a devastating range of weapons deployed by a cruel dictator, they said. I don’t buy this. Here’s what really happened.

Britain was third in the command structure of the tripartite attack on Syria. Cuts have left the UK’s armed forces with no ships – and, crucially – precious few jets that have the ability to fire cruise missiles. What the UK do have is vital intelligence about the whereabouts of Syria’s chemical weapons. GCHQ has a forward base in Cyprus and is believed to have been involved in electronic and cyberwarfare measures in advance of the operation. The RAF deployed a top-secret aircraft — the Rivet Joint — which helped to jam the Syrian, and possibly Russian, air defence systems to ensure that all coalition missiles hit their targets.

Macron, on the other hand, has plenty of weapons. France launched 12 missiles to the UK’s 8, and to underscore their naval strength, the French navy launched 3 cruise missiles in the Mediterranean and had four other warships involved in the operation.

The Times of London went so far as to bring Brexit into the diplomatic equation:

‘There are suspicions in Whitehall that Paris is seeking to be the European partner Washington turns to in a crisis after the UK leaves the EU.

“We need to brace ourselves for the fact that President Macron is trying to be the go-to guy,” a source said. “He wants to have a strong relationship with the United States and we have not woken up to that. If they are trying to muscle in and they are determined about it and they end up firing more missiles, these things sort of count. They do actually count.”’

Unlike Britain, it would appear.

Theresa May argued that the bombing attack on Syria was ‘strong enough to deter but weak enough not to provoke the Russians’.

Remember Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass?

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

Indeed. Now imagine those words in the mouth of Trumpty Dumpty, with Theresa May playing a rather disingenuous and wide-eyed Alice.

Truth is often stranger than fiction. As for US engagement, they launched missiles from three warships, a submarine and two B-1 Lancer aircraft, from the Red Sea, the Gulf and the Mediterranean. Significantly, nineteen of the US missiles were a new type of weapon which had never before been fired in combat.  They were instrumental in destroying the Barzeh research and development centre close to Damascus. The longest-range weapons used in the operation were the sea-based Tomahawks, which have a range of more than 1,000 miles. 57 US Navy Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles arrived from US warships in the eastern Mediterranean, Red Sea and North Arabian Sea.

So, was I reading The Donald wrong? I very much doubt it.

Eleven months ago, I wrote in SocialNews:

Last month Donald Trump launched 58 missiles at Syria. 

Now Donald Trump is a billionaire. He understands that the business of America is war, and war is big business. Trump himself holds stock in Raytheon, the world’s largest producer of guided missiles. After he chose to use Tomahawk missiles, made by Raytheon, the company’s stock rose by 2.1%. Replacing those fired at Syria alone will cost upwards of $100 million.

One less Tomahawk this time, but 19 other weapons added to the mix, never tested in combat before.

All together now. 

We’re in the money.

That is the bottom line.

Arms sales are what this little escapade has been all about.  Rather than feeling compassion for the ordinary people of Syria, Trump, Macron and May are using this tragic situation as armed propaganda, jockeying for position as they watch their shares rise.

Don’t forget how the West ignores suffering and starvation in the Yemen at the same time at the same time as competing with each other to sell weapons of mass destruction to Saudi Arabia.

Whether this abhorrent display of inhumanity has been motivated simply by greed, or by a despicable effort by Trump and his allies to show the rest of the world what their place is in the global pecking order, will have to remain an open question for now.

There is no doubt that what we are seeing an abominable effort by the US, France and the UK to showcase their arsenals in a kind of virtual arms fair.

If the arms fair remained virtual, that would be one thing.

But the proxy wars of Trump on the one hand and Putin on the other, fought to the death so viciously at a drone’s throw from actual physical engagement by either the US or Russia on their own territory – may not remain proxy wars for long.

 

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