Less than 24 hours after an attack on two separate oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz American intelligence agencies are claiming they already have “smoking gun” evidence that Iran was behind the attack.
I’m not going to go into detail about the actual attacks here, you can find that information in plenty of other places. But what I am going to focus on is the use of the phrase “smoking gun” and how it almost always relates to intelligence agencies selling a fake narrative to promote war.
One doesn’t need to go back very far to remember the beginnings of the Iraq war. The now famous build-up to that war was filled with daily reminders from intelligence agencies of “smoking gun” evidence regarding Iraq’s WMD programs and how advanced they were. Not only that, George W. Bush himself took the metaphor even further by warning in a pre-war speech that the smoking gun could turn into a mushroom cloud if war was not started immediately. A phrase echoed by then National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.
More recently we have the alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria. Within hours of the attack there was HD quality news footage of the fallout from the attack. Once gain, this was labeled as “smoking gun” evidence. Those who questioned it were ridiculed, but time proved their skepticism was warranted. Even hawkish General Mattis who was Secretary of Defense at the time later stated the attack may not have happened as first reported and there was no evidence of a chemical attack.
Trump himself has been on the wrong end of this “smoking gun” propaganda phrase as well. During the now discredited Russia collusion investigation, the FBI, intelligence agencies, and the press often touted “smoking gun” evidence of Trump’s collusion with Russia. Of course now we now that it was all fake and all those smoking guns turned out to be duds.
You see, the reason intelligence agencies love to use the phrase “smoking gun” is because it suggests that the viewer or reader doesn’t need to think critically. The case has been solved, the questions already answered. When a news headline says they have smoking gun evidence, there is almost no need to read the article. The case has been solved, now it’s time to move on to the punishment phase.
So don’t be fooled by more talk of “smoking guns”. This is an old trick of intelligence agencies and their mouthpieces in the media to sell you on a narrative. It’s an old an overplayed trick and one that always turns out to be a lie.
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