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Fighting Terrorism by Arming Terrorists

The Obama administration appears to be moving toward arming rebels in Syria, though the White House has only publicly confirmed [1] an increase in the “scope and scale” of its military support.

By one estimate [2], seven of nine key rebel combatant groups are Islamist. “As the civil war has dragged on, the rebels have become more Islamist and extreme,” the Economist reports. Thus the administration’s decision to arm only the non-Islamist rebels may soon resemble O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real killers.”

Arms shipments approved by the Obama administration have already ended up in the hands of jihadists in Libya. “The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya,” reported [3] the New York Times, “allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government.”

Operation Fast and Furious meets American foreign policy.


In his apparent Syria about-face, the president has been egged on by the Clintons. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had already proposed arming the Syrian rebels, only to see cooler heads prevail. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has also clamored for greater U.S. involvement.

Upon reports that President Obama was reconsidering his position, Bill Clinton patted his successor on the head. “It looks to me like this thing is trending in the right direction,” he told MSNBC. He urged Obama to ignore opinion polls showing massive public opposition to any Syria intervention beyond humanitarian assistance.

“What the American people are saying when they tell you not to do these things, they’re not telling you not to do these things,” Clinton said [4], according to Politico. “They hire you to win … to look around the corner and see down the road.”

The Clintons’ foreign-policy views are aligned with those of Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Hawks of a feather flocked together in support of the bipartisan Mendendez-Corker bill, which contains a provision for arming Syrian rebels and easily passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


The only Republican to vote against the bill rebuked his colleagues. “This is an important moment,” Rand Paul said [5]. “You will be funding, today, the allies of al-Qaeda. It’s an irony you cannot overcome.”

Yet the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may be the only place where Paul stands alone among Republicans on this issue. “We have entire Christian villages slaughtered, women and children, by the Syrian rebels,” Laura Ingraham said on Fox News. “The idea that were going to send arms to these people who are slaughtering Christians, and have one goal, which is to establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East—and, if they get their way, throughout Africa as well—is ludicrous.”

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein argues [6], “It’s hard to believe that the same administration that brought us Benghazi would have such perfect information about which rebel groups in a bloody war-torn country are completely free of Islamist links, let alone have the logistical ability to ensure the weapons don’t end up in the hands of bad actors.”

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found [7] that only 11 percent of Republicans favored arming Syrian rebels while just 15 percent backed U.S. military involvement. Republicans and independents were more likely than Democrats to want to take no action at all. A Gallup poll [8] found that Democrats, Republicans, and independents were all opposed to the United States entering Syria’s civil war by majorities greater than 60 percent.

For years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, conservatives who spoke out against U.S. wars in the Middle East were smeared as apologists for Islamic terror. But the evidence is mounting that these wars and “kinetic military actions” have done much to unleash the very forces they were launched to combat, leaving militant Islamists on the march from Iraq to Mali.

Foreign aid dollars are being spent where Americans are reviled. U.S. troops are dying in countries that don’t seem to be trending [9] toward liberal democracy.

Syria may be the clearest case yet of how an intervention against an indisputably brutal dictator could cut against American national interests. Even with promises of no boots on the ground, it may be the Clinton-McCain contingent’s toughest sell.

Perhaps they have already closed the deal with Obama. But the perpetual hawks are losing the American people, left, right, and center.

W. James Antle III is editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation and author of Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? [10]

41 Comments (Open | Close)

41 Comments To "Fighting Terrorism by Arming Terrorists"

#1 Comment By Georgina Davenport On June 17, 2013 @ 1:14 am

It is sickening to hear that we can’t afford to feed our poor, educate our young, train our workers, repair our roads and bridges, heal our sick, protect our air and water…. yet we always can afford sending arms to people hostile to us and we can afford to go to another war if it comes to that.

Please, President Obama, please hold your red line of not getting us into another messy armed conflict that sees no exit.

