Last night's scripted "attack" on Syria's Shayrat Airfield was the political equivalent of the WrestleMania 23 professional wrestling promotion in Detroit in 2007.
Not a legitimate reaction to the horrible atrocities being committed against the Syrian people by the discredited regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad in that nation's brutal civil war.
Political experts have been predicting for weeks that President Donald Trump will manufacture a fake conflict in a bid to claim the dictatorial powers of a wartime president. And save his floundering administration.
Among them The Cynical Times and populist author Noam Chomsky.
However, we all thought the political show would be a little more believable than Thursday's botched missile attack. Dubbed SyriaMania 23 in honor of Trump's brief foray into the alternative reality of professional wrestling.
The implausible script called for an attack on the Syrian airfield responsible for the chemical attack that claimed 86 lives Tuesday. There are only two problems with it - the unlikely leading man and his Russian allies.
Trump doesn't give a damn about his fellow Americans. So why should he care about the people of distant Syria? The very people he's worked so vigorously to stop from immigrating to the United States.
And why would he antagonize his friends in Russia, who helped him get elected by hacking into the confidential emails of the Democratic National Committee?
The real tragedy here is that the heart-wrenching videos of dead and dying Syrian children being exploited by Team Trump are shockingly real. And the beleaguered people of Syria really do need our help.
However, they're not going to get it from this guy.
The real estate developer who ordered the cynical missile strike is neither a principled leader of the free world nor a human rights champion. He's a fake tough guy who actually coordinated the strike with the Russian and Syrian militaries. Openly.
Trump is a modern-day PT Barnum who embraces the legendary huckster's belief that "there's a sucker born every minute."
Trump is at his best when he's playing to his strengths as a greedy, selfish piece of narcissistic garbage. The Reality TV Star was asked to go against type Thursday by pretending to care about the greater good, and it showed.
If you belong to the 35 Percent of Americans in a persistent vegetative state who still embrace his comforting fictions and knowing lies, go ahead. Keep backing this silver spoon.
However, we have higher expectations of ourselves and our fellow Americans at The Cynical Times than to fall for a half-assed con perpetrated by the political equivalent of a Three-Card-Monte dealer.
We also have higher expectations of the quality of the political lies thrown our way. The cliche-ridden plot of SyriaMania 23 is so obvious as to be insulting.
Whoever thought they could pass Trump off as the compassionate hero of the oppressed Syrian people must have been on acid. That's like asking actor John C. Reilley ( above left), who stands 6'2", to play TinkerBell.
To quote former Bulloch County Sheriff Arnold Ray Akins: "That dog won't hunt."
Or, if your prefer, Will Ferrell (click pic below right for video) quoting Col. Sanders: "I'm too drunk to taste this chicken."
Or how about Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles: "Fifteen is my limit on Schnitzengruben."
Trump is in the Oval Office for one reason only. To enrich himself by selling political protection to a corporate world obsessed with short-term profit growth.
If you still haven't figured that out, you're just as big an idiot as this political con artist takes you for.
SyriaMania 23 was a cynical use of political stagecraft meant to distract the public from Trump's floundering administration. It occurred just after The Donald's approval rating fell to 35 percent.
Uhuh, just like pregnancy and intercourse. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. At least so far as Trump's loyal supporters know.
The best analogy for Thursday's attack is to Trump's 2007 performance at WrestleMania 23 in Detroit. When wrestling promoter Vince McMahon presented Trump as the one thing he's not - a tough guy.
A visibly irritated Trump demands to know "what's going on over here" just before pouncing on the cooperative McMahon.
SyriaMania 23 followed a similar script.
The game-plan called for Trump to preen and pose as a strong leader and a principled man (click pic below right for video). Just as he did in WrestleMania 23. And then to attack a willing and cooperative Putin and Assad.
SyriaMania 23 is classic Trump, trying to have it both ways. All benefits, no burdens.
His wooden performance is being widely panned by the critics.
Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews described the SyriaMania 23 as a “wag the dog” strategy. A reference to the 1997 film by the same name in which a political adviser concocts a fake war to distract the public from a presidential sex scandal.
It's "reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s decision to attack Serbia in 1999 as impeachment clouds were building around his sexual relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky," Parry said.
An editorial published today in The Guardian newspaper compared Trump's willingness to use military action for political gain to that of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Noting that it's difficult to determine what the attack accomplished for Syrians.
"The uncertainty is supercharged by the fact that the attack was ordered by Donald Trump," said The Guardian. "A volatile narcissist without a coherent worldview, moral compass or significant attention span, who loudly urged Barack Obama not to take action after Mr Assad’s forces used sarin to kill more than 1,000 people at Ghouta in 2013."
