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Home The Road to Damascus

The Road to Damascus

In 2007, the new Democratic Majority Leader defied President Bush by sitting down to meet with a member of the Axis of Evil.

"We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Pelosi told reporters after her talks with Assad.

Now the road to Damascus is the road to war. And Pelosi and Obama are racing down it along with everyone else.

Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour are nowhere to be found striding insouciantly through the desert or hoofing it alongside a camel. This road movie has an entirely different cast of characters.

It's a race against time. And a race for blood.

Forget the Grand Prix or the Daytona 500, the real race right now is the race to Damascus. The racers include Syrian rebels in pickup trucks with mounted machine guns and homemade tanks, toting weapons and equipment supplied and paid for by Qatar and Turkey, and more covertly by the British and French intelligence services. Racing along with them are carloads of international diplomats urging their governments to give the militias more money and more weapons.

Everyone is on the road to Damascus in this amazing race. Christian refugees from Aleppo and Alawites packing in behind the tanks of the Syrian army, Iraqi militias that used to plant IEDs in front of American Humvees who have found new work blowing up churches and taking over Syrian bases.

There are international activists from around the world, reporters or citizen-journalists embedded with the rebels, Russian advisers embedded with Syrian units, Qatari trainers turning children into child soldiers with the rebels and Turkish officers trying to get the entire rabble moving in the right direction toward Damascus.

There are photographers with liberal arts degrees and two-thousand dollar cameras and Flickr accounts working as stringers for some wire service while keeping a Chomsky in their backpack and there are UK Jihadists who converted to Islam after a childhood sipping the weak tea of the Church of England and can't wait to text their Imam and find out which women they can rape in wartime.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah's militias out of Lebanon are shooting at Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood militias from across the Middle East and even Europe in one of those unique displays of family entertainment that you wish would go on forever, but that won't, because despite the Hasish-fed bravado, supplemented with meth from Iran's top laboratories, the whole shooting match only as long as it takes the side with the weakest bladders to run away, and then both sides brag about their great victory on YouTube and Facebook.

Imagine the Crips and the Bloods, armed to the teeth by every country from Mexico to China, fighting over the ruins of California cities, and you get some idea of the glorious Syrian civil war being fought by the Brave Syrian People, most of whom at this point are about as Syrian as the Palestinians are from Palestine, in a conflict that will determine once and for all who will be ethnically cleansing whom next year.

The Syrian rebels are Sunni. The Syrian regime is Alawite, which is close enough to Shiite for government work. This isn't some heroic battle between the people and the dictator; it's a religious war. 

America, as befits the nation that Obama described as one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, is in the Sunni axis, ensconced somewhere between the fattest child-molesting members of the Saudi and Qatari royals, the Turkish Islamists, and the Eurocrats looking to score arms deals and win over their domestic Sunni Muslims populations who have the unfortunate habit of blowing things up.

On the road to Damascus, the politicians and pundits tell us that we cannot simply sit things out. Someone is bound to remove Assad and we had better be in good with whoever does.

The UK, which dragged Obama into Libya the way an elderly lady drags a poodle into a pub, is frantically urging us to stop just looking the other way while Qatar and Turkey arm the Syrian rebels, and to get into the rebel-arming business ourselves. Considering how well that worked out in Libya, not to mention a certain obscure part of the world, known as Afghanistan that we never heard from again, we should probably hurry and start arming the Syrian rebels right now.

The sooner we give them weapons, the less likely they are to use them against us. Or so the reasoning of the people who brought you September 11 and September 11 II: The Mohammed Video Diaries goes. And with a track record like that, how could they possibly be wrong?

If we give the right Syrian rebels the weapons, then they will win, instead of the wrong Syrian rebels. But if we don't, then the wrong Syrian rebels will win, and even the right Syrian rebels will hate us and turn wrong, and before you know it they'll be shooting at us with the weapons we didn't give them.

Telling apart the right Syrian rebels from the wrong Syrian rebels is tricky. The Free Syrian Army, once hailed as a moderate secular organization, has more Al Qaeda in it than the dirt in Tora Bora. The new opposition set up by Obama and Qatar consists of the Muslim Brotherhood and people with fake mustaches pretending not to be the Muslim Brotherhood.

No serious thinkers seriously think that not siding with either side is an option. When confronted with Muslim terrorists, they begin searching for moderates in the rubbish bin, and with a working definition of a moderate that includes anyone less extreme than the most extreme of the extreme, they never have a problem finding moderates. And they keep finding moderate Syrian rebels who will be our friends tomorrow for a few RPGs today.

