Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse ... .
A year ago, shortly after some atrocity in the Middle East (I can't remember which one -- there are so many), our Commander-in-Chief ordered our military to "degrade and ultimately defeat" ISIS in Syria. The military said "Yes, Sir, Sir," and according to published reports, the CIA then tried to conjure into existence a fighting force of 5000 bloodthirsty fighters, to "ultimately defeat" roughly 30,000 ISIS psychopaths. (I apologize for the split infinitive, even though it's not my fault.)
According to published reports, the CIA then spent something like $500,000,000 to provide monthly paid vacations for locals, in some peaceful neighboring country, under the guise of training them. This resulted in "four or five" CIA-trained soldiers fighting against ISIS in Syria. Four or five. That's not even enough for a minyan.
Obviously, for that kind of money, the CIA must have trained more than four or five soldiers, right? So what happened to the rest of these fearsome fighters? Well, because geography, they had to pass through al-Nusra territory to get near ISIS. (In Syria, Al-Nusra is what passes these days for al-Qaida.) According to published reports, al-Nusra arrested a bunch of the CIA-trained fighters at a checkpoint. And another bunch decided to turn their weapons over to al-Nusra, and fight for al-Nusra instead. Yes, that's right -- the CIA-trained and armed soldiers went to work for al-Qaida. Just like the old days, in Afghanistan.
Not to be left out of the game, DOD undertook its own "degrade and defeat" effort. Going back to Saddam Hussein times, there has been a long love affair between DOD and Kurdish militia forces, the Peshmerga. DOD calls them "the Pesh," because that's a really good name. Unlike the Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga have done a reasonably good job at protecting Kurdish areas in Iraq within their control from falling to ISIS. According to published reports, DOD has sought to exploit this, by arming the Peshmerga with tons and tons of weapons (literally - tons), and encouraging the Peshmerga to fight ISIS in Syria (not in Iraq, because that's the job of the Iraqi Army, even though the Iraqi Army is exceedingly bad at it). To make this seem palatable to the Arabs (not Kurds) who live in the area to which the Peshmerga was sent to fight, DOD invented a no-show Arab armed force called the "Syrian Democratic Forces." In other words, unlike the CIA, which paid lots and lots of coin to fail to create a fighting force, DOD simply made one up.
Unfortunately, again, geography. According to published reports, the Peshmerga fighters, armed by DOD, decided to attack marginally Kurdish areas north of Aleppo, rather than attacking ISIS in Arab areas south of Aleppo. Which pitted them against the CIA-backed fighters who had joined al-Nusra. So we now have created two proxy armies, who are fighting each other.
Who will win? Well, for sure, the arms manufacturers. And the military-industrial complex.
Wait -- there's more. The Peshmerga may be teacher's pets as far as we're concerned, but our ally Turkey regards them as terrorists. So as we've been arming them, the Turkish Air Force has been bombing them. Because if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then I suppose that the friend of my friend must be my enemy.
My head hurts.
Here is some recent history that we all know, but hate to think about: We backed al-Qaida against the Soviet Union, and al-Qaida then perpetrated the 9/11 attacks against us. We armed Saddam Hussein against Iran, which not only perpetuated an extremely bloody war between Iraq and Iran, but also facilitated Saddam's occupation of Kuwait. The Bush Administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to rationalize an attack, told us that the war would be over in a week, and then launched a decade-long occupation -- followed, very quickly, by the disintegration of the country. Our decapitation of the Gaddafi regime in Libya has set off a civil war, and chaos that may last for a generation. Our interference in Egypt somehow has caused both the coup-installed regime and the Muslim Brotherhood government that it overthrew to despise us -- not an easy thing to do. The CIA conducts drone attacks all over the place, and it refers to targeted children as "fun-size terrorists."
I feel nauseous.
In Congress, I conducted the first and only Congressional hearing regarding the innocent victims of drone attacks in Pakistan. That hearing led to a one-year pause in those attacks.
When a third American war in the Middle East loomed, I did seven national TV interviews in one day, patiently and successfully making the case for peace.
And before I was elected to Congress, I spent years of my life waging what the Wall Street Journal referred to as a one-man war against contractor fraud in Iraq.
Now I ask for your help to wage a new war:
A war against stupid meddling in the affairs of others.
A war for peace.
Rep. Alan Grayson