Let's move to America now. How was the urgent need for a missile attack on Syria presented to the US public?
Alexander Khristenko is reporting from Washington.
Strikes against Syria were preceded by a series of meetings. Donald Trump was to drop the curtain. The Wall Street Journal reports that the US president demanded the most hardline options from his advisors, including at attack that would punish not only Syria, but also Russia.
The plan is unknown, but the meeting discussed it back on March 9th. Trump introduced his new national security advisor John Bolton to the military on the same day. He's known to be obsessed with war.
Donald Trump: «I want to thank ambassador John Bolton for joining us. I think he’s going to be a fantastic representative of our team. He’s highly respected by everybody in this room.
John Bolton: „It’s an honor to be here“.
Warmonger Bolton is eager to bomb any international issue. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern describes Bolton as „crazy“. And he's not alone. McGovern shows some of his correspondence with George H. W. Bush. In January 2003, the former US president wrote McGovern not to worry about the „crazies“ surrounding his son, president George W. Bush. But in the end, it was they who unleashed the Iraq war: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Bolton, the then deputy secretary of state. Now he has a key post of the National Security Advisor.
Ray McGovern: „If you ask me who wrote that e-mail 2 days ago to the president like „we're going to fire missiles, they'll be very 'smart', Mr. Putin, beware!“, I'm sure it was Bolton, he's the last person Trump sees in the evening. and he is the first person the president meets in the morning. As for sensible people in Trump's team, now it's Secretary of Defense Mattis. The military used to only fuel presidents, now Mattis is Trump's brake. He is a Marine general and knows something about the war that Bolton and Trump cannot even imagine. “
James Mattis was nicknamed 'Mad Dog' in the Iraq war. Now, as the head of the Pentagon, he understands whom he'll throw under the bus and what an escalated conflict is fraught with. Thus, it's Mattis who's said to have spurred the decision to reduce the number of targets in Syria and use to the fullest the line to prevent conflicts with Russia in the air.
On Thursday, he openly stated that the Pentagon has no evidence that it was Assad who had carried out a chemical attack, they were only information from social networks. Then he changed his position, but sounded unconvincing.
A journalist: „You said you couldn't confirm you had the evidence. When did you become confident that the chemical attack did take place? The second question…“
James Mattis: „Yes, I said that yesterday“.
A journalist: „You said that Assad's chemical weapons production facilities were among the targets. If there had been chemical weapons, it would have threatened people's health in the region“.
James Mattis: „We don't believe we did very close analysis. We did everything we could, and our intelligence data allows us to minimize the risk of casualties“.
That is, Washington was likely to know in advance that there were no chemicals there, which didn't cancel the strikes. Even those dozens of intercepted Tomahawks seem to have hit the targets set by the White House. The attack on Syria coincided with another spiral of the investigation into Trump's alleged collusion with the Kremlin. Accusations of ties with Russians seem to be Trump's major problem, beleaguering him since the first days of his presidency.
Mueller's commission keeps digging up on him. The FBI searched the office and the house of Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen. The lawyer is suspected of having concealed some negative information on then candidate Trump. But following the airstrikes, the US media switched to Syria with pleasure. Right after Trump announced the air strikes protesters picketed in front of his residence.
People: „Stop bombing Syria! Stop bombing Syria!“ There's a demonstration in front of the White House. People are shouting: „Stop bombing Syria“ and „No more war in the Middle East“. At first, the protesters were picketing right in front of the fence of the White House. Now, the police have sealed off the road and the adjacent area.
A protester: „There's no evidence! We were told that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We never found them and now the history's repeating itself“.
However, the American media draws another picture. This time, the exceptional nature of the US was emphasized by the future Chief Diplomat Mike Pompeo during his appointment hearings.
Tim Kaine, US senator: „If we embrace the regime change as a standard goal for the US foreign policy why can't other countries agree?“
Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State nominee: „Senator, I must say I don't find it to be the same. Our country is unique. Exceptional. Russia is unique, but not exceptional“.
Paul Craig Roberts, political analyst: „We have a new ideology in the US, similar to the Nazi Germany in the 1930's. The ideology of an American superstate. Russia and China are growing powers that impede the idea of the American supremacy. Russia is a major obstacle in the way of Neo-conservatives to reaching their goal. Thus, Russia's been openly announced to be our enemy“.
Russia and the USA went through the cold war which was referenced at the Boston Auction. A map previously owned by President Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis was sold there for $138,000, seven times the initial price. At that time, the world was on the brink of a nuclear disaster. The map dates back to October 27, 1962. The positions of each Soviet missile, bomber, fighter, and nuclear weapon storage are marked on the map.
Frederic William Engdahl, political analyst: „We're really close to a situation similar to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. At that time our agenda was „an eye for an eye“, but today our president acts in an erratic way. And he's got his nuclear codes“.
Ray McGovern, former national security adviser: „In 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy was our president. He was a reasonable man. He knew firsthand what war is like. And when the military told him: „Let's strike those Russians with a nuclear warhead. It'll just kill some 20-30 million people. “ Kennedy told them it was madness. He stormed out of the room and told his brother Bobby to keep those people off him. Today, we have an unbalanced president who lives under constant pressure, mainly political. They want to push him into showing off in front of the Russians. And when Trump bombed an airfield a year ago, the media said: „He's finally become presidential. “ That's crazy. “
A journalist: „What will happen next? What should we be afraid of?“
Stephen Cohen, historian: „Your generation was born after the Cuban crisis but you were taught in school, just like my kids that in 1962 we were one step away from a nuclear war with Russia. We must never repeat that, assuming we've learned our lesson. And we're so close to repeating that, that I'm extremely worried“.
»Mission accomplished, " wrote Donald Trump in his Twitter referring to the Syrian strikes. An air striking group departed from Norfolk and is on its way to Mediterranean led by the Harry Truman aircraft carrier. The Pentagon claims this is a routine voyage. But it's obvious, that it could turn into a combat operation any minute.
Alexander Khristenko, Nikolai Koskin Andrey Putra, and Alexander Korastilyev Vesti — News of the Week, Washington, the USA.