Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 01, 2015

Obama Administration SHOCKED That People Being Bombed By It Retaliate (Updated)

Over the last year the U.S. bombed Jabhat al-Nusra personal and facilities in Syria some five or six times. The al-Qaeda subgroup also has a history of attacking U.S. paid "relative moderate" proxy forces in Syria.

The Pentagon recently inserted another U.S. mercenary group into north Syria. This was accompanied by a media campaign in which the administration lauded itself for the operation. The newly inserted group is especially trained and equipped to direct U.S. air attacks like those that earlier hit al-Nusra fighters.

Now that freshly inserted group was attacked by Jabhat al-Nusra. Some of its members were killed and others were abducted.

The Obama administration is shocked, SHOCKED, ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED that Jabhat al-Nusra would do such a ghastly deed. "Why would they do that?" "Who could have known that they would attack U.S. proxy forces???"

The attack on Friday was mounted by the Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda. It came a day after the Nusra Front captured two leaders and at least six fighters of Division 30, which supplied the first trainees to graduate from the Pentagon’s anti-Islamic State training program.

In Washington, several current and former senior administration officials acknowledged that the attack and the abductions by the Nusra Front took American officials by surprise and amounted to a significant intelligence failure.

While American military trainers had gone to great lengths to protect the initial group of trainees from attacks by Islamic State or Syrian Army forces, they did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front. In fact, officials said on Friday, they expected the Nusra Front to welcome Division 30 as an ally in its fight against the Islamic State.
A senior Defense Department official acknowledged that the threat to the trainees and their Syrian recruiters had been misjudged, and said that officials were trying to understand why the Nusra Front had turned on the trainees.

Like other Obama administration operations this one did not fail because of "intelligence failure" but because an utter lack of common sense.

Could someone explain to the fucking dimwits in the Pentagon and the Obama administrations that people everywhere, and especially terrorists group, hate it when you bomb them and kill their leaders? That those people you bomb might want to take revenge against you and your proxies? That people you bombed will not like your targeting team moving in next door to them? That alQaeda is not an "ally"?

These people are too pathetically clueless to even be embarrassed about it.

The accumulated intelligence quotient of the administration and Pentagon officials running the anti-Syria operation must be below three digits. But aside from their lack of basic intelligence the utter lack of simple "street smarts" is the real problem here. These people have no idea how life works outside of their beltway cages.

UPDATE: The one sane guy at the Council of Foreign relations, Micah Zenko, foresaw this debacle and wrote on March 2:

[The U.S. trained mercenaries] will immediately be an attractive target for attacks by the Islamic State, Assad’s ground and air forces, and perhaps Nusra and other forces. Killing or taking prisoner fighters (or the families of those fighters) who were trained by the U.S. military will offer propaganda value, as well as leverage, to bargain for those prisoners’ release.

He compared the whole operation to the 1961 CIA invasion of Cuba:

Last September, the White House and Congress agreed to authorize and fund a train-and-equip project similar to the Bay of Pigs, but this time in the Middle East, without any discussion about phase two. The Syrian project resembles 1961 in two ways: What happens when the fighting starts is undecided, and the intended strategic objective is wholly implausible.

On more thought from me on why the dimwits did not foresee that Nusra would attack. The White House insisted on calling a part of Nusra the "Khorasan group" and explained that it was only bombing this groups of alQaeda veterans now part of Nusra because the "Khorasan group" planning to hit in "western" countries. No expert nor anyone on the ground in Syria thought that this differentiation was meaningful. Nusra is alQaeda and so are all of its members.

But the White House and Pentagon probably thought that Nusra would accept the artificial separation they themselves had made up. That Nusra would understand that it is seen as an "ally" and only the "Khorasan group" is seen as an enemy. If that was the line of thinking, and the situation seems to point to that, then these people have fallen for their own propaganda stunt. They probably believed that the "Khorasan group" was an accepted narrative because they were telling that tale to themselves. Poor idiots.

Posted by b on August 1, 2015 at 11:10 UTC | Permalink


"These people are too pathetically clueless"

Clueless ® ©

The goto answer for clowns everywhere

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 1 2015 12:17 utc | 1

Unlimited budget and resources allow innumerous experimental tactics. Mistakes serve to assist in the genocide of regional inhabitants and imported mercenaries with similar cultures and skin tones. Cannon Fodder. Balkanization of the Middle East. Yinon Plan.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 1 2015 12:22 utc | 2

America is insulated materially and spiritually.......assholes

Posted by: notlurking | Aug 1 2015 13:06 utc | 3


Freedom fighters or bad guys, rice tents and village schools,
it's all just business, get over it!!! Red Army or Blue Army,
Future Warrior or Aid Worker, Mil.Gov is still the Supreme Soviet Uber Alles, greatest Corporation since the Pharoahs, and we are all of us, its servants or slaves.

We won, you lost. Get back to work, your 2Q quarterly income taxes are due, or We'll turn off your pathetic little lives.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a *** $718,299,821 contract modification *** to a previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contract (N00019-15-C-0031) for non-air vehicle spares, support equipment, Autonomic Logistics Information System hardware and software upgrades, supply chain management, full mission simulators and non-recurring engineering services in support of low-rate initial production Lot 8 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft for the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, international partner, and *** foreign military sales customers ***.

Ha,ha. On to Tehran for the Party!!

