I read dozens of articles every day about various conflict zones, commentaries, war reports and – the few times it happens – possibilities of peace. I read about Syria in particular as I have since I visited Damascus and Aleppo in December 2016.

It’s important that one does not, over time, develop the disease called “psychic numbing” – an excellent concept developed by Robert Jay Lifton, a former TFF Associate.


Today I stumbled upon an article in the Omaha World Herald by Washington Post’s David Ignatius under the headline “The Star-Crossed History of CIA Paramilitary Action.”

I’m not going to discuss that article but would like to call your attention to this sentence – that Ignatius does not even dwell on:

One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years.

I fail to understand it. I read it again. I’d urge you to do likewise.

What does this figure mean? It means that perhaps a million Syrians have lost, or seen wounded, a son or a father serving in the Syrian Arab Army.

In international legal terms it means mass-killing as part of an aggression on a country that has done no harm to the United States, not threatened it and would never be able to should it so wish.

It means that the leading Western country operates the world’s most cruel agency – CIA – and that, since it has trained these anti-government fighters, is legally and morally responsible for every dead and wounded person, military or civilian.

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There were other options in Syria than intervening in this way.

And the US and its numerous NATO and other allies have no UN Security Council mandate to lean on.

How many Americans have been killed the last four years, civilian or military, by Syria and its military?

Why does NATO’s leading country do such things – professing as it simultaneously does to spearhead the worldwide struggle for freedom, democracy, welfare and human rights?

How come that the incredible discrepancy between ideals and reality does not engage more people, our media, our experts, intellectuals and our politicians – particularly among those which are allied with, trade with, have cultural exchanges etc with the United States of America?

It strikes me that the only ones who could help save the United States – whose Empire is by far the single most destructive actor on our Earth – from its own system-based destructiveness are, yes, its traditional friends, allies and partners.

They don’t.

Any Western embassy has access to articles like Ignatius’ and they probably don’t even notice the information in that sentence. Like its author doesn’t. They don’t send a little note to their foreign ministries urging their superiors to tell Washington that we find this problematic.

To say the least. To do the least.

At what moment did that psychic numbing – again and again seeing mass killing in foreign lands and consider it normal, right and for the common good – become moral numbing?

I think it was decades ago, perhaps the Vietnam War – until Daniel Ellsberg came around with the truth from inside.

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And it’ll be one element in Western civilisation’s demise?

We are far out. Very very far out. Already.

And beyond that dissolution lies hope. Also the hope that such sentences will never be written again because militarism, warfare and exceptionalist arrogance is forever gone.


Welcome to my official personal home. I'm a peace researcher and art photographer.

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