The House approved a measure Wednesday to train and arm Syrian rebels, in the first broad test of congressional sentiment about President Barack Obama's plans to expand U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.
The measure, which passed 273-156, was an amendment to a bill to fund the government until Dec. 11. The House passed the spending bill by a vote of 319-108.
The votes followed a six-hour debate that reflected ambivalence among lawmakers who want to stop Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, but are reluctant to restart military action in a part of the world that they thought the U.S. was leaving. Others worried that arming Syrian rebels for combat would backfire, with weapons ending up in the wrong hands and further inflaming tensions in the Middle East. Meanwhile, a set of Republicans is concerned the strategy doesn't go far enough against the extremist group.
"We're sort of in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.). "Those voting on this measure, I suspect, will do so with great reluctance. Those voting no will do so with discomfort," he said.Here's why you should be concerned. Just who is it we are giving these weapons and training to?
How do we know we won't be arming ISIS by default? Especially when some of these "moderates" have reportedly pledged allegiance to the terror group.
The militants of Islamic State have reportedly struck a deal with moderate Syrian rebels not to fight each other and focus on toppling the government. Some reports say the deal was brokered by the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda branch in Syria.
The IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL, is preparing its forces in Syria for likely bombings by the US, which now considers itself at war with the extremist movement. In addition to spreading out from their known facilities, the group that took over portions of Syria and Iraq to build a caliphate is apparently seeking to safeguard itself from attacks of other armed groups in the war-torn country.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based conflict watchdog, the IS has signed a non-aggression pact with moderate fighters, who control the Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood of Damascus.
Under the deal, "the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime," AFP reported. “Nussayri” is a derogatory name for the Shiite Alawite sect, to which Syrian President Bashar Assad and many of his officials belong.It's bad enough when John McLame, who has blindly supported Obama's wars on behalf of Islamists in Syria and Libya, attacks Rand Paul, even as McLame is alleged to have met with ISIS when he went to Syria in 2013.
Why are we in this situation? Because Obama and the Democrats didn't have the stomach to fight the war and win it during the Bush years. They attacked it relentlessly, which inflicted war fatigue on the American public and showed the terrorists we were not united in our fight. Now, not only does the Islamic state know we are not serious, our potential allies won't trust us because they see no leadership from America, just a nation who will head for the door if the going gets tough.
ISIS needs to be destroyed and the ideology of Islamofascism needs to be put on the trash heap of history. But this nation appears no longer to have the will to fight or win a war. The question is, what will be the next shoe to drop for us to have the will to fight?
I'm afraid to guess.