Some Senators Think We Should Arm Rebels in Syria Because Assad's Opposition Includes Extremists

Credit: VOA News; Scott Bobb reporting from Aleppo, SyriaCredit: VOA News; Scott Bobb reporting from Aleppo, SyriaYesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize the arming of some rebels in Syria. The bill passed by the committee would allow the Obama administration to arm elements of Assad’s opposition that have been vetted by the government. The relevant text of the bill reads as follows (Under Title V, page 34 of the bill):

 

The passing of the bill is only the latest evidence that when it comes to foreign intervention the differences between the two major parties are hard to find.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) yesterday said, “The time to act and turn the tide against Assad is now,” and his Democratic colleague Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said, “…we’ve all been frustrated that our country hasn’t done enough to be responsive.” Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stood alongside her Republican colleague Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to demand that action be taken in response to the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Sen. Marco Rubio has perhaps one of the most bizarre and interesting opinions on the conflict in Syria. While the presence of Al Qaeda-linked fighters being involved in Assad’s opposition has been one of the strongest arguments against intervention, Sen. Rubio believes that it is because of the rise of Al Nusra and other groups with links to Al Qaeda that the U.S. should arm rebels in Syria. 

From The Daily Beast:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also said Tuesday that he supported arming the Syrian rebels somewhat reluctantly but that the rise of the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-affiliated group fighting against the Assad regime, made it necessary for American to arm the other Syrian rebels.

“The U.S. cannot solve every conflict on the planet,” Rubio said. “But I believe it’s in the national interest of the United States to ensure that the strongest, best-organized, and best-funded elements in a post-Assad Syria and even before his fall are interests that are aligned with us and are friendlier to us than the alternative.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) pushed back against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who tried unsuccessfully to add an amendment to the bill that stated any intervention in Syria could not be authorized by the authorization of use of force that followed 9/11 by making a similar argument. 

Again from The Daily Beast:

Corker pushed back against Paul by emphasizing that the idea of arming the Syrian rebels was to counter al Qaeda’s influence, both now and after the war ends.

“It’s the second war now that is of greater concern than even Assad, and that is who is going to control the country the day after Assad,” Corker said. “Sitting on our hands and not getting involved, it’s almost assured that al Qaeda or at least extremists with similar views are going to control the country. That’s what we are trying to prevent.”

The presence of Al Qaeda-linked fighters is now being used as an argument for and against intervention. That it would be impossible to guarantee that any weapons we send to “vetted” rebels wouldn’t end up in the hands of the worrying elements of Assad’s opposition remains an issue that legislators have yet to explicitly address with anything approaching reassuring clarity. 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    I have an idea. Let's do nothing.

  • Hugh Akston||

    And just let all those weapons sit around gathering dust?!

  • Tim||

    7 round mag limit on all guns sold and NO BAYONET LUGS.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I suppose we could extend the jurisdiction of, say, NYC to Syria, then ban all guns.

  • kinnath||

    Just send Bloomberg

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's a win-win proposition.

  • kinnath||

    It has its merits.

  • Tim||

    Shit, in two months the Camels will have to be licensed.

  • $park¥||

    The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah but there's not much we can do about the evil people in DC.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    So do something dammit. We're being left out of the fun.

    AMERICAN GLOW-BALL LEADERSHIP!

  • ||

    I really don't care if evil triumphs in Syria. It's up to the good men in Syria to do something.

  • Restoras||

    I agree...which ones are the evil guys?

  • $park¥||

    Uh, I thought you were keeping track. I think the guys with the guns are the evil ones.

  • GILMORE||


    $park¥| 5.22.13 @ 1:15PM |#

    The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    Or stupid men. Doing something.

  • anon||

    So we will commit an act of war without actually declaring war?

    I sigh knowing such will never be an accepted "solution."

    Off topic: I frequently stare at issues that arise at work while my co-workers feel that something must be done RIGHT NOW. After ruining hundreds of dollars worth of expensive parts, they've learned that sometimes it's best to actually have a plan before taking action.

  • kinnath||

    If we have to fuck around in Syria, can we at least arm both side; drop a little ordinance; and jumpstart the military-industrical complex so that I can at least get a fucking bonus at the end of this year.

  • juliajanet03||

    my best friend's mother-in-law makes $67/hr on the internet. She has been without work for 8 months but last month her payment was $17497 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site..... www.daz7.com

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So if there *weren't* Al Quaeda elements in the opposition, the interventionists would admit that aiding the opposition *isn't* in the national interest?

