a Salute to the “Russia-gate” Faithful – Consortiumnews

Proponents of the Russia-gate conspiracy got what they wished for when Donald Trump risked war with Russia with his Syria strike, comments Norman Solomon.

By Norman Solomon

Politicians, pundits and activists who’ve routinely denounced President Donald Trump as a tool of Vladimir Putin can now mull over a major indicator of their cumulative impact: The U.S.-led missile attack on Syria before dawn Saturday is the latest benchmark for gauging the effects of continually baiting Trump as a puppet of Russia’s president.

Heavyweights of U.S. media — whether outlets such as CNN and MSNBC or key newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post — spent most of last week clamoring for Trump to order air strikes on Syria. Powerful news organizations have led the way in goading Trump to prove that he’s not a Putin lackey after all.

One of the clearest ways that Trump can offer such proof is to recklessly show he’s willing to risk a catastrophic military confrontation with Russia.

In recent months, the profusion of “war hawks, spies and liars” on national television has been part of a media atmosphere that barely acknowledges what’s at stake with games of chicken between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Meanwhile, the dominant U.S. news media imbue their reporting with a nationalistic sense of impunity.

Putin and Trump in Hamburg, July 7, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

On Saturday morning, the top headline on the Times website was “U.S. Attacks Syria in Retaliatory Strike,” while the subhead declared that “Western resolve” was at work. The story led off by reporting that Trump “sought to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus on [April 7] that kill killed more than 40 people.”

Try putting the shoe on the other foot for a moment. Imagine that Russia, with a similar rationale, fired missiles at U.S. ally Saudi Arabia because the Kremlin “sought to punish King Salman for his country’s war crimes in Yemen” — with such reportage appearing under a headline that described the Russian attack as a “retaliatory strike.”

The latest U.S. air attack on…

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