Conversations with a Senator

Jun 8th, 2017 | By | Category: Legislative Updates

By: William J. Murray

“We have no one else to fight the Islamic State”: I cannot report the name of the Senator this column concerns, because all comments recorded here were made “off the record.” I attend many “off the record” meetings on Capitol Hill which are meant to give those invited “background” information, but names of those making the comments cannot be used.

During the course of one such meeting a Senator gave a short briefing on the situation with American troops in Syria. (Although it is against all international norms, the United States has established two air bases and a command camp inside of Syria. In the last two weeks U.S. troops have twice fired on Syrian troops who were fighting our common enemy, the Islamic State.  The reason given was that a Syrian Army column had entered into a 50-kilometer zone we deem as American territory — although it is located in the nation of Syria.)

The Senator made the point that we must arm the Peshmerga, the Kurdish armed forces in Syria, because they are the only dependable fighting force and have been making headway against the Islamic State despite being bombed occasionally by our NATO ally Turkey.

At the conclusion of the briefing, questions were allowed. My question contained an  opening statement, and this is what I said:

“Senator, in the last century the Kurds participated with the Turks in the mass murder, the actual genocide of Christians. The grandfather of one of the men I work with there was murdered along with other men in his village by Kurds who wanted their property. Since the first Gulf War, the funds we have given the Kurdish Authority for rebuilding have been withheld from Christian areas under their control. Sewers are backed up and the water supply does not flow in Christian areas, while the Kurds build five star hotels and modern malls,” I said.

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Then I gave a firsthand account, “Sir … an aid convoy I was leading to Qaraqosh, a Christian town in Iraq, was blocked by the Peshmerga because they are trying to starve out the Christian militia. We armed the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union, just like we are arming the Kurds to fight the Islamic State. The Taliban used the arms against us.  What happens to all these weapons and who will they be used against once the Islamic State is defeated? Will they be used against Christians in Iraq and Syria to run them out of areas the Kurds want for themselves?”

The Senator listened patiently to me and replied in a soft voice:

‘Bill, I have heard this before from you and other aid groups and ministries working in Iraq. These facts are not new to me, I know this … BUT … for now, it is in our strategic interest to stay with the Kurds since they are the only effective fighting force against the Islamic State. Without them we would have to use our own armed forces.”

This Senator is a good man, a Christian, who has acted as a missionary to non-Christian leaders in developing nations. Sadly, he was backing the same Deep State logic of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” that has in the past caused the United States to give weapons and money to people who hate us and want to kill us. The bare truth is that at one point we assisted what is now the Islamic State because we thought they were more moderate than the al-Nusra Front which was part of al-Qaeda. Last year the al-Nusra changed its name so it could once again obtain weapons from the United States. The truth is we have armed just about everyone involved in these conflicts except the Syrian Army, which is the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State.

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