    Otherwise, it almost looks like Syrian intervention is some kind of non-falsifiable proposition to these people.

  • WTF||

    Otherwise, it almost looks like Syrian intervention is some kind of non-falsifiable proposition to these people.

    Never underestimate the power of the War Boner.

  • califernian||

    we have always been at war with Syria.

  • A Serious Man||

    “The U.S. cannot solve every conflict on the planet,” Rubio said. “But I believe it’s in the national interest of the United States to ensure that the strongest, best-organized, and best-funded elements in a post-Assad Syria and even before his fall are interests that are aligned with us and are friendlier to us than the alternative.”

    Or they'll just take our weapons and money and do whatever the fuck they want while still hating us and Israel.

  • Hugh Akston||

    No no no, you can buy respect and loyalty. Haven't you ever been to DC?

  • Pro Libertate||

    If we simply must intervene, why not tell them that we don't care who wins, but the result is going to be a liberal government with a relatively free market. Otherwise, we invade and give the whole country to Israel.

    See, there are solutions to our problems.

  • anon||

    Relative to the US or relative to North Korea? I are confused.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't know anymore. Some freeish.

  • ||

    See, there are solutions to our problems

    I misread this as "problems to our solutions". Frankly I think my reading is more accurate.

  • ||

    Hey, I've an idea! Let's be an empire, but not do any of the things which make empire profitable or useful, yet do all of the things which make empire shitty, immoral, and will come to bite us in the ass! What do you think? Great idea, or the greatest idea?

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're not an empire. Empires derive some sort of benefit from the countries they invade and usually end up exerting some form of political control.

    We're a volunteer police force. A rogue volunteer police force in a world without cops.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So America is sort of like Batman? Awesome!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Just like Batman, except that many of our clients hate us. Maybe more Spiderman.

  • A Serious Man||

    We're the hero Syria deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So they'll hate us, because we can take it.

  • Restoras||

    I was thinking more like OCP.

  • Tim||

    American Foreign policy is more like Green Lantern: a big budget flop.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, but I always wanted a power ring. Think about it--I'm just one visit from a Guardian away from almost unlimited power. To, um, do good.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You would join the Sinestro Corps in a flat second ProLib.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? No, I look terrible in yellow.

  • ||

    Thanks for summarizing my joke without the humor, ProL. I knew I could count on you to be Buzz Killington.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You were verbose.

  • kinnath||

    A Phythonesque rogue volunteer police force . . . . .

  • Pro Libertate||

    Mountie Python?

  • kinnath||

    Duh

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Python on a stick for everyone who takes a shipment of M-4s and M240Bs.

  • Pro Libertate||

    3-D printed python?

  • Cytotoxic||

    THIS

  • Tim||

    Not since LBJ has America dared think on such a scale.

  • From the Tundra||

    Wow. Rubio sure learned quickly. All that time with McCain and Shumer has really paid dividends.

    What a fuckhead.

  • anon||

    Duh. He's next in line, didn't you get the memo?

  • Restoras||

    Maverick II: Electric Boogaloo?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Maverick II: Electoral Boogaloo

  • Restoras||

    Well played, sir.

    *golf clap*

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    “But I believe it’s in the national interest of the United States to ensure that the strongest, best-organized, and best-funded elements in a post-Assad Syria and even before his fall are interests that are aligned with us and are friendlier to us than the alternative stay out of Syria.

    FIFY.

  • $park¥||

    "The U.S. cannot solve every conflict on the planet"

    "But let's see how many we can. For shits and giggles, ya know?"

  • anon||

    "The U.S. cannot solve every any conflict on the planet"

    But we can end it!

    ftfy too.

  • DJF||

    The US government can’t even solve problems in the US.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "You rebel scum!"

  • Tim||

    Let's send rocks and pointed sticks.

  • A Serious Man||

    Who funded and armed the Rebel Alliance?

  • Pro Libertate||

    The Emperor, of course.

  • A Serious Man||

    You know for someone supposedly clairvoyant in the Force, there was a lot the Emperor did not see coming.

  • $park¥||

    He should have watched The Matrix.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "I have foreseen jackshit" should've been his last line.

  • A Serious Man||

    Also, why didn't Darth Vader have this ability? Wasn't it strongly implied, by both Yoda and the Emperor, that Vader was more powerful in the Force than either of them?

    For example, he's got Luke and Wedge in his gun sights but he let's Wedge go because he's not important. Years later Wedge blows up the second Death Star.

