Telling apart the right Syrian rebels from the wrong Syrian rebels is tricky. The Free Syrian Army, once hailed as a moderate secular organization, has more Al Qaeda in it than the dirt in Tora Bora. The new opposition set up by Obama and Qatar consists of the Muslim Brotherhood and people with fake mustaches pretending not to be the Muslim Brotherhood. As an additional handicap, the head of this moderate secular opposition, Sheikh Mouaz Al-Khatib, who had previously praised Saddam for “terrifying the Jews”, objected to the American declaration that the Al-Qaeda militias are terrorists.
“The logic under which we consider one of the parts that fights against the Assad regime as a terrorist organization is a logic one must reconsider,” Al-Khatib said, and it’s hard to argue with his logic. The difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda is that the Muslim Brotherhood wins an election before shooting people in the streets while Al Qaeda shoots people in the street without waiting for an election. To the Democracy Uber Alles crowd, this makes a big difference, but the people being shot are still dead either way.
No serious thinkers seriously think that not siding with either side is an option. When confronted with Muslim terrorists, they begin searching for moderates in the rubbish bin, and with a working definition of a moderate that includes anyone less extreme than the most extreme of the extreme, they never have a problem finding moderates. And they keep finding moderate Syrian rebels who will be our friends tomorrow for a few RPGs today.
Today we have to support the Muslim Brotherhood for fear that Al Qaeda will take over. Tomorrow we will have to support Al Qaeda for fear that Al-Takfir Wa Al-Hijra will take over. And then we’ll have to support the Takfiris for fear that Itbach Al-Kul Ulum will take over. And the day after our leaders will have no choice but to nuke the entire planet for fear that an asteroid will hit it instead. The radiation will be bad, they tell us, but at least nuclear weapons are moderate. Asteroids are extreme. And no one, except skateboarders, wants to be extreme.
It’s Black Friday in Syria and just sitting at home, watching the game, sipping a beer and wondering who’s going to score in the third quarter, the black flag Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood militias, Hezbollah or a race of demons erupting unexpectedly from the earth to devour all participants, never occurs to the bright boys and girls down in D.C. No, they’re dragging us into line at five in the AM in the hopes of scoring a friendly Syria for only 4 billion dollars and maybe only twenty-thousand dead Christians.
The rebels are making their gains, or so the New York Times claims, while Pravda claims that the Syrian government is beating back the rebels. It’s hard to know whose pravda to believe when all we have to choose from are propaganda outlets that parrot the talking points of their respective governments. In a Pravda world, you don’t read the news to find out what’s going, you read the news to find out what the government thinks about what is going and then you try to derive from that what is truly taking place.
In this Plato’s Cave version of the news, all that we know is that everyone is racing to Damascus, and that everyone is winning and everyone is losing and everyone is dying at the same time. And we’re rushing right along with them, hoping that our guys, who are slightly less murderous than their guys, will defeat them, despite the murderousness gap, with the help of our weapons, our planes and maybe a few of our guys, wearing sneakers and long beards, coordinating operations on the ground.
The Muslim Brotherhood is running torture chambers in Egypt and shooting protesters in the street, but we’re still shipping them free F16s and helping them take over Syria. Because if we don’t help them, how will we have any influence over them? If the Muslim Brotherhood can’t non-violently seize power in Syria through a violent civil war, there is a risk that they will turn to violence again. And that means they’ll start trying to violently take over countries without going through the formality of fighting a civil war to take them over first.