On the Sunday talk shows, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) criticized President Barack Obama’s recent decision to order so-called limited airstrikes against the terrorist group ISIS in Iraq.
Both Senators wanted President Obama to use more force against ISIS and both Senators claimed that ISIS posed a direct national security threat to the United States. Senator Graham even went on Fox News Sunday and called ISIS a “existential threat to the homeland.”
For those of you who are Common Core English students, “existential threat to the homeland” means a threat to the survival to the United States.
Now, I do not know if ISIS does or does not pose a threat to the United States, but I do admit I doubt that they pose a threat to the survival of the country. However, if Senators McCain and Graham are so worried about ISIS that they not only want to expand the latest war in Iraq, but also view ISIS as an “existential threat to the homeland”, why did both men support arming them to fight Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad?
That’s right, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham supported policies that helped ISIS acquire the weapons it has used with great effect against the Syrian Army, more moderate Syrian rebels, the Iraqi Army, and Kurdish forces.
As early as February 2012, both Senators called upon the Obama administration to arm the Syrian rebels. Now it was probably not the intention of both Senators to arm radical Islamic butchers who have slaughtered thousands across two countries, however ISIS has likely been the unintential recipient of American weapons intended for the more “moderate” Free Syrian Army. The weapon shipments began last year, but the CIA has been working previously to help America’s Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar ship weapons to Syria rebels. All of the U.S. military aid is supposed to go to “select moderate” rebel factions, however we shouldn’t put a whole lot of trust in the U.S. government’s ability to vet the Syrian rebels because when McCain went to Syria in May 2013, McCain accidentally met with known Syrian rebel kidnappers.
If not knowing who were the good guys were in Syria wasn’t bad enough, add to that the fact that we have elements of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army that aredefecting to ISIS and taking their American provided weapons and training with them. Not only that, U.S. government humanitarian aid and aid from other Western governments are distributed in ISIS controlled areas which helps ISIS maintain its harsh rule. The weapons and aid help ISIS make military gains, recruit, and otherwise stay in power.
Before Senators McCain and Graham go back on national television and try to scare Americans into supporting a larger war against the latest bogeyman, they may want to examine some of the policies that they support. For example, some of us warned that aiding the Syrian rebels would result in weapons and other military gear winding up in the hands of radical Islamists.
Hopefully, Senators McCain and Graham might learn the lesson that the United States does not to be involved in every single conflict because reckless intervention is itself a threat to the national security of the United States.
The way ISIS has been inadvertently aided by the U.S. should bring this lesson home once and for all.
This column first appeared at Libertychat.com