With a vote on President Obama’s request for authority to arm and train Syrian rebels all but hinging on Democratic votes to pass, the liberal Democracy for America is urging Congress to vote “no” on the authorization.
The Howard Dean-founded group argues that the plan to arm the Free Syrian Army is too risky and that too many questions remain for Congress to approve Obama’s request.
“Until we can be confident that weapons and training we provide won’t come back to haunt us, Democracy for America is strongly urge members of Congress to vote NO on any amendment to a Continuing Resolution that would allow for the training and arming of so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels.” Neil Sroka, the group’s spokesman said.
According to the Democracy for America, this is the first time their group has called on Congress “to explicitly reject any aspect of the White House’s proposal.”
In an “urgent” email the group also urged their members to call their representatives and tell them to vote “no.”
“It’s possible that, despite the president’s best intentions, weapons sent to Syrian rebels could find their way into the hands of ISIS — and be used to target Americans,” the email from the organization’s political director Eden James reads in part.
“Congress should conduct a full, vigorous, and open debate on the president’s plan and the proposal to arm Syrian rebels — with a stand-alone, up-or-down, vote on it,” James continued. “Instead, Congress is moving ahead TODAY on funding the arming of Syrian rebels by attaching an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) budget bill that must pass for the government to stay open beyond October 1.”
Read the full email:
We may only have a few hours to stop Congress from making a big mistake.
As part of his overall plan to take on ISIS, President Obama has proposed new funding to train and arm rebel groups in Syria. This would be a major escalation of U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict and an extremely risky development with potentially disastrous unintended consequences.
Recent reports have claimed some of the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels that would receive money and weapons under this plan have agreed to a “non-aggression pact” with ISIS. It’s possible that, despite the president’s best intentions, weapons sent to Syrian rebels could find their way into the hands of ISIS — and be used to target Americans.
As our history in Afghanistan demonstrates, funding and arming volatile insurgent groups can often blow back on the U.S. years and decades later. War hawks in Washington, at the forefront of fueling what Gore Vidal once called the “United States of Amnesia,” might want us to forget — but that’s why we need a meaningful debate that exposes these lessons.
Congress should conduct a full, vigorous, and open debate on the president’s plan and the proposal to arm Syrian rebels — with a stand-alone, up-or-down, vote on it. Instead, Congress is moving ahead TODAY on funding the arming of Syrian rebels by attaching an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) budget bill that must pass for the government to stay open beyond October 1.
That’s why Congress needs to hear from you ASAP today — and before they green-light the president’s $500 million plan to arm the Syrian rebels. Click here to call your representative now and tell them to vote NO on arming the Syrian rebels.
As The Hill reported last night, the bill the House will be voting on — with limited debate — will NOT “exclude rebels with links to terrorist groups from participating in the program, since that would make it difficult to recruit trainees.”
In a rush to war, our congressional representatives are failing to ask — and answer — fundamental questions. Jon Soltz from VoteVets put it best in the Huffington Post yesterday:
“… Who actually represents the Syrian “moderates”? Who do you talk to? Coordinate with? Who actually ensures that none of the forces will take our weapons and give or sell them to ISIS? Attempts to unite Syrian opposition under one umbrella have proven to be a failure. There is no accountability — no chain of command.”
Before the United States gets involved in another open-ended war in the Middle East, we need answers to tough questions. Congress must debate and be held accountable for our actions in Syria — so we don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made in the past.
Thank you for making this important call today.
Eden James, Political Director
Democracy for America