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Rep. Tom McClintock: Giving Arms To "Carefully Vetted" Syrians A Blunder

Rep Tom McClintock Speaks on House Floor

During yesterday’s debate on arming the Free Syrian Army, Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-4) demonstrated once again why his name keeps showing up as a write-in on our 2016 Republican presidential primary poll.

McClintock joined other principled conservatives (and some Democrats) to oppose arming the so-called Free Syrian Army.

McClintock’s line of reasoning was one we share: We know the Islamic State is a threat, the question is not “is it a threat?” The question is “what’s the best and most efficient way to destroy the threat?”

And in McClintock’s analysis arming the allegedly “carefully vetted” Free Syrian Army defies our experience in Afghanistan and Iraq where so-called “carefully vetted” local Islamic forces have turned their weapons against us.

McClintock’s brief floor speech on the subject was so cogent and straight to the heart of the issue that we wanted to provide a rush transcript from C-SPAN and a link to the video (courtesy of our friend @ConnieHair).

C-SPAN Rush Transcript, September 17, 2014 Floor Speech of Rep. Tom McClintock opposing arming the Free Syrian Army:

MR. MCCLINTOCK: I THANK MY FRIEND FOR YIELDING.

MADAM SPEAKER, ALL OF US RECOGNIZE THE THREAT POSED TO OUR NATION BY THE ISLAMIC STATE.

THE QUESTION BEFORE US IS WHETHER TO ARM AND TRAIN SUPPOSEDLY “CAREFULLY VETTED” ELEMENTS OF THE FREE SYRIAN ARMY (F.S.A.) AS A PROXIMATE ON THE GROUND FORCE.

I RESPECT THE INTENTIONS OF THE SUPPORTERS, BUT THIS RUNS A GREAT RISK OF BACKFIRING. THE F.S.A. IS A MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE AMONG MANY ISLAMIC FACTIONS THAT HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF COLLABORATING WITH THE ISLAMIC STATE.

THE SINGULAR PURPOSE OF THE F.S.A. IS NOT TO DESTROY THE ISLAMIC STATE, IT EXISTS TO DESTROY THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT THAT IS NOW ACTIVELY FIGHTING AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE.

THE EQUIPMENT WE PROVIDE TO THE F.S.A. COULD EASILY BE TURNED AGAINST THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT. DESPITE ALL OF HIS [Bashar al Assad’s] DESPOTIC TENDENCIES, WE WOULD WEAKEN OUR OVERALL STRATEGIC GOAL IF THAT HAPPENED.

WE WATCHED WHAT “CAREFULLY VETTED” SECURITY FORCES DO. IN FACT, THAT'S THE REASON THE ISLAMIC STATE IS ARMED TO THE TEETH WITH AMERICAN EQUIPMENT.

NEITHER WE NOR THE WORLD CAN AFFORD MORE BLUNDERS OR MISCALCULATIONS IN THIS REGION.

WE SHOULD LEARN BY NOW THAT ALLIANCES IN THE ISLAMIC MIDDLE EAST ARE IN CONSTANT FLUX AND ALLY TODAY IS A SWORN ENEMY TOMORROW. OFTEN OUR ALLIES ARE OUR ENEMIES.

AFTER I WAS ELECTED, THE FIRST MAN KILLED FROM MY DISTRICT IN IRAQ, ARMY SPECIALIST JEREMIAH MCCRERY, DIED WHEN “CAREFULLY VETTED” IRAQI SOLDIERS TURNED THEIR AMERICAN-PROVIDED WEAPONS ON HIM. THE MOST RECENT FATALITY FROM MY DISTRICT, MARINE STAFF SERGEANT SKY MOTE, DIED WHEN “CAREFULLY VETTED” AFGHAN POLICE TURNED THEIR AMERICAN-PROVIDED WEAPONS ON HIM.

MADAM SPEAKER, OUR CONSISTENT EXPERIENCE IN THIS REGION SHOULD BE SCREAMING THIS WARNING AT US. WE'RE MAKING A BIG MISTAKE. I YIELD BACK.

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