A quick, completely un-professional and non-systematic survey of some of my former CIA colleagues about how one goes about identifying the Syrian insurgents “who share our values,” per the Mitt Romney formula to overthrow the Assad regime, produced the following responses:

  • “Ask them if they share our values.  Explain what our values are if they seem confused.  If you are confused regarding our values ask the Chief of Station what they are.”
  • “Make up a values checklist.  If you can plausibly check three boxes they’re okay, particularly if they can carry a gun.”
  • “Should we ask for their high school transcripts and start calling references?”
  • “Ask the village cop if they are good people and go to Mosque on Fridays.”
  • “Have them fill out a questionnaire with trick questions that reveal their innermost thoughts.”
  • “Waterboard them until they confess.”
  • “Polygraph them and since Arabs are good liars assume that every answer is a deliberate deception.”
  • “Say something nice about Osama bin Laden and note how they react.”
  • “Have a Mormon missionary knock on their door saying ‘Mitt sent me’ and see how they respond.”