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 1 2015 13:42 utc | 4

I had to laugh .......inserted ........then .....followed by media campaign

sounds like sex with trumpet.....thrust and blow,thrust and blow,thrust and the wall we go

ships are sailing....riggings out
pass the rum then turn a bout
bend on over to the count of five
lets do the insert media jive

clinton,s flailing trump,s on pump
jeb looks ready to take a dump
syria,s burning in a dive
lets do the insert media jive

insert media ,insert media
vdo the insert media jive

(TM mco 2015)

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 1 2015 13:43 utc | 5

@ #3.
Their ingrained cultural rejection of empathy is what's catching up with them.
Anyone can play that game. The Taliban and Vietnamese became better at it than the Masters Of The Universe Yankees.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1 2015 13:56 utc | 6

I'm waiting for a Special Forces Mission to rescue Nadeem Hassan from the clutches of al-Nusra.

Posted by: dh | Aug 1 2015 13:58 utc | 7

All the comments are awesome hahaha, until America, USA is finally threatened militarily by another power with a missle falling on one of it's cities then it will finally cease it's terrorism.

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 1 2015 14:05 utc | 8

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 1, 2015 9:42:23 AM | 4

Are the contracts you update us with from the "earmark" list?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1 2015 14:06 utc | 9

Remember, Military Intelligence is an oxymoron.

Article in today's MSM: FAA concerned about threat posed by drones. I kid you not!

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 1 2015 14:10 utc | 10

From TRNN:Turkey Enters Fight Against ISIS, But Target is Still Assad

Posted by: ben | Aug 1 2015 14:14 utc | 11

Posted by: Fernando | Aug 1, 2015 10:05:51 AM | 8

Nothing will change until the entire shadow govt, and its appendages, have been dragged out of their comfy beds and lynched.
Uncle Donald told everyone that War is messy...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 1 2015 14:23 utc | 12

Except they're not "pathetically clueless". The goal is and has always been to take down the Syrian regime -- to slice up Syria and give pieces to various parties and to disconnect the Shia crescent supply lines between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Lebanon.

The goal has been there since like, the 1990s. And now they've become not just neocon goals but the goals of the Israel & Gulf State alliance. Documented in the Rumsfeld Pentagon memo that Wes Clark blabbed about.

The mission was delayed, yes, by a decade+ when the Cheney/Rumsfeld misadventure in Iraq nearly derailed the whole 'rearrange the Middle East' strategy. And derailed by some agents of sanity in the US military and intelligence infrastructure. But Obama put all of that back on course eventually. In 2011 he took care of destabilizing Libya. Continued work on Somalia and Sudan. Then in 2013 he tried to take out all of Assad's bases, air defense, and god only knows what else. But he hit a brick wall from the same agents of sanity in his own regime, not to mention some 90+% of the American populace and some Russian war ships in the eastern Med.

But that doesn't mean the goal changed. McCain & Graham and others make that clear like, every day. So they backed up and sold the country on another reason to get back into the 7 country overthrow business and regional war in Iraq and Syria instead. ISIS. A sensational, satanic target that Americans bought hook, line and sinker. Iraqi govt and Shia militias were scared shitless and reconsidered that setback where they threw all US troops out of their country (plus that minor regime change in Baghdad too, don't forget). And then after shocking, horrific beheading photos plastered everywhere all through western media, endless video clips of sympathethic, stranded on a mountain top Yazidis running on US media 24/7 for days or weeks, social media flooded with the pure evil of ISIS, and much much more, the unthinkable was achieved - the president convinced the country to go back into Iraq. And Iraq quietly became Syria too.

But who thinks the goal ever changed? Does anybody think that?
The Cheney/Rumsfeld 7 country plan was back on track with a whole new branding and justification. With a new govt in Baghdad. Eventually with a new US Sec of Defense. (Hagel wasn't going back to the Cheney/Rumsfeld plan, but he didn't blow the whistle either, or at least not to the public.)

And all the bumbling failures began again. The "setbacks" when the tip of the iceberg "rebels" we trained somehow fell into the hands of the AQ forces fighting Assad. OMG, what a "bumble". What a "setback" that something happened to further the original goal.

War party hacks in the media threw out some trial balloons about allying with al Qaeda. And astoundingly it didn't create that big of an uproar. But still, it was probably a bridge too far for the administration and the military machine whose main legal foundation for waging war is the 2001 AUMF against.. al Qaeda. So we still have to pretend we're fighting ISIS.

The only question in my mind now is was Obama really opposed to taking out Assad all along because what will replace him will be even worse? Or was he just waiting to get the Iran deal done and waiting til Americans were so thoroughly confused there would be no outburst like the one in 2013? That still doesn't explain how the overthrow opponents in the military establishment have been won over. Maybe the new Secretary of Defense and chairman of Joint Chiefs was enough to overcome that.

Well there's one other very big question in my mind too. What side agreements were made as part of the Iran deal, if any?

I tend to think Obama really was against a full continuation of the Cheney/Rumsfeld remake the Middle East for our Israeli and Gulf State "friends" thing at the beginning, or he didn't want to do it until the very end of his presidency, or he traded it for some legacy mojo (as in, not until after I get that Iran deal done). Hell, what do I know. But none of it makes any sense any other way. And one thing I sure as hell don't believe is all these bumbling failures and setbacks are really setbacks. Why? Because they always end up working in favor of, furthering, an original goal.

