Chickashanews.com

Opinion

September 5, 2013

How do we tell good guys from the bad in Syrian opposition

CHICKASHA —

Lindsey Graham, perhaps the Senate's leading hawk on military intervention in Syria, says the most important part of U.S. strategy there is "supporting vetted opposition forces." Bob Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he is dismayed by "the lack of support we are giving to the vetted moderate opposition." The committee's amendment to the intervention resolution, authored by John McCain, calls for strengthening the "vetted elements of Syrian opposition forces."

In Washington, use of the word "vetting" is usually confined to unknown political candidates and cabinet nominees. So what is this vetting in Syria everyone is talking about? Is the U.S. government requiring opposition fighters to fill out questionnaires? Show photo ID? Hand over bank statements and tax returns?

Whatever it is doing -- a good bit of it is classified -- the Obama administration, along with some supporters on Capitol Hill, claims its vetting can distinguish the good guys from the brutal jihadist killers among the Syrian rebels. But some key members of Congress remain very concerned.

"In places like Syria, vetting can be unreliable and inconsistent," Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told me via email recently. "So far, the administration has not made a compelling case that it can differentiate between the factions, or that it even knows the makeup of the factions. The conclusions it has drawn as a result of its vetting are in stark contrast to the briefings I've received, and I remain concerned that a large part of these rebels pose a great threat to our interests."

The true nature of the Syrian rebels has turned into perhaps the pivotal issue in the intervention debate. 

Among the many question that opponents of intervention have, perhaps the most fundamental is this: Who are we helping?

Text Only
Opinion
  • Weir speaks on good traffic stops do for society

    On the law enforcement side the county was fairly quiet last month. There was an incident which may not have seemed of great importance to many, but I would take exception to that.

    April 15, 2014

  • The Hero of Haarlem…For the Common Good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the eight year old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job even more important.

    April 11, 2014

  • Morning Ralph…Morning Sam…For the Common Good

    Deep in the vaults of Warner Bros. there is a series of Merrie Melodies cartoons featuring Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph E. Wolf.  It has been years since I have seen the animation; however, the tan sheepdog with the unruly mop of auburn hair and the thin brown wolf that bears an uncanny resemblance to Wile E. Coyote (except for Ralph’s red nose and Wile’s yellow eyes) are readily recalled.

    April 4, 2014

  • Fightin' Words: A right way and a wrong way to treat a college players union

    Initially the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board over Northwestern football players' ability to unionize was, at first, the start of a ticking time bomb on college sports.

    March 28, 2014

  • In New Orleans, Katrina victims live out Hollywood eco agenda

    I visited Lousiana recently to do some reporting on Sen. Mary Landrieu's bid to win a fourth term in a tough political year. But before heading to the key parishes that will determine Landrieu's fate this November, I stopped by New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward to see how rebuilding efforts are faring nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina.

    March 25, 2014

  • BLOG: America is doing all it can to Russia

    The conservative response to President Obama's handling of the Ukraine crisis is a perfect example of what some Americans need to learn about how the world around them works now.

    March 21, 2014

  • In jam over Obamacare, Dems don't know which way to turn

    When it comes to Obamacare, many Democrats take comfort in polls showing a small majority of voters, or at least a plurality, oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act. To them, that proves the Republicans' do-away-with-it position is out of sync with voters as this November's midterm elections approach.

    March 18, 2014

  • Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo and the Common Good

    The term “Spaghetti Western” is used to describe a movie about the American West but directed and produced by Italians and normally filmed in Europe. This motion picture genre has been around for more than 70 years.  Outdoor scenes are often shot in an area of Spain that bears a striking resemblance to the Southwestern United States.

    March 14, 2014

  • Have Bazooka - will travel and the Common Good

    For seven seasons from 1957 through 1963, actor Richard Boone played a gentleman gunslinger named Paladin in the CBS television, Have Gun—Will Travel.  The storyline involved Boone’s character, a highly educated and cultured mercenary whose residence was the Hotel Carlton in wild-west era San Francisco.  Paladin’s business card intimated that he had no qualms about using his Colt .45 revolver or his single action Marlin rifle for hire, wherever his career would take him.

    March 7, 2014

  • Fightin' Words: Is LeBron or KD the better individual?

    So after LeBron's big 61 point outing against Charlotte, of course ESPN went into overdrive about what this meant regarding his status in the game. Then Russell Westbrook had to speak up after Oklahoma City's win over Philly, and now it's back on our minds once again: who is better, the King or KD?

    March 7, 2014

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Poll

Judging by our slow start, do you believe May will be a rough weather month?

Yes
No
     View Results