President Obama has talked about his strategy for fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq and of course approached Congress for authorization but more importantly funding. So the House is taking up the topic and considering their vote and they want to get out of town to complete campaigning in their home districts. But there are issues in the hows and whys and whatevers involved. From the New York Times:
The House will vote on Wednesday on whether to grant President Obama the authority to train and equip Syrian rebels to battle the Islamic State, but Republicans will insist on a detailed accounting of how the program fits into a broader strategy to defeat the militants, Republican leaders said Tuesday.
House Republican leaders plan to offer the legislation as an amendment to a broader bill to keep the government funded into December and the Export-Import Bank open through June. The Senate would try to pass the bill by the end of the week.
The House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, walking a line between House Republicans who want to do more to confront ISIS and those who do not want to give the president what he wants, said Congress could weigh back in later this year, if Mr. Obama requests broader authority to expand military operations.
Using an alternative name for the militant group, he added: “If our goal here is to destroy ISIL, we have got to do more than train a few folks in Syria and train a few folks in Iraq and drop some bombs. I just don’t know if that’s enough.”
The bipartisan effort to aid Mr. Obama’s campaign against the group, also known as ISIS, is colliding with a separate fight among Republicans over the Export-Import Bank, which guarantees loans to overseas customers of American exporters but which conservatives denounce as crony capitalism. Some conservative Republicans in the House are eager to oppose any measure that extends the agency’s life but reluctant to vote against the ISIS measure. They had hoped the two issues would be broken into separate bills.
First of all, it is interesting that the party who wanted to separate bills into their individual components instead of omnibus bills just two years ago are creating a hybrid bill…even in the face of opposition to part of the bill and support for the other. And the most incredulous part of it is they are the majority and can pretty much dictate the form of each and every bill that comes to the floor. And this time I agree with them. There should be a separate bill for the extension of authorization for the Export-Import Band and another for any military interventions in Syria (or Iraq).
But more importantly…I can’t believe that the United States is even for an instant thinking that arming and training Syrian rebels is going to pan out in the short or long run. I mean it worked so well in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion of that country. And it worked so well in our current role in Afghanistan…where the Taliban are resurgent. It worked so well in Libya. And in one of the most expensive training and arming projects that the U.S. has undertaken, the rebuilding of the Iraqi Army, has ended up how? With the Iraqis running from ISIS and abandoning their arms or being captured by the hundreds and surrendering a third of their nation. How in the hell do we think arming and training Syrian rebels is going to have a better result. Really?
Walk Away. We can’t win a holy war between warring sects within Islam. We can’t win a societal war between warring tribes in nations that were artificially mandated by colonial powers a hundred years ago.
The amendment, as redrafted by the House Armed Services Committee, will require the Obama administration, 15 days before the program begins, to report to Congress how the training and equipping of Syrian rebels fits with a broader strategy to defeat the Islamic State, how the military plans to vet participants and how officers plan to stop the kinds of attacks by pupils on American forces that have plagued training efforts in Afghanistan.
The bill also mandates that every 90 days, the administration will update Congress on the program’s performance, how many trainees might have gone over to the militants and how trainees are using American military equipment.
If we even feel that we need to consider this…since our trainees will also be fighting against American military equipment…we need to just walk away. It’s a fools errand and I am tired of my money being wasted on endless pointless wars where the outcome is unsure except for one thing…our friends today will most likely be an ungrateful enemy tomorrow.