Posted by: gemini33 | Aug 1 2015 14:52 utc | 13

All I can assume is that Obama is the 'battered wife' to various natsec factions in DC, some of which are probably dual-citizen. He's a strange character as he's very folksy and comes off as a nice guy, but his policies have been a mix of destructive and experimental policy, the pupose of which seeming to be the attempt of undercutting the rest of the world so that USA can maintain its position at the top, and maintain the anglo/occidental-order as well.
The safety of royal families and oligarchs seem to paramount

Posted by: vvvvv | Aug 1 2015 15:16 utc | 14

Concerning the accumulated IQ in our Administration and Pentagon. I think b is either overly optimistic (below three digits) or his phrasing is unclear. In making policies there exists negative IQ, when creativity and cleverness is used to champion and execute stupid ideas. In the context of a broadminded and liberal Administration, talents engaged in wise and stupid direction tend to cancel each other and the balance oscillates between slightly negative and slightly positive, but very close to zero. And since the Administration is engaged in rather wise efforts to shepherd a multilateral agreement with Iran, it has to balance it with something equivalently stupid.

I also think that there exists a very clever, if not laudable, tactic of "strategic ineffectiveness". The plan of training moderate pro-Western forces and make them dominate a swath of Syria reeks of that.

PS. Cheney and Rumsfeld where rather successful corporate executives, while Weinberger "was academically gifted and gained admission to Harvard University ... received his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology, magna cum laude, in 1938 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1941.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1 2015 15:20 utc | 15

Scratching my head about this lack of common sense.

Hasn't USA led Iran to believe that after the Iran Agreement USA would join with or better assist Iran against ISIS?

Isn't this "failure" a good reason to become more cautious/reassess and thus pull away from the potemkin fight against ISIS? Or (effectively the same), for the USA to busy itself with actions against Al Nusra as Turkey fights Kurds (a combined effort that actually degrades ISIS' enemies)?

If so, this is still "pathetically clueless" as b says because those playing this tragic and asinine game will no doubt see through any such stratagem.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 1 2015 15:28 utc | 16

Why on earth did you spoil an entire quality article by dropping a completely unnecessary obscenity in there at the end??? Either you're attempting to cater to a low class audience, or you're getting frustrated on a personal matter by the subject matter. If the latter is the case, then you might want to think about taking a few days off. Try to re-find your professionalism.

Posted by: sdfgvb | Aug 1 2015 15:29 utc | 17

I really couldn't care less about some "obscenity" dropped into a blog post. Analysis of this high quality is nearly impossible to find. And it's free. Who are you to scold the author who invests his own time and money for this blog? But since we're taking it upon ourselves to scold, I'll pitch in too -- Get your priorities straight.

Posted by: gemini33 | Aug 1 2015 15:44 utc | 18

I concur that it is better to write about "dimwits" than "f....g dimwits", additionally to spell "Khorasan" then "Khorosan"

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 1 2015 15:53 utc | 19

#8;What the hell was 9-11 but 3 missiles and a shot down one in PA?It sure elicited the opposite of your stance.
What about OBL's missing(kidnapped,captured? wives?No interviews by the MSM?

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 1 2015 16:00 utc | 20

@20 dahoit.. shows the benefits of an inside job.. it is the gift that keeps on giving...

Posted by: james | Aug 1 2015 16:34 utc | 21

My favorite episode of Washington cluelessness was when Obama asked Iran to return the U.S. spy drone they had brought down.

Posted by: Edward | Aug 1 2015 17:08 utc | 22

It's easy to view this incident as the incompetence and stupidity of the US but the 'training of a new US backed militia' was a ruse and PsyOps operation from the beginning. The real target is the resistance in the US Govt and military to the inevitable need for SOCOM forces on the ground in Syria to confront the IS and eventually the Assad regime.

When some senior administration officials claim publicly they were 'shocked' by this incident you can be sure they were not and a new discussion about troops on the ground will commence.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 1 2015 17:24 utc | 23

The guy at the Council of Foreign Relations gets no credit for "foreseeing" Nusra's attacks on U.S.-trained forces and the ultimate futility of the training any more than I get credit for putting on my pants in the morning. The fact that Captain Obvious can seem like a clairvoyant in this context just shows how totally insane the Syrian groupthink has become. It is hopeless.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 1 2015 17:24 utc | 24

usa = war, war and more war..destabilizing other's gov'ts and lands is all a part of the same recipe.. there is no more depraving nation then the usa at this point, or if there is - they are being out-shined in the depravity dept in spades..

Posted by: james | Aug 1 2015 17:39 utc | 25

US-backed rebel group flees north Syria HQ after clash with Nusra

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said members of the Division 30 faction fled to a nearby area controlled by a Syrian Kurdish militia. Abu al-Hassan Marea, a Syrian activist who is currently in Turkey near the Syrian border, confirmed Saturday that Division 30 fighters have withdrawn from their headquarters.

Abdurrahman and Marea said Division 30 had less than 60 fighters and that on Friday alone the group lost five fighters and 18 others were wounded.

They fled to the Kurds! The same Kurds the U.S. sold out to get access to the air base in Turkey it once built with U.S taxpayer money. The same Kurds who are now under attack from Turkey. I wonder how they feel about those U.S. proxies ...

Posted by: b | Aug 1 2015 17:47 utc | 26

@23 I agree. The whole strategy is aimed at getting the US military sucked in as deep as possible. Iraq, Syria and the eventually big one....Iran. Bombs dropping like rain...a Humvee on every street corner from Beirut to Karachi.

Posted by: dh | Aug 1 2015 17:50 utc | 27

Wayoutwest @ 23 says:

The real target is the resistance in the US Govt and military to the inevitable need for SOCOM forces on the ground in Syria to confront the IS and eventually the Assad regime.

