White House Seeks Half A Billion Dollars To Train Syrian Rebels

FSA_FighterPresident_Barack_ObamaAs both Iraq and Afghanistan meltdown after spending $4 trillion and losing thousands of lives, the Obama Administration wants to pour $500 million into training and equipping the Syrian rebels. Ignore the fact that the Syrian rebels have been accused of human rights violations and atrocities (as has the regime). The government insists that U.S. weapons and money will go to the “right” forces — just ignore all those pictures of ISIS rebels driving around with U.S. equipment in Iraq.

President Obama wants $500 million from Congress to help “train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition.” It is another investment after bad returns on the $4 trillion in prior wars in this area. It is like watching a bad gambler at Vegas screaming that the next hand will pay off.

My primary concern is that we are still cutting basic environmental, scientific, and educational programs due to lack of state and federal funding. In Fairfax county (where my kids go to public school), the county has ordered a disastrous series of cuts of hundreds of positions, teacher raises (despite one of the lowest salary levels in the area), and a further increase in class size. My kids already go to school with an absurd 30 plus kids in a single class with a single teacher. All of this for the need of a fraction of what Congress will pour into Syria with little thought. Obviously, the cuts will hurt Fairfax in the long run which has always drawn families to the area due to its schools. I heard a Maryland official on the radio celebrating the cuts in Fairfax as promising a exodus to Maryland which continues to put a higher priority on education. The greater concern however is that, while other countries are increasing their investment in training students for the modern workforce, the U.S. is continuing to fall in the rankings in education. We are frittering away our future by funding wars rather than education and science needed to keep us competitive in the world market.

It is all perfectly otherworldly as these requests are treated an done deals. Half a billion for rebels seems a no brainer but a fraction of that for schools or science or the environment is viewed as excessive and highly problematic.
Source: CNN

95 thoughts on “White House Seeks Half A Billion Dollars To Train Syrian Rebels”

  1. Its not quite that extreme. As I said in the other blog, voting would have some value if more than one or 2% could vote intelligently. If 40% of the population could truly understand these two things I bring up in the last comment, we would have a remarkably better country and planet. 10% and we would be on our way.

  2. Left/Right arguments will not work in this day and age. If you are a Republican or Democrat, you are part of the problem and need to resign yesterday. Also, any help towards the US Armed Forces as a backer or volunteer, paid or not, excepting only Coast Guard or other domestic help such as weather related, is a move against the people of America. There are some Fed activities to be lauded such as pensions owed or promised, roads built etc. One’s ‘serving’ in the forces is 99% bolstering up the power of a self-serving government and its corporate vultures, and less than one percent for the benefit of the people.

  3. Paul C. Schulte,

    The Duelfer Report is clear that the sanctions had been neutralized in effect. In fact, after ODF, Saddam had officially annulled the UNSC resolutions in Iraq’s domestic policy, so it was no longer even a matter of Iraq violating them. Iraq policy operated on the premise it no longer had ceasefire obligations. By the point of OIF, the only thing that could move Saddam to cooperate at all with the enforcement process was the credible threat of regime change. Yet Saddam never intended to comply with the UNSC resolution. Rather, he believed he could beat the enforcement with the help of his friends in the UN.

    It’s all in the Duelfer Report. I’m continually impressed by the folks who claim the ISG discredited the case against Saddam when the picture it paints supports that the regime change came none too soon. Saddam was rearming. Clinton was right about Saddam. He was not rehabilitated.

  4. Max-1,

    Regarding the link between al Qaeda and Saddam, it’s not a major part of my take on the issue because the Bush administration repeatedly clarified it was not claiming Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks. Rather, the added post-9/11 danger was the potential of Saddam’s future collaboration with terrorists.

    One, the US position for regime change that “The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.” (Clinton, 1998) was formed before 9/11. Saddam’s “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere” (Clinton, 1998) didn’t need a boost from bin Laden.

    Two, Saddam’s guilt on terrorism was established and part of Iraq’s ceasefire obligations.

    Three, bin Laden did not have a monopoly on terrorism. Saddam’s IIS had a wide network of terrorist relations and significant native capabilities, which were leveraged in the post-war insurgency. In the IIS network, several groups – all inimical to the US – were separately friendly with Iraq and al Qaeda, so that Iraqi WMD proliferation could have reached al Qaeda through 3rd party transactions. Not that al Qaeda were the only terrorists that might use WMD against us.

