WASHINGTON, June 25 -
Mr. Speaker, there is a civil war raging in Syria. No question about it, President Assad is a bad guy. He hates Israel and he hates his own people. The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire. I have been to Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and seen firsthand the devastation of this war. In one camp I went to, there were 150,000 Syrians in Turkey fleeing from the devastation of war.
However, there are numerous rebel groups trying to remove Assad from power. Who exactly are these rebels? We really don't know. But we do know the most powerful among them is al Nusra, an affiliate of al Qaeda. These extremists on both sides are killing each other in the name of religion, and the people of Syria are caught in the middle.
Lining up on President Assad's side are the nations of Russia and Iran; also, the terrorist group Hezbollah, of course, sponsored by Iran. Lining up on the so-called rebels' side are Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and numerous rebel groups from patriots to criminals to al Qaeda and outside mercenaries.
For 2 years, the United States has just ignored the situation; but now, suddenly, the administration has decided it's time to get involved. The administration's answer: send the rebels American guns. Send the rebels American guns? Blindly traffic American guns into Syria and, I guess, hope for the best.
Does this sound familiar, Mr. Speaker? We've tried this before. We've seen this song and dance in Libya and even in Mexico, our neighbor. This administration is gun-happy to give guns away. In Libya, the administration armed the rebel group to oust Muammar Qadhafi, another bad guy. Well, where are those guns now? Were they used in Benghazi? Who knows. The administration is still silent on Benghazi. Those guns are scattered all over the Middle East and in north Africa.
Were they used in Algeria? Remember, Mr. Speaker, in Algeria there were Americans working at an energy plant there, along with other citizens from other countries. Two Americans were killed in that attack. Were they also used in Mali? Who knows. Only time will tell. And who has died because these weapons end up in the wrong hands every time we give American guns away to rebel groups?
By providing weapons to radical sectors fighting against Assad, we're really taking sides in somebody else's war. We're also arming some radicals who seek to destroy us, like al Qaeda, who is fighting on the side of rebels. More weapons will only escalate this conflict. More people are going to die because the United States picks sides.
But Syria and Libya are not the first time this administration blindly trafficked weapons to terrorists. Let's go back to our own hemisphere. Let's talk about our neighbor, Mexico. Do you remember Operation Fast and Furious? We still haven't gotten answers on that scandal.
In an effort to help fight the drug cartels, the administration sent thousands of weapons to Mexico without even telling the Mexican Government. And who got those weapons? The drug cartels.