SOCOM forces have been on the ground in Syria since at least 2012 and on the ground in at least a hundred other countries for a lot longer than that. any talk of resistance to that within the US Govt and military is pablum for the press.

and i guess for nitwits like you too.

Posted by: john | Aug 1 2015 18:09 utc | 28

to our Bhagawan at 4 --

Now you're talking my language. On to the Party! Where did you say it was again? I'll have a Scotch to go now, please, innkeeper.

You've been back in good form for a while. Except for that contracts rift, too factual, not enough off-the-wall free-style.

And MC Cohen at 5 -- not bad. Insert Media Jive in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and cut... "Vile and pernicious, but you can't look away."

dh at 27 -- Don't know if it's strategy per se, but certainly a likely outcome.

Wayout at 23 -- And what a lame op it was -- sixty whole "moderates."

to b at 26 -- Tx for highlighting the Kurds' unfortunate plight.

Mrs. M and I have joked for years -- The poor Kurds remain "in the whey." Used and abused by all sides, stateless, friendless. All the way with the PKK!

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 18:35 utc | 29

ps to chipnikh -- But insert a koan or two on one of the contracts, that'll clear that right up. De nada.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 18:38 utc | 30

@29 It may not be US military strategy but it's part of the Yinon Plan. Whoever is pushing that idea would like to see total US domination of the region. I tend to think they are being a little unrealistic and so (fortunately) do a few clear thinkers in the Pentagon.

Posted by: dh | Aug 1 2015 18:58 utc | 31

Jeez. These al Qaeda guys are real jerks. And after all the US has done for them...

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 1 2015 20:24 utc | 32

Quoth Stephen Hadley, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate's appointed chairman of the US Institute of Peace, "even President Putin is sensitive to body bags ... body bags of Russian soldiers who have been killed. ... You know, let’s show that Europe is going to have real commitment to military forces". The quote is on Ukraine, because Hadley is on Raytheon's board and they see more dollars in war with Russia than action in Syria, but I'm sure The US Institute of Peace is on board for the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate's campaign of death, devastation, and destruction their as well. Every little bit of dd&d helps fill the coffers.

The USA is a wall-to-wall lie at this point. A truth vacuum. No air. Like the moon. Can't breathe.

I get a kick out of the folks who are more put off by the word fuck than by the two-faced fuckers responsible for US' dd&d world wide. The US is an actual, living obscenity. Not a word you find coarse, but actual, purposeful death, devastation and destruction visited upon innocents, on purpose. A www of terrorism.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 1 2015 20:32 utc | 33

some more possible reasons for the "shock" :

Is the shock from the US hegemon because there was a implicit understanding beforehand between the US and Al Qaeda ? Or was it more than implicit ?
Or is the shock from how come al Nusra gets trusted by the Israelis but not for the US Target designator mercenaries.
Or how about, 'since we have the same goal of overthrowing Assad and destroying the country, why would you fuck over the US's plans, you stupid Al Qaeda freaks ?'
Or is the shock from ' did you really want to fuck with us Al Qaeda ? You know we're getting more serious here in Syria.'

Posted by: tom | Aug 1 2015 20:40 utc | 34

From my time working in the corporate environment I learned to never believe the company marketing. This was not official company policy, it's just that I figured it out.

The problem with the dimwits in the US government is that they think that their thoughts are reality.

Posted by: Arius | Aug 1 2015 20:41 utc | 35

dh at 31 --

I would certainly agree that we intend to dominate the region, as we said we would back in the 70's, when our oil habit and its pushers became crystal clear. It's probably more an idee fixe than a strategy. Strategies typically have more connection with reality.

Our post-Hussein tactic of imperially reshuffling reality through "regime change" has really worked out so well though. I mean in the real world, and not so much in Beltway groupthink.

jfl at 33 --

I take your point, sometimes really its the only word that fits. I try to limit usage my self. More effect when you do drop the bomb. Fucking Tsipras.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 1 2015 20:52 utc | 36


Contrary to your bottom line rollup, TPTB are neither poor, nor are they idiots.

WADC-NOVA is the richest square hectares in all the Americas, richer than Orange County, The Hamptons and West Z-Palm, all rolled up in perpetual $3,500,000,000,000 a year tax bleed.

That kind of money velocity attracts the best and brightest pipeline builders. All of these programs and pogroms, from Star Wars breech in the dam after Iran-Contra, to now the smallest little Whitewater Mil.Gov burble, are re-distributing YOUR wealth into THEIR coffers. Legal strong-arm robbery. BRILLIANT!

Do you think Huckabee believes that 'into the ovens' bullsh*t? Didn't he just build a Z-pipeline for his fortune? You bet!! Only 24% of Israelis voted for Netanyahu, the rest are trapped, like we all are, by the Pluto cats 'Need to Feed'. The Vampire Squid are not just Wall Street, they're evenly distributed wherever there is a reservoir of fresh warm lucre, Doing G-d's Work' as pipeline builders.


#JohnMcCainArmedandFundedISIS, not because of Assad, not because of Tehran, but to GET NEW DEFENSE PIPELINES BUILT.
That's why they got rid of flagrant erstwhile grifters like Petraeus, Clinton and Hagel, and put Jaws in their place.
His little headsawing misadventure will bring in $10s of Bs.

Which is why I cherry pick for their most egregious war profiteering crimes. Your koan, 30?
"You can't HANDLE the looting!!

Fewer words? MH17.

Neither poor, nor idiots.

