WASHINGTON — The U.S. is ramping up its support for Syrian rebels with training, supplies, and weapons that American officials are confident will not be used against American forces in ten years or so.
In the past, U.S. aid to revolutionaries has often come back to bite the military superpower. Most embarrassingly, the United States trained and supplied the Mujahedeen, led by Osama bin Laden, during the 1980s in their war against the Soviet Union.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said John Kerry about the nation’s material support for Syrian rebels. “Although with our record in the Middle East, the enemy of my enemy probably hates me too, just a little less.”
But the Obama administration has proceeded slowly and deliberately in its response to government repression in Syria. Sources within the White House insist the president doesn’t want to arm a group that will later oppose American influence.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel about the nation’s track record with arming anti-American rebels. “Fool me six or seven times and we’re just not showing any grasp of patterns or recent history.”
Rebel leaders say they can’t make any guarantees about future military conflicts with their new-found ally.
“We are glad the world is finally responding to the plight of the Syrian people,” says Salim Idris, head of the Syrian Free Army. “But we aren’t fighting for the right to open more Pizza Hut chains. We have our own ideas about how this country should be run.”
The Obama administration says it has no plans to install a new pro-American dictator in Syria after the rebellion, but cautions all actors to know their parts.
“We arm rebels and we prop up some guy we like better. Turns out he’s worse than the last guy, so you fight against American influence,” said President Obama in a press conference this morning. “It’s hard to break out of time-tested tropes, but we’ll do our best.”