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Wikileaks story, said there are plenty of historical precedents for U.S. elected leaders cynically boosting their political popularity via military conflicts. Among them, George H.W. Bush ordering the invasion of Panama in 1989 to shed his “wimp” image.
"Trump will be motivated to prove he’s not controlled by Putin via blackmail, by seeking confrontation with the Russian leader," Greenwald said. "Great rewards await political leaders who start new wars... U.S. war fever waits for nothing. Once the tidal wave of American war frenzy is unleashed, questioning the casus belli is impermissible."
How can anyone suggest Trump would use a military attack to cynically boost his approval rating? As Ronald Reagan did by ordering the 1983 invasion of the tiny island of Grenada.
You can start with the man himself.
Trump infamously tweeted in 2012 "now that Obama's poll numbers are in a tailspin - watch for him to launch a strike in Syria or Iran. He is desperate."
Obama didn't take Trump's advice, but the Donald did.
The best evidence of the degree to which this attack was a staged political show was the reaction of Trump's Russian allies, who seemed to be in on the gag.
“There will be many screams on the Russian television with people condemning the strikes, but everybody understands that this is just a symbolic act meant for Trump to look different from Obama,” said Vladimir Frolov, a Russian foreign affairs analyst. “There won’t be any tangible reaction. This was a one-off strike.”
Trump said he thought it was best for Assad to remain in office. Just before the dictator's discredited regime“categorically denied” responsibility for Tuesday's chemical attack.
Russia is defending Assad, whose regime provides its fading empire with its largest remaining military base in the Mediterranean Sea. According to Team Putin, Syrian jets were trying to kill people on Tuesday, but not with chemicals. They claim the jets hit a “terrorist warehouse” containing an arsenal of “toxic substances.”
Hence all the dead civilians.
The SyriaMania 23 script is meant to make Trump look like a humanitarian and a warrior who is willing to take on his Russian paymasters and their surrogates in the Syrian Army. It called for him to order the launch of 59 cruise missiles from two destroyers in The Med.
But not before Team Trump called the Russians first, 90 minutes ahead of time, so they could remove their troops and those of their Syrian allies from the targeted base.
I shit you not.
That means this was meant to be an attack on property. Not the war criminals who just dropped sarin bombs on children.
It was scripted to mislead the American electorate and channel their anger over the Syrian chemical attacks, which killed more than 20 children, in a way beneficial to Trump.
He was ready, with the kind of dignified presidential speech his predecessor Barack Obama is known for. Trump blamed Obama this week for not doing more to stop the situation in Syria.
Apparently, Trump thinks destroying a few aging fighter jets on the ground qualifies as "more."
"My fellow Americans, on Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians." Trump said in a prepared statement. "Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror."
Translation: "Hey stupid asses, check out this line of knowing bullshit someone wrote for me. I sound like friggin John Wayne."
Anyone who actually thinks this political opportunist cares about babies, or children, or anything but money and stock prices, is a fool. Plain and simple.
Essentially, Trump just spent more than $94 million on a political commercial for himself. That's the price-tag for 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at $1.59 million each,
What did the American people get in return?
Six dead Syrian soldiers and nine dead civilians, including four of the Syrian children Trump claims to care so much about. Trump's Russian friends say the 23 Tomahawks which found their mark also destroyed six MiG-23 Flogger fighter jets.
The Russian-made Flogger first entered service in 1967 and retails for about $4 million. The Eddie Bauer edition goes for about $6 million. Which means we just spent $11.5 million worth of cutting edge missiles to destroy each of these obsolete fighters, which are worth about one third of that amount.
What did you expect from a guy whose companies have declared bankruptcy five times?
Legally, we have to say "companies affiliated with the Trump name." Otherwise, this charlatan will sue us for implying he's affiliated with the companies he's affiliated with.
Do we want military conflict between the U.S. and Russia and/or Syria here at Cynical? Nope.
We also don't want a pretend war from a sheltered rich fool who has made a career out of manipulating the public.
This administration is all about corporate profit growth. Everything else is to manipulate slices of the 99 Percent into continuing to support the Predatory 1 Percent who back the political hookers who abound in our Konsistently Korrupt Korporate Kongress. Hookers like Upper East Side Donnie Trump.
Look, you are being manipulated. And when you fall for this nonsense the rest of us get taken for a ride too.
The hell with that noise.
To quote Cher in Moonstruck (click pic at left for video): "Snap out of it already."
If you voted for Trump you made a mistake.
There's a reason why people don't drink and vote. And his name is Donnie Trump.
How can you make it right if you supported this klown?
You can't. But you can admit you've had your fill of schnitzengruben and move on.