6 Reasons Why the U.S. Should Not Arm the Syrian 'Moderates'

Demonstrating yet again that we do not have an effective opposition party in the United States right now, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Wednesday in favor of Barack Obama’s plan to arm and train “vetted” members of the Free Syrian Army. As expected, the Senate went along on Thursday. The Hill noted about the House vote that “vocal opposition” came from “both war-weary liberals and defense hawks who feel the Syria plan should include more robust steps.”  No one, however, seems to have mentioned the main reason why this is a bad idea: the Free Syrian Army is on the wrong side.

Obama made big promises last Sunday on Meet the Press: “What I want people to understand is that over the course of months,” he asserted, “we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum” of the Islamic State. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we’re going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we’re going to defeat them.” He was using the term “we” loosely: “This is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops. This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war.” But if American troops were not going to perform this herculean task, then who would do it?

“In the interview on Sunday,” said the New York Times, “Mr. Obama said he envisioned the Free Syrian Army’s providing the ground presence needed to confront ISIS in Syria.”

But will the Free Syrian Army actually do this job, or do it effectively? Here are some reasons why not:

6. The Free Syrian Army terrorized the Christians of the Syrian village of Oum Sharshouh.

In July 2013, Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area.

Terrible things happen in wars, of course, and the FSA’s terrorizing of a Christian village doesn’t necessarily mean that it wouldn’t be effective against the Islamic State. But given this behavior, what kind of a society might the Free Syrian Army establish in Syria, were they to come to power? Apparently not one that would secure the rights of religious minorities, for the terror attack at Oum Sharshouh was not an isolated incident...