Today, Senator Robert Menendez introduced the Syria Stabilization Act. It’s legislation that, if passed and signed into law, would address the problem of alleged chemical weapons use in the Syrian civil war by providing American money and weapons to groups accused of using chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war.
If you’re confused by this legislation, be proud. It’s a sign that you’re paying attention.
There are allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons in the civil war. It’s a serious allegation that deserves serious investigation. So far, no solid evidence to corroborate the allegations has been found.
There are also allegations that the rebels fighting against the Syrian government have used chemical weapons in the civil war. It’s a serious allegation that deserves serious investigation. So far, no solid evidence to corroborate the allegations has been found.
Senator Robert Menendez, assessing this situation, has decided that the United States should simply believe one set of allegations, while dismissing the other set of allegations, and provide money and weapons to the Syrian rebels, despite the unresolved accusations of chemical weapons use by them.
In a press release accompanying the Syria Stabilization Act, Menendez states, “The Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options. The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria.”
He could just as easily have written, “The Syrian rebels have crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options. The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward the Assad regime and working to build a free Syria.”
Anyone speaking on the need to arm the Syrian rebels, despite grave reservations about their goals and violent techniques of rebellion, needs to address the history of America’s rushed invasion of Iraq. Back in 2002 and 2003, Americans were assured that the Iraqi government had large stockpiles of chemical weapons that could be used against Europe, or even the United States. The chemical weapons turned out to be nothing but a hoax.
The stories of chemical weapons use were used by opponents of the Iraqi government who wanted to use the U.S. military to do the dirty work in a plan for seizing power in Baghdad for themselves. They came up with fake evidence, and the American military, and most of the American journalistic establishment, fell for the trick.
It’s possible that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. However, it’s also possible that the allegations are lies, created by Syrian rebels who will say anything to get their hands on more money and weapons.
It’s possible that the Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons. However, it’s also possible that the allegations against them are lies, created by a Syrian government that will say anything to prevent the rebels from getting their hands on more money and weapons.
There’s a huge amount of doubt about claims of chemical weapons use in Syria right now. When there’s doubt about whether people can be trusted, the default position should be to NOT send them weapons and money. Apparently, Robert Menendez doesn’t seen things that way. So, we now have the Syria Stabilization Act to contend with.
While we’re on the subject I have to ask: What exactly would be stabilizing about the Syria Stabilization Act? Implicit in the arguments Senator Menendez makes in favor of this legislation is the idea that pouring more weapons into a country where there’s already considerable violence will solve the problem. That kind of idea is something that Menendez argued against as recently as April 17, when the Senator said in a speech to his colleagues, “not banning assault weapons is asking for more gun violence. And allowing larger clips with more fire power does nothing to end the violence. Do we honestly think it makes sense to allow someone – without a mandatory background check – to buy an assault weapon that can fire up to 13 rounds a second with something called a ‘bump-fire-stock?’ There is no need for that kind of fire power on the streets of America… there is no need for the same weapons to be on the streets of Newark, New Jersey or Newtown, Connecticut as they are in Baghdad, Kabul, or Peshawar, Pakistan.”
There Menendez was, suggesting that one of the serious problems in cities like Baghdad, Kabul and Peshawar is that there are too many guns. Not a month later, Menendez is arguing that Damascus, a city rocked by violent civil war even worse than that seen in Baghdad, Kabul, and Peshawar, needs more guns.
Senator Menendez needs to make up his mind: Does throwing guns at a problem make it better or not?