This is the least shocking thing ever, because as had been reported all along, including by this site, the actual brigades on the ground are Islamist and the FSAs Islamists cooperate with Al Nusra Islamists.
The recent high profile Elizabeth OBagy article, quoted by Senator McCain, claiming that the FSA is moderate, is a collection of crazy distortions of these basic facts.
There is no secular force on the ground. Even FP absurdly discusses moderate Salafists.
Back to Andrew McCarthy... and his article dissenting from the NRO editorial board
4 pages long, I excerpt McCarthy's conclusion
Since there is no American interest in seeing factions dominated by al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood prevail over Assad and his backers, the editors have to invent one. Thus, with an unintentionally amusing admonition against any unrealistic expectation for what we can achieve in Syria, the editors call for strengthening elements of the Syrian opposition we can trust. And who are those elements? The editors dont say after all, to describe them accurately would be to admit that they do not exist in anything approaching the numbers capable of overcoming the Islamic supremacists on opposing sides of the civil war.
The editors apparently believe this void can be filled by what Ive called the Vacuum fantasy. This narrative, popular among neoconservatives and Beltway Republicans, holds that our problems in the Middle East stem not from the regions Islamic supremacist culture but from the vacuum supposedly created by what the editors call Obamas policy of passivity. It is this policy, we are to believe, that has caused the Syrian opposition to become more radical. Apparently, if the administration had been more engaged, the Muslim Brotherhood would have melted away although, given that Obamas idea of engagement is to promote the Muslim Brotherhood, its not altogether clear how this would have worked.
In reality, the Assad regimes most powerful opponents like Mubaraks, like Qaddafis have always been Islamic supremacists. They were kept in check by the ruthlessness of the dictators, particularly Assad the elder, who slaughtered thousands of Islamic supremacists in the 1982 Hama massacre. What has changed in recent years is that the American-supported policy of replacing dictators with Potemkin democracy i.e., popular elections sans commitment to minority rights and democratic culture has empowered the opposition. It turns out that Islamic supremacists are, if anything, more anti-democratic than the dictators, and just as brutal when they get their hands on power. The American policy in question is not one Obama came up with, even if his unabashed embrace of Islamic supremacists has made things worse.
Do we promote free elections and guarantee a Muslim Brotherhood regime i.e., do Morsi Act II in Syria? Do we keep pretending, à la John McCain, that jihadists are moderates we can work with, that their Allahu Akbar!-raving aggression is no different from the religious devotion of average American Christians? Or do we prop up a pro-American Mubarak-type dictator who could never win a free election and try not to notice how he goes about taming Islamic supremacists? Whatever the plan is, where is the unified international coalition supporting it going to come from? And with no one able to articulate how getting sucked into Syria advances American national security, where is the American political support going to come from?
As for the editors parting shot, conservative non-interventionists are not foolish enough to believe we can be done with the world. We just insist on dealing with the world as it actually is in the Middle East, it is more like Benghazi than Shangri-La. We want our liabilities limited by our reality, not our dreams. There are many ways for the United States to remain engaged and pursue its limited interests in Syria without military intervention and without empowering our enemies. That may sound simple, but better that than delusional.
Moderate muslims? These morons have not learned a thing in the last 20 years + years.
In Syria, this is considered a moderate position.