Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 13, 2015

U.S. War On Syria - For WaPo's Erin Cunningham "It Never Happened"

At $1 billion, Syria-related operations account for about $1 of every $15 in the CIA’s overall budget, ...
U.S. officials said the CIA has trained and equipped nearly 10,000 fighters sent into Syria over the past several years — meaning that the agency is spending roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program.
Secret CIA effort in Syria faces large funding cut
Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, June 12 2015


The ambiguity of the mission has highlighted concerns about the United States’s growing involvement in the Syrian conflict, which is estimated to have killed more than 230,000 people since 2011.

The United States has so far played a limited role, training a handful of Syrian rebels who it says were vetted for ties to extremists.

U.S. said it will create a safe zone on Syrian border. But nobody knows how.
Erin Cunningham, Washington Post, Aug 13 2015


It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the U.S. throughout the world have been systematic, constant, clinical, remorseless, and fully documented but nobody talks about them.
It Never Happened, Harold Pinter, 1997

Posted by b on August 13, 2015 at 12:01 UTC | Permalink


Nobody talks about them. From Wounded Knee to Syria: a Century of US Military Interventions, by Zoltán Grossman. A timeline.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 13 2015 12:22 utc | 1

Sounds like the Amerikas war vendors are making a killing;)

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 13 2015 13:44 utc | 2

jfl @ 1: Thanks for the Grossman link, I'll bookmark it. Here's another. Not that it will ever resonate with the American public.

Posted by: ben | Aug 13 2015 14:02 utc | 3

This is from pepe escobar's latest: "What the Turks – and America’s Arab vassals – do want is for Syrian ‘moderate rebels’, jihadists included, to get together and make a decisive play to conquer Aleppo. Syria’s largest city also happens to be Erdogan’s key strategic target. That, according to Ankara and the House of Saud’s wet dreams, would be the beginning of the road towards regime change."

I think Escobar has this backwards. I think Erdogan knows that the Assad is on his way out via a "transitional government" and so he is positioning Turkey to seize Aleppo creating facts on the ground that will remain in place after Assad steps down.

This probably can be connected to MoA's earlier post on Turkish tanks crossing the border.

Posted by: plantman | Aug 13 2015 15:59 utc | 4

It is laughable to read the US Newspapers whose reporters are taking it easy either in Beirut or Cairo or Amman and then write about what is happening in Syria, Iraq or South Lebanon.

Posted by: Yul | Aug 13 2015 16:33 utc | 5

@ 1 and @3

As an addendum :

Posted by: Yul | Aug 13 2015 16:37 utc | 6

My take. It seems to me that what we fail to understand in all of this may be something along the lines of: The fundamental nature of all civilization (and their consequent empires) is exploitation. The exploitation of the environment, of the non-elite worker, of others too 'weak' to prevent the empires from expanding has been going on forever. The American empire is little more than the latest in a long series of exploitationist (called civilized) empires. It is, methinks, in our DNA.

Thus, our very lifestyles DEMAND that we do what we do. That is NOT to suggest that it is right, correct, or appropriate. In simple words, the American people expect our empire to dominate. It is MUCH older than Wounded Knee ... it goes back through our so-called independence and democracy to the very first empire (I'll let you argue if you want regarding who was first) and the very first glimmers of what we call civilization. It is a brutal reality and one which requires that we examine our very souls (I'm not religious, so don't go there, souls is a symbol for the values we hold dear).

So, just my POV.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Aug 13 2015 17:45 utc | 7

Yes, that it why it ought to be called the Outlaw Empire and pursued by a planetary posse until it's locked in a jail forevermore.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 13 2015 18:14 utc | 8

Posted by: Rg an LG | Aug 13, 2015 1:45:33 PM | 7

Gimme a break. Fewer than 1% of people who think that way, act that way.
It's not our souls that need examining, it's the 1%'s.
A lot of exploratory surgery, to reveal what an asshole's sole looks like (using the 1%'s preferred 'surgical' instruments) would go a long way toward solving the problem - whether or not there were any souls to be found therein.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 13 2015 18:22 utc | 9

Rg an LG @7

Links? I highly doubt that exploitation is fundamental to civilization. Your statement is equivalent to: "We need oligarchs - civilization can't operate without them!"

There have been civilizations that have been cooperative instead of competitive(*). But the competitive model has been better at scaling - because desperate people can be made to work hard, think-up new technology, and fight others. Thus, Europeans conquered the Americas.

