The PJ Tatler

NYT: 'Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West'

Ya think?

The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.

The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.

“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”

The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.

Lovely people. Let’s fight their war for them.

It’s not just the brutality.

It’s the jihad, stupid. Full stop. The jihad. Typical despot brutality on one side, jihad and all that it entails on the other.

In the more than two years this civil war has carried on, a large part of the Syrian opposition has formed a loose command structure that has found support from several Arab nations, and, to a more limited degree, the West. Other elements of the opposition have assumed an extremist cast, and openly allied with Al Qaeda.

Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.

That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals.

Ya think? Though, the “inadvertently” may be out of place. Obama has “inadvertently” strengthened Islamists a time or two already.

Comparisons between World War II and this war break down quickly on the facts of this war going on right now. The jihad sweeping across the Middle East and the rest of the world is simply not like that war or any previous war America has faced. It has no single political capital, or any single political leader driving it. It is transnational. It is open ended — to some extent, it will just have to run its course. There are signs that it can quickly do that once people get tired of living under the extremists. Egypt voted the Muslim Brotherhood into power, and then having tired of the Brotherhood’s not at all “mostly secular” behavior, tossed them out.

Unfortunately as long as Mohammed Morsi remains alive, he remains a threat. So in that way, sure, there’s a Hitler analogy — the Munich putsch, prison time, a chance for a villain to plot and maybe even write a book. If Morsi ever retakes power in Egypt, Katy bar the door (wearing a modest burkha, of course).

But getting back to Syria. Syria’s civil war is not our war. We don’t need to make it our war. The enemy of our enemy is our enemy here. There is no Spanish civil war romance to be found in Damascus, which may be why there are no American boys running over to join and no Ernest Hemingways making their careers covering it. It’s a bloodbath orchestrated by devils. Both sides are horrible. Both sides have probably used forbidden weapons. Both sides have definitely killed civilians. Both sides will go on killing civilians no matter what we do, because that’s what they do.

If we intervene, no matter how small a pinprick Obama intends to inflict, we will become, as both Dennis Kucinich and Ted Cruz have noted — al Qaeda’s air force (and navy).

If that’s what you want, bombs away.