Merchants of Death: Congress Authorizing Arms, Funding to Syrian Rebels.


On CNN, we read:

The House on Wednesday approved President Obama’s request to arm and train Syrian rebels in the fight against ISIS.

With significant opposition to the proposal in both parties, the vote was 273 -156. More than one third of the House — 71 Republicans and 85 Democrats — voted no.

Passing this House means this request will be sent up to the Senate, which will assuredly approve it. For all intents and purposes, Obama’s request has been approved.

The proposal would authorize the Pentagon to provide assistance to “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition and require the administration to give Congress a detailed plan for helping the rebels before that assistance could begin.

Ah, “appropriately vetted”. I see. The US government is going to make dang sure that only the good guys get huge shipments of weapons. Yessiree, not a dime nor a bullet will be allowed to fall into the hands of ISIS or the numerous rebel groups that have declared an alliance with ISIS. Who are the good guys? Why, the tiny, insignificant, ineffectual Anti-Assad secular nationalists, of course. Surely, no Islamic fundamentalist groups could POSSIBLY get their hands on some of this equipment.

The term “Merchants of Death” used to be thrown at weapons manufacturers as a pejorative insult. It mostly fell out of favor in the post-Cold War landscape. In my opinion, it is marvelous phraseology that should be revived.

Some of the most egregious of all “Merchants of Death” are our very own Congress and President. These people get the idea into their brains that they can inject themselves into foreign conflicts, sprinkle money and guns over the fighting, and get out of it scot-free without producing any lasting consequences. The problem is that such actions DO produce lasting consequences. The immense hatred that much of the Islamic world harbors for the USA is a direct and lasting consequence of a half-century of meddling in foreign affairs and exacerbating foreign conflicts with additional guns and money.

“War is Peace.” That is the unspoken mantra of the American Neoconservative (who can be either Democrat or Republican, mind you). These people tell us that every conflict intervention is necessary to somehow engender peace. They tell us that giving guns and money to one group of ragamuffins somewhere around the world is going to directly lead to a more peaceful and better world. Woodrow Wilson made this viewpoint popular when he was pushing intervention into World War I as “The War to End All War.” Of course, it wasn’t the war to end all war. In fact, when you consider how the wildly unfair Treaty of Versailles directly contributed to the rise of the Nazis, you could instead call it “the War to Guarantee More War.”

Thus it is with the current push for war against ISIS. Don’t get me wrong, I despise ISIS, and I agree with the general opinion that they are some of the most psychopathic maniacs the world has ever seen. But anyone who thinks that basically martyring ISIS will create lasting peace on earth and in the Islamic World is living in fantasy land. Engaging ISIS in war will have the same effect that the War on Terror and Afghan War had: it will create more jihadists and support for Anti-Western Islamic movements. Perhaps ISIS can be smashed for the moment; but Islamic fundamentalism, specifically the modern Anti-American variant, is a non-state entity that the US military cannot defeat no matter how many societies they smash to bits. Sending American boys and girls into the Arabian meat-grinder will be little more than a national tragedy that causes lasting pain and suffering.

American warhawks want to believe that there is a magic-bullet solution to ISIS and Islamic terrorism. They want to believe that trusting in wise central planning by bureaucrats in the Pentagon and DoD can lead to a relatively simple outcome whereby ISIS is eliminated and replaced by a banal Arab nationalist autocracy. The truth is that we are way past an easy solution to this one. American foreign policy over the past 25 years has, quite simply, caused a significant portion of the world to resent and hate us. We can’t just snap our fingers and be out of this pickle. Bombing people and invading other countries might smash societies and armies, but it won’t reverse the negative attitudes that most of the Islamic world has toward the USA, which is the root cause of the problem. But the US government isn’t interested in addressing the root cause; they only want to address the symptoms. Neglecting the root cause will make the symptoms worse.

This situation has parallels with the government’s treatment of Social Security and Medicare. These two programs are, quite frankly, utterly doomed. They cannot be saved. The unfunded liabilities are over $222 trillion; this can never be realistically met. And yet, we frequently hear politicians charge that these programs can indeed be saved “if only we act now.” No, the time to “act now” was 30 years ago. It’s too late. There is no easy solution to handling the issues at hand within Social Security and Medicare. These systems will fail and jilt millions of people.

The situation is similar to what is happening between the West and Islamic fundamentalism. Politicians tell us that we can nip terrorism in the bud by giving guns and money to some group of bandits, or by invading this or that locale. As far as our present situation is concerned, it’s too late to “act now” on this. The time to act now was a long time ago, when we could’ve smashed the military-industrial complex and pulled out of worldwide foreign interventionism. Things might be different today if that were the case. In fact, they probably would be different. They’d be better.

There is a solution to be enacted that could help solve this situation in the long-term: busting the military-industrial complex, ending the forever wars in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, and by putting a stop to the relentless march of American Empire. But in the short-term, not much can be done. The bed has been made, and now we have to sleep in it.

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