Syria and Commonsense

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


syrian-terroristsRarely has there been a policy as universally supported in Washington D.C. and as universally rejected by Americans of all ages, races, genders, incomes and religions as the proposal to send weapons to the Syrian terrorists.

The average American who has never heard of the Al-Nusra Front, is utterly in the dark about the differences between the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and hasn’t the faintest idea that the entire thing has been a Muslim Brotherhood operation of varying degrees of subtlety from Day 1, still thinks that sending weapons to them is a terrible idea.

Even a public that is weary of war and not at all enthusiastic about jumping into another one would rather invade Syria than arm the Syrian rebels.

At least those are the results of a recent Quinnipiac poll, which found that sizable majorities of Republicans, Democrats, men, women, whites, blacks and Hispanics (and possibly even the mysteriously reclusive white Hispanics) all opposed the proposal to send arms to the rebels; even without being told that rebel is a polite term for Islamic Jihadist and Islamic Jihadist is a polite term for the guy wearing explosive underwear next to them on their vacation flight.

The college-educated and those who made it through the basic twelve, Protestants and Catholics, those making under 50K and those making over 100K, callow 18-year-olds and superannuated seniors, all came together to oppose an insane policy of giving weapons to terrorists who are certain to use them against us.

They came to this conclusion without a thorough grounding in foreign policy, without having ever read one of those massive tomes that outgoing secretaries of state throw together to explain their failures, and without even being told anything true and meaningful about the Free Syrian Army. The only analytical tool at their disposal was their common sense.

In a time when the country is sharply divided along class, race, gender and hoodie, this was a refreshing show of unity. The United States of America, in town and city, mariachi band, hip hop concert and hoedown, came together to oppose giving weapons to terrorists.

And no one in Washington, D.C. paid attention. Why should they? They already have it all figured out.

The intelligence committees in the Senate and House of Representatives, which had briefly kicked up a fuss over Obama’s plan to send guns to terrorists, withdrew their objections after being promised regular updates. If those updates are nearly as interesting as the ones for Fast and Furious, a program which merely put lighter weapons into the hands of Mexican drug lords, they should make for some entertaining reading.

The weapons smuggled into Libya, with the complicity of Uncle Barack, and the ones looted from Gaddafi’s ample storehouses, have already shown up in Gaza, led to the Islamist conquest of Mali (requiring French military intervention), and have, naturally, shown up in Syria.

Where will the weapons dispensed like candy to the Syrian rebels end up? The real question is where won’t they end up. The Middle East is a giant arms market and the United States is abandoning the policy of plausible deniability that existed during the Libyan War to directly run guns to terrorists

Considering the havoc that a mere 2,000 Fast and Furious guns caused in Mexico, what exactly will come of shipping anti-tank weapons to the same sort of Islamist militias who launched a full-blown assault on the American mission in Benghazi?

It is widely accepted wisdom in Washington, D.C. that we have to send weapons to Syria. How did a notion that is rejected out of hand by the man on the street for reasons of common sense become accepted in Washington, D.C. also for reasons of common sense? Is there a different common sense in Washington, D.C. than in Peoria, Miami or Fargo? Or is there a lack of common sense?

During the heyday of the Arab Spring, it was hard to find anyone with policy influence who would agree that we should just stay out of it. They all knew that Mubarak had to go and that democracy was inevitable. And they all knew that it would somehow work out because freedom is stronger than tyranny and talking points are stronger than common sense.

The consensus on Syrian smacks of that same empty conviction that something must be done. “Inaction is not an option,” say the advocates of every stupid policy from amnesty to guns for terrorists.

But considering the outcomes of their policies, inaction doesn’t seem so bad.

The net foreign policy outcome of all our interventions in Egypt to make the Egyptians love us is an Egypt that now hates us more than ever. Hating us is the one thing that Egyptians from all walks of life can agree on. It’s their national equivalent of shipping guns to Syrian terrorists.

Not only did Obama’s Cairo speech, his command that Mubarak depart and his latest attempts at pressing for the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood, not win over anyone, he has made Egypt more unstable and made us more hated.

