Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 26, 2014

State Department Changes Rhetoric On Civilian Casualties In Syria

The Syrian air-force attacked some Islamic State targets in the eastern Syrian city Raqqa. Many were killed and wounded including civilians.

During the last years the U.S. government would condemn and comment such an attacks as "Assad is killing his own people".

That has changed. The US State Department Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) commented on Twitter on the air-raid on Raqqa:


So instead of a demagogic "Assad kills his own people" State CSO now comments "civilians caught in the crossfire".

That quote demonstrates a remarkable change in the State Department's position. Unsurprisingly supporters of the Jihadists and mercenaries fighting the Syrian people were quite enraged about that comment calling it a "new low".

That "new low" change in rhetoric may have come because the air raids by the U.S. air force on Jihadists in Syria also cause civilian death. Or it may be the expression of a genuine change in the position towards the Syrian government. We can not yet tell how far this may go.

How will the State Department now comment when Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamic State or U.S. supported mercenaries kill civilians during their attacks on the Syrian government? Will those also be "caught in the crossfire"?

When the State Department condemns those civilian death in stronger words than those killed during  government action then a genuine, not just rhetoric, change of positions will have occurred.

Posted by b on November 26, 2014 at 9:49 UTC | Permalink


Whatever they say is 'Public Relations' and bears no relation to the world of flesh and blood that we inhabit. No matter what they say it is only occasionally, tangentially, and fortuitously related to fact. If their lips are moving, they're lying. That goes for any government but goes 'exceptionally' for the 'indispensable' liars in AC/DC.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 26 2014 10:27 utc | 1

Right on jfl. Succinctly, 'the only time they tell the truth is when it just happens to coincide with their agenda'.

Posted by: juannie | Nov 26 2014 11:48 utc | 2

Quite unbelievable really.

It took me a while to move beyond the word "Government". That in itself feels like a monumental shift and requires a moment of quite reflection of how far we seem to have come.
But to go out of their way to explain what happened, why it happened and effectively justify the apparent killing of civilians "caught in the crossfire" by the Syrian Government seems to me as astounding.
Though I agree, one swallow doesn't make a summer. It'll take a few more of these to signal some genuine change.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Nov 26 2014 17:11 utc | 3

@1 jfl.. yea - i see it that way too.

it is collateral damage when the usa does it, and murdering innocent people when others do it.. i am not sure what is up with the twitter comment either.

Posted by: james | Nov 26 2014 18:05 utc | 4

The USA is having a hard time reporting that it has killed civilians while striking ISIS-held areas.
Therefore the term " caught in crossfires" is now applied to any civilians killed while ISIS is been bombed.

The Syrian airforce is encouraged to attack Raqqa so the USA can always claim it has not killed civilians. For the Syrian army it is an excellent opportunity to get rid of two enemies in the same time, ISIS and the Islamists rebels while triggering minimal protests.
Of course the USA is "helping" the Syrian government. In exchange, the Syrian army is "helping" the USA against ISIS by providing forces on the ground that the West, Turkey and all Arab countries have refused to provide. By doing so, unwillingly, the legitimacy of the Syrian government and its army is been recognized.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 26 2014 19:16 utc | 5

What is the source of this air-raid? Is it AlJazeera or AlArabiya or, as I heard, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights? Any wonder they claim that a mosque and a market were hit?
And the SOHR is a very dubious source, look it up: Abdulrahman (Osama Suleiman) is the only solid employee of this organisation. Together with the barrelbombs and the still circulating chem attack accusations it is poisoning Al Assad. Virgile, how can you reason that this is "recognizing the legitimacy of the SyrGov"??
The West wouldn't do such things - Item 1: Assad has to go.
off topic - item 2: "nothing justifies the annexation of Crimea" (Quotation today from Merkelwitch)
and I fully agree with jfl@1.

Posted by: slirs | Nov 26 2014 20:57 utc | 6


Wasting US$ milliion trying to kill a foreign Jihadist or ....

But the two strikes against Drugeon also suggest he is more than just another European who’s joined the jihad against the West. A monthlong McClatchy probe — spanning five countries and interviews with more than a dozen intelligence officials — found many who believe that the French intelligence service once recruited Drugeon to work as an informant inside al-Qaida, only to see him enthusiastically pursue a life of jihad.

Drugeon first came to the attention of international intelligence services — the French were aware of him sooner — as the rumored mastermind behind a “lone wolf” attack in March 2012, when a Frenchman of Algerian descent, Mohammed Merah, killed three Jewish schoolchildren and four others in a shooting spree across southern France

Posted by: Yul | Nov 27 2014 14:29 utc | 7

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