Do you agree with President Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels?

Syrian troops and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies captured a strategic border town Wednesday after a grueling three-week battle, dealing a severe blow to rebels and opening the door for President Bashar Assad’s regime to seize back the country’s central heartland. The regime triumph in Qusair, which Assad’s forces had bombarded for months without success, demonstrates the potentially game-changing role of Hezbollah in Syria’s civil war. (AP Photo/Yong Homsi Lens)

President Barack Obama has authorized sending weapons to Syrian rebels for the first time, U.S. officials said Thursday, after the White House disclosed that the United States has conclusive evidence President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against opposition forces trying to overthrow him.

Obama has repeatedly said the use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” suggesting it would trigger greater American intervention in the two-year crisis.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., one of the strongest proponents of U.S. military action in Syria, said he was told Thursday that Obama had decided to “provide arms to the rebels,” a decision confirmed by three U.S. officials. The officials cautioned that decisions on the specific type of weaponry were still being finalized, though the CIA was expected to be tasked with teaching the rebels how to use the arms the White House had agreed to supply. (AP)

Today’s Question: Do you agree with President Obama’s decision to arm Syrian rebels?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bernie.nope Bernie Nope

    Since word has it that the “rebels” really aren’t such great guys either, maybe we should just make a big pile of hundred dollar bills and set it on fire.

  • Emery

    I would favor doing nothing in Syria if we had said nothing, but we made
    a threat, and Assad is clearly testing us. Obama must punish him for
    the use of chemical weapons, through providing arms and grounding
    Assad’s aircraft. It’s not about proof. Everybody now believes he used chemical weapons; we need to act now or lose credibility.

  • Gary F

    Nope. We don’t know who the rebels are. So, we pick sides with both sides being radical Islamists?

    But, it’s Obama, so its OK with the anti-war crowd and the mainsteam media.

    Sorry, got to go, being a conservative, I’m being followed by our current regime.

    • david

      So you tried to make this a political conservative vs liberal issue and now its almost noon and I only count two supporting arming the rebels. I am sure at least half who answered you would classify as liberal. Someday do you think your political conspiracy theories are unproductive? Maybe getting information from someone other then the extremist fringe and parroting it online is doing way more harm then good. Just an idea….

      • Gary F

        Huh?

        So, I also listen to MPR, so that makes me part of the “extremist fringe”? I don’t happen to be a leftist, but I need to get their side of the issue too. It’s called diversity, which you must not get much of, if conservative/libertarian thought fits into your definition of diversity.

        Just trying to add differing points of views and different outlooks on the current news. Do you want this to become some big liberal love fest and everyone sings Kumbaya and no one disagrees?

        • david

          It seems to be if you do listen to “opposing” points of view is so you can apply your preconceived notions towards them and discredit them in your mind immediately. Maybe I’m viewing you as a stereotype just like you seem to view all liberals as kumbaya singing love fest participants. Regardless my point is that by turning every single question of the day into some sort of liberal vs conservative conspiracy you are doing nothing to help the situation. So often you whine “whaaaaaa if it was bush….” fill in the blank with the republican conspicuous flavor of the week. It’s lubricious and you just don’t get it. You bring up Benghazi almost daily like you lost a son there (well up to lately, now the IRS is out to get you at Obama’s command). The simple fact is it was NOT a democratic only error, both sides messed up, but trying to turn it into one only creates a general attitude of hostility and defensiveness to an extreme it doesn’t need to be. It hinders getting to the truth and more so hinders getting to a solution so it won’t happen again. But daily Obama is after you gun, wants to make you register it, wants to spy on you in the bath tub, whatever, talk about your generation of entitled whiners. Every single thing is a political conspiracy, but don’t you see you’re being manipulated into believing that. Both sides are F-ing us in the A on a daily basis. They use these stupid distraction so we don’t notice.

  • Pearly

    Did the AP say the rebels/al-qaeda have used syrian gas also?

  • Jesse B

    Absolutely not…we do not need to embroil ourselves in another “Iraq fiasco” and i truly question the source of the information regarding the presence/use of chemical weapons. This issue is even broader in scope because of the Israeli and Russian governments positions. That area is a hornet’s nest and as we already see Iraq is in a state of melt-down with warring sectarian/political factions after our “departure”, in principle. We have plenty to concern ourselves with domestically and we have already sacrificed a generation of good women and men in two wars. We’re not out of Afghanistan and now the folks in D.C. are talking about fueling a fire of unknown proportions in the Middle East? I think Not!

  • Pearly

    No I dont agree! The President wants to disarm Americans at the same time arming al-qaeda. That is some thing I can not get behind

    • Gary F

      Egypt turned out so great, huh?

      We funnel money down that rat hole and the publicly announce we are there enemy.

      Yes, what could possibly go wrong?

      But, it’s Obama, if this were Bush, there would be howling! But then, Bush would have been in impeachment hearings if he pulled off something like the NSA/IRS/Benghazi fiascos.

      The standards are different with The One.

      One again, say to yourself “What would be the reaction if Bush did this”?