Have a good weekend, you'all. Mil.Gov opens Monday with another $$2.5B grift festus Holyday, for Crypto-Zionim and The Chosen of whatever race, religion or Apollo Creed.

Posted by: Chipnik | Aug 2 2015 1:10 utc | 37

Gemini 33 @ 13 & 18: Both well considered, and relevant posts.

The Empires goals are the same as they ever were, disrupt and destroy to gain hegemony/ market shares globally. The Corporate Empire will brook NO competition.

Posted by: ben | Aug 2 2015 2:07 utc | 38

Al Nusra is part of the Army of Conquest funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the support of Turkey.
That's why the USA was surprised, these were the 'new moderates' that Qatar was promoting on Al Jazeera. Why the hell would they attack the rebels trained by the USA in Turkey with Saudi and Qatar money?

The reasons are multiple. Al Nusra may take Saudi money but they hate and distrust the USA. Al Nusra fears, with good reasons, that the USA is training rebels to fight ISIS first then to turn against them.
The kidnapping was a message to the USA: Don't fool with us, we are not stupid!
The USA naivety is close to infantile. It matches Turkey's stupidity. They better move out, they are not at the levels of the Syrians.

Posted by: virgile | Aug 2 2015 5:49 utc | 39

I say, Obama is perhaps mildly surprised. I would think that Erdogan is perhaps more surprised. Last week explained quite a bit why ISIL has trouble with Kurds trained by PKK. And they do not like to be bombed either.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 2 2015 7:29 utc | 40

USA is internally tied to knots by the needs to humor allies. Certain actions are performed seriously, and certain for show. There was no simple way of preventing Erdogan to take a pound of Kurdish flesh, but Congress demanded to do something visible against Assad. Hence 500 million dollars budgeted for training anti-Assad and pro-American militia. Some "Arab rebels" are already with Kurds, and there is a need for more. That makes sense, because Kurds cannot really occupy areas with Sunni Arab majority. Therefore this platoon of patsies should be send to Afrin or Kobane, but Obama covered his ass by making them "proof of concept" that sending them to the "Army of Conquest" does not work.

Getting such a proof was quite urgent, because Obama has to get rid of the super-moronic plan of the "buffer zone" or "safe zone". There was a report of the opinion of the head of the part of the AoC from Aleppo area that would provide manpower. He has 3500 troops. And he explained that he would participate enthusiastically if he would only get vehicles, weapons and ammunition. Sure, it is always good to have more of those.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 2 2015 7:50 utc | 41

"Strategies typically have more connection with reality."

rufus magister @ 36

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” Karl Rove

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 2 2015 9:55 utc | 42

...amusing too, the low-key panting about the 'permission' recently given to uncle sam to use Incirlik Air Base as a launching pad to bomb ISIS.

Incirlik Air Base, built by the Americans shortly after WW2 as a major surveillance hub to watch the USSR, and in more recent decades also as a launching pad for bombing runs in the War of Ages.

Incirlik Air Base, that quiet little backwater near the Turkey/Syria border, home to the 39th Air Base Wing, about 5000 airmen, and repository for about 90 thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs.

oh please mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, can we please use 'your' air base, pretty please?


Posted by: john | Aug 2 2015 10:19 utc | 43

The destructive mind destroying effects of Ziolobotomization on display daily.
Biden will save US.he'll plagiarize Henry V.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 2 2015 13:00 utc | 44

okie at 42 --

My "imperial reshuffling" jibe was a veiled allusion to this infamous quote. I believe it is from Hersh's early account of the war, and officially ascribed to "unnamed insider." It is arguably more of a "visualization" or "self-actualization" than a description of reality. See Roman, Spanish, British empires (to name but a few) who all thought so, and behaved so -- for a while.

I see Spain as our closest comparison. They had it all, and squandered it, refusing compromise in the name of reputacion -- they could not be seen except as unalterably strong. A needed concession here might lead to unwanted concessions elsewhere, so no give.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 2 2015 15:26 utc | 45

okie @ 42:

Thanks for the reminder. Question is, can the world wait until that quote goes out of style? When you can create unlimited sums of $, the Empire's goals will continue unabated.

Posted by: ben | Aug 2 2015 15:40 utc | 46

@rufus magister, 45:

Good comparison to imperial Spain. Rather than using their imperial gains to develop economic capacity at home, all that conquistador gold was spent on a military that could occupy continents and on keeping the nobility in the lifestyle to which they thought themselves entitled. Their suppliers, further north and east, instead developed into the cutting edge of nascent capitalism, eventually eclipsing Spain and relegating it to dying empire status.

The parallel I’ve thought to make is to compare the US’s “World War Four” to the Nazis’ Barbarossa. The most powerful empire around, but less and less omnipotent the farther they push their offensives. Driven to new conquests objectively by their systemic needs and subjectively by the exceptionalist self-delusions exemplified by the Rove quote. Not willing to fully mobilize butter to guns in the name of *reputación* (mustn’t risk another antiwar movement at home!). Nor engage in real diplomacy for the same reason—compromise implies non-omnipotence, unexceptional status. And as the inevitable resistance and pushback materializes, the need to standfast, yielding not one inch of conquered territory, rather than pull back to more sensible and defensible lines—any retreat threatens to become a rout.

China is (mostly) the US’s supplier now, developing, developing. Ben’s question at 46 remains, though: whether in terms of climate chaos or danger of World War, can the world wait for US exceptionalism to fade like a dying empire? And will it fade like Spain, or subject everyone to its own Götterdamerung?

