On Thursday September 18, the Senate voted (78-22) to fund President Obama’s plan to combat ISIS: to train/arm Syrian rebels. The voting took place shortly after the House of Representatives voted (273-156) the day before, also in support of the President’s plan.
Supporters of the legislation have pointed out that the rebels in training would be “moderates.” What exactly is a “moderate rebel?” How do we know they’re not going to turn on us, and support another extremist group, like ISIS? Wouldn’t that defeat the point? Senator Rand Paul brought this up on the Senate Floor when he said, “It is also ludicrous to believe that we know where all of the money, arms and ammunition will end up, or who will end up benefitting from these shipments.”
The American people want the President to (finally) do something about ISIS, which was his motivation to come up with such a plan. But was this the right way to handle this situation? Training Syrian rebels means using our money (that we don’t have), to arm and train these people, of which have unknown intentions.
On September 17, the Huffington Post published an article online entitled “8 Reasons Why Congress Should Vote No on Training and Funding Syrian Rebels.” Two of the eight reasons point out an extremely crucial part of this situation: “we don’t know who we are training.”
Overall, this issue was not a “partisan” effort per se, as many Conservatives such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Louie Gohmert on the house side, and Sen. Ted Cruz, and Sen. Jeff Sessions voted against the legislation, in addition to more liberal Members such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Alcee Hastings, to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Since the legislation has passed through both branches of Congress, it is now ready to be signed by the President. Once this is enacted, the only thing the American people can do is watch this transpire, and hope that ISIS does not grow stronger than they already are. If we rub ISIS the wrong way, there will be major consequences. ISIS may not have as many trained fighters as the United States, but their fighters are ruthless, have nothing to lose, and will put their lives on the line if it means bringing great danger to their enemies.