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      Disarm Americans? What are you talking about? Requiring background checks and possibly banning high- capacity magazines certainly isn’t about “disarming Americans”. It’s already illegal to own fully automatic weapons, and has been since 1934. As I recall, when the 2nd Amendment was ratified, the firearm of every American gun-owner was a single shot, muzzle-loader.

      I own (and use) many guns and have no fear of losing them to the government.

      • Pearl

        I think he would like to disarm Americans. That’s all.

  • John

    No, absolutely not.
    We are aiding terrorists.

  • sb

    What could possibly go wrong…

    • Pearly

      Ask charlie wilson

  • Sue de Nim

    How can the administration be sure these weapons are going to “good” rebels rather than militant islamists? In the ’80s, we helped the Afghan rebels against the Soviets, and when the Soviets left, the Mujahedin rebellion morphed into the Taliban regime.

    • david

      The Taliban wasn’t the enemy until we invaded their country. Their only crime at the time was turning a blind eye towards Al Qaeda operating there. And truthfully I bet they didn’t like it either, but knew it was in their own best interest not to piss them off. I think the biggest issue is when we meddle, the non-recipients of our meddling, as well as the recipients when they can further their political agenda use it to fuel anti-US sentiment and worse it becomes a recruitment tool for the likes of Al Qaeda.

      • Jeff

        The Taliban was given an offer to give up Osama bin Laden or face invasion..they refused and now any top Taliban official who helped to make that decision no longer exists. Giving comfort and aid to a terrorist is viewed as a major crime in pretty much every country. I still don’t know anyone who didn’t and doesn’t believe that we shouldn’t have made that initial invasion in to Afghanistan…there’s plenty to debate after that point but no one can suggest it was the wrong decision to go after Osama and the Taliban.

        • david

          I thought it was wrong to send the old school military into Afghanistan. I thought so on September 11 2001. I knew enough about Afgan and middle east history to know it would never end well. Not without doing it in such a harsh and brutal way that the few survivors would have no choice but to surrender unconditionally or die. If not it would be a long and drawn out war that would make the Vietnam war look like a after school fight. Seems I was right. I am assuming there were other factors involved in the choice to take military action against the Taliban for the actions of some thug criminals.

          • Jeff

            The initial invasion was mainly special forces on the ground and they nearly had Osama until some of the warlords that were hired to capture him decided to relax and allow him to escape. The initial invasion to take out top Taliban and to go after Osama is what I’m saying is not debatable, who knows how long the US would have stayed if Osama was killed during that initial invasion. As I said the rest of the war, the nation building and establishing a government is up for debate but not the initial portion to after the top people responsible or aided those responsible for 9/11.

          • david

            And that happening comes down to either not understanding the culture, or ignoring that information. As much as the rebel/warloards didn’t trust the Taliban, they trusted us even less. I feel if we mess in Syria we will yet again be repeating the same stupid mistakes. If they want the war to continue on and on, arm the rebels. If they want the war to end tomorrow put a bullet in the head of Assad and his top brass today and the military will dissolve within a day. Then phase two of the civil war can begin. Anything other then that will just prolong the pain and suffering.

          • Tony weiner

            You are wrong

          • david

            Yeah obviously. Planning on taking your next vacation in the new mideast shining example of democracy? We accomplished nothing there but to look worse in the worlds eyes. Over a trillion dollars down the drain and counting. Stop the madness and let the Syrians sort out their own mess. For once I think we’re not the cause of it.

  • Jim G

    No. I don’t agree with President Obama on this one. The dogs of war acknowledge no master. Even if fed very carefully, you’re probably going to be bit.

  • Matt Green

    Military aid yes, boots on the ground no. It is a tough situation but we can’t allow a dictator and his Russian and İranian allies butcher thousands and threaten our interests.

  • Bill

    No.
    This is just more war for Israel. The Zionist’s want Syria then Iran. We are treading on dangerous ground. If Israel attacks the Russian navy who is going to deliver the S-300 air defensive system to Syria then we will get dragged into a potential WWIII scenario. Again all for Zionist Israel.

  • david

    Bad bad idea. I wish we would stop meddling in other peoples affairs. Especial in the #$%&@!! Mid east mess. We have caused enough harm there just so we can drive SUVs, grow unnutritious petrochemical based food cheaply, and import cheap crap from china cheaply.

  • Jeff

    This is going to work out well…just like when we intervened in Iran’s democratically elected government in the 1950′s. Which of course led to Iran’s Revolution (in the late 1970′s) where they blamed the US, the US went on to support Iraq when a war broke out between Iraq and Iran. Then Iraq invaded Kuwait and the US decided supporting Iraq wasn’t a good idea and invaded Iraq. So at that point the US didn’t want to get mired in a sectarian war, so we allowed a violent dictator (Saddam) to continue to hold power. Eventually, the US invaded Iraq once again; under false/misleading pretenses and did get mired in a sectarian war that lasted about a decade and cost thousands of American lives.

    So here’s the conclusion from that history lesson, is it a good idea to pick sides in a war between a dictator, terrorists and other sectarian groups? Nope, we should stay out of it.

  • Kate Graham

    I wonder, has arming rebel groups ever effected a lasting, peaceful, democratic regime? I can’t think of any examples. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result–isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    • Jeff

      How about the United States of America?