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 2 2015 17:06 utc | 47

For almost all of their history, the Americans have been ruthlessly expansionistic and imperialist. The big difference between the wars they have fought through most of their history and the wars of the last 20 years or so is that they used to be far more successful at winning wars. America has almost always been at war. They fought genocidal Indian wars from before the American Revolution till the so called closing of the American frontier around 1910. They fought under the Monroe doctrine to dominate the nations of central and south America, They fought to establish colonies in former Spanish territories like the Philippines and Cuba. In the first and second world wars, they fought to crush Germany, which was one of their main rivals for global dominance. They fought in the cold war to break the Soviet Union. They were a successful, expanding empire for centuries. They were not only successful at taking political control of territory, but at extracting wealth from their conquests. But their empire is now in economic, political and social decline, which is why it can't achieve the sorts of victories it once achieved. Compared to the outcome of most of America's war over the centuries, the wars of the 21st century have been pathetic. Simply spreading chaos and destruction is not the same thing as victory, and the occasional pretence that this chaos is what they were trying to accomplish is little more than a attempt by incompetent military and political leaders to hide the full extent of their failures.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Aug 2 2015 17:42 utc | 48

Posted by: gemini33 | Aug 1, 2015 10:52:47 AM | 13

"Except they're not "pathetically clueless". The goal is and has always been to take down the Syrian regime -- to slice up Syria and give pieces to various parties and to disconnect the Shia crescent supply lines between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Lebanon.

The goal has been there since like, the 1990s."

There was a Shia crescent supply line when Saddam ruled Iraq?

Posted by: truthbetold | Aug 2 2015 20:20 utc | 49

"Simply spreading chaos and destruction is not the same thing as victory, and the occasional pretence that this chaos is what they were trying to accomplish is little more than a attempt by incompetent military and political leaders to hide the full extent of their failures."

Either they are commenting widely on this blog or the "little more" gap is being filled by

Posted by: truthbetold | Aug 2 2015 20:29 utc | 50

Interesting development in Syrian politics Meanwhile Saudi Arabia Threatens to invade, Kuwait that could be good news, remember what happened to Saddam. Interesting times.

Posted by: harry law | Aug 2 2015 20:33 utc | 51

@51 - harry law

Very interesting links indeed. The Saudi tantrum ought to fan fear and loathing of Saudi Arabia, send chills up and down the spine of all the GCC dwarves as they watch KSA and the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate mauling Yemen. Make them empathize with Syria? Push them back toward Iran?

The Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey anti-ISIS alliance seems unlikely. Turkey - Erdogan- seems to think of itself as a majority of one, unlikely to fall in with any of its neighbors until Erdogan is gone. The idea of KSA playing with the Russians, talking to the Syrians and Jordanians, is sure to make the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Bibi, the Israeli Imam, push up the date for the takeover of Saudi oilfields in defense of stability in the Middle East. And all of this nonsense is bound to make everyone else eager to gather round and bolster Iran as an alternative to the adventitious offshoots of CIA policy in region.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 2 2015 23:30 utc | 52

248 glenn brown.. i agree with you..

@51 harry law.. thanks for the links.. interesting developments that bear watching..

Posted by: james | Aug 3 2015 1:01 utc | 53


Another interpretation if the Saudi-Syria meeting is that Russia is facilitating the discussions for a post-Assad Syria. Putin's statement of unwavering support for the Syrian Government and people seems to have intentionally removed Assad from that support.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 3 2015 2:48 utc | 54


Here is another link about King Salman and his 1K inner circle from the Guardian leaving the south of France early with a whole different reason/cover.

Its a bitch being a plutocrat these days. Too many responsibilities to control and kill other people gets in the way of holidays.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 3 2015 3:17 utc | 55

Vintage Red at 47 --

I think "any retreat threatens to become a rout" might overstate our rigidity. But we haved a developed a reluctance to withdraw to "more sensible and defensible lines" as our visualizations don't quite pan out.

Spain actually did have her Gotterdamerung, but the Eighty Years War with the insurgent Dutch Republic was more like a complete "Ring Cycle" than a single matinee.

GB at 48 --

The seeds of our present decline lie in the collapse of the Soviet Union. Victory in the Cold War gave neo-liberal capital much more flexibility. Out-sourcing and off-shoring to the periphery lessened the problem of pesky organized labor in (mostly) functioning political democracies demanding rights and protections.

With no labor or socialist movements to capitalize (if you would) on their excesses, the bosses have gone to town. Austerity rules! Especially if you get quantitative easing and can openly buy politicians, thanks to "Citizens United" ruling.

And one of the key means to pressure the Soviets, Islamic fundamentalism, has had some blowback. The our creation of the mujahedin (with some help from a minor player at the time OBL, and the aid of the Saudis and Pakistanis) to harass the Afghan government and bleed their Soviet allies has since morphed in Al-Qaeda and other Islamist movements.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 3 2015 3:29 utc | 56

"They fled to the Kurds! The same Kurds the U.S. sold out to get access to the air base in Turkey it once built with U.S taxpayer money. The same Kurds who are now under attack from Turkey. I wonder how they feel about those U.S. proxies ..."

This is something I do not quite understand. The pro-American "brigade" (platoon?) was in town of Azaz, which is on Turkish border and also next to the district of Afrin which is in Kurdish hands. One could ask how that district survives when it is sandwiched between Turkey and the area controlled by Islamist of Idlib province. It seems that Kurds of Afrin has some type of trade and armistice with the islamists, who it turn fight each other and have habit of acknowledging the leadership of an ascendant group, which of late is al-Nusra. In turn, al-Nusra is an umbrella that contains groups labelled as supported by the House of Saud.

