Thanks to Republican Senators Rand Paul (of Kentucky) and Mike Lee (of Utah), we might finally get on Syria what we were denied on Libya: a real debate among the American people’s representatives over congressional authorization of President Obama’s unilateral war-making in the Middle East.
The Washington Examiner reports that Senators Paul and Lee have joined with two counterparts, Democrats Chris Murphy (of Connecticut) and Tom Udall (of New Mexico), in offering legislation that would block direct or indirect aid for military or paramilitary operations in Syria. The bill, which is posted on Paul’s website, is called the “Protecting Americans from the Proliferation of Weapons to Terrorists Act of 2013.”
The proposal would not affect or prohibit humanitarian aid, but it forthrightly addresses the issue Syria intervention supporters willfully ignore: the factions President Obama is abetting – egged on by the GOP’s McCain wing and their fellow transnational progressives on the Democratic side of the aisle – are Islamic supremacists dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and closely connected to violent jihadists, including al Qaeda-affiliated groups.
Not to be a broken record (see, e.g., here, here and here), but the Syrian civil war pits implacable enemies of the United States against each other. And as night follows day, they are using their barbaric jihadist tactics against each other. The situation is reminiscent of the central flaw in our Libyan misadventure – which led directly to the massacre of Americans in the “rebel” stronghold of Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
As John Rosenthal acutely observes in his short but essential book The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion, while there are many problems with using the label “war on terror” to describe our ongoing hostilities, “at least the term had the advantage of making clear that the US and its allies abhorred the tactic in question.” Yet, in Libya, and now in Syria, we have turned a blind eye to the fact that terrorism is used by the jihadists our government has chosen to side with. We try to obscure this fact by referring to the opposition forces as “rebels,” the better to avoid noticing that they consider themselves mujahideen (jihad warriors), and by pretending we favor only the “secular” “moderates,” though it is laughable to suggest there are enough of them to topple the regimes in question without allying with the more numerous and formidable Islamic-supremacists factions.