By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
“US has started shipping weapons to Syrian Kurdish fighters,” reports read on May 30th. The weapons are destined for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which are on the cusp of liberating Raqqa from Islamic State (ISIS). Great news, right? These are the heroic Kurds who have been fighting ISIS since 2014, rolling back the genocidal extremists.
So what was the reaction on Twitter? “What could possibly go wrong (@AnonBuffalo),” or “Another case of the US getting involved in conflicts it knows little or nothing about that will end as well as the other forays.” Then @EddieWins to Trump “why are we doing this?” Someone puts a meme of “do not want,” oddly someone with the Arabic “N” sign for Christians often put by those who oppose oppression of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS. The replies to a Reuters tweet were similar. “Trump obviously owns interest in these weapons manufacturers.” Then from @ConservativeLA “And the ongoing debacle that is our relationship with Turkey just turned up a few notches.” And “Trump funding terrorists yet again! YPG/PKK/PYF are terrorists who kill turkish soldiers.” FOr @thejmw it is “unbelievable…this impeachment can’t happen soon enough.” For the conspiracy theorists it is “wag the dog” but for Mr Middle USA “looks like McCain finally got his way. This won’t end well.”
“We have never gotten in trouble for getting involved in internal wars.”
More interesting: “Yup like I said Trump will tow the line!We will continue to arm ISIS!We created them with the help of Israel and Saudi Arabia.”
Did you know @WinstonDeGres thinks “Turkey gonna have a fit! There goes another ally in fight against ISIS.”
“Will we profit from the arms sale? We’ll be dodging bullets.”
“So more instability in the region, the Kurds will attack Turkey. Sounds right for USA” – @saracen0007; but @CapitanoMatt thinks “the US is sending weapons to the Kurds, while the Russians send weapons to Assad, this should end well.” And must ignore the views of @Mary_LSS “Well, now that’s a good idea, because those same people will not go to the USA to attack, bahahahahah, good presidential choice USA.”
Joe Hill: “I’ll bet the Syrians are delighted. I am sure more guns are just what they wanted…when did the US ever arm the good guys? Just part of their secular regime change plan.”
The comments above were the main trend on two early reports about the weapons shipments. They don’t necessarily represent influential voices or even a majority of voices in the US. But they do represent the moral bankruptcy of morons.
There are a few obvious themes. One is the anti-Trump theme, such that because Trump did it, therefore it is bad. These morons don’t recognize that the decision to support and arm the Syrian Kurdish fighters and their allies was made before Trump came into office. It was a Pentagon operation approved and supported by Barack Obama and also Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning.
Then there is the theme of the anti-intervention crowd that always sees “weapons” as the main fuel of wars. They are against foreign involvement and they can be on the far right or far left. Sometimes even the center. The moral bankruptcy here is that weapons are not the cause of wars or the cause of all things bad. Assad’s regime had a monopoly on force before 2011 and used weapons, not from the US, to commit crimes against his own people. Shouldn’t people who want to oppose a brutal dictator have weapons to do so? Should people facing genocide be supported? ISIS committed genocide and unspeakable crimes. The “non-intervention” crowd are the kind who say the US and others should always stand on the sidelines, even when we know there is genocide. For some reason they see the US sending weapons as a problem, but don’t see the regime using barrel bombs as a problem. Russian weapons or Iranian weapons are never the problem, only when the US sends weapons.
Then there are the pro-Turkey voices. There are either Turks or Americans who care about the US “Turkish ally.” They may think Turkey is fighting ISIS and that even though the SDF are fighting ISIS that its not worth offending Turkey. Some of them genuinely think the SDF are “terrorists.” But where were these people in 2014 and 2015 to pressure their Turkish ally to close the border to ISIS volunteers? It is good they care about a US ally, but they should also be critical of Turkey when that is needed, the US can have multiple allies that don’t all get along with eachother.
Then there are the ignorant racists who think that the weapons will be used against America and think all Syrians are terrorists. They don’t care if it is Kurds or Arabs or what group. They don’t seem to realize that ISIS is the real threat and that defeating ISIS and killing its genociders is a positive policy. They refuse to educate themselves about who is fighting who in Syria and simply see “Syria” and think “evil.”
Then there is the “who profits” crowd that always sees a corporate conspiracy behind everything. Syria is a “regime change” war for “oil.” There is always a pipeline hiding behind every policy. When it comes to guns there is always a “financial” interest. It couldn’t be that most of these guns are not a major ticket item, the US just agreed to $110 billion in arms sales to Saudis. One F-35 can buy the SDF a lot of guns. But for them the few weapons sent to the SDF are about “profits.” They missed the Saudi arms deal elephant, simply because its easier to imagine a Trump “conspiracy” to “profit” from giving the SDF guns.
The end result of it all is total moral bankruptcy underpinned by being morons. It isn’t lack of education that creates morons. Many of these kinds of people are educated, sometimes very well educated. Conspiracy theorists and the “who profits” crowd are not uneducated, but they are ignorant and moronic. Those who always see weapons as being the “fuel” of conflicts, rather than say Islamist extremists, or legitimate demand for rights, or ethnic clashes, tend to be educated but dumb. Say that arms sales always are the reason for conflict is like saying that forks are the reason people are fat. Guns are just a tool. In some cases it is righteous for people to arm themselves and fight, to fight ISIS or fight genocide. To see the guns of rebels fighting a vicious regime as the problem, rather than looking at the regime, is moral bankruptcy. If ISIS has guns, it is a moral duty to give those fighting ISIS better guns. When the Nazis had guns, it was a moral duty to arm Tito’s partisans.
Beware the moral bankruptcy of morons.