Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Senator Rand Paul can agree on at least one thing: tax money used in proxy wars should be used elsewhere to help Americans. Toward that end, the pair has teamed up to "stop arming terrorists."
Senator Paul has introduced the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (S. 532) in the Senate to prohibit American taxpayers' money from being used to directly or indirectly support armed militants who are often allied with or working under the command of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) or other terrorist groups. Gabbard proposed a similar companion bill, H.R. 608, in January. Both bills seek for the U.S. government to stop aiding terrorists like Al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Middle East under black operations like the CIA spending over $1 billion a year arming Syrian rebels. And that's what is on the record, the Panama Papers revealed that the CIA was using offshore Panama accounts to fund gun running – code named Operation Goldfinger.
Reuters reported in 2012 that the FSA's command was dominated by Islamic extremists, and the New York Times had reported that same year that the majority of the weapons that Washington sent into Syria was ending up in the hands of jihadists. For two years, the U.S. government knew and continued sending in arms to "moderate rebels." Then in June of 2014, the Telegraph reported Al-Nusra merged with ISIS at the border between Iraq and Syria.
Both Paul and Gabbard would much rather have our tax dollars spent on rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and our communities than funding proxy wars, in effect repeating the same mistakes we made when we armed the Mujahideen under Operation Cyclone which was a former CIA operation to arm Jihadi fighters against the Soviets in 1979-1989 and more recently funneling arms into Libya prior to the attack on the Benghazi consulate in 2012 to destabilize the region.
"One of the unintended consequences of nation-building and open-ended intervention is American funds and weapons benefiting those who hate us," Dr. Paul said in a press release. "This legislation will strengthen our foreign policy, enhance our national security, and safeguard our resources."
"For years, the U.S. government has been supporting armed militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government. Rather than spending trillions of dollars on regime change wars in the Middle East, we should be focused on defeating terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and using our resources to invest in rebuilding our communities here at home," said Rep. Gabbard. "The fact that American taxpayer dollars are being used to strengthen the very terrorist groups we should be focused on defeating should alarm every Member of Congress and every American. We call on our colleagues and the Administration to join us in passing this legislation."
It is illegal for any private citizen to fund a terrorist organization under 18 U.S.C. §§2339A and 2339B. Isn't it time we hold our government to the same standard and stop arming terrorists?
Here's some more information about S. 532, the Stop Arming Terrorists Act from Senator Paul's press release: