So you worry that the Islamist fanatics we’re funding in Syria will be no different from the Islamist fanatics we supported during the 1980s in Afghanistan who morphed into Al Qaeda?
There’s no need to fret, my friend – because science is coming to the rescue!
The US government is oh-so-very-carefully "vetting" the Syrian rebels, making sure they’re really the Boy Scouts that Nicholas Kristof and Bill Kristol say they are. So how do they "vet" them? Easy as pie – psychological testing! The Washington Post reports (with a straight face):
"The U.S. military will subject Syrian rebels taking part in a new training program to psychological evaluations, biometrics checks and stress tests under a screening plan that goes well beyond the steps the United States normally takes to vet foreign soldiers, a sign of the risks the Obama administration faces as it expands support for armed groups in Syria."
I can hardly wait to see the test results – or, never mind that, the tests themselves! Imagine the questions:
"If you strap on a suicide vest and blow yourself up for the greater glory of the US State Department you will be rewarded with: A) 72 virgins, B) 72 weeks of the Weekly Standard, C) An autographed photo of Samantha Power, D) 72 former virgins."
So, you thought "Common Core" was just for domestic consumption, one of the benefits of Obama-ism that the poor downtrodden peoples of the world won’t get to enjoy? Wrong!:
"Officials said the screening program, developed chiefly by the U.S. Central Command, will rely on what was described as a ‘common core’ of screening protocols, including running trainees’ names through U.S. and foreign intelligence databases, collecting biometric data and, when possible, seeking information from fighters’ home communities. Rebel commanders will be subject to additional screening."
One wonders what they’ll come up with when they run this guy‘s information through their screening databases – "has unusual eating habits?"
The mindset and methodology of the bureaucratic mentality is manifest in this sort of nonsense – and in the certainty these bureaucratic types have that they really can make decisions like this based on their bogus idea of what constitutes "science." Here we see the marriage of "progressive" central planning and our foreign policy of global intervention: the geniuses who run the US government actually believe they can weed out the Good Jihadists from the Bad Jihadists by utilizing their Super-Dooper Ultra-Scientific Tools. One can imagine an entire industry growing up around this flood of government dollars: indeed, dozens of government contractors are probably already offering bids, jockeying to become the Official US Government Vetter. It sure gets interesting once we go down this particular rabbit hole:
"In the special operations community, we have a pretty long history of vetting and screening surrogate forces that we’ve worked with," said an official at CENTCOM, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe planning."
Yes folks, it’s the "special operations community," otherwise known as the regime-change community, in plain English, US imperialism. They sure do have a pretty long history, but they aren’t exactly known for their "vetting and screening." I mean, there was that business in Chile, where the right-wing generals and death squads they unleashed on the Chilean people weren’t exactly model Boy Scouts. Then there were the Nicaraguan contras, our Good Guys from the Reagan years, who murdered civilians, tortured people for fun, and were thoroughly hated by the Nicaraguan people who eventually defeated them. But, hey, is an operation really all that "special" if it doesn’t involve doing evil? Or else why don’t we just do it out in the open and take "credit" for it?
The "special operations community" surely has a long history of evildoing – but that doesn’t mean Americans have learned anything from their experience, now does it? And it looks like we’re certainly going to be moving into some new territory with this Syrian Vetting Service:
"The new plan is unique to Syria, because we’re going to work with folks that we won’t accompany once we employ them,’ he said. ‘So vetting and screening becomes even more important.’"
Of course they aren’t going to be accompanying our trained Syrian killer-jihadists once they employ them – after all, they don’t want to take responsibility for the horrific atrocities our Vetted Jihadists will be committing – the suicide bombings, the murder of civilians, the forced conversions, etc. Besides that, the "social scientists" who will be profiting from these government contracts aren’t the type who like doing field work: it’s much more convenient to watch the results of their "work" from a safe distance so that inevitable "mistakes" can be swept under the rug without them suffering any personal injuries in the process.
"Under the plan, which has not been finalized, ‘moderate’ fighters will be evaluated on an ongoing basis. Successful participants would gradually attain access to higher levels of training and weaponry, and fighters found to be wanting would be dismissed from the program."
In short, this is just like Scientology: you start out a pre-"clear" and gradually – after being indoctrinated and hooked up to a pseudo-scientific "e-meter" to measure results – move up to higher levels of (mis)understanding. Only instead of them paying us, we pay them – and arm them.
What could possibly go wrong?
"’We’re taking it extremely seriously,’ a senior U.S. defense official said. He said fighters will also be educated about the laws of armed conflict."
Educated about the laws of armed conflict – by whom? Why, by none other than the world’s foremost violators of those laws, the armed forces of the United States – who murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in cold blood and are now engaged in a worldwide drone campaign that kills innocent civilians on a daily basis.
This Washington Post piece is a joke where every single line is a punch line. Here’s my favorite part:
"The military screening plan came together after the Obama administration determined that the training program for the Syrians would not be subject to what are known as the Leahy laws, which typically govern U.S. security assistance to foreign forces.
"Under those laws, a small office at the State Department works with U.S. embassies overseas to ensure that recipients of State or Defense Department security assistance aren’t linked to major human rights abuses. But Leahy vetting, which relies on intelligence and information such as accounts from civil society or media, is limited in scope and focused on human rights. It disqualifies candidates only 1 to 2 percent of the time, and it can take as little as 10 minutes to vet one person."
If you click on the link above you find out that the process of vetting by the standards of the "Leahy laws" is "complex" – which isn’t exactly consistent with the 10-minute rule. So how complex is the process really? And why aren’t our Good Jihadists subject to the "Leahy laws"? Because, we are told, they aren’t "state-sponsored." But of course they are state-sponsored: Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States have been sponsoring them, funding them, arming them, training them, and encouraging them. And since we are sponsoring them, at least potentially, then they are indeed state-sponsored.
Yet the bureaucratic mind is not impressed with such common sense arguments, and requires a whole new procedure to give their immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and downright stupid schemes a penumbra of legitimacy.
I say bring back the contras, the Afghan mujahideen, and every other ragtag bunch of murderous bandits we’ve used to run roughshod over the lives and hopes of foreigners, from Central America to Central Asia. At least we knew about – and fully acknowledged – their unmitigated evil: that’s why we tried to keep our aid to them a state secret. Those were the Good Old Days when governments were actually embarrassed by their evil acts: when fomenting bloody civil wars was thought of in negative terms rather than cheered on by newspaper columnists and "public intellectuals" as the height of civic virtue.
These days, however, when no one is embarrassed by anything, there’s no need to keep any of this a secret. We’re supporting the same Islamist murderers who brought down the World Trade Center and propelled us into Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria to begin with – and we want the whole world to know it! That’s the spirit of the new millennium and of the new interventionism – murderously evil and proud of it.
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NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.