    Four, the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship was not static. While there is intelligence that there was a working relationship with affiliates, the majority view is Iraq and al Qaeda did not have a working relationship. It’s undisputed, however, that Iraq and al Qaeda had a relationship and that relationship was evolving. With the US considered the greater common enemy following the Gulf War, Iraq and al Qaeda had already switched from opposition to neutrality. They continued to conduct mutual outreach to negotiate switching from neutrality to collaboration. There was interest on both sides, if less from Saddam and bin Laden than their lieutenants. The majority view is the next switch hadn’t happened (yet) due to ideological differences, but the threat of that happening in the foreseeable future remained live.

    Five, the Bush administration did cross the line to claim a working relationship with Secretary Powell’s speech to the UN in February 2003. The claim was based on intelligence gathered from a captured al Qaeda commander, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, that was later discredited and recanted. However, taking out Powell’s claim of a working relationship doesn’t affect the lower bar of Saddam’s terrorist threat independent of bin Laden and the potential future cooperation between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda and other terrorists.

    Moreover, taking out the added post-9/11 terrorist-threat lens altogether doesn’t alleviate the evidence that the ad hoc post-ODF ‘containment’ was collapsing nor the pre-9/11 case for regime change, established by President Clinton, to resolve Saddam’s “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere”.

    With or without 9/11, with or without al Qaeda, the Iraq enforcement had reached a terminal state. The ‘containment’ was broken and the Saddam problem had come to a head. The added post-9/11 threat lens only heightened the urgency. It wasn’t the heart of the urgency to resolve the Saddam problem.

  5. Max-1,

    Regarding the link between al Qaeda and Saddam, it’s not a major part of my take on the issue because the Bush administration repeatedly clarified it was not claiming Saddam was behind the 9/11 attacks. Rather, the added post-9/11 danger was the potential of Saddam’s future collaboration with terrorists.

    One, the US position for regime change that “The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people.” (Clinton, 1998) was formed before 9/11. Saddam’s “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere” (Clinton, 1998) didn’t need a boost from bin Laden.

    Two, Saddam’s guilt on terrorism was established. Renouncing terrorism was one of Iraq’s ceasefire obligations. From UNSCR 687:
    “Requires Iraq to inform the Security Council that it will not commit or support any act of international terrorism or allow any organization directed towards commission of such acts to operate within its territory and to condemn unequivocally and renounce all acts, methods and practices of terrorism;”

    Three, bin Laden did not have a monopoly on terrorism. Saddam’s IIS had a wide network of terrorist relations and significant native capabilities, which were leveraged in the post-war insurgency. In the IIS network, several groups – all inimical to the US – were separately friendly with Iraq and al Qaeda, so that Iraqi WMD proliferation could have reached al Qaeda through 3rd party transactions. Not that al Qaeda were the only terrorists that might use WMD against us.

    Four, the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship was not static. While there is intelligence that there was a working relationship with affiliates, the majority view is Iraq and al Qaeda did not have a working relationship. It’s undisputed, however, that Iraq and al Qaeda had a relationship and that relationship was evolving. With the US considered the greater common enemy following the Gulf War, Iraq and al Qaeda had already switched from opposition to neutrality. They continued to conduct mutual outreach to negotiate switching from neutrality to collaboration. There was interest on both sides, if less from Saddam and bin Laden than their lieutenants. The majority view is the next switch hadn’t happened (yet) due to ideological differences, but the threat of that happening in the foreseeable future remained live.

    Five, the Bush administration did cross the line to claim a working relationship with Secretary Powell’s speech to the UN in February 2003. The claim was based on intelligence gathered from a captured al Qaeda commander, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, that was later discredited and recanted. However, removing Powell’s claim of a working relationship doesn’t affect the lower bar of Saddam’s terrorist threat independent of bin Laden and the potential future cooperation between Saddam’s regime and al Qaeda or other terrorists.

    Moreover, taking out the added post-9/11 terrorist-threat lens altogether doesn’t affect the evidence that the ad hoc post-ODF ‘containment’ was collapsing nor the pre-9/11 case for regime change, established by President Clinton, to resolve Saddam’s “clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere”.