      • Kate Graham

        Not sure comparing the U.S. Revolutionary War to the current situation in Syria is really apples-to-apples.

        • Jeff

          I wasn’t comparing the US to Syria, I was simply answering your question where you said: “I wonder, has arming rebel groups ever effected a lasting, peaceful, democratic regime? I can’t think of any examples.” I gave you one example…although I did state in another comment I’m against intervening in Syria.

          • Kate Graham

            You might be right. Maybe the U.S. is the exception that proves the rule? Someone with a better grasp of history might be able to identify the reasons why the American Revolution was (arguably, at least) more successful than other revolutions in other countries. As you pointed out below, there are many examples of revolutions that did not turn out so well for the people in those countries.

          • Jeff

            Now that’s the big question, why was the American Revolution so much more successful than other revolutions? I think it comes down to a few basic factors, first of all the reasoning behind it and then men who carried it out are the biggest factors. Look at the Declaration of Independence, from the outset the main points of revolution were very clearly and eloquently explained.

            It helps when a revolution has clear goals and everyone can benefit from achieving those goals. Having the basis of government and law anchored in English common law, where property rights are respected, is also a huge benefit. Just look at the major players in the world today we can see that many of them were part of the British Empire…USA, Canada, Australia, India and even the UK.

            The men who carried out the American Revolution, especially Washington, were mostly humble and did not abuse their power. That’s where most revolutions fall apart, once power is consolidated it tends to be abused so that no one else can gain power (look at Robespierre during the French Revolution); almost all revolutions start with good intentions and fall apart when the “payback/purging” begins. Washington could have been a king if wanted but he knew the importance of setting an example of the presidency and stepped down after two terms.

            Finally, I think there are other examples of good revolutions today…although they don’t necessarily look like the American Revolution. Look at what Gandhi was able to accomplish in India, he used non-violence to free his country from British rule. See what Martin Luther King was able to accomplish as well, through his non-violent protests. America was/is never perfect (slavery and treatment of native peoples) but it tends to be one of the better examples how create and run a government (or revolution).

        • david

          Why? Because Syrian religious extremists are Islamic and America’s religious extremists were Christian?

          • Kate Graham

            No. I guess the differences I observe are that the American Revolution was spurred largely by colonial governments, led by middle- and upper-class men, who wanted to be “free” of foreign taxation. Thousands of Syrians are now dead or displaced because of atrocities committed by the regime–seems like a bigger hurdle to overcome to both overthrow the regime and establish a working government.

          • david

            Good point but I think the biggest driving force behind both decisions to render aid was more political/economical with emphasis on economical then any actual desire to do good towards those being repressed.

    • david

      Yeah didn’t we get aid from France during the revolution?

      • Jeff

        Yep, the French did actually fight on the side of the United States and provided other supplies to help the rebels during the US Revolution…other European countries and Native American tribes also contributed to the American cause (although the largest support was from France). Meanwhile a few years later when the French had their own revolution the young United States government largely stayed out of that war (although certain individuals did join the cause, Thomas Paine was nearly beheaded during that revolution).

  • Gary F

    What will Russia, Lebanon, and/or Israel do if we get more involved in Syria?

    Seeing that Immanutjob from Iran may be history, we now are unsure what Iran’s role in this may play.

    Messy, damn messy. With little or no strategic value, and no economic or natural resource value, I’m not sure why we would get involved.

    Anyway, shouldn’t France be more involved? Oh, yah, they don’t have a military.

  • kevins

    What’s the rush? The cultures in the region have been clashing for millenia. The administration, right or worng, has supported leadership change in Syria and, I believe rightly, asserted that no one should use chemical or biological weapons. I do not think, however that either position should force us to ramp up our own involvement. I am frankly tired of the mindset that war is the only intervention that will make a difference.

  • Gary F

    Think Obama will require background checks for the rebels in Syria for the guns we are about to give them?

  • Carrie

    I’m not sure if we should arm the rebels in Syria but as usual…….President Obama will be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

  • PaulJ

    Is there a plan here or are we just trying to root out the thugs who fled from Iraq during Bush II ?

  • Whoopeee!

    Do we get to turn over deeds to the US Capital and White House… and Supreme Court in order to float more war debt for this? Maybe they’d have enough ego to accept the entire National Park System. If not that then maybe mining interests in all of our American Indian reservations (our native Americans won’t mind hosting the Chinese for a few centuries).

  • Anna L

    “Unless we learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.” Each time we have poked out nose into other countries’ internal problems, including civil war it has never ended well.

    Representative Charlie Wilson wanted 1 million dollars to rebuild the schools in Afghanistan after we spent a billion dollars helping them throw out the Soviets. We didn’t and the rest is history. The militants took over again and threaten again to destabilize Afghanistan.

    There is no way to fix a problem in a region that has been going on for millenia It’s history is violent and bloody and will stay that way.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Hard to answer. Just whom are we arming? Will this come back to bite us? Sometimes, it’s best to let the warring factions fight it out–especially in the Middle East, but the outright slaughter of civilians cannot be tolerated,.