#2 Comment By Richard W. Bray On June 17, 2013 @ 1:19 am

You Can’t Fix the World

You can stick a gun
In somebody’s face
You can even pull the trigger
But you cannot replace
His kin, his land, his God
And his creed
Not for bread alone
Is a man gonna bleed

You can raise an army
You can send it overseas
But you ain’t gonna change
What people believe
You can make a bunch of widows
And kids without moms
But you can’t fix the world
With cluster bombs

You can turn whole nations
Into danger zones
Or you can concentrate
On taking care of your own
You can try to contol
What’s beyond your command
Or you can focus on building
A better homeland

#3 Comment By Georgiaboy61 On June 17, 2013 @ 1:32 am

Re: “The Syrian intervention John McCain and the Clintons want would be a war for Islamism, not democracy.”

The author is entirely correct, but left out one important name – that of Barack Hussein Obama himself. True, for his own reasons, Obama seems not to be too-interested in Syria at present, but that could change at any moment.

Obama has been helping the Pan-Islamic movement – under the Muslim Brotherhood – fight its wars under the polite fiction that it is aiding the so-called “Arab Spring.” This catchphrase is nothing more than a euphemism designed to mislead the public as to the real intentions of the White House. Namely, empower the Ikhwan at every opportunity.

This Obama and his people – including HR Clinton – have already done in Libya, Egypt and in other places across Africa and the Middle East. Now, they are poised to aid the “rebels” – many of whom are members or proxies of al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brothers, or other Islamic groups.

The scandal that is Benghazi is bad-enough, but it has not yet reached a boil; that may change when people find out that the so-called consulate in that Libyan city was in fact a CIA conduit for funneling arms to the “rebels”…

This is a dirty business, and may get far-dirtier still. Obama is probably smart-enough not to get his fingerprints on any of this, but his absence does not prove his wishes are not being carried out. Hillary Clinton doesn’t make policy, she carries it out according to his wishes…

#4 Comment By Full Time On June 17, 2013 @ 1:32 am

I don’t care what the war is for, I want no part of it and neither does anyone I know.

Most of the people pushing for this are foreigners, foreign lobbies and immigrants. We’ve done more than enough for foreigners and immigrants and for the so-called “allies” that sneak around using US-based front organizations to get us to fight their wars and pay their bills.

We can’t afford that kind of wasteful, reckless behavior from our government anymore. It’s time we did something for our own millions of unemployed, and that we fixed what is so obviously broken here in the United States.

#5 Comment By Litesp33d On June 17, 2013 @ 3:59 am

This is not about right and wrong or morality it is about making money, pure and simple. The Military Industrial Complex cannot allow peace to break out at any cost. People who allow themselves to believe absurdities can easily be persuaded to commit atrocities. Quite easily in the Islamic world apparently. If they really wanted peace they would support Assad then negotiate with him. The US has put in and kept in power worse dictators than Assad and ultimately it ALWAYS turns out bad especially for the ordinary men women and children. Unfortunately for Assad he had the temerity to criticise the US and for that certain people have decided he must go. And if they can make few million dollars selling weapons that US tax payers fund so much the better. Utter hypocrisy. But was it ever thus.

#6 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 17, 2013 @ 4:52 am

Once we thought the blowback that these sequential Middle Eastern wars cause and then feed on, were unintended consequences of mistaken bad policy. Now, it’s revealed that they are well thought out intended consequences, to make sure the profitable war outsourcing will always be delivering its revenue streams to those who control policy.

While enriching and empowering the elites who own the government, they impoverish both the finances of ordinary Americans as well as progressively overthrowing our former culture of liberty and democratic accountability.

As the President put his inability to do other than assent to the nullification of the Bill of Rights that endless war creates, doing otherwise “would have pissed off too many powerful people.”

In his calming monotone, he dismisses the loss of average Americans’ freedoms to these powerful private financial interests as “a modest encroachment” made necessary by the permanent states of conflict that feed terrorism as a revenge tactic in asymmetrical warfare.

The millions who elected him to end the wars of choice, are not, you see, among the powerful from whom he seeks favor.

#7 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 17, 2013 @ 5:54 am

“Foreign aid dollars are being spent where Americans are reviled. U.S. troops are dying in countries that don’t seem to be trending toward liberal democracy.”

