WASHINGTON, June 19 -
Mr. Speaker, there is a war going on in Syria. Some call it a civil war. It may have started out as a civil war, but it has escalated. The Government of Syria, is ruled by the dictator Assad. He's a bad guy; no question about it. Several rebel groups, and we're still not sure who all these people are, are trying to remove him from power. World powers seem to be taking sides in this battle.
You have the Syrian Government supported by Iran and Russia. There's also this little terrorist group called Hezbollah supporting the regime. But on the other side, you've got the rebels, numerous groups, including al Qaeda, a terrorist group. You've got Saudi Arabia; Qatar; you've got the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt supporting the rebels. Turkey is concerned, and even Great Britain has weighed in on this, a former colonial power in the region. And so more and more groups and nations are lining up in this war in Syria that's been going on for 2 years; 100,000 people have been killed by both sides. Refugees are leaving the country and going to other countries.
I recently was in Turkey on the border of Turkey and Syria, and I saw a refugee camp that had 150,000 Syrians that had escaped the war in Syria. No question the U.S. should help with humanitary aid.
And finally now the United States, after 2 years, we've decided we're going to take sides. The President has said we're going to give arms to the Syrian rebels and that they're going to be vetted so we make sure that we're not giving those to other terrorist groups. I don't know if we're going to do a universal background check on the rebels, or what; but small arms for the rebels?
Here's what the President said:
We're not taking sides in this religious war between Shia and Sunni. Really, what we are trying to do is take sides against extremists of all sorts.
Well, it seems to me what we are really doing is taking both sides and we're arming extremists at least on one side. And I ask the question: What is the national security interest of the United States to be involved in somebody else's war? There isn't one. We don't have a national security interest to be involved in this war. The United States seems to have a habit of getting involved in other people's business; and once again, we have made the problem in Syria our problem by being involved and supporting the rebel groups.
What is the goal of the United States's involvement? This war is not going to be easily won by the rebels. Are we going to then add more military power to the rebels? What's the end game? What is the goal here, to put another rebel group in power in another country?
You know, we've kind of forgotten what we did in Libya. There's Muammar Qadhafi, the bad guy of Libya. No question about it, a horrible person. So what does the United States do? We support the rebels who overthrow the Libyan President, the Libyan dictator. We sent small arms. And you know, Mr. Speaker, those small arms are still in North Africa, and they've spread all over North Africa. We don't know what has happened to those weapons that the United States gave to those rebels. Only time will tell.
So this is not our war; yet we seem to be very interested in supporting this, as the President correctly said, a religious war. You've got the Shia's and you've got the Sunnis. They've been at each other since the year 630, and they haven't resolved their conflicts and yet here a century and a half later, another conflict is involved. It's a religious war between two groups in the Middle East. It is escalating. The United States' national interest is not at stake. What the United States should do and work toward is a political solution to this problem, not a military solution to this problem, and do what we can to resolve it politically and help really both sides resolve it.
This is not our war, Mr. Speaker. We have no national security interest. There's no American goal. We don't know the goal. We don't know the end result, and we don't even know who we are arming as those rebels. They could be made up of criminals, patriots, al Qaeda. We ought not be involved in this war that has no national security interest for the United States.
And that's just the way it is.