The Libyan intervention, begun to protect the Islamist militias of Benghazi, ended with a burning diplomatic compound in Benghazi and Islamist militias gunning down two former Navy SEALS.

So what’s the worst that could happen in Syria?

The most destructive influence on domestic and foreign policy is that sense of inevitability. “Something must be done,” are the four words that have undone the reason of even credible conservative politicians. The next six words, “It will happen even without us” are nearly as toxic. These are the words that have convinced countless politicians to sell out on domestic policy in exchange for having some control over the final outcome.

That false sense of power and consensus is driving an idiotic policy in Syria.

Officially we are supporting the Syrian rebels because we support democracy, even though the vast majority of the rebels are Islamists and the only democracy they want will disenfranchise Christians, Shiites, women and anyone else left standing after the black flags sweep into Damascus. Morsi also deserves our support because he was democratically elected, even though during his time in office, he tried to amass total power and tortured his opponents.

What democracy really means is that Washington, D.C. has decided that the Muslim Brotherhood is inevitable and so we might as well get on their good side by helping them take over a few countries before it’s too late. Never mind that the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t have a good side. Peel back the layers of front organizations and you find yourself looking into the hooded eyes of Yusuf al-Qaradawi who enjoys suicide bombings and long walks on the beach.

The inevitability of the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since they’re bound to win down the road, we should help them win now. And if they start losing, then we have to ship weapons to their militias, because while their victory is inevitable, its inevitability must be assured with American weapons against the will of the American people.

Washington, D.C. is full of Ivy League grads that have spent a lifetime reading about the Middle East, but lack the most basic sort of common sense. It’s not that they can’t comprehend the risks; it’s that they have been taught to think that either they support the Syrian rebels or the whole thing will happen without them and they will be left out of the loop.

And what could be worse than that?

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  • Mick Fuslims

    The ONLY group of people abed Hussein-Obama supports are those affiliated with the muslim brotherhood, he’s a treasonous usurper and needs to be treated like one.

  • Mary Brown

    The corrupt government in DC needs to go, we need a reset back to following the constitution. And the federal reserve is a major player in the corruption along with wall street.

  • Texas Patriot

    Follow the money trail, Daniel. Follow the money trail. As long as U.S. politicians are permitted to receive direct or indirect political contributions and financial benefits from foreign nations, the interests and concerns of the American people will be secondary.

  • aposematic

    Silly Me! I thought arming, aiding, and giving comfort to America’s enemies (MB/Al Qaeda/etc.) was treason. I guess when a D POTUS does it its all o.k. since apparently our MSM/Press propaganda pontificators see no evil when D’s are at the helm.

  • Used To Be A Liberal

    I think that we are all missing something here, call me nuts, crazy, or insane if you like, but this is what I see. First off, Arab Spring, did not just happen, it was planned, contrived, then executed, by who? by us, in the “west” Then we were fed a load of bull dung that we swallowed hook line and sinker. Who did we help take out, and why. We took out governments who were actually friendly to wards us, and not so friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood. Why did we do this, well hell, we have done this before. Around 1933, in a country called Germany, we not only backed Hitler, but aided in the build up of his political and military machine. Henry Ford was given a medal by Hitler for giving them the assembly line. Rothschild, Kennedy, Bush, the King of England, Rockefeller, and many others thought Hitler was the greatest thing since sliced bread. So here we go again, along the same path, only this time the plan is more deliberate, in that “we” are creating or trying to create a visible, viable enemy, under the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood, who, if the plan goes correctly, will rule what we call the whole middle east. Then we will have a brand new enemy to go to war with. This then should solve our economic problem, along with our energy problem. The I M F will be very happy with this scenario, European Governments will be happy as they will now have an excuse to clamp down on Islam in their own countries, and won’t have to worry about screams of intolerance or human rights. Russia, and China will enter on the side against Islam, as they have their own problems with this “religion” , but be prepared, this time they will not leave, or give back. The march to the “New World Order” began in earnest under Bush 1 continued under Clinton, then Bush 2, now Obama, then will continue, and culminate under the next one or two presidents. A “good” war on the horizon by 2020. Am I nuts? maybe, but it seems to me that all these interventions so far have been to benefit the I M F, and in turn us. Will we be fighting a “just” war, sure we will, after all we are being set-up for it.

