Dear Syrian rebels: I thought I’d take a minute to correspond with you as you resume your efforts to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. You are no doubt disappointed that the United States government chose not to come to your aid as promised. There is a good reason and that is my purpose in writing you. Although I am not an official of the United States government, I am part of a group known as We the Unwashed. Put the blame squarely on us.
The president of the United States and his minions, as well as a bunch of out-of-touch and self-important politicians, forgot to include us in their war planning. Because we live outside the Beltway, they think We the Unwashed are a bunch of unsophisticated dummies who wouldn’t understand. Bad mistake.
We the Unwashed raised so much hell with the Potomac Poobahs and their blather about “red lines” and “unbelievably small” airstrikes and “no boots on the ground” and other such jabberwocky that they had to back off. They did the right thing, finally.
We don’t raise our collective voices often but when we do, folks in our government had better listen to us. We don’t throw bombs. We throw bums out of office. That is a big difference in our two cultures.
What was our problem with disapproving our government providing aid to you? It’s very simple. We the Unwashed don’t like you. To show you how fair-minded we are, we don’t like Assad, either. Neither side in your uncivil spat is worth one drop of American blood. We’ve been down this road before and all we have to show for it is the loss of a lot of young lives and perpetual ingratitude from those we tried to help.
Some people, including naive Americans — and we have a lot of them — got all warm and fuzzy when the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya were overthrown. They thought the Arab Spring would come bursting forth like dogwood blossoms. We the Unwashed knew better. Democracy doesn’t seem to be your strong suit.
We watched President Jimmy Carter engineer the downfall of the Shah of Iran in 1979 and you see how that turned out. We’ve been paying for that one ever since. Carter’s apologists will say he was taking the moral high ground. All I know is that the Iranians took our embassy in return and have spewed anti-American rhetoric at us ever since. So much for moral high grounds.
President George W. Bush didn’t do much better with his “shock-and-awe” efforts except to convince us that your animosity toward us is exceeded only by your historic dislike for each other. Some shock.
We believe you just want our money and our expertise to help you take over Syria and then we will have to endure marching in the streets and condemning the U.S. because that seems to be the modus operandi in your part of the world. I saw where Al-Zawahiri, the successor to the late and unlamented Osama bin Laden, said he didn’t want his jihadists who are fighting against the Assad regime to “compromise” with moderate rebel factions. He wants to kill Americans and he wants your help. And, I assume, he wants us to help pay for the privilege. Geez. I can’t wait to see him sleeping with the fishes.
If it is any consolation to you, it may be just as well you didn’t get our government’s support. We don’t have much faith here in the U.S. that our president and Congress can manage a calf-roping, let alone plan a missile strike into a weapons depot 5,000 miles away. They would probably blow up a Jiffy Lube in Ty Ty instead.
Then there is the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made our president, Barack Obama, look like a Chicago community organizer way out of his league. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, does it? Putin even called John Kerry, our secretary of state, a liar. I would like to have seen him say that if Ronald Reagan was still around.
So, guys, thanks for taking time to hear me out. I wish I had better news for you and I hope you understand now where We the Unwashed are coming from. You boys get back to your fight with the Syrian government. I would like to say may the best man win, but in this war, there is no best man.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/viewpoint. Contact him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.