We citizens of the US are represented by the very best of us. The Senate, in particular the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is filled to the brim with humanitarians, deep thinking wise men, and just good folks.
Surely, that must be true.
Why, only yesterday, most of these fourteen fine gentlemen and two fine ladies voted to provide aid to freedom fighters in Syria, including training and lethal weapons now, plus a $250 million starter fund for their government once Assad is hung or assassinated. While the committee is dominated by peace-loving Democrats, they are certainly channeling Ronald Reagan and who can say he would not be proud! As another testament to the era of the 1980s, the vote was a model of transparency and clear thinking!
I detect a bit of disbelief. Doubters need go no further than the membership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, filled as it is with the great military minds of Barbara Boxer and Marco Rubio, environmentalist and professional politician Ben Cardin of Maryland, and clean water activist and leader in various Iran sanctions legislationBob Casey of Pennsylvania. Check out the great record of public service, government efficiency, and tax-fighting of New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen – who simultaneously fights to maintain “her” two military bases and unhindered funding thereto, who happily voted “Yes, God, Yes” on the bill.
And who can forget union and public school fighter Bob Menendez, who chairs the committee, and his wise words yesterday,
The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria…Vital U.S. interests are at stake including the stability of the Middle East, loose chemical weapons, and the danger that Syria becomes a safe haven for extremists. The United States must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free and democratic Syria.
Of course, doubters among you might suggest that greater humanitarian crises exist, and have for far longer, and with greater human cost. Perhaps you are thinking of the little you know about eastern Congo, or one of the many places the US is already “aiding” with “training and lethal weapons,” such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, Sudan, Somalia, etc. Perhaps you have some vague idea about suffering and death relating to the blockaded and sanctioned Palestinians, or those starving in North Korea, or even the US-funded prison for suspected terrorists in Guantanamo! If you are thinking that these cases even approach the ethical scope, importance, urgency and actionable-ness of Syria, you are sadly mistaken.
Why, even calm and clear thinking Republican Marco Rubio became emotional and “insisted that it was critical to help groups battling the well-armed, pro-Assad forces and radical jihadists.” Vital and critical, to the US as we know it, and as we believe her to be – that shining city on a hill, arms open, and always ready to help those seeking to throw off the yoke of an invasive, unelected, and unaccountable government led by a despot who doesn’t share the vision of the people and is arming against them.
I’m only surprised that more money and assistance was not immediately approved by the Senate committee, and can only say godspeed to this bill in the Senate, and in the House.
It is amazing that the three naysayers in the Foreign Relations Committee were not publicly marched out and held in stocks for the rest of us to laugh at! I mean seriously, Senator Udall (New Mexico) was suggesting that weapons given to the rebels in Syria might end up in the hands of our enemies! Like when has that ever happened? What a fool!
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky commented, “…the U.S. is war weary and reluctant to get involved in a murky conflict with so many factions. …There is no assurance that the weapons would end up in the hands of “liberty-loving, Jeffersonian-type of democrats.” He went on to point out that the existing law forbids the passage of this bill, specifically that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force does not allow intervention in Syria and another bars weapons to Syria.
I can imagine the jeering and the laughter in the room when these idiotic ideas were voiced! Thank goodness we could count on the highly respected public servant Senator John McCain to be appropriately derisive.
Of course, behind the scenes, we have the active support in this effort to militarily aid the Syrian rebels, even the al Qaeda connected ones such as Jabhat al-Nusra, by both the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Pentagon. Of course, neither of these groups benefit from war, chaos, confusion, and a vibrant military intelligence, arms, and public commentary marketplace in the Middle East, and no one would ever be so stupid as to suggest that. Nonetheless, they both reluctantly came on board with this proposal to aid Syrian rebels because indeed, this is a humanitarian crisis, not a political one, and it can only be dealt with militarily.
Everybody knows that.
Suggestions that members of the Senate Committee take some of their considerable private wealth and influence and raise the funds to train, arm and transition a new government into Syria were shrugged off, with one Senator saying “What good would that do?”