  • $park¥||

    I think they mentioned somewhere in one of the movies that different force masters have different special abilities. Vader was overall strong in the force but didn't have the ability to see the future.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's bogus. If you watch the movies, it's clear that the most powerful Jedi aren't the ones everyone says are the most powerful.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Always in motion is the future.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Always wrong is the Force.

  • Hugh Akston||

    At least there are no Wesley Crushers in Star Wars.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Three words; Jar Jar Binks

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not yet. Maybe now with Abrams.

  • Tim||

    The Jedi sure were wrong, and morally bankrupt. It's a wonder they could function at all.

  • Restoras||

    Yeah, he and Elrond got a lot of shit wrong. Good thing they didn't run sports booking enterprises.

  • Killazontherun||

    Like the Greek gypsy witch who volunteered knowledge of my fate without any prompting from me. A few months later her newly wedded husband nearly beat her within an inch of her life. True fucking story up to an including my description of her being Gypsy, Greek and a witch.

  • $park¥||

  • creech||

    So we will commit an act of war without actually declaring war?
    Does Rand Paul or any other senator have the guts to stand up and ask for a formal declaration of war? I suppose we would have been alright with it if the Empire of Japan had stated they were bombing Pearl Harbor merely to give military assistance to those Hawaiians of Japanese descent who were unhappy with Roosevelt's New Deal.

  • Inigo M.||

    So we need to arm the rebels in order to make sure they remain weak??

    Wow, this is like the training advice of The Sphinx from the movie Mystery Men: "When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will head off your foes with a balanced attack."

    Is there some kind of secret IQ test given to candidates to ensure only idiots can become politicians?

  • A Serious Man||

    "When you question your training you train only for questions."

  • anon||

    Is there some kind of secret IQ test given to candidates to ensure only idiots can become politicians?

    Likeability is inversely proportionate to intelligence.

  • Killazontherun||

    Likeability -- that's the word that comes to least to mind when I think of Schumer and Graham. More like, if I heard those names associated with the terms third degree burns or victim of a prison assrape, I'd get a hearty chuckle.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Er that's kind of misleading. The idea is to make the 'good' rebels stronger so that AQ/Nusra is not as strong relatively speaking. Whether it's a good idea or not is a whole nother thang.

  • anon||

    So we will commit an act of war without actually declaring war?

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Lord Humungus||

    I would like to thank Reason - mostly the H&R articles & commentators - for turning me into a militant anti-war nut. This is a far cry from my Bomb Iraq her-de-der days.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I take sole credit for this.

  • $park¥||

    If H&R made you a better person something went wrong.

  • Lord Humungus||

    "Without evil there can be no good,
    So it must be good to be evil sometimes." /satan

  • Restoras||

    Yes, I have to say I too have done a 180 on that.

    But I also blame the incompetence of the past 3 administrations as well as the utterly spineless and craven US Congress.

  • Lord Humungus||

    it does make one a skeptic of the abuse of power - whatever form it takes.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The next stage is to realize that you have gone from wrong to a different kind of wrong, and take the sensible option.

    http://www.aynrand.org/site/Pa.....casualties

  • anon||

    Also off topic: I sincerely believe the US and Syria (or any country) could trade governments, and there'd be absolutely no difference in either country. Assad would be dead in a week, and Obama would have his worker's paradise.

    Which brings me to the point: Can we PLEASE!?

  • Smells Like Tom Skerritt||

    THIEF MUGS WOMAN, IMMEDIATELY HIT BY BUS

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breit.....t-By-a-Bus

  • anon||

    That, good sir, made my fucking day.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    His victim, meanwhile, recovered her phone and even helped him out from under the bus.

    Some people are wonderful human beings.

  • $park¥||

    That was FUCKING HYSTERICAL!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Instant Karma. Also, finally a valid use of public transit (assuming it was public).

  • Jon Lester||

    There's already a glut of guns in Syria, and our friends in the Gulf Cooperation Council have been arming and aiding all of the rebel factions for many months already, in the name of Sunni supremacy, and likely with the same weapons they bought from us to begin with. Maybe we should just wait for the GCC member states to exhaust their excess inventories, and then sell more arms to them at full retail price.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The rebels say they are actually short of weapons, particularly heavy weapons and there's good reason to believe them. The GCC can still fill the void by itself.

  • Tim||

    Announcer: We're back to Touch The Stove!
    Host: So Kevin I hear you collect amusing postcards.
    Kevin: Yeah it all started when--
    Host: Touch the stove!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Arming enemies of AQ to prevent an AQ takeover may just be a good idea. So uh...why not wait until Assad falls and it becomes an AQ/Nusra vs others fight?

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