The problems of the Syrian Arab Spring have never been about the absence of weapons. These smug debates about getting MANPADs into the hands of Assad’s opposition belong in the world of pointless speculation. Why do so many suddenly think they’ve become military strategists when they haven’t been able to organize an unarmed political movement to counter Assadist propaganda & to support the Syrian Arab Spring?
The role of a principled antiwar movement is not to lobby the US Pentagon to arm democratic forces because that beggars credulity. The Pentagon is incapable of anything other than counterrevolution. Or what are US colonialism & militarism in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia all about!? The chief problem of the Syrian Arab Spring was political, not military. It was the corruption of the left & the antiwar movement into an Assadist & Stalinist cult, its refusal to build international antiwar opposition to support the Arab Spring, & its support for Russian, Iranian, & Hezbollah intervention. That was magnified a thousandfold when international opposition to Assad called for humanitarian US bombing to save the Arab Spring. When one looks to the Pentagon, a bastion of war, to save a popular revolution, the question must be asked: what planet are you flying in from? What have you missed about the history of US military aggression beginning with the extermination of Native Americans & continuing now in several US wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Palestine?
This is not the first time this issue has come up. In the 1980s, a representative of the FMLN in El Salvador toured the US to convince antiwar activists to stop organizing protests & turn itself into a fundraising apparatus for the FMLN, then a guerrilla force. I personally stood toe-to-toe with that representative & singlehandedly battled it out for several hours at a conference because his proposal would have brought the FBI down on the antiwar movement like a sledgehammer & destroyed it. When my position won the debate, the FMLN guy denounced me & demanded the antiwar movement throw me out on my ear. They laughed since I had been part of the antiwar movement since its inception.
Our commitment is to build a massive social movement to pressure the US government to withdraw from foreign intervention. It would be a betrayal of principles & politically suicidal to become a lobby for arming militias. We would be turned into a cult, a version of the Assadist & Stalinist cult that now prevails. You cannot solve a political crisis with MANPADs & anyone who looks to the US Pentagon to save a popular revolution needs to have their head examined.