    With or without 9/11, with or without al Qaeda, the Iraq enforcement had reached a terminal state. The ‘containment’ was broken. The Saddam problem had come to a head. The added post-9/11 terrorist-threat lens only heightened the urgency. It wasn’t the heart of the urgency to resolve the Saddam problem with a last chance for Saddam to comply with Iraq’s ceasefire obligations.

  6. The half billion for Syria is just a part of the $58.6 billion he want next year for war. ENOUGH!! We have bridges falling down, leaky water and sewage pipes, schools closing, hospitals closing and a Congress that says we have no money. What fxckng BS

  7. Addendum to comment at June 27, 2014 at 10:54 pm:

    When evaluating Saddam’s compliance with the UNSC resolutions while reading the UNMOVIC report and Duelfer Report, it of course helps to know what Iraq’s ceasefire obligations were under the UNSC resolutions.

    UNSC Resolutions on Iraq, 1990-2002:
    http://fas.org/news/un/iraq/sres/index.html

  8. This President is completely lawless because he is an illegal Usurper. How can one born a British subject (of a British subject father) be a natural born Citizen, eligible to be POTUS?
    If there is no legal “executor of the laws” then there is no law, and the law is only what evil men (and women) say it is.
    Congress committed treason in allowing this domestic enemy of the US to be installed, and now protect him (and themselves) on both sides of the “aisle” by promoting other ineligible “candidates”, like Cruz, Rubio, and Jindal— all born of non US Citizen parents. Cruz was even born outside of the US (as was McCain, who was also not eligible)..
    That supposed “law profs” do not educate the public as to this Constitutional disaster is criminal. Turley, Tribe, Olsen et al are cowards.

  9. That money should be spent feeding all the starving squirrels at certain national parks.

    1. jesus – some of those squirrels have rabies and some have plague. Not sure they should be fed.

  10. Actually my kid goes to high school at the local community college– will graduate w/ HS diploma and Associates degree. We are paying for it — a better education that the local government school.

  11. Well, Eric, if you don’t think 9/11 was a con, I can’t help you. Send a letter to Father Christmas….

  12. No, Eric, its exactly as I say. We are not, and were not, in Iraq to save the world or the American people. Anyone ‘proud to have served’ (uhuh.. most all vets and current GI’s) needs a REALITY CHECK!

  13. Paul C. Schulte: “the clock was ticking.”

    What do you mean? (That statement could fit the situation in several ways.)

    1. Eric – “the clock was ticking” means that the sanctions on Saddam was about to run out If Saddam could hold out long enough he was in the clear and could do what he wanted.

  14. Max-1: “it’s a “Liberal Plot” or somethin’, yes?”

    Actually, the Iraq mission, the 1991-2003 enforcement and the 2003-2011 peace operations, was definitively liberal.

    It’s not necessary to rely on the “center for public integrity” to evaluate the key data points. The UNMOVIC report that informed President Bush’s final decision for OIF and the Iraq Study’s Group Duelfer Report are on-line.

    UNMOVIC Cluster Document:
    http://www.un.org/depts/unmovic/new/documents/cluster_document.pdf

    Duelfer Report:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/

    Remember, the test for enforcement was Iraq’s compliance, not the intel, and the entire burden of proof was on Saddam. The UNMOVIC report shows Iraq was noncompliant at the decision point for OIF, and the Duelfer Report corroborates Iraq was in violation of the UNSC resolutions. You can read the reports and judge for yourself.

    Recall that full compliance meant satisfying Saddam’s non-weapons obligations under the UNSC resolutions, too.

  15. Why do you people think other people should pay for your kids’ education? That’s incredible. Buy your own. There Is nothing in the Constitution that mandates that you get my money.

    This is stupid. Pay for yourself.

    Please.

  16. I don’t have any kids. Pay for your own tuition.

    The money is being redistributed to the striking teachers in the striking teachers unions anyway.

  17. “… Obama wants $500 million from (us) …for the ‘moderate’ Syrian armed opposition.” How does one define a “moderate”? …take away the tax money for our kids’ educations– we need it for all the people coming over the Mexican boarder, a human tragedy in his making.

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