05.04.16

Washington Post: Congress is Missing in Action on the Middle East

The May 1 editorial “In Syria, time for ‘Plan B’  ” called on President Obama to “reconsider” the failed U.S. program to train and equip the rebels in Syria. Last year, the Pentagon ended such a program. In one year, the Pentagon managed to train only a handful of rebels, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars. While serious questions arose about the enormous price tag, I have other questions: Who are these rebels? Can we guarantee that the “training” won’t be turned against U.S. troops or our interests?

More weapons will only add more fuel to the raging fire of violence in the region. Years of spending billions and sending weapons have failed, so why should we double down?

As the Pentagon retreads the same ground, Congress is missing in action. Despite newly announced troop deployments, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) refuses to allow a debate on authorizing use of force against the Islamic State.

The past four presidents have bombed the Middle East with little or no oversight from Congress. Will we allow a fifth to continue these endless wars unchecked?

Barbara Lee

The writer, a Democrat, represents California’s 13th District in the House.