If the issues pertained to genocide, i wouldn’t mind that we are hated. But Syria is not genocide. It is a civil conflict in which a battle for power and identity are being discussed and argued over. It is not a unique struggle though tragic. It seems to be part of a nations growth pains in adjustment to its environment. It is perhaps the price of nationhood and quite frankly none of our direct business.

No boots on the ground? Does one seriously believe we are giving weapons and no advisors or trainers in the literal and practical usage?

Syria may be the clearest case yet of how an intervention against an indisputably brutal dictator could cut against American national interests. Even with promises of no boots on the ground, it may be the Clinton-McCain contingent’s toughest sell.”

I think it is funny to bemoan the horrors of terrorists and then castigate the brutality of those who engage in strictures and practices which keep nations together in places where terrorists operate and brutal terrorist behavior are kept in check by supposedly ‘brutal’ leaders.
” . . .O.J. Simpson’s search for the “real killers.”

I am pretty sure we know who the real killer is and it’s not OJ Simpson.

Of course, weapons have landed in the hands of supposedly unexpected recipients. What? I am going to deny a weapon to a combatting comrade in the heat of nbattle because some guy living 4000 miles away thinks five years from now it might get used against him? Ha. Silly wabbits.

Well, they ya go. You wanted a guy you could get away with calling black who in fact, had no idea what it is to be black, such that the black experience wpuld be removed from any manner of relating to him — someone with none of his own ideas about what he thought about the country — he could be pushed about willy nilly by men he feels inferior to —

So infererior that he has contradicted nearly everything he claims he ran for office to change or at least fight . . . but you got your man.

His one big claim to fame will be a proposal which is a gimme to big business with no hope of lowering the price of care itself.

If I didn’t feel so bad for black people, I would laugh. But they made their choice as well.

#8 Comment By Merida On June 17, 2013 @ 8:09 am

We have decided to throw in our lot with the Sunni world against the Shiite. It is obvious why the neo-cons want this and are instigating it. We are conspiring with Sunni monarchs. Obama is throwing gasoline and igniting a civilizational war.

Bush and Obama. Dumb and Dumber.

#9 Comment By Jim Bovard On June 17, 2013 @ 10:32 am

Excellent piece. I hope this nonsense can be stopped before the US is dragged into another catastrophe.

#10 Comment By Ray S. On June 17, 2013 @ 10:54 am

Mr.Antle. Obama is the potus. Why not focus on him? Who cares what McCain or Clinton want? They are irrelevant.

#11 Comment By Michael N Moore On June 17, 2013 @ 10:55 am

The post-Vietnam US policy of funding and arming non-state actors is what created al-Qaeda. Once governments license out war skills and tools they have unleashed a military tsunami.

#12 Comment By Debbie On June 17, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

Don’t arm the rebels. Do not listen to the Clintins or anyone else who don’t know what they are talking about. Think about the men, women and children who are being displaced from the homes and killed (100,000 approximately), the diseases and the starvation in the tent cities. Remember we are here to defend ourselves, not to oppress others. Think.

#13 Comment By Adam On June 17, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

If Hillary wants to win in 2016 she would do good to cool her jets on this one. Another war is a non-starter. If the Republicans want to win Just Say No to further foreign adventurism. And maybe talk about how much the regular Joe actually contributes to the economic succeess of the country and work towards helping them instead of continuing to worship at the alter of the false god, Job Creator.

#14 Comment By warner treuter On June 17, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

If we wanted a Muslim President we should have admittedly voted for one.

#15 Comment By Bob On June 17, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

It’s self defeating to arm your enemies. We armed the Koreans and now that country is torn in half. We armed the South Vietnamese and that country is communist. Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over. Mind our own business and stay out of other countries affairs. The money and lives we waste on other countries could be invested in our own country. It seems like Ron Paul is the only politician that has any common sense.

#16 Comment By Deep Poet On June 17, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

The documented ungodly behavior of the rebels, the eating of the inside of those they’ve killed. The slaughter and continued threat to slaughter more Christians. Clear proof that extremis have merged with many rebel groups, and now our government plan to support them when they don’t know who our enemies are closely affiliated with?
And I agree with Georgina, the US is hurting at home. And cuts are everywhere. But to supply strangers the very expensive means to kill when you telling your own we must cut our spending is more kin to evil than anything else.
And the Clintons are making a making a major miscalculation for 2016 by encouraging this act of ignorance when the people have a greater need of the money being spent on a war that is not ours or in our interest to engage in.

