Okay, now you’re thinking this Nealen guy has gone completely over the edge. “What the hell do Ewoks have to do with anything?” Bear with me.

John McCain agitating to get the US involved in Syria is old news, it is emblematic of a trend I have noticed in American thought for quite a while now and it is a dangerous trend. It is a form of naiveté that has already come back to bite us more than once. The trend is in believing that the underdogs in any conflict are by default the good guys. It’s an attitude that goes back to the Cold War , Vietnam,  and it is foolishly simplistic.

In an earlier conversation about the subject, given the general ignorance and short-sightedness we see with a lot of politicians, I blamed George Lucas. “Well, the rebels and the Ewoks were the good guys in Star Wars, so the rebels in Syria must be the good guys!” I honestly think that a lot of the thought processes that go on in some people’s heads (people who are in such a position that they should know better) is not much more advanced than that.

The attitude actually goes back to the “peace” movement in Vietnam, which painted the Vietcong as heroic rebels and reformers, fighting against the corrupt government of the Republic of Vietnam and the behemoth of the US war machine. The fact that the VC were communist hardliners, supported by (or in many cases from) North Vietnam, the Chinese and the Soviets, with a history of torture and mass-murder of the villagers they were “liberating”, got conveniently left out of the narrative. People act like Al Qaeda beheading people is somehow a new barbarity. The VC were doing it to Vietnamese villagers long before Al Qaeda existed. They were wiring LZs with IEDs long before Hamas started doing it in Israel.

Now we find people that are in a position to send American treasure, weapons and potentially even troops to support the Syrian rebels and they are falling into the same trap. There are no secular rebels in Syria. Even the Free Syrian Army, which appears to be falling by the wayside compared to the Al Nusra Front and Ahrar al Sham, is still Islamist. They might be more “moderate” than the Al Nusra hardliners, but they are not secular democracy-loving Westerners. The fact that Bashir al Assad is a tyrant does not make his “underdog” opposition by default the good guys.

I am convinced that there is a compulsion in the human mind to break things down as simply as possible. Unfortunately, in today’s environment, with vast amounts of information available on the internet (that most people never read), this compulsion has mated with an erroneous belief in knowing everything, due to the massive amount of data available. They therefore think they understand a conflict that they evidently haven’t the slightest clue about.

