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