#17 Comment By Byron Butters On June 17, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

We have no money…we cannot even gain on our debt. What kind of stupidity thinks we can continue giving money and military equipment away, especially to people that want to destroy us? We have a lot of work to do right here at home. We need to get out of all these foreign countries and stop all foreign aid until we solve all of our own problems right here at home.

#18 Comment By EarlyBird On June 17, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

Though a human catastrophe, the Syrian conflict was a realpolitik dream for the United States: an anti-American Arab dictatorship in a bloody struggle with jihadists, fueled by the blood and treasure of Hezbollah and Iran, with Russia thrown into the mix to suffer blowback in the future.

Imagine: a major conflict in the Arab-Muslim world, and nothing for the locals to blame America for.

But we just can’t seem to stay out of wars. Unbelieveable.

#19 Comment By H.D. On June 17, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

The London, and Washington are bought, period. Liberal democracy has failed. Power belong to those who have money. The rest of you can scream all you want, I see few simpletons even talking about the next election. LOL.

#20 Comment By Ray S. On June 17, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Hillary enthusiastically voted for the Iraq War.

#21 Comment By bn On June 17, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Forget exporting liberal democracy to the middle east. That is a fool’s errand.

But, noting that Iran and Hezbollah are now the mainstays of the Syrian regime, Pres. Obama may have the realism to see that arming the Syrian rebels is the cheapest way to foment a protracted war between the Sunni and Shia fanatics in the region, a struggle in which they may drain and exhaust each other for years and even decades to come.

#22 Comment By Clint On June 17, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

Apparently, Obama is attempting to wag the dog in Syria and get attention away from his administration’s polyscandals.

#23 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 17, 2013 @ 4:23 pm

You can fight terrorism even harder if you arm the terrorists.

Orwell put the corollaries of this well:

“The object of power is power.”

“The object of torture is torture.”

Thus, the object of war, can actually be war:

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know what no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”

#24 Comment By James Canning On June 17, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

“The American people hire you to win”. Says Bill Clinton.
Begging the question of how one “wins” by pouring fuel on the fires of civil war.

#25 Comment By Mark On June 17, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

Let’s see, the Syrian regime is being backed up by Hezbollah, an anti- American terrorist group, and the rebels are being supported by al Qaeda, another anti – American terrorist group (one that we created). Why don’t we mind our own business and let them settle their differences. Who knows? Maybe this will turn into a major war between the two entities, that spread throughout the region, distracting them from their jihad with us. No! We will stick our noses in there and give one or the other group more reason to attack us. We always do, and that is why people in this region attack us. We will never learn. The military industrial complex and those who get rich from this will not allow it.

#26 Comment By di Luna On June 18, 2013 @ 1:12 am

The West (mostly the Brits and then the US starting with FDR) have always encouraged apostate strains of Islam as a battering ram against democratic, secular governments in the Middle East. Modern states are what the imperialists fear most.

Since the late 70s the US has been in alliance with jihadists in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya and now Syria. Domestically, various Congressional and journalistic investigations show that US intelligence agencies routinely import jihadists to perform terror acts.

These operations entail disabling security systems (such as overriding visa denials) and providing extensive logistical and financial support to terror operations. This is exactly what happened in 911 according to the Congressional 911 report. Same is true of the earlier WTC bombing in 1993.

#27 Comment By Julie On June 18, 2013 @ 7:32 am

I just hope the voters are paying very clear attention because McCain , Graham must be tossed out on their cans ! At this rate , the point may be moot , we might not have another election. Obama is a Muslim Trojan Horse helping the Muslim Caliphate to come to fruition , while at the same time weakening our military , bankrupting our country . What the heck will it take to wake America up ?

#28 Comment By CK On June 18, 2013 @ 10:27 am

“which is to establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the Middle East”

Much has been said about how US policy in the Middle East has been to promote a Greater Israel. This is wrong. The US policy has been much more about promoting a Greater Saudi in a war between Sunnis and Shiites. The US, before Obama even, has done a tremendous amount to assist the most brutal and tyrannical regime in the Middle East. It’s the Saudis stupid.