So, Kurds of Afrin, while offering allegiance to YPG, locally have armistice and non-interference with Islamists, and taking a hike to Afrin is probably the logical thing to do if you are a looser in internal strife in Idlib. Veterans of various stages of that strife probably could make that march blindfolded. And probably they have some kind of trade with the arms merchant (Saudis give free weapons, Turks provide the trucks, official Saudi protegees get their weapons and pay the tribute to overlords, currently al-Nusra and potential highwaymen, the Afrin people. Just a speculation, and CIA is surely another arms provider, and Turks could generously insert gifts of their own. In abstract, one could expect the guys who receive that free stuff to be grateful and consequently, obedient. Details how to do it can be found in self-improvement section, where I would recommend the titile "How to raise a pet cobra and live long life" (try to get reincarnated by collecting karma points).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 3 2015 3:31 utc | 57

Another interpretation if the Saudi-Syria meeting is that Russia is facilitating the discussions for a post-Assad Syria. Putin's statement of unwavering support for the Syrian Government and people seems to have intentionally removed Assad from that support.
Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 2, 2015 10:48:43 PM | 54

Well, according to the wishful thinkers at the CIA, Overthrow Inc, Gene Sharp + Wayouteast, anyway...
The Russians call it DIPLOMACY. Unlike Yankees, Russians know that even though Assad is Syrian he isn't Syria - despite what Obama, the State Dept and Wayouteast pretend to think.
In the same vein, Saddam wasn't Iraq and Ghaddafi wasn't Libya.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2015 3:35 utc | 58

@rufus magister, 56:

I certainly don't mean to overstate US rigidity in any real sense, more in the realm of strategic vision at present. If the Empire were that fragile it'd be all over by now. During the "American Century" it's had enough strategic depth and resilience to be flexible, and the fall of the USSR very much increased these strengths.

But as the dollar shrivels in the light of the new BRICS/SCO/Ufa political economy I predict a crisis in that the Empire won't be able to afford its global military garrisons. An outgrowth of this may well be the development of two (or more) factions in its elite, one demanding a "global standfast", the other perhaps advocating a strategic withdrawal to say the "Monroe Doctrine zone plus Saudi Arabia".

The Dutch Republic was very much a part of what I was referring to when I wrote of Spain's appropriated gold going to develop capitalism to the north and east rather than its domestic economy. The US role in helping China develop may be the biggest example yet of "the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

Less imperialist plunder, less crumbs to keep social peace (such as it is) at home. More class struggle, and the gloves come off. Needless to say, these will be interesting times here in the US.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 3 2015 4:22 utc | 59

The murder of shira banki was a mistake and if she is found to be innocent herself then the person who murdered her yishai schlissel shall face death by fire.

Who would put a rock upon a sapling,a blind man searching for a blessing

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 3 2015 11:19 utc | 60

mcohen @ 60 writes:

Who would put a rock upon a sapling,a blind man searching for a blessing

gosh, i can hardly imagine who.

Posted by: john | Aug 3 2015 12:10 utc | 61


I doubt that Amerikan Capitalists have much to be concerned about with countries such as Brazil who has twice the GDP of Russia but can't even build critical infrastructure such as sewage treatment for their largest cities. They can spend billions of dollars on a showboat Olympics but expect swimmers and boaters to compete in virus filled turd soup.

Perhaps Brazil can get a loan from the BRICS Bank to fix this problem but what will China do when much of the loan monies are syphoned off to offshore accounts and bribes?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 3 2015 14:26 utc | 64

@ 63.
In Oz, that kind of headline-contradicts-article "news" is known as a puff-piece i.e. originating from blowhards. There'll NEVER be a confrontation between US forces/pussies and Assad Govt forces in Syria. It'll be between US forces (and their bases/aircraft carriers) and Russian/Chinese missiles.

The Yankees won't dare expose their Superpower Myth to ultra-reality over a pissy little country like Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 3 2015 15:15 utc | 65

@65 I'm not so sure Hoarse. It's pretty obvious the Forward Air Controllers were sent in as bait. Al-Nusra spoiled the plan.

And if the US does start direct attacks on Syria who will complain? Congress?

Posted by: dh | Aug 3 2015 16:05 utc | 66

Hoarsewhisperer @ 65 says:

The Yankees won't dare expose their Superpower Myth to ultra-reality over a pissy little country like Syria

it seems to me that empire has few qualms about trampling pissy little countries like Syria.

100,000 or so innocent civilians in that pissy little country would likely disagree with you too, but their ultra-reality has been totally snuffed out.

Posted by: john | Aug 3 2015 17:05 utc | 67


I'm reasonably acquainted with Latin America, having lived in Venezuela and having relatives in Brazil and Argentina. The infrastructure difficulties you mention are not unknown in societies decimated by colonialism/neocolonialism, and association with the US and the West has never helped them (corruption, anyone?). China, on the other hand, has shown a way out. We'll see how the new relationships unfold.

But the demise of the dollar and any resulting difficulties for the US don't depend on any Western-style dynamism or efficiency in postcolonial societies, only that more and more of the world's economy ceases to use the dollar for currency reserves and general trade (that is, except for trade with the US itself).

