Thursday, September 18, 2014

Senate gives President authority to arm and train Syrian rebels

Welp, here we go again.

Just what we need, American arms and (almost definitely) boots on the ground in another Middle-Eastern cluster fuck!

Some of those arms will undoubtedly make their way into the hands of people who will endeavor to use them to kill Americans. Have we learned NOTHING from our tattered history of messing about in that region?

It turns out our bloodthirsty Senate voted 78-22 in favor of the motion. For fuck's sake, we can't get enough of them to vote for the justice of having American women paid the same as American men for performing the EXACT SAME JOBS, but we get a super-fucking-duper majority when it comes to killing people in a faraway land and spending unknown BILLIONS on making it so!

Our two senators split their votes. Here's what they say:

Blumenthal Statement On Senate Vote On Continuing Resolution, Authority To Train And Equip Moderate Syrian Opposition Forces

Thursday, September 18, 2014

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today released the following statement after voting in favor of the Continuing Resolution, which, in addition to preventing a government shutdown, provides authority for the Defense Department to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces:

“Inaction against ISIL is unacceptable. This savage terrorist organization is a clear and urgent threat. This narrow authorization enables training of moderate Syrians to fight ISIL in their own country. It is limited in time and scope, and it explicitly prohibits American troops in combat. I continue to have concerns and questions, including the need for more specific firm commitments from countries in the region as well as global allies, and sufficient assurances that the arms and training will be used for our interests, not against us.

“The Senate will be voting again on this authorization because this one expires on December 11. My position in future votes will depend on whether my concerns and questions are answered. Chief among my concerns is whether Arab nations commit themselves significantly and vigorously to the fight against ISIL’s inhumane and dangerous brutality and ideology.

“An important consideration in my vote today was the need to prevent a government shutdown.”

And Sen. Chris Murphy had a slightly different opinion:

Moments ago, I cast my vote in the Senate against arming and training the Syrian rebels.

I continue to believe that President Obama has laid out a strong case for taking the fight to ISIL. I agree with his decision to launch airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq, to compel new leadership in Iraq to achieve political reconciliation with moderate Sunnis, and to put together a broad, international military coalition. The president has shown true, decisive leadership in the fight against ISIL and I applaud him for his strength and resolve.

I simply don't believe an effective strategy to combat ISIL requires America to get more deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.

First, the moderate Syrian rebels have shown a disturbing willingness to join forces with Islamic extremists like the Al Nusra Front, a wing of Al Qaeda, and it will be nearly impossible to stop the rebels we train from joining forces with groups that pose a real threat to the United States.

Second, it will be hard to thread the needle of supporting a majority Shiite regime against Sunni extremists in Iraq while, at the same time, supporting a largely Sunni insurgency against a Shiite leader in Syria.

Third, I believe we are too optimistic that the American trained rebels will target ISIL when their true enemy inside Syria is Bashar al-Assad. Asking a minimally trained army to take on two barbaric foes at once seems unrealistic.

I want to close by reiterating that I still firmly maintain Congress needs to authorize this new war against ISIL. This issue remains too important to not have all voices at the table before moving forward.

All the best,

Chris Murphy
U.S. Senator, Connecticut

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