But there the advantages of competitiveness may have run its course. In our complex, inter-dependent world cooperative models of living and working may be more efficient and lead to better outcomes. What stands against such a development is principally oligarch resistance. For example, a cooperative world would have less need for military expenditures which is estimated to be 2.3% of World GDP in 2014!!


* Note a cooperative model differs from a command economy like the former Soviet Union. Co-ops operate within the capitalist system.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 13 2015 18:28 utc | 10

Rg an LG, Horsewhisper and Jackrabbit:
The problem is both existential and very difficult. The best discussion of it all is Joseph Tainter's "The collapse of complex societies" (1988).
Also the novels of John Greer (Twilight Gleams, and Star´s Reach) present very well worked out scenarios of what is happening and where we could be going.

And all are fascinating reading.

Posted by: jearls | Aug 13 2015 20:24 utc | 11

first week in june

solly long links aah saw

4 years and the wheel turns

for whom does the wheel turn ?

does a bear shit in the woods,does a turkey fly,does a camel hump...who knows

15 the september

i already posted this in the open thread .....first week in june is interesting....if you read both links carefully then it is all there to see and understand

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 13 2015 22:08 utc | 12

Pentagon: Reports "credible" mustard gas used in ISIS attack

of course, in the words of the local ISIS booster, takfiri use of chemical weapons is all "rumor in innuendo" right?

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 14 2015 0:10 utc | 13

Posted by: jearls | Aug 13, 2015 4:24:31 PM | 11

Thanks for your shortlist of must-reads. However there are many extant examples of prose exploring the issues of What Went Wrong/ What's Going Wrong/ What Is Wrong with the world. But the situation looks less 'existential and very difficult' if one focuses on what Is wrong. And the answer is the pantomime/shell game known as Politics. The majority of Politicians in Westernised demockracies are bought and paid for BEFORE becoming candidates for election in the utterly fake Two Party system.

This has led to the election of people whose loyalty is to their sponsors and explains why they pretend to listen to "voers" while ensuring that nothing of consequence is debated openly in the Mock Parliament. Everything of importance is debated in secret due to National Security or some other equally fatuous excuse.

It's simply not true that something as important as Defense has to be debated and resolved in private/secret because:
1. Every country has its own spies in every other country of consequence and is also, equally, a victim of the spies of those 'other' countries. So our potential enemies know what our defense machinations are about before We The People find out, if ever.
2. The Military/Defense, everywhere, is more famous for its blunders than for its successes and any plans should, therefore, be subject to Citizen Oversight before being adopted as National Policy.
3. Since politicians can't be trusted to make logical, coherent, cost-effective military/defense decisions, there is no compelling reason to trust them to decide any lesser issues without Citizen Oversight.

We've been brainwashed into accepting as fact the false premise that citizens, collectively, are too unqualified to resolve "important" issues. But the obvious flaw in that proposition is that, collectively, "citizens" includes ALL the smart people in a given country. We're all comment Junkies because we want to know what real people really think, as opposed to what we're told they think, by "official" polls over which we kave no control.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 14 2015 2:53 utc | 14

Did the U.S. Just Kill 5 Kids in Syria?

According to a Syrian monitor group, warplanes believed to be part of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition bombed and killed 18 people in the Idlib province town of Atmeh on Tuesday night, close to the Turkish border.

Eight of the alleged fatalities were civilians, including women and children—among them, five young sisters and a three-person family of internally displaced persons.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate strikes another blow for peace. So many to kill ... and only 526 days left to kill them before Obama passes through the revolving door and buries his hands up to his elbows in the pot of gold at the end of his personal rainbow.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 14 2015 5:50 utc | 15

Yul @ 6: Another brick in the wall for my bookmarks. Thanks. The hard part, is finding an American to share this additional info with, that gives a shit.

Posted by: ben | Aug 14 2015 15:12 utc | 16


It is, methinks, in our DNA.

Supposed genetic propensities radically underdetermine actual lived social and political reality. Looked at differently, if we posit a gene for imperial exploitation we really haven't done any explanatory work. Why not a gene for, say, operating a motor vehicle?

What the genetic argument does, though, is let the rapacious psychopaths that run this world (exclusively to their own benefit) off the hook. The burden of responsibility shifts to the vaguely conceived "all of us", what with our nasty DNA and all.

Posted by: Martin Finnucane | Aug 14 2015 16:39 utc | 18


I agree about DNA but it is the Y chromosome that has been the predominate factor in the development of our civilization. This was especially evident after the monotheists destroyed or turned the female earth Goddesses into whores to be dominated along with everything else on earth.

This realignment of culture was required to implement the militaristic, Patriarchal, Death Cult that we see today.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 14 2015 17:01 utc | 19

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