There are several reasons. Pundits will be quick, as always, to jump on their soapbox and talk about Paul’s “isolationist” mentality. But that is cheap shot off the bow considering the very real dilemma arming Syrian opposition fighters really represents.
Firstly, let’s not forget how this legislation to arm Syrian rebels was pushed through. It came as an attachment to the Congressional spending bill. I know as well as anyone how Washington works. Silly, irrelevant things end up in bills.
For better or worse, that’s how votes are purchased – be it money for a bridge in Topeka or some oddball tax break for a type of apple – that’s just how the system works. But this isn’t some silly appropriation for a congressman’s local district – this is arming a rebel army with American military equipment. As Paul rightly put it:
“I think it’s inexcusable that this would be debated as part of a spending bill and not a free standing bill,” Mr. Paul said, adding, “One might wonder why the Senate doesn’t have fifteen extra minutes to debate war.” (Washington Times)
Heck yes, it’s inexcusable. You’d think creating a military would at least merit a separate bill. Instead, those who disagree with arming the rebels are stuck having to vote against funding the government? It’s little wonder it angers Paul. I’m only surprised it didn’t anger more lawmakers.
As to arming the rebels – Paul gives a resolute ‘no’. Again, it isn’t that America doesn’t root for them. No one here is an Assad fan and we’re certainly not cheering for the dictator. But Paul rightly points to our record of arming rebel factions in the Middle East. Have we forgotten Libya already? I don’t see how, as the country is still overrun by armed militias wreaking havoc. Today’s rebels can too easily become tomorrow’s radical extremists. As Paul noted about our intervention to date:
“Most of the arms we’ve given to the so-called ‘moderate’ rebels have wound up in the hands of ISIS, because ISIS simply takes it from them, or it’s given to them, or we mistakenly actually give it to some of the radicals” (CNN)
And that’s really what is at issue here. I, personally, am tired of seeing ISIS members posing with M-16s in front of American Humvees with the ISIS logo on the side. I’ll stand with Paul against arming Syrian rebels, thank you. What about you? Let us know in the comments via Twitter or Facebook.
Written by Mark Davis
(Photo courtesy of David Poe, CC BY-ND 2.0)
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