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 3 2015 17:37 utc | 68

@ vvvv @ 14

Obama is a human drone, a political android for US led capitalist/globalist private ownership. There are no more states as such, only "investment" groups..But (for what its worth) he's not consciously opposed to any of that. He "believes in American exceptionalism with every fiber of his being"..He said that himself, in speech made to graduating west point, future middle managers of Murder N Money Inc. I don't know why anyone would not believe that he means it.

Posted by: psakiwacky | Aug 3 2015 19:29 utc | 69

Posted by: psakiwacky | Aug 3, 2015 3:29:45 PM | 69

there will always be two opposing sides and then there is the third side,the 3 percenter,yes the mighty 3%,that edge of the coin that decides which side comes up.

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 3 2015 21:52 utc | 70

Posted by: john | Aug 3, 2015 8:10:11 AM | 61


hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ....suspect john,

leatherette epaulette with a twist of lime,captain of the mime,jaded with time.

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 3 2015 22:07 utc | 71

What Assad really needs now is a great big massive. . . . . . . . Schwerpunkt.

That'll solve all his probs with the (allegedly) "pathetically Clueless (® ©)" (yeah, right)


I read it online

Months and months ago

It was posted by some clown tryin ta bluff his way by name dropping some Prussian geezer, von SantaClause or somesuch

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 3 2015 22:56 utc | 72

Here's a Left Forum Panel which I think has an excellent analyss of the current situation in the Middle East. It might not be detailed enough for many here who know so much, but as an overview I think it is great.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 4 2015 1:48 utc | 73

Posted by: dh | Aug 3, 2015 12:05:33 PM | 66
Posted by: john | Aug 3, 2015 1:05:11 PM | 67

I was trying to make the point that the Yankees are gutless (and clueless in the battlefield) which is why, post-Vietnam, they confined themselves to attacking small, poorly defended (or disarmed) countries with no friends.
With Russia standing guard, Syria is the antithesis of that model.
A direct US attack on Assad's forces will invite military action from Russia (AND China if necessary). Americana Victorious is a Hollywood creation in which the US always prevails and emerges unscathed (the Superpower Myth). That can't happen in a conflict with Russia's or China's military.

It's easy to forget that the cowardly Yankees wouldn't be insulting our intelligence by posturing so loudly about "Assad" and "Assad's forces" if their covert war on Syria was weakening Assad fast enough. And if they weren't so afraid of being creamed, militarily (in a very public way) by Russia they'd have bombed Syria years ago.

The other factor which is easy to overlook is that Russia and China are on the Yankee hit list for overthrow and domination, and the Russians and Chinese know about it.

Obama's Pivot to Asia announcement was the stupidest act of "statecraft" in the history of the Universe. And a lot of Americans, if not all of them, are going to regret the blowback if America continues pursuing its confrontational policies.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 4 2015 4:14 utc | 74

"And if they weren't so afraid of being creamed, militarily (in a very public way) by Russia they'd have bombed Syria years ago.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 4, 2015 12:14:16 AM | 74"


What f'n planet are you living on?

They're bombing Syria RIGHT NOW, you idiot

and what is Russia doing about it?


Because there is nothing that they can do

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4 2015 7:42 utc | 75


Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report

Even one as obtuse as you should be able to see that by now, Hoarsey :)

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4 2015 7:46 utc | 76

and again

Syria crisis: US 'support fire' to defend American-trained fighters

US air power has been used for the first time to defend US-trained forces fighting in Syria, a Pentagon spokesman has confirmed.

Capt Jeff Davis said "defensive support fire" was provided last Friday.

This was during clashes between the Free Syrian Army, fighting alongside US-trained members of the New Syria Force, and suspected al-Nusra fighters.

Capt Davis said the US would provide defensive fire support to the NSF "no matter whom they came up against".

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as "counter-productive" US comments that Washington could take extra measures to defend the US-trained Syrian rebels.

Speaking at a news conference in Qatar, Mr Lavrov said this "could complicate the task of fighting terrorism" in Syria. [well I'll bet THAT scared the crap out of the US Mil]

Russia is a key ally of Syria's embattled President Bashar al-Assad.
Rebel warning

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Capt Davis said about 50 fighters had attacked members of the FSA who were co-located with forces from the NSF.

He said the US had provided fire support against the opponents who looked "an awful lot like al-Nusra". However, he added that US officials could not be certain.

He did not provide further details about where the clashes took place.

Capt Davis also said the US would provide defensive fire support to the NSF against "broader threats". He did not deny that this could mean US forces could come in to contact with fighters loyal to President Assad.

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4 2015 7:51 utc | 77

i like to follow this guy and the links that come up.the maps are quite good.

Posted by: mcohen | Aug 4 2015 10:46 utc | 78

Capt Davis also said the US would provide defensive fire support to the NSF against "broader threats". He did not deny that this could mean US forces could come in to contact with fighters loyal to President Assad...
Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4, 2015 3:51:03 AM | 77

...but haven't.
And won't.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 4 2015 14:05 utc | 79

Jefferson Davis?He was last seen escaping union troops in Mississippi.Lincoln said,let him go.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 4 2015 15:45 utc | 80

Try reading again, Hoarsey

"Hundreds of civilians killed [In Syria and Iraq] in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report"

"Syria crisis: US 'support fire' to defend American-trained fighters" [In SYRIA]

The US is already bombing Syria and the Syrian Armed Forces ain't doing a damn thing about it and neither are the Russians, Hoarsey

Even one as obtuse as you should be able to see that

Posted by: BLOCKQUOTE | Aug 4 2015 17:01 utc | 81

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