The correct policy for American engagement in Syria is to root for injuries between the warring parties. Neither side is our friend. Neither side wishes to be our friend. When Middle Eastern tyrants are willing to pay us to take out the Assad regime and the rebels are butchering Syrians as badly as Assad — possibly with chemical weapons according to the United Nations — we should be staying out of it.
We should be hoping both sides incapacitate each other.
But Americans must now become mindful of the Baader-Meinhof Phenonmenon.
The phenomenon describes when one encounters something obscure, like a previously unknown or little considered word, then encounters it repeatedly in the ensuing days.
There's a word we are already beginning to hear. Having only noticed it in passing in the last week's talking points, it has become a steady drip, drip, dripping from the Obama administration and John McCain — "moderate". You will now hear it constantly in conversations about the Syrian rebels.
Press reports and intelligence confirm the Syrian rebels are brutal, allied to Al Qaeda, slaughtering Christians, and bent on imposing a fundamentalist regime in Syria. The supposed moderates are in the minority and, should Assad fall, will themselves fall to more savage zealots driven not by a desire to throw off a dictator, but by a more driving desire to impose themselves as dictators.
It turns out the woman briefing John Kerry and John McCain is in the employ of the Syrian rebels. She is a spin artist for them. She has Kerry, McCain, and the rest describing the rebels as moderates.
Like in a political campaign, they seek to define their side and the other side before that other side can do the defining. The rebels, through their lobbyists in Washington, are trying to sell Congress and us on their moderation.
They are not moderate. They are not our friends. They would glady kill us if we were not now useful to them. We should be rooting for injuries in Syria, not rooting for the rebels.