September 18, 2014

Nightmare: Manchin on target | Charleston Gazette

When Washingtin tries to impose its will on the Middle East, calamity can occur.

The Reagan White House secretly sent the CIA to arm fanatical Muslim “freedom fighters” to drive Russians out of Afghanistan in the 1980s — and that resistance eventually spawned the al-Qaida terror network that attacked America on 9/11. The Bush-Cheney White House pulled America into the disastrous Iraq War in 2003 on false claims of horror weapons — and now Iraq has deteriorated into a nightmare that spawned the murderous Islamic State or ISIS, which decapitates Americans.

In the column below, Leonard Pitts asks: “If we never had kicked this hornet’s nest, would we now find ourselves obliged to confront the criminal gang that calls itself the Islamic State?”

West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin delivered a superb Senate speech Wednesday making the same point. He said America has no choice but to loose air strikes on the dangerous ISIS conquerors — but he warned against arming other Muslim militias to fight the deadly fanatics, because they may become tomorrow’s enemy.

Congress must vote soon on a continuing resolution to keep the U.S. government afloat. Unfortunately, the resolution contains money to arm “moderate” militias that are fighting both ISIS and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

Manchin said the so-called moderates are mostly Islamist “holy warriors” — and that they “sold American journalist Steven Sotloff to ISIS, who beheaded him and put the video on the Internet.” The West Virginian declared: “I strongly believe that if our military arms and trains Syrian rebels, we will be involving ourselves in a ground conflict we cannot resolve, where potentially everyone is our enemy.”

With U.S. weapons, the “moderates” might team up with ISIS to fight dictator Assad, enlarging the menace to America. “I can foresee a Senate debate a few years from now about how to defeat the next group of Islamist terrorists that we helped train and install,” he said.

“We have been at war in that part of the world for the past 13 years,” Manchin said. “If money and military might could have made a difference, it would have by now.”

He pointed out that 6,600 young Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 57,000 others wounded, and U.S. taxpayers have lost $1.6 trillion, “not including the costs of long-term care of wounded veterans.”

Manchin is right: America mustn’t get sucked deeper into this quicksand.

By:  Editorial