Hunter to President: Arming Syrian opposition to fight ISIL a mistake

Washington DC — U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, urged immediate and effective action to “crush” ISIL in Iraq and Syria but reiterated the difficulties and complications with arming the Syrian opposition. Hunter was one of several veterans currently serving in the House to vote against an amendment—recently considered during debate on a government funding measure—to empower the President to screen and arm Syrian fighters.

“The biggest mistake the U.S. can make in the fight against ISIL is to arm the Syrian opposition,” said Representative Hunter, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “We must not only stop the advance of radical fighters in Iraq. We must crush ISIL outright. There are ways to do exactly that, but arming Islamic radicals to fight other radicals is not an effective strategy to decimate ISIL. There are no assurances that tactics and equipment won’t fall into the wrong hands, and there are certainly no assurances that those who are on the receiving end of American armament won’t one day face our own military—and use those same weapons against U.S. troops. The Administration will need to exercise great caution and care in its strategy to arm other radicals. They may have confidence that it will work. I am not as optimistic. Our success against ISIL will come from the air and the ground—with American and coalition assets working in unison. And I have no doubt our military men and women will get the job done.”

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