Today we have to support the Muslim Brotherhood for fear that Al Qaeda will take over. Tomorrow we will have to support Al Qaeda for fear that Al-Takfir Wa Al-Hijra will take over. And then we'll have to support the Takfiris for fear that Itbach Al-Kul Ulum will take over. And the day after our leaders will have no choice but to nuke the entire planet for fear that an asteroid will hit it instead. The radiation will be bad, they tell us, but at least nuclear weapons are moderate. Asteroids are extreme. And no one, except skateboarders, wants to be extreme.

It's Black Friday in Syria and just sitting at home, watching the game, sipping a beer and wondering who's going to score in the third quarter, the black flag Salafis, the Muslim Brotherhood militias, Hezbollah or a race of demons erupting unexpectedly from the earth to devour all participants, never occurs to the bright boys and girls down in D.C. No, they're dragging us into line at five in the AM in the hopes of scoring a friendly Syria for only 40 billion dollars and maybe only twenty-thousand dead Christians.

The rebels are making their gains, or so the New York Times claims, while Pravda claims that the Syrian government is beating back the rebels. It's hard to know whose pravda to believe when all we have to choose from are propaganda outlets that parrot the talking points of governments. In a Pravda world, you don't read the news to find out what's going, you read the news to find out what the government thinks about what is going and then you try to derive from that what is truly taking place.

In this Plato's Cave version of the news, all that we know is that everyone is racing to Damascus, and that everyone is winning and everyone is losing and everyone is dying at the same time. And we're rushing right along with them, hoping that our guys, who are slightly less murderous than their guys, will defeat them, despite the murderousness gap, with the help of our weapons, our planes and maybe a few of our guys, wearing sneakers and long beards, coordinating operations on the ground.

If the Muslim Brotherhood can't non-violently seize power in Syria through a violent civil war, there is a risk that they will turn to violence again. And that means they'll start trying to violently take over countries without going through the formality of fighting a civil war to take them over first.

Every leader of Al Qaeda was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but since the Muslim Brotherhood, like the New Left, is willing to non-violently take us over through front groups, rather than flying planes into buildings, they're our idea of the good guys, even if they have the same objectives as Al Qaeda, just a different way of getting there. But you could probably say the same thing about the people who were running the USSR in 1933 and the people who are running the United States and the European Union in 2013.

Obama isn't satisfied with wrecking just Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. Russia isn't satisfied with financing 50 years of war in the region even though it's on the verge of bankruptcy. President Hollande of France isn't satisfied with being on the verge of bankruptcy and only wrecking Libya.

And like Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour, they're all on the road to Damascus. Or the road to hell.

And so on we go, all together, rebels and diplomats, throat-slashers and powdered-hair personalities, embedded into a conflict, racing to Damascus, eager to raise the flag, report on the historic moment, negotiate deals and deliver speeches. Obama probably already has his written and it will probably be the same exact speech he delivered when Mubarak fell and Gaddafi got sodomized to death. There will be moving sentiments about hope and change, peace and freedom, the choice of the people and the transition to democracy.

This road picture has the usual participants. The Western diplomats who fall in love with the region, its culture and its people. The Western politicians still dreaming that the region is just one more revolution away from stability. But the lead is the fourth son of some upper middle class family who grew his scraggly beard long and now dreams of dying as a martyr for the Caliphate surrounded by white doves and whiter virgins.

There's the Qatari weapons trainer teaching 13-year-olds how to plant IEDs and the Russian colonel, underpaid and hating the locals more than ever, trying to get the ragtag Alawite militias to fight. There's the embedded citizen journalist with fourteen differently colored keffiyahs in his luggage blogging his experiences on Tumblr and the gang of local thugs who alternate between taking potshots at Syrian army positions on behalf of the Free Syrian Army and its Qatari and Turkish paymasters and kidnapping some of the wealthier Christians for ransom, which pays even better.

There are Sunni and Shiite militia members from neighboring Lebanon and Syria. There are Salafi Pakistanis fresh from Waziristan and Libyans looking for a good brawl. There are Scud missiles and chemical weapons and broken buildings, torn corpses and roads full of refugees fleeing for their lives. There are tanks and jets and fleets. There are armies and militias, truckloads of weapons and bodies, fire behind them and death ahead of them. And they're all hurrying, running and racing to Damascus.

Where the real killing will begin.


  1. Anonymous3/9/13

    Thank you,thank you.
    I've been saying for months this was a religious war and few people agreed.

  2. typo: 'It's Black Friday in Syria and just sitting..." should be "It's Black Friday in Syria and we're just sitting..."

  3. more of a run on sentence that buries a clause

  4. Anonymous3/9/13

    Not a type, that's a fully proper (and very long) sentence as is!

