By Mike Whitney
December 14, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill that puts every American who travels by plane at risk. It is among the stupidest pieces of legislation ever written and it explains– to a great extent– why the US Congress has a public approval rating of 13 percent and is among the most loathed institutions in America.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed the House last Friday in a 375-34 vote. On Thursday, it cleared the senate with a 92 to 7 margin. The bill will now be sent to Obama where it is expected to be signed into law. According to an article on SOFREP titled “Congress authorizes anti-aircraft missiles for Syrian opposition”:
“Congress for the first time authorized the Department of Defense to provide vetted-Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft missiles. The provision is contained within the $619 billion Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate on Dec. 8 and the House on Dec. 2.
Under the bill, the Secretaries of Defense and State must submit a report to Congress explaining why they determined Syrian groups need man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).”
(SOFREP: Trusted News and Intelligence From Spec Ops Veterans, “Congress authorizes anti-aircraft missiles for Syrian opposition”)
You read that right, Congress just passed a bill that will provide shoulder-launched ground-to-air missiles to lunatic jihadists who will undoubtedly use them to take down American or Israeli jetliners. The argument that these Islamic militants are fully vetted is complete nonsense as both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly shown. According to a recent article in the New York Times, rebel groups supported by the USG “have entered into battlefield alliances with the affiliate of al Qaida in Syria formerly known as al Nusra.” The Wall Street Journal reports that rebel groups are “doubling-down on their alliance with al Qaida. This alliance has rendered the phrase ‘moderate rebels’ meaningless.”
Everyone who has followed developments on the ground in Syria knows that the distinction between the “good” terrorists and the “bad” terrorists is pure bunkum. The various militias are merely the many heads of the same homicidal anti-government hydra that has killed over 400,000 Syrians and decimated a large part of the country. The CIA should not be assisting any of these madmen let alone providing them with lethal state-of the-art weapons that will inevitably be used to take down US aircraft. Here’s more from the same article:
“The inclusion of the provision represents a departure from previous versions of the NDAA. The original House bill specifically prohibited the transfer of MANPADS to “any entity” in Syria, while the Senate bill did not address it.”
So, the original bill forbid “the transfer of MANPADS” to Syrian militants because it was considered too dangerous. But now that Obama’s proxy-army is getting pulverized in Aleppo, Congress has taken off the gloves and gone into full-revenge mode. Isn’t that what’s really going on?
And it looks like Obama has already given this crazy policy a big thumbs up. Check out this “Presidential Determination and Waiver ….on the Arms Export Control Act to Support U.S. Special Operations to Combat Terrorism in Syria” that the White House issued late Thursday:
“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a of title 10, United States Code, sections 40 and 40A of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (22 U.S.C. 2780 and 2781), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby:
- determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States.” (Presidential Determination and Waiver)
It looks to me like our Nobel prize-winning president just gave Congress’s idiot plan his ringing endorsement.
Fortunately, there’s one member of congress who has spoken out forcefully against the NDAA . Representative Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii released the following statement following the voting on December 2:
“This bill contains the same deeply concerning and dangerous Syria train and equip measures that I’ve fought against since the program’s inception.
“First, it creates the potential for dangerous ground-to-air missiles getting in the hands of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. ….
“Second, the bill reauthorizes and extends the Syria train and equip program for two years. When the Department of Defense brought this program to Congress two years ago, I strongly opposed it due to a weak vetting process,…instead of fighting against ISIS, al-Qaeda, or other terrorist groups—(the vetted militants) ended up joining these terrorist groups in their battle to overthrow the Syrian government.
“Over the past 2 years, the Department of Defense has made several improvements to the vetting process and clarified the program’s objectives. These improvements have helped to ensure that we work solely with forces that share our common goal of defeating ISIS. However, the bill that passed today leaves out all of these improvements, allowing these authorizing provisions to be used once again to further the illegal, counterproductive regime change war against the Syrian government. If successful, this war will strengthen groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, worsen the humanitarian crisis, and cause even greater destruction and suffering in Syria. I will continue to do all I can to end this devastating war, focus our resources on nation building here at home, and defeat terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS who threaten the American people.” (“Rep. Gabbard votes against Defense Authorization Bill”, Hawaii 24/7)
Rep. Gabbard has authored a “Stop Arming Terrorists bill” that “prohibits U.S. government funds from being used to support al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. … It would also prohibit the Federal government from funding assistance to countries that are directly or indirectly supporting those terrorist groups.” (“Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces Legislation to Stop Arming Terrorists”, Tulsi Gabbard)
Booyah, Tulsi. You are the lone voice of sanity in a country that has gone stark raving mad.
Mike lives in Washington state. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.