The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Syria: Another Casualty of ‘Hope’

Posted on | April 28, 2013 | 28 Comments

Reading a long New York Times article about the prevalence of Islamic extremism among Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime in a two-year civil war, I was struck by this paragraph:

The religious agenda of the combatants sets them apart from many civilian activists, protesters and aid workers who had hoped the uprising would create a civil, democratic Syria.

Ah, yes, these idealists “had hoped” to turn Syria into Stockholm and, as usual, their unrealistic hopes were compelled to yield to the reality of human nature. Creating “a civil, democratic Syria” would require a populace with some tradition compatible with that goal — and that such people care enough about their goal to fight and die for it — and it appears that these qualities are, alas, in short supply in Syria:

“Some of the more extremist opposition is very scary from an American perspective, and that presents us with all sorts of problems,” said Ari Ratner, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project and former Middle East adviser in the Obama State Department. “We have no illusions about the prospect of engaging with the Assad regime — it must still go — but we are also very reticent to support the more hard-line rebels.” . . .
“My sense is that there are no seculars,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, of the Institute for the Study of War, who has made numerous trips to Syria in recent months to interview rebel commanders.

You can read the entire 1,456-word article and find not a single word of encouragement to those who hoped for “a civil, democratic Syria.” The Assad regime — backed by the Shi’ite fanatics in Iran — is likely to give way to a similarly fanatical regime dominated by Sunni extremists aligned with al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

If delusions that the “Arab Spring” would result in a more peaceful (or at least, more pro-American) Middle East were not already thoroughly discredited by previous events, the hopeless mess in Syria ought to put an exclamation point on this obvious conclusion.

And yet amid all this broiling trouble, our leaders in Washington propose to eliminate eight combat brigades from the Army.

Because . . . Hope.

We might well adapt to current circumstances an infamous saying of Josef Stalin: How many divisions does Hope have?



  • jsn2

    Obama’s plans are brilliant and we are just to dumb to comprehend his strategy for solving the problems of the middle east much less his genius for solving our economic problems here at home. So, when I see him crack jokes with journalists, hobnob with movie stars, shoot hoops and play golf I know things must be going according to his plan and we can stop worrying. If he has time to play that must mean he is confident everything is proceeding exactly as he planned.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Obama has no clue on Syria. That said, we do not want to be intervening there, other than possibly racing in to seize Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles before Islamic fundamentalist rebels seize them. There is not a reasonable side in Syria. Assad sucks. The rebels mostly suck. It sucks to be Syrian.

  • Dai Alanye

    Was there ever a revolution or case of “civil unrest” that extremists didn’t try to take over? And usually succeed?

    I’m pleased, though, that the former Obama State Dept guy is “reticent” to support the hard-liners. At least we won’t have to hear about it all the time.

    No doubt Obama will blame Bush for this, now that the Fellowship of the Library has dissolved. I, however, blame Richard I.

  • Adjoran

    As sad experience has proven beyond any doubt, none of these peoples are open to the sort of help and assistance we rendered to defeated Europe after WWII. Our interests would have best served by quick strikes to kill everyone we judged imminently dangerous, followed by a rapid withdrawal with the understanding we reserve the right to return and kill as many more of the barbarians as necessary, should they misbehave.

    The Defense budget is rolling back to 2007 levels – a time when we were fully engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the 1930s. Competent management should be able to achieve that without endangering security, but America does not want competent management. We want free phones and food stamps. That’s what we voted for.

  • Rick Caird

    I always like good satire.

  • Bob Belvedere

    What sends a shiver up my spine is that we seem to be allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to do, in essence, what Hitler did in the 1930’s. Is Israel the modern Poland?

  • Quartermaster

    We need to keep our nose out of Syria. Both sides are sorry SOBs, but Assad is the lesser of two evils.

  • Charles G Hill

    Meanwhile, Stockholm devolves into Syria, and nobody says a word.

  • SDN

    These peoples are no more fanatical than the samurai. What we lack the will to do is the preparation by fire that made the samurai willing to listen.

  • Thane_Eichenauer

    I wouldn’t say that _nobody_ says a word but so long as tolerance trumps life and liberty it is going to continue to be a tough battle in Stockholm and some portions of the US.

  • Thane_Eichenauer

    Being a policeman for any portion of the World that isn’t the actual United States (plus United States citizens) is an expensive recipe at best.

  • Thane_Eichenauer

    Do you think the US government is capable of finding and seizing a weapon stockpile in a hostile foreign country? I don’t. Even if they could what do you think the US Army would do with it once seized? It isn’t as if it woudl be operating in Mayberry USA.

  • Adjoran

    Right, Egypt can’t afford grain already, there are shortages everywhere already (and the fact there is no more credit available, anywhere, hasn’t hit them yet) – but Obama sends them cash and F-16s.

    I just want someone to explain to me why Egypt needs F-16s.

  • Adjoran

    Yes, those clouds have a remarkable effect of concentrating the mind.

  • K-Bob

    And his decision to switch to crossbows?

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Well you never know about those Nubians in Upper Egypt.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    If there was some recognized cache, yes the U.S. military is capable of a special forces mission to seize them. As for what the US Special Forces would do with them once seized? Destroy them in some safe manner.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I thought this was more a Richard III cluster fuck.

  • Zebra Dun

    When the plan is to abjectly surrender and submit to Islam we will not need a Military to fight outside forces. At least until the population is purged of whites, conservatives, constitutionalists and non Islamic people, then with our huge military we as an Islamic nation will conquer the world for Islam.

    The United States of America of old doesn’t actually exist anymore. There are 24 (+/-) states in the United Democrats of America and 26 In the Original United States, two nations render asunder via Obama and the USDA needs another flag. I recommend some version of the old Soviet flag mixed with the rainbow of the gays, add the and green black power colors and the Progs have a new flag!

    The USA can keep it’s old Glory minus the Democrat states.

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  • Bob Agard
  • Adobe_Walls

    Even imposing “democracy” anywhere in the ME is anti-democratic. Democracy in that area is just another means to seize absolute power. We’re not exporting democracy, we’re importing totalitarianism.

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  • Bob Belvedere

    Actually…more like King Richard II, IYKWIMAITYD.

  • Bob Belvedere

    And why would we seek to impose Democracy anywhere, considering The United States is not a Democracy?

    Since The Founding, there have been Americans who believe our system of government can be exported anywhere in the world. This dream became more commonplace as a result of the advocacy of this folly by the Progressives, especially Wilson and his ilk.

    What we have here in America is a system that fits us, is tailored to a certain kind of people. It cannot be applied in most of the world.

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  • Steve the newspaper reader

    Tony Rezko, who helped Obama financially, is of Syrian descent. When in legal trouble someone in Lebanon wired $500,000 to Rezko. Read the archives of the Chicago Tribune. If Assad is overthrown he and his family will get US assistance to get to safety. But no one in the US will help overthrow Assad. Follow the money.

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