  • used_to_be_a_liberal

    I think that we are all missing something here, call me nuts, crazy, or insane if you like, but this is what I see. First off, Arab Spring, did not just happen, it was planned, contrived, then executed, by who? by us, in the “west” Then we were fed a load of bull dung that we swallowed hook line and sinker. Who did we help take out, and why. We took out governments who were actually friendly to wards us, and not so friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood. Why did we do this, well hell, we have done this before. Around 1933, in a country called Germany, we not only backed Hitler, but aided in the build up of his political and military machine. Henry Ford was given a medal by Hitler for giving them the assembly line. Rothschild, Kennedy, Bush, the King of England, Rockefeller, and many others thought Hitler was the greatest thing since sliced bread. So here we go again, along the same path, only this time the plan is more deliberate, in that “we” are creating or trying to create a visible, viable enemy, under the banner of the Muslim Brotherhood, who, if the plan goes correctly, will rule what we call the whole middle east. Then we will have a brand new enemy to go to war with. This then should solve our economic problem, along with our energy problem. The I M F will be very happy with this scenario, European Governments will be happy as they will now have an excuse to clamp down on Islam in their own countries, and won’t have to worry about screams of intolerance or human rights. Russia, and China will enter on the side against Islam, as they have their own problems with this “religion” , but be prepared, this time they will not leave, or give back. The march to the “New World Order” began in earnest under Bush 1 continued under Clinton, then Bush 2, now Obama, then will continue, and culminate under the next one or two presidents. A “good” war on the horizon by 2020. Am I nuts? maybe, but it seems to me that all these interventions so far have been to benefit the I M F, and in turn us. Will we be fighting a “just” war, sure we will, after all we are being set-up for it.

  • Michael Gersh

    Syria under the Assads has never been a friend to the USA, and neither have any flavor of Islamists ever been on our side. One of the oldest dicta of military doctrine is to not interfere when your enemies are destroying each other.

    Personally, I have always felt that any time arabs are killing each other and they cannot blame the Jews, that’s a good thing. And, if there is going to be a war between the Shi’a and Sunni muslims, which side do we want to take in that mess anyway? We took the moslem side against the Christian Serbs, and there was never a very good reason for that either, and less than stellar results. Kosovo anyone? How did helping moslem killers ever help our position in the world?

    Sometimes doing nothing is the best course of action. If the images of killing upset us, how can killing even more people be the right thing to do?

  • EarlyBird

    Wrong, Danny.

    There is zero indication that the broad majority of Americans reject arming Syrian rebels because it comprises a “…policy of giving weapons to terrorists who are certain to use them against us,” as in American citizens at home, or while “on their next vacation flight.”

    Americans no longer buy your neo-con lies that we need to “fight them over there so we don’t need to fight them over here,” and are starting to figure out that the more “over there” we are, the more “over here” our enemies want to be.

    Americans reject arming the rebels because we reject more wars of choice in the Middle East, and arming Syrian rebels is the first step to invading Syria.

    Americans don’t have a deep understanding of the different parties over there, and are wise enough not to really care. Everything from the Mediterranean to the Sahara to the Hindu Kush is all just one big, bloody, Islamist hornets nest, and we’re done playing the Great Game which has been paying us diminishing returns for decades now.

    We reject the Syria game because we reject being the world’s policeman, and defining our nation by the wars we fight. Unfortunately for Goebbels Greenfield and other Israel First hacks, this includes an American disinclination to invade and occupy Iran on behalf of Israel.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      The poll shows more support for an invasion than for arming terrorists

      So that explanation falls flat

      • EarlyBird

        The poll doesn’t even ask about invasion, nor could any of its questions be construed as asking about invasion.

        So once again you are lying.

        “Do you think it is in the national interest of the United States to be involved in the conflict in Syria, or not?” is not asking about invasion.