#29 Comment By Rossbach On June 18, 2013 @ 11:06 am

This is the same “invade-the-world/invite-the-world” policy pursued by Clinton and Bush. All we will get out of it is another extremest anti-American regime, a bigger national debt, and millions of “refugees” (imperial backwash), including many potential jihadis. However, Obama needs a “safe” war for our servicemen and women to fight for the same reason the Clinton did: to distract public attention from the ever-expanding array of domestic scandals.

If you liked the way we handled the civil wars in Yugoslavia and Libya, you’ll love this.

#30 Comment By Gary Adamson On June 18, 2013 @ 11:14 am

Try and view it as a vaccine… Give them weapons so they can control it from developing into more and bigger weapons later. Or view it as our government keeping up their offensive game! Why aren’t they freaking out over turkey! Why cant we let them fight it out its civil. If the citizens here decided to take our government down because we no longer want it. Could we call for a national vote in 30 days and dump both houses of congress and the president giving them 21 days to close personal business and leave their positions under guidance and monitoring by state governors and allow the governors to temporary run the federal government when a primary elections could take place in 8 months and elections federal four months later. With no previously elected federal officials able to run for federal offices again for 8 years. Or do you think they would attack the citizens that they swore to protect with their own sons and daughters and finance these actions and weapons out of our own tax base! All to stop us from having the freedoms and choices they swore to protect!! We have no business in Syria!

#31 Comment By spite On June 18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

The countries that are really on the rebels side are Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The countries on the Assad side are Russia and to a degree China, why America prefers to have good relations with Qatar and Saudi Arabia over Russia and China is perplexing.

What makes this even more complicated is that Israel does not desire a Syria that is run by the rebels, they cannot openly support Assad, but it is clear for everybody (other than dim wits like McCain) that if Assad falls the victors are not going to become friends to Israel.

#32 Comment By EliteCommInc. On June 18, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

” . . . that if Assad falls the victors are not going to become friends to Israel.”

But it suits Israel’s means for being unloved at in constant threat in the region.

#33 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 18, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

“The American people hire you to win”. Says Bill Clinton.
Begging the question of how one “wins” by pouring fuel on the fires of civil war.

Great observation Mr. Canning.

Just as Sarah Palin posited, this presupposes you have the right definition of who constitutes a real American.

Read “power and financial elites” for “American people.” We all know who has been hiring politicians, and it isn’t the general public, who don’t have enough money to compete in the profitable market of buying policy that makes elites the winners, regardless of how much the public always loses.

The answer to the question, “Who wins?” and “How?” is, follow the money.

#34 Comment By fillmorehagan On June 19, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

Unlike Iraq andLibya, Syria has a powerful military and powerful allies. The US could suffer very substantial losses if it tries to intervene. Perhaps that is why the US military is very reluctant to get involved.

#35 Comment By V-MAX On June 20, 2013 @ 12:13 am

imagine arming people who dismember the bodies of their enemies and consume their body parts… can you see these “freedom fighters” embracing democracy… and supporting western values and ideals? and what of the weapons given to these people? it appears that shoulder fired Russian built sa-7 surface-to-air missiles were looted from Libyan armories by al-Qaeda… in the hands of a trained jihadi sa-7s can bring easily bring down commercial airliners… we didn’t secure the weapons in Libya… any reason to believe we could do better in Syria? Afghanistan… Iraq… Libya… trillions of American tax dollars wasted… hundreds of thousands dead… millions displaced… misery and suffering aplenty… and for what exactly?

#36 Comment By Georgiaboy61 On June 20, 2013 @ 1:18 am

Re: “The US policy has been much more about promoting a Greater Saudi in a war between Sunnis and Shiites. The US, before Obama even, has done a tremendous amount to assist the most brutal and tyrannical regime in the Middle East. It’s the Saudis stupid.”

