House Republicans continue to be split along mostly conservative and establishment lines, as they voted and passed the Mckeon amendment, a tougher, more restrictive bill that would arm and train the rag-tag and unknown Free Syrian Army rebels.
Republican leadership in the House of Representatives pushed the Rep. Mckeon’s amendment in hopes that it would appease both Republican and Democrat concerns about giving President Obama blanket military authorization to counter the ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria.
The vote passed in the House on Wednesday by a vote margin of 273-156, with 159 Repubicans and 114 Democrats voting ‘yea,’ and 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voting ‘nay’ on the measure.
Republicans who opposed the bill make the case that by arming this Free Syrian “Mujahadeen.” as Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) called them, the U.S. would essentially be arming a group of rebels whose allegiance is to their own personal and religious interests.
DeSantis may know a thing or two about who these rebels could really be, seeing that he is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is still a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve with military intelligence ties.
“Congress failed to do anything to protect our nation from terrorist infiltration by the thousands of U.S. citizens and citizens of western nations who have joined ISIS. Nor did Congress do anything that would interdict the financing of ISIS or authorize our armed forces to destroy the personnel, equipment, and bases of ISIS. Instead, Congress authorized the President to give U.S. weapons to mujahideen fighters in Syria, the so-called moderate Islamist rebels. These mujahideen fighters are not dependable allies and will use the weapons to pursue their own interests. We cannot subcontract out our national security policies to Islamist rebels. The President’s strategy is insufficient to achieve success.“-Rep. Ron DeSantis (R)
Back when then the body count in the Syrian civil war first began to make headlines, scores of battle-hardened Islamist fighters, who have American blood on their hands, poured into Syria from Iraq and other countries to fight alongside “moderate Islamist rebels” already fighting Assad’s government.
DeSantis’ fellow Republican and former U.S. Army officer, Congressman Tom Rooney, also chimed in with his opposition to the bill.
“I cannot support the losing strategy of arming the so-called Syrian rebels. Although I believe ISIS clearly poses a security threat to the Middle East, and potentially to the United States itself, handcuffing our strategy by restricting kinetic activity to air power alone is insufficient.
“Going to war is difficult for any Commander in Chief, but if this crisis is important enough to put our men and women in harm’s way, then it should be important enough to demand a winning strategy. I don’t believe this plan is anything close to a winning strategy, and I cannot support it. Accordingly, I must also oppose the continuing resolution, which includes this language as a poison pill.” -Rep. Tom Rooney (R