One of the signs that we in the West have, as a people, lost the ability to reason is the increased tendency to rush to judgement whenever a catastrophic event occurs. We saw it a few weeks back when a man called Khalid Masood drove a car into people on Westminster bridge, killing three and injuring many more, before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death. Within minutes of the attack, it was said to be a terrorist attack, linked to ISIS, even though nothing was known about the man, his motives or his connections at that time.

An even more insidious tendency has been to apportion blame to an individual, group or state, almost immediately after an event, and to then call for an investigation afterwards. One of the worst examples of this was the MH17 plane crash. Within hours, Western politicians and media told the world who was responsible, even thought they could not possibly have known that at the time, given that the plane was shot down over a war zone, with two military units facing each other. But after they had made the claim of culpability, they then went on to call for an investigation. Let’s hope they never get called up for jury service!

The latest in a long list of such incident is the alleged attack using chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on Tuesday. Within hours, and before any impartial investigation, Western leaders and the media had already blamed the Assad Government for the attack.

As an aside, there are a number of good reasons for doubting that it was carried out by Syrian government forces, although I am not going to fall into the opposite ditch here and rule out that possibility completely. These are simply reasons to doubt:

  1. For one, there are no Western journalists on the ground in the area, and media reports have relied heavily on claims made by the one-man-band based in Coventry, known as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and the al-Qaeda propaganda group known as the White Helmets.
  2. Secondly, both the US and Russia oversaw the destruction of Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons back in 2013. This of course doesn’t rule out the possibility that they may have kept some somewhere, or that they may have produced some since, but for what it’s worth, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-UN Joint Mission in Syria, concluded in 2013 that all chemical weapons have been removed from Syria.
  3. But the most compelling reason for doubting the claims being made that the Assad Government launched a chemical attack is simply to ask the question, why would they do this? Any such attack would be bound to be reported on around the world and equally bound to draw some kind of response from those nations who have been trying to find pretexts to get rid of Assad before this conflict even started.

The other thing to consider in these types of cases, as with any crime that has been committed, is that old chestnut known as “any other plausible explanations.” With the Westminster attack, were there any other plausible explanations than terrorism? Of course there were. A lone wolf attack, rather than an attack by a terrorist organisation, for instance. What about MH17? Again, of course there were, especially given that the Ukrainian forces had BUK missiles in the area on the day of the crash.

What about the Khan Sheikhoun attack? Of course there are other explanations, including the possibility that the Syrian airforce destroyed a terrorist munitions depot which was producing chemical weapons, as the Russian military have alleged.

But if other possibilities exist, and if an investigation has not even started, let alone finished, why have the likes of Nikki Haley and her boss, the increasingly belligerent Donald Trump, coming out with statements saying with certainty who was behind the attack? And furthermore, why do they now seem to be threatening military action?

As a general rule, when someone comes out with a cast-iron accusation without either knowing the facts or bothering to explain why they are so certain in the absence of evidence, that’s a rat you can smell. And when you hear them coming out and saying that they are going to take action on the basis of their unproven assertions, which probably means of a military type, be assured that you are now smelling a Trump-sized rat.

I know that some will think I’m an apologist for Bashar al-Assad here. So be it. I am an apologist for no one here. I simply believe too much in the importance of facts and evidence over assertions and hearsay to swallow at face value what the entire Western media and the likes of Trump and Haley are saying.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe Assad did gas his own people. Then again maybe he didn’t. They don’t know that. But rational people and rational countries do not rely on such assertions and assumptions. They wait for the evidence to come in, rather than making wild, unsubstantiated and dangerous statements. But we can scarcely be called rational anymore. This whole thing may well lead to a huge and very devastating war unless we regain our ability to reason quickly.

8 thoughts on “Chemical Weapons Again and Why Our Loss of Reason May End up Leading us Into a Huge and Devastating War

  1. I appreciate your voice, Rob. It gives me a little hope, but you and your blog represent the most enlightened and intelligent of the supporters of the Republican government of the USA. It will take a lot more damage to the world before the majority of Trump supporters realize that they bought into Trump’s scam. I long to see the day when Fox News openly calls for Trump’s impeachment.

    Please write a blog to address why the Republican party doesn’t seek impeachment! My idea is that it would just be 1) such a huge embarrassment for them 2) a loss of political power and 3) they are scared of Trump

  2. Well said Rob,

    One of the lonely voices of reason, logic and plain old common sense to a tragic and on-going situation where hysteria, media hype and gung -ho militarism is steadily ruining the lives of many innocent people.

    It’s only a pity that Trump and his “smart arse” generals are not so quick on the trigger whilst aiming their missiles at ISIS targets.

    I also smell a rat here. Assad may have done many bad things and there may be many good reasons to dislike him. But I hardly think that he is an absolute fool to do something so incrediblly stupid – and especially since he’s slowly winning the war!

    1. Thanks Peter. It really grieves me what is happening at the moment. The most dangerous time I can ever recall. I am sickened by those who stoked up this needless war in Syria, and by those who took the decision to fire cruise missiles yesterday at a sovereign nation on the basis of cooked up hearsay, and by the media who should be holding them to account, but are instead some of the worst propagandists in history. I’m off to read some imprecatory Psalms and pray in the same vein.

      Best wishes,

      Rob

  3. Karl Rove’s prophecy in the NYTimes magazine, October 17, 2004
    “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

  4. I quite agree. As one who had hope that Trump finally represented an unbought and unbuyable head of state, indeed the only candidate on either side who openly questioned the wisdom of the carnage (and the veracity of the premises) the US has brought to the middle east these last 15 years, I’m very surprised, confused and disturbed by his remarks today. This whole “gassed his own people” banality is ludicrous on its face. First no one, neither saints nor sinners, attack their “own people”. The anti-Assad insurrection was never spontaneous or indigenous, and this is easily demonstrable to anyone open to the truth. It doesn’t take much imagination to contrive either motive or means for a myriad of other actors dedicated to the overthrow of Syria, to conjure plausible, alternative scenarios. But one has to suspend all logic, in order to imagine Assad, who has already “won” militarily, and who is also politically shrewd, to have done it. It’s like a comic book plot they’re selling us. Let’s not buy it.

  5. I quite agree. As one who had hope that Trump finally represented an unbought and unbuyable head of state, indeed the only candidate on either side who openly questioned the wisdom of the carnage (and the veracity of the premises) the US has brought to the middle east these last 15 years, I’m very surprised, confused and disturbed by his remarks today. This whole “gassed his own people” banality is ludicrous on its face. First no one, neither saints nor sinners, attack their “own people”. The anti-Assad insurrection was never spontaneous or indigenous, and this is easily demonstrable to anyone open to the truth. It doesn’t take much imagination to contrive either motive or means for a myriad of other actors dedicated to the overthrow of Syria, to conjure plausible, alternative scenarios. But one has to suspend all logic, in order to imagine Assad, who has already “won” militarily, and who is also politically shrewd, to have done it. It’s like a comic book plot they’re selling us. Let’s not buy it.

  6. The US-CIA and their Western Vassals accuse the Syrian government of staging the poison gas attack without any evidence. I had the same thoughts and questions as this former UK Ambassador to Syria before I saw this video just now.

    I have been warning this world is heading to a nuclear holocaust. Watching CNN, MSNBC and reading the New York Times and The Washing Post with their relentless anti-Russia/Putin non-stop propaganda, I am more convinced than ever.

    I am only one voice crying in the wilderness, and if ordinary people don’t stop. watch, question, get involved and raise their voices, it will happen in OUR LIFETIMES.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS6Oa_aDS6E

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