Democrat Senator Will Not Vote to Train Syrian Rebels

With President Obama and others insisting that it is possible and advisable to train Syrian rebels perhaps some will try to argue that opposition to this strategy is merely partisan conservative resistance to Barack Obama.

But the above video shows a Democrat Senator who thinks it is wrong to give weapons and training to people who might use it to shoot at us. As National Reviews’s the Corner reports,

syrian rebels

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) said he will not support a key part of President Obama’s strategy for taking on the Islamic State.

“I have a problem with one part, and one part mainly, and that is paying for training and arming Syrian rebels that we’re not sure are our friends,” he said on MSNBC on Thursday. “Right now, I can’t do that — I cannot support arming the rebels who we have not been able to identify.”​

For example, it remains unclear if the rebels sent American journalist Steven Sotloff to his death by capturing him and selling him to the Islamic State, where he was beheaded earlier this month, Manchin explained.

Manchin, however, suggested that the Saudis could arm and train these men. I don’t see how this is much of an improvement. The Saudis are arguably responsible for the existence of the Islamic State along with us. It was Saudi involvement in Afghanistan, remember, that gave us Osama bin Laden.

It is also noteworthy that, despite all the assurances that American troops won’t be used in a ground war, Manchin wanted more assurances that the President would not start one.

He highlighted concerns that U.S. military engagement could escalate to sending over American troops and keeping them in Iraq long-term.

“We’re not good at putting troops on the ground, and getting out of that part of the world,” he said.

No we’re not. This is especially true because we can always be called back into combat whenever our earlier engagement backfires and allows terrorists to surge. But if the Senator is worried about this turning into a ground fight for American soldiers perhaps that outcome is more likely than anyone in the Administration is admitting right now.

We will have to watch and see what happens.

But the immediate crisis is Obama’s desire to train the Syrian Rebels. You don’t have to be a conservative to see how this strategy could result in chaos and the loss of life.