  5. Anonymous3/9/13


    Can you believe how stupid McCain is.


  6. My wife mentioned that she hoped no Republican would vote for Obama's resolution on Syria and Obama's Shot Across Assad's Bow until the Democrats had voted in favor of that resolution, passing it in the Senate and majority of Democrats in the House. Then McConnell and Boehner could release their GOP Hounds to vote for Obama's demand for his "small" war.

    Personally, Obama's dithering is like that of those dithering European Leaders in August, 1939, with a strong likely similar result of leading up to a world at war.

  7. Naresh Krishnamoorti4/9/13

    I cannot verify this information, because it only appears on suspect sites, but it seems that a U.S. intervention may trigger a worldwide war:

  8. ericcs4/9/13

    Daniel, right on the mark as usual. Meanwhile, I get some enjoyment watching Al Jazeera's dissembling and disingenuous coverage of this whole fiasco. They unsubtly support the non-Assad factions (as well as the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt). Then in mind-numbing fashion, they go further with mini editorials that attempt to lay the usual guilt trip on the West to provide more aid to all the refugees somehow engendered by deliberately unnamed, unknown, and seemingly unknowable forces. The feckless Arab League can't do it, no way; they call on the West for solutions, as if Arab/Moslem countries simply have never had any type of influence whatsoever.

    What a remarkable farce. What I conclude is that the Moslems really know how to play the Western globo-socialists like a violin. The whole situation is ultimately a laugh riot, enough to keep the rest of us little people entertained and in danger for the rest of our miserable lives.

  9. Anonymous4/9/13

    Israel is the only country that matters in the Middle East. Their dictators are the best they can do. They are violence addicted. Therefore, let them have at it.

  10. Anonymous4/9/13

    Very good and sadly rather funny. Here in GB I know the ordinary Englishman knows it is a hopeless mess and that is why Cameron, who would love to bomb everything , has had to back off.
    Sometimes in an old democracy public opinion can work.
    Dave S

  11. Room Monitor4/9/13

    'Israel is the only country that matters in the Middle East'
    Millions of worthless souls in the middle east thank you for your deep caring humanity.

  12. Great article. You have explained, better than any psychologist, the extent of the latent psychotic groups and crazy people rushing to destroy the entire world. Makes one long for the days of the Beirut factions where no one fought if they didn't get paid on the right day or they could switch sides at a whim for a steady paycheck. This mess will lead to WW3.

  13. A forceful Guernicaesque painting of the Syrian purgatory and hell in words.

  14. Shlomo ben Shmuel4/9/13

    "a race of demons erupting unexpectedly from the earth to devour all participants". A wonderful description of the muslims and their great enabler obama. There do seem to be some "moderate" muslims, but they don't seem to be the killers, unless they are incited by their "leaders". I don't really like to use such language in reference to any people, but in response to the attempts of the muslims to take over everything, I have become radicalized.

  15. Columba4/9/13

    A brilliant rendition of the nightmarish scenario. You've captured what someone once called "the horrid laughter" to describe the grotesquerie and violence of Jacobean tragedy: murder, torture, rape, crazed killers, and crooked politicians, all the characters gleefully destroying each other with an accompaniment of crazy laughter. The mind keeps crying out, "stop, stop," but the nightmare goes on ... and all one can do is mock it or surrender to it.

  16. Anonymous4/9/13

    They promised us smart diplomacy and instead they gave us a Moslem equivalent of Its A Mad Mad Mad World.

  17. So in 2016 when the GOP retakes the White House, will we be treated to a bunch of Democrats like John Kerry who were "for the war before they were against the war"???

  18. Were we ever for fighting wars so the Muslim Brotherhood can take over countries?

    The same GOP senators who are for it now are likely to be for it then

  19. Mike4/9/13

    Room monitor, they are worthless souls for all practical purposes, and prove themselves such by their inhuman barbarism. In addition, their bloodlust serves a spiritual objective, making them doubly damned. Have you no standards of decency yourself?

  20. DenisO4/9/13

    Why can't the war hawks in Congress and the Administration define our vital strategic interests in Syria, all of a sudden? Syria is a defacto Iran where the people also hate the Government.
    A strategic interest could be removing the Mullahs in Tehran. That would make sense, AND Obama would have plenty of allies.
    I wonder if the Repub leadership thinks they are setting-up Obama for a fall. Crazy; he is setting them up as responsible for whatever happens or doesn't.

  21. Anonymous4/9/13

    Muslims killing muslims. Why intervene?

  22. Anonymous4/9/13

    So....how about something important? Ginger, or Mary Ann?

  23. Anonymous4/9/13

    Can anyone seriously deny that Coke and Pepsi are the same damn thing?


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