Why Syria?

It's a mistake to arm rebel factions in Syria, who will then become anti-American terrorists ina few year's time.

I should be writing my Oscar nominees blog about now. But then, a news story broke yesterday about American intervention in Syria and I was locked into the congressional hearings, CNN, and news pundits for the rest of the afternoon. The NYT reported in the morning paper that "the White House had disagreements" with Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs, some three-star jarhead, and even Secretary of State Clinton when it was recommended by Pentagon and CIA(nebulous) that we, the United States, send arms to certain revolutionary factions who are fighting the goverment forces of Bashar al Assad.

To the average American, this is a yawn, the story is as interesting as watching paint dry. Sorry, but there are such ramifications, and such repercussions, to this decision I stayed glued to the television watching, seemingly-intelligent analysts fall all over themselves, and each other, to criticize the White House for blocking such an action. They would slam President Obama for being insensitive to the needs of Syrian civilians, even suggesting that the President was acting politically during the presidential campaign.

Categorically, I will state here: I believe Obama is correct. How many times must we arm rebels with our sophisticated weapons only to have them turned on American soldiers within a few years, sometimes within a few months? By any other name, these rebel groups in the Middle East are terrorist cells in-training. They will say anything to Pentagon or CIA representatives to get the arms they need for their fight. Why do we, why should we get roped into protracted ground skirmishes with so-called "insurgents" at a heavy cost to the U.S. in money and blood?

Syria, and its brethern in the region, must solve its own, and their own, problems: by civil war, genocide, or reasonable negotiation. Outside intervention has never worked, perhaps it never will. The needle is going in the wrong direction on that one. We become less popular, not more. The West is demonized, not praised. They, in the Middle East, have the resources for peaceful settlements: they are called brains, reason, history, culture, and diplomacy. We've watched it happen time-and-again, and time after time they seem to able to suck in the United States, on one side or another, so that the end result is a handful of people are grateful to us, but a larger regional civilization, governments and countries and tribes, have become our mortal enemies who will go to all ends to see the U.S. anilhilated and Americans killed. How many times must we see the American flag burned to the murderous chants of militias we have no knowledge of, by people who hate us for unknown, hidden, or subversive reasons?

We place an uncertain future, at best, in the hands of nameless rebels. We train and arm those who have proven to change allegiance with the wind, it seems, and suddenly, within months sometimes, American soldiers are in combat against terrorists weilding American weapons. I'd like to be a fly on the wall at those meetings, to hear a CIA analyst carp to the Foreign Relations committee about what a good idea it would be to help the rebel group, secretly of course, bring down the Assad government. What are they thinking? Do we need any more enemies in the Middle East? Do we remember Iraq? Afghanistan? Lybia? Half of the terrorists in the Middle East are, at present, using cold war weapons: American and Soviet.

Leaders need to make cruel decisions at times to protect those they lead. I stand with the President, I stand with him NOT to arm Syrian rebel factions for the purpose of regieme change. Look at where it has gotten us in the past.

Next: The Oscars

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joshua tanner February 10, 2013 at 11:02 AM
I agree its wrong to get arms to rebels - but I think the business about Obama "resisiting" sending arms is Kabuki theater. The US has already been arming rebels in Syria through Saudi Arabia. Qatar and Turkey. Former CIA analyst (and John Batchelor guest) Larry Johnson explains the facts in his blog. "It is ludicrous that the Obama Administration is spinning the specious claim this week insisting that Obama rebuffed Panetta, Clinton and Petraeus and would have nothing to do with “arming the Syrian rebels.” It is a bald face lie. The evidence on the public record clearly establishes that by March of 2012, following a visit of CIA Director Petaeus to Turkey, the U.S. played a direct role in Turkey and Libya in coordinating the movement of weapons to rebel fighters. Now we understand the reluctance of the Obama Administration to respond in a high profile way to events in Benghazi on 11 September 2012. They were covering up an unauthorized intelligence activity. " http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/75512/obama-not-talking-turkey-on-arming-syrian-rebels/#more-75512
richard Manichello February 10, 2013 at 03:33 PM
To the point, exactly. We have been sending arms to "friends" for years, only to regret it with the passage of time and the shifting of loyalties. They too often end up aimed at the original supplier. Turkey may be the strangest friend we have next to Pakistan. Turkey is supplying Iran. Do we need a direct channel to the rebels? I think not. In global politics, perception trumps reality every time. To the active rebel on the street, the terrorist in need of an iconic target for lack of anything else, the U.S.A. is first on the list. So, as I said in the blog, there are enough Middle Eastern players, across North Africa, into the Sinai and beyond, the Arabian Peninsula, and Persia. It's an arms dealer's paradise. While fueling diplomatic settlement on-face, we are also fueling the violent resolutions through "the back door." We all know this. The U.S. has already paid more than a fair political price in Lybia, Egypt, and I'm sure we'll soon discover, Syria.
joshua tanner February 11, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Obama admin wants to pursue a new paradigm for military intervention refereed to as "responsibility to protect". Its part of UN initiative and holds that nations have a responsibility to intervene to prevent genocides etc. The problem is in Syria Jews and Christians have lived peacefully in Syria. Syria's border with Israel is a stable one. There are problems in Syria but the real genocide would take place if the rebels ever came to power. That is likely because the US supports a "moderate" political entity while its Al Qaeda rebels that have the arms - and the support of many of the people. Obama admin declared Al-Nusra Front a terrorist organization and groups considered part of "moderate" collation declared their support for them. Its like a town with a corrupt mayor having a fight with the Crips, and US wants to depose the mayor and put the Chamber of Commerce in charge. The people with the guns will still win.
richard Manichello February 11, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Sounds noble. Of course you know that in Washington, the neo-cons who urged the Bush administration to invade Iraq interpreted the same such initiatives as The Superior Nations manifesto, a free pass for the U.S.(with an ally like Grenada) to strike first, remove leaders, and explain our democratic motives later. The neo-cons, naturally, will decide what governments need sanitizing. A slippery slope? Where would it stop? I'd like to see an effective UN involved. But it seems to have become less effective. I see the shadows of the Central Incompetence Agency behind nearly all of our efforts. If the nations of the Middle East don't have a major role... with or without bloodshed... the central problems simply recede for awhile, and then in a few years they re-appear with the re-purposed arms.
joshua tanner February 11, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Unfortunately it was Al Qaeda's intention to draw the US into wars and it fell into that trap. Our first wars were against AQ but now we are helping them. One of their goals was to rid the Mid East of the strong men and dictators. Now we do that and QA fills the void. I've long been sure the ME is going to blow and then its going to move here because they have cells ready to go off. They've been coming over the border with help from Chavez..Iran has said an attack inside .Syria will be an attack on them. The wheels are poised to really come off the wagon


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