The World

Apr 16, 2018

Did the missile attack on Syria really happen?

Western military attacks on Syria's chemical weapons sites serve little purpose, are entirely incoherent, and part of profoundly flawed interventionist urge that plays out as ritual that may as well be fake.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Did the US, the UK and France actually fire 100 missiles at three chemical weapons sites in Syria on Friday night? They say they did. Russia says they did, and angrily denounced the strikes. Other countries say they did. Like Australia -- both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten supported the attacks.

Or were they just fake news? Like tweets circulated by people purporting to show pictures of them that are in fact from other Middle Eastern countries decades ago, thus conveying (who knows? maybe deliberately?) the irony of the perpetual present of Western bombardment of the Middle East? Like Wag The Dog, in which an administration fakes an entire war to distract from a president's sex scandals (made during the Clinton years, back when a president actually having even one sex scandal was considered grounds for impeachment -- the past is another country, yada yada). Like those disgusting pro-Assad lefties on social media, who dismiss any accusation of war crimes by the butcher Assad as elaborately staged conspiracies by the US Deep State. Like Jean Baudrillard arguing that the Gulf War (#1, but he was writing before we had to number them) Did Not Take Place, that it existed for the West purely as propagandistic spectacle.

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