        “Do you think the United States should or should not use weapons which don’t risk American lives, such as drones and cruise missiles, to attack Syrian government targets?” specifically excludes invasion.

        Good try, Goebbels.

        • Daniel Greenfield

          See Question 51

          Also Godwin’s Law

          • EarlyBird

            I not only saw Question 51, I quoted it above:

            “Do you think the United States should or should not use weapons which don’t risk American lives, such as drones and cruise missiles, to attack Syrian government targets?”

            This question distinguishes between the use of stand-off weapons, vs. an invasion. Invasions “risk American lives,” while drones and cruise missiles do not.

            See Commandment #9. Just because it’s towards the bottom of the list doesn’t mean its just a recommendation.

            I don’t merely refer to you as Danny “Goebbels” Greenfield as an epithet (but at least you recognize it as one). I use it as an accurate analogy for someone who consciously and viciously lies and propagandizes for a living.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            Entering the airspace of a foreign country and bombing it is an invasion.

          • EarlyBird

            It is not “invasion” given the context within the poll that you cite for your latest propaganda. The question goes out of its way to distinguish the use of stand-off weapons vs. taking actions where soldiers get hurt, i.e., boots on the ground, i.e., an invasion. You are lying again.

          • Daniel Greenfield

            The bottom line is that more Americans support going to war with Syria… than supporting arming the rebels.

            Your explanation that the opposition to arming the rebels is really an opposing to more wars of choice is null and void.

          • EarlyBird

            The poll shows that the American people prefer to go to war with missiles and drones, i.e., things that can be launched from aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and airbases in the heartland, actions which demonstrate a very limited role against Assad, vs. arming rebels, which if history is our guide, is a step towards putting our own GIs in harms’s way. First it’s arming the rebels, second it’s having troops to show them how to use them…etc.

            Hey, you’re right that Obama is making a mistake in arming rebels in Syria (if Congress actually lets him – it’s looking less likely) but you try so hard to demonize him that it blows up in your face and you are exposed as a liar and a propagandist.

  • EarlyBird

    “…First off, Arab Spring, did not just happen, it was planned, contrived, then executed, by who? by us, in the “west”

    I disagree. The West was reactive, rather than proactive. The Arab Spring was inevitable and only looks dramatic and surprising today, but the Western Powers’ 100+ year control over the Middle East has been diminishing for quite a while. We are living through an inevitable movement of history.

    “We took out governments who were actually friendly to wards us, and not so friendly to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    “We” didn’t “take out” anybody. We just chose not to actively help tyrants wipe out masses of people demanding self government and free elections. The choice was a.) accepting that Arabs were taking control of their destiny in ways that may make us nervous, or b.) helping tyrants like Mubarak brutally crush hundreds of thousands of pro-freedom revolutionaries, destroying our credibililty in the world as a beacon of democracy, and providing a jihadist recruitment campaign against America which bin Laden could only dream of. Wisely, thank God, we accepted to deal with the changing reality.

    Do I think there are forces who love the idea of another massive, global war? Absolutely. Arms manufacturers and the senators and congressmen whose constituencies work for them, the Halliburtons of the world, industrialists, oil men, evangelical Christians hoping for Armageddon, Israel Firsters, etc.

    It’s why we need to be so very clear about what are interests are and are not, in the world, and stop treating every dictator in some desert as a personal affront to American honor. We must get off this addiction to war, or it will be our undoing, as it has been for every empire in history.

  • William James Ward

    The Obama regime is determined to support Islamist killers and
    there is no changing that now, not until the next election and
    the people vote out the anti-American professional criminal
    politicians. Any military hardware given to the so called rebels
    (Islamist murderers) will be used against Americans in the future.
    I thought Republicans were just jellyfish frauds but no am sure
    they are complicit with Democrats to turn us into a serf citizenry
    where they dictate to us who they allow to have some of what
    we work for but not that much. It would be nice to get rid of
    every one of these thieving rats and allow them to scrub prison
    walls, fill out chain gang quotas and serve as a warning to those
    who cheat and demean the citizens of America………….William