Military aid to Syria: Defense of democracy, slippery slope, or the tail wagging the dog?

Jun 14, 2013


A Syrian rebel fighter belonging to the ‘Martyrs of Maaret al-Numan’ battalion holds a position on June 13, 2013 in the northwestern town of Maaret al-Numan in front of the army base of Wadi Deif, down in the valley.; Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The White House has announced plans to send military weapons to rebels in Syria after confirming that a “red line” has been crossed. The US says it has confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons in the civil war. There is strong support in Congress for arming the rebels but the American public is less enthusiastic. A recent poll showed that only 11 percent of the public supports sending weapons to Syria’s rebels. President Obama has acknowledged that Americans aren’t eager to get drawn into another war so soon after Iraq and Afghanistan but maintains that some intervention is necessary after the “red line” was crossed.

What does ‘arming the rebels’ really mean? Have we learned from past mistakes the US has made when arming rebels in a foreign war? Should we be so heavily involved in another foreign conflict when we’re still dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan? 

Josh Rogin, senior correspondent for national security and politics for Newsweek and The Daily Beast

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