from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Praise the Lord and Pass the MREs

March 26, 2014

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It’s getting to be a habit. For the Ukrainians facing Russian aggression, we shipped MREs: meals ready to eat.

For Syrian rebels facing Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Assad’s armed forces, we are shipping ambulances and medical kits. To be more exact, Foreign Policy reports that "The State Department is about to begin delivering tens of millions of dollars worth of new assistance into Syria, including ambulances, communications gear and Toyota pickup trucks for the country’s beleaguered rebels. The so-called non-lethal assistance effort for rebels has included buses and pickup trucks, blankets, 550,000 packaged military meals and, just last month, about 1,000 medical kits."

Adding insult to injury, when asked to explain why the Syrian rebels are not winning, the Obama administration does not say "because we are sending ambulances and the Iranian are sending troops." Nor does it say, well, look at all the Russian arms sales to Assad, or the Hezbollah soldiers fighting for him. Nope. It blames the rebels and takes zero responsibility for its own hopeless policy. As Fred Hof, a former official who used to work on Syria policy, wrote this week,

Blaming the victim, positing the rough moral equivalence of the parties, claiming that intervention would only make things worse, clinging to an all-or-nothing thesis by citing mass murder elsewhere and using the Iraq catastrophe as a one-size-fits-all template—these are all excuses for translating “never again” to “well, maybe this once.” Blaming the opposition... is not worthy of a great country.

But that’s our policy: MREs and blame.

Why aren’t the Syrian rebels doing better? How safe do Ukrainians feel? Why do so many American allies around the world feel less safe in the face of aggression, subversion, terrorism, or threats from their enemies and ours?

What was that patriotic song from 1942?  Praise the Lord and Pass the MRE?

The original lyrics are worth recalling:

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

And we’ll all stay free

Praise the Lord and swing into position

Can’t afford to be a politician

Praise the Lord, we’re all between perdition

And the deep blue sea.




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