Not long after, when America entered the war, we were formally collaborating with Josef Stalin -- a man who had slaughtered one million of his own countrymen during the Great Purge of 1937-38. The lesson is that, when faced with an existential threat, you bring all parties to the table. Even bad people if you have to. Not just to coordinate the fight, but to coordinate post-war planning with all the players.
United States policy in Syria insists that President Bashar al-Assad must go. But if the U.S. succeeds and the Assad government is scattered to the wind it raises the question: Who will defend the ethnic and religious minorities in Syria from the Islamic State, the al-Nusra Front, and all the other heavily armed homicidal maniacs that already control nearly half the country?
Rebel forces, secretly armed and trained by the CIA, attempt to overthrow a brutal dictator despised and vilified by Washington. Hit by devastating airstrikes, the rebels put out a frantic call for American help. Sounds like the latest reports from Syria. It also sounds like a tragic drama that played out more than half a century ago, at Cuba's Bay of Pigs.
Quite literally, "2015 John McCain" and "2012 John McCain" have opposing views of the Syrian rebels. I hope the media remember this when Sen. McCain gets up on his soapbox in the coming days. Sen. McCain isn't prescient. He consistently contradicts his own past statements and beliefs, depending on what's happening at any particular time.
It must be emphasized that true secularism is not opposed to religion, and a secular democratic state will not only eliminate ethnic and religious discrimination, such as pitting Shiites against Sunnis, but will also create the conditions for the religious people to practice their beliefs free of the government. Islam and secularism are completely compatible. In fact, a true "Islamic state" is not only unjustified, but also impossible to establish.
The White House formally submitted its $500 million request to Congress on June 26. The money would go to train and equip "appropriately vetted" members of the Syrian opposition. That's a lot different from "moderate rebel forces," and it is yet another indication that we simply do not know who the "moderates" are in Syria.