Scott Adams on the Syrian gas attacks

[Correction 4/8/2017: Sarin, as peteybee of Spread an Idea pointed out, is a liquid, not a gas.]

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoon and a self-described expert on persuasion, thinks that the best way for President Trump to respond to fake news about Syrian gas attacks is by means of a fake response—

The reason the Assad government would bomb its own people with a nerve agent right now is obvious. Syrian President Assad – who has been fighting for his life for several years, and is only lately feeling safer – suddenly decided to commit suicide-by-Trump.

Scott Adams

Because the best way to make that happen is to commit a war crime against your own people in exactly the way that would force President Trump to respond or else suffer humiliation at the hands of the mainstream media.

And how about those pictures coming in about the tragedy.  Lots of visual imagery. Dead babies.

It is almost as if someone designed this “tragedy” to be camera-ready for President Trump’s consumption.  It pushed every one of his buttons.  Hard.  And right when things in Syria were heading in a positive direction.

  • Interesting timing.
  • Super-powerful visual persuasion designed for Trump in particular.
  • Suspiciously well-documented event for a place with no real press.
  • No motive for Assad to use gas to kill a few dozen people at the cost of his entire regime. It wouldn’t be a popular move with Putin either.
  • The type of attack no U.S. president can ignore and come away intact.
  • A setup that looks suspiciously similar to the false WMD stories that sparked the Iraq war.

I’m going to call bullshit on the gas attack.  It’s too “on-the-nose,” as Hollywood script-writers sometimes say, meaning a little too perfect to be natural.  This has the look of a manufactured event.

My guess is that President Trump knows this smells fishy, but he has to talk tough anyway.  However, keep in mind that he has made a brand out of not discussing military options.  He likes to keep people guessing.  He reminded us of that again yesterday, in case we forgot.

So how does a Master Persuader respond to a fake war crime?

He does it with a fake response, if he’s smart.

Source: Scott Adams’ Blog.

As Lily Tomlin said years ago, I try to be cynical, but it’s hard to keep up.

We’re operating in the realm of guesswork here.  We the public don’t know exactly what happened, much less what President Trump is thinking.

If Trump really intends a fake war, I have to say that would be better than waging a real war.

Of course that raises the question of defining the difference between a fake war and a real war.

We Americans have been taught by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama not to think of bombings, guided missile attacks, and special operations teams as real war.   For most of us, it is only real war when large numbers of Americans come home in body bags, as under the George W. Bush administration.

Maybe we don’t consider a single attack, in which relatively few Syrians are die, as an act of war—just a strong expression of disapproval.

But what happens when the single attack is shown to have changed nothing?  What is the next step?  And the next?   How is all this supposed to end?


The Syrian Gas Attack Persuasion by Scott Adams.

Waiting for the bodybags by Carl Beijer.

U.S. air strikes in Syria latest: Russia suspends agreement that prevents direct conflict with American forces by Lizzie Dearden, Tom Batchelor and Caroline Mortimer for The Independent.


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