CK – your remark is on the money, no pun intended. Many folks, including some here TAC, have the view that Israel has hijacked American foreign policy, but there is much evidence to support the contrarian view that it is in fact Saudi Arabia which has hijacked our foreign policy. Using the petro-dollar system, the Saudis and their colleagues in OPEC have gotten the U.S. government – and by extension, its people – addicted to cheap and easy credit based upon Saudi Arabia buying billions in U.S. T-Bills. OPEC and the Saudis, you see, agreed back in the mid-1970s, to conduct business only in dollars, in return for the quid pro quo that the U.S. and its allies would defend the Saudi kingdom and OPEC’s ME oil fields. If the Saudis say “jump!” and the White House does not, they can call their loans in and end their support of the petrodollar – which might very well lead to a collapse of the dollar as the preferred reserve currency of the world economy.

#37 Comment By Georgiaboy61 On June 20, 2013 @ 1:27 am

Re: “It’s self defeating to arm your enemies. We armed the Koreans and now that country is torn in half.” In the case of Korea, we didn’t arm them – at least not much. At the conclusion of WWII, the Korean peninsula was divided, with the north going to the communist-backed regime of Kim Il-Sung, and the south eventually becoming a democratic republic led by anti-communist Syngman Rhee.
The Soviets immediately started armed the new Imun Gun, or army of the DPRK (North Koreans army) with tanks, small arms, artillery, aircraft and much more. In contrast, the western powers, led by the U.S. feared that Rhee – a rabid anti-communist – might start a war with the DPRK if armed, so his army was kept small and lightly-armed, which is why South Korean/U.S. and U.N. forces fared so badly in the opening months of the Korean conflict. The U.S. had only “tripwire” forces there, and nothing substantial.

Whatever other mistakes we made vis-à-vis Korea, arming the South Koreans too heavily wasn’t one of them.

Re: “Mind our own business and stay out of other countries affairs.” Couldn’t have said that better myself…. second that!


#38 Comment By Daniel McAdams On June 21, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

“an indisputably brutal dictator”

You are talking about Obama here, right?

#39 Comment By Brian Browne On June 21, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

Shame on Obama, The War Party, MSM, and the ever compliant Congress. Thanks AC for framing the issue clearly.

#40 Comment By Dan Jacobson On June 22, 2013 @ 8:49 am

I, for one, can never forget. When the U.S. was aiding the fight against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Taliban, al Qaeda and bin Laden were America’s “men” in Afghanistan. Remember who did the 9/11 attacks?
And now, the U.S. is supporting the same kind of groups against the Syrian government. Once they win, what will they do to us? Can no one high in government learn anything from history? And I am talking recent, not ancient history.

#41 Comment By Paul On July 17, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

I agree that we should not intervene in Syria.

However, saying that President Obama is a Muslim who favors a caliphate is simply a peurile, paranoid and sleazy slander. He supports that just as much as John McCain does: That is, NOT AT ALL.

The Arab Spring was inevitable. Some years ago it was National Geographic (!) that wrote of the economic malaise that was driving Egyptians to desperation. Part of that malaise — affecting many Arab countries — has been corruption and sectarianism and tribalism. That is what we are seeing giving rise to these upheavals. And just like the French Revolution, these upheavals will be followed by instability and swings of power for some time.

America could not stifle these upheavals if it wanted to. And if it wanted to, it could not afford to do so. The best we can do is stay away and let these situations find their own equilibrium. As others have noted, almost anything and everything we might do will only engender ill-will, hostility and terrorism. When we interfere, we only make enemies we cannot afford.

This is not a Democratic or a Republican debate, though. This policy of interfering has been US policy for a long time and it is foolish, short-sighted and dangerous.

It was supporting the coup that installed the Shah in Iran in 1953 which led directly to the current mess in Iran. We got an ally, a dictator, in Iran for 26 years. And now we have had an enemy in Iran for longer than that. And all because we meddled in Iran when we should not have done so.

In Afghanistan we ALWAYS had more in common with the Soviets that we did with the mujahedin. If the Soviets had prevailed we would have had a more modern, secular, feminist country instead of the cesspool it is. Of course the Soviets were unlikely to prevail, but they might have had a small effect on progress in that country.

We need to start playing the long game and not the short game.

To do that, we will also need voters who eschew stupid slanders and focus on reality. Good luck with that.