WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday’s House vote to arm the Syrian rebels to fight against ISIS was a public acknowledgement of what the U.S. is already doing, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) said, explaining his “yes” vote for the authorization.
“It’s not that we decided to fund rebels yesterday. We’ve been funding rebels for months and months and months. Yesterday we just decided to do it publicly, instead of doing it privately,” Woodall said at Thursday’s Conversation with Conservatives.
Woodall said he thinks the strategy is a bad plan and that the changes for success are very slim, pinning the possibility at “somewhere between zero and zero point one.”
“We ought to stop doing it period, but hiding it from the American people and doing it anyway, I would argue is the worst of all possibilities. We took a step in the right direction yesterday by putting it on the American people’s radar screen — again what we’ve been doing in private for months,” he said.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) — who said he voted no because he said feared that the rebels in Syria would spend their time taking on the Assad regime and leaving a vacuum for ISIS to take over Syria — responded that Woodall’s argument was the best explanation he had heard for voting “yes” but said that it would not have changed his vote.
Wednesday the House voted in favor of the Obama administration’s request to authorize the arming and training of Syrian rebels to fight Syria. The bill passed with bipartisan support and opposition but with a lot of skepticism across the board.
“Is it a threat to the United States? If it is, shouldn’t we be using our own military force to deal with it? If its not a threat why are we doing anything? I never really got the impression that the president decided whether it was or it wasn’t,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said at Conversations with Conservatives, recalling the Obama administration’s wavering on whether or not the U.S. is or is not at war. Mulvaney also voted no.
“You sort of get the impression that this is a strategy driven by political pressure and poll testing than by actually having a strategy,” he added.