WASHINGTON, September 18, 2014 — Yesterday the Republican dominated House of Representatives voted on a measure to train and equip some of the more “moderate rebels” among the Syrian opposition. The measure, tacked on as an amendment to an appropriations bill, was said to have had the input of the White House and other Washington powerhouses in the course of its drafting. The inclusion of the Democratic White House and the Republican House of Representatives in the drafting of this legislation should trouble every single American, and should enrage nearly every constituency in the country.
This legislation represents a fundamental ignorance of American and World History, as well as a dangerously inept and incompetent approach to foreign policy.
Politicians in support of this legislation have made their voices heard loud and clear, that train and arm does not mean fight alongside. However that was the argument we heard in Vietnam, and within four years of sending “advisers” we had over half a million combat troops there. If you don’t think it can happen in Syria and Iraq, perhaps it should be pointed out that this statement by President Johnson on Vietnam;
“We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
Sounds an awful lot like a statement President Obama made recently concerning deploying more troops to Iraq.
“As your commander in chief, I will not commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq,”
Yet some sixty years later Vietnam stands as one of the most glaring examples of the failure of force escalation, and meddling in the affairs of other nations. We have examples such as these, but we refuse to follow them, or somehow believe ourselves to be smarter, better, or stronger than those who came before us.
Politically it is mindboggling to make this move in the first place. For President Obama, the man who uses the Iraq War as a stick to beat over the heads of the Republicans, should not even be entertaining the idea of force escalation in Iraq or Syria, two nations capable of handling their own problems without American or Western involvement in general.
Recognizing the situation in Iraq and Syria with ISIS also hurts the President because many have argued that it was his policies which have brought us to this impasse. It was his strategy to make a full force withdrawal from Iraq leaving a substantial power vacuum in the country which radical Islamists were only too pleased to fill in the absence of any real authority at the hands of the newly reformed Iraqi government. In addition, it was his decision to waive provisions of the Arms Export Control Act in order to fund and arm the Syrian Opposition which we knew to be comprised largely of radical Islamist groups including ISIS. Recognizing this situation as grave, or as an international emergency only hurts the President in the long run. The Democrats will spin that they are going back to Iraq to clean up Bush’s mess, but they were sufficiently warned about a full withdrawal from Iraq and the dangers it posed.
In addition, it hardly seems fitting for the man with the Nobel Peace Prize to talk about conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraqi and Syrian airspace.
Lastly, and most glaringly, we just marked the thirteen anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, perpetrated by the very group that we armed and trained to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. That group founded ISIS in 2009 to combat Coalition forces in Iraq, ISIS was up until recently a member of the Syrian Opposition. They are now, apparently, the greatest threat posed to American security. However our response to this threat is to train and arm a new militant group in order to defeat the militant group we trained and armed to defeat the Soviets in the 1980’s.
All of this information is available on the internet, if Congress was wondering.
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