In an opinion article recently on CNN, Mr. Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky, outlined his arguments on why the US should stay out of Syria. Frighteningly enough, in the beginning I was starting to agree with him. Though it was a rather simplistic historical view that left out a few important points (like how the US supported the coup that eventually put Assad in power) it was beginning to make a valid point about why we shouldn’t use arms and troops to support the Syrian rebels. That point being that we have a tendency to screw it up. But then, just as I was getting excited that a logical argument would finally be made, Sen. Paul dropped this little nugget: There is also the quandary of nearly 2 million Christians who are uncertain of what to do. The Christian community in Syria has traditionally sided with, and been protected by, Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians. Wait, what? Sooooo, the concern is not with us screwing it up so much as how are screwing it up may effect a minority population that supported a dictatorial regime that has spent the last 50 years subjugating the majority? Sure! What could possibly be wrong with that idea? Only Everything.
There are so many things wrong with this statement that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the first part of the statement: …2 million Christians who are uncertain of what to do…the community has traditionally sided with Assad. Here’s an idea, how about stop supporting a government that for the last half century has been persecuting, subjugating, torturing and murdering those who are now known as rebels. I fail to see how anyone can support a regime such as Assad’s that has accumulated a laundry list of human rights violations over the last 50 years. Maybe it’s just me but that doesn’t sound very Christian. Then comes the second part: It is troubling to think that American arms may be given to Islamic fighters who may in turn be firing them at Christians. Well, isn’t that dandy? I think Sen. Paul is confused as to how a war works. If we support the rebels and the Syrian Christians support Assad wouldn’t it seem logical that the rebels (who happen to be Muslim) would fight these Christians? Also, who gives a crap if they are Christian or not? Did it ever occur to anyone that if a Christian supports a dictator then a Muslim rebel overthrows said dictator and said Christian is killed by said Muslim that the religious affiliations of the two parties have ABSOLUTLY NOTHING to do with it? Perhaps, these ‘Christians’ shouldn’t continue to support a government that is involved in the wholesale slaughter of a number of its own citizens. Perhaps then these ‘Christians’ wouldn’t have to fear the retaliation of ‘evil Muslims.’
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Sen. Paul said shortly thereafter: Empowering Islamic extremists to achieve questionable short-term goals does not serve America’s long-term security or interests. Nor does it serve the interests of nearly 2 million Christians in Syria who fear they could suffer the same fate as Iraqi Christians who were abused and expelled from that country as radical Islamic forces gained influence and power. These Christians are natural allies of the United States, and if we’re going to seriously discuss any American interests in Syria, the welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists. Seriously? This gets a giant WTF from me for a number of reasons…primarily because every single part of this statement is inaccurate. First, why are the rebel’s extremists? Because they want freedom and equality? Because they want to be able to speak out against their government without fear of murder, torture and rape? All evidence points to the Free Syrian Army as NOT being extremist. One al-Qaeda based group has crossed into Syria but while they fight Assad (most likely for their own ends) the FSA does not support them and has, in fact, accused them of hijacking their cause. Yep, sounds like an extremist to me. Let’s toss that right out the window…those that are asking for our help are not the extremists but the FSA.
“Questionable short-term goals,” man I like that one. So, getting rid of a ruthless dictator who has set up dozens of torture facilities, has used cluster bombs and chemical weapons (violating the Geneva Convention), ruthlessly targeted women and children, recklessly bombed his own cities, and has purposely left innocent civilians without power, food and water is a ‘questionable’ goal. Removing Assad from power is not, I repeat not, questionable…he needs to go, and the vast majority of the world agrees with me. Furthermore, the accusation that it would “not serve America’s long-term security or interests,” is so blatantly false one has to wonder if Sen. Paul understands foreign policy at all. Why would that be, you ask? Well, let us look at those who have chosen to side with Assad: Iran, Russia, China and Hezbollah. Forgive me if I fail to see how that could NOT affect our long-term security. Do we really want Iran and China to have a stronger footing in the region should the Assad regime win? Add that to the fact that, for whatever reason, the US has deemed it essential to protect Israel at any cost for any reason how can you say it doesn’t serve our interests. A stronger Hezbollah, also a terrorist organization that seeks to destroy the Israeli state, in the region definitely affects our long-term interests.
“Christians are the natural allies of the United States,” what exactly, makes them our allies? The fact that they support a tyrannical regime that despises the United States…or is it merely because they are Christian? Exactly how delusional are you when it comes to foreign relations? Christianity does not automatically make one an ally. Remember the Cold War, the USSR wasn’t exactly an ally then and I am fairly confident in declaring the majority of that region as being Christian. In case you haven’t noticed all Christians do not agree and have a tendency, like any group of people, to fight about it. You know, like the whole Protestant v. Catholic thing. Forgive me if I doubt the allegiance of a group of people who would support Assad. “The welfare of these Christians is more important than arming Islamic extremists,” now here is where I really get upset. First, we have already established that we cannot definitively say that we would be arming extremists. Apart from that the rest of this statement is one of the most egocentric and exclusionary statements I have ever encountered. Holy crap. As you state yourself, there are only two million Christians in Syria, which has a population of 20 million souls. So, let’s go ahead and put those 2 million above the other 18. Because we all know that Christians are inherently better. Would you please explain to me when the needs of the few began to outweigh the needs of the many? Or do you feel that only the Christians count? I was taught that we should ‘love our neighbor,’ to me this is not exclusionary. It means we should care for each other as human beings, regardless of color, gender, religion, national origin…you know, the insignificant parts of ‘who’ we are. But I guess it is ‘love thy neighbor’…unless it could have the vaguest possibility of harming real people (i.e. Christians) in the future. Sen. Paul, millions of people are suffering. They are living without heat, running water and food. There is a lack of medical supplies that is leading to spreading disease within the besieged cities. How many could that kill? Not to mention having to fear tanks, chemical weapons, mortars, bombings and missiles that could at any moment destroy hundreds of lives.
Seriously?!? All the arguments you could have gone with against US involvement in Syria and this is the one you go with? Let’s not even mention that we don’t have the resources. Let’s not even mention how, should we become involved we could spark an all-out war within the entire region. Nope, we are going to worry about what MIGHT happen to 10% of the population when the dust settles. Honestly, who gives a crap ‘what’ they are? Millions are being persecuted in what could easily spin into a modern day genocide. Sen. Paul, is it not the Christian duty to act? To do whatever we can to alleviate the suffering of others? Should not the Christians of Syria be supporting the rebels instead of the murderous regime simply because, “Hey, they treat us OK.”? I am sorry, Sen. Paul, but are not the ‘darkest places in hell reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis?’ With all due respect, Sen. Paul, bugger off.