U.S. One Step Closer to Arming Syrian Rebels
By: J.J. Jackson
By a margin of 15-3, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday, voted for legislation that would allow the United States to overtly supply arms to Syrian rebel forces. Up until now, we have been led to believe that our government has provided only non-lethal aid in the two year old conflict. And speaking of non-lethal aid, it was just last month that Secretary of State Kerry said the U.S. was prepared to increase the amount of the aforementioned assistance to $250M!
The matter of arming the rebels must now be mulled over by the full Senate. Obviously it is imperative that our government refrain from supplying high performance weaponry to any group associated with al Qaeda or any facsimile thereof. So the question is: What groups can be trusted, and what groups can the U.S. continue to trust after the weapons have been delivered?
The language approved by the committee suggested that arms would only be sent to “vetted” moderate members of the Syrian opposition. I’m guessing anyone professing to be that will certainly have the Moderate Member of the Syrian Opposition box checked on their rebel ID card. OK then, problem solved, we give guns to somebody.
Now, what happens the next time an offensive video shows up on YouTube or another Koran is inadvertently burned or Sharia Law is rejected in an American court? The very people to whom we have given our best technology will, of course, feel betrayed and obligated to retaliate. Result – Americans will die in even greater numbers.
As an aside, I think it is ironic that so many of our law makers want to provide weapons and ammunition to potential terrorists, and at the same time, are working to prevent law abiding and truly vetted Americans from purchasing defensive weapons.
I realize that innocent men, women and children are being killed in Syria. That fact is both appalling and despicable. But why is our government so willing to arm individuals pledging no allegiance to the United States. How can we possibly vet individuals or groups that, by and large, have no documented history? Their makeup and affiliation can change from day to day. It will take much more than a routine DMV check to determine whether or not they can be trusted with our state of the art weaponry. And of course, it will be impossible to ensure that not a single weapon ends up in the hands of al Qaeda.
If we arm the rebels, are we not then obligated to ensure their victory? Because if they fail, it will be tantamount to giving those same arms and related equipment directly to al Qaeda and others, who are in business to destroy the United States. And if the rebels are successful will they give the weapons back, or do we just allow them to remain adrift in what will continue to be a volatile and hostile area, only to be bartered or sold in preparation for the next engagement?
I’m not saying that nothing should be done to stop the violence, but what about the next uprising or the next civil war? It is all but impossible to control such a violent and chaotic portion of the world. As mentioned above, if we arm the rebels, we must then guide them to victory and that requires U.S. troops on the ground in Syria. We can’t just deliver a mountain of weapons to the rebels and hope they do the right thing. I understand that this is about preventing the death of innocent civilians, but it is also about not putting our military men and women unnecessarily in harm’s way. It is ultimately their blood and sacrifice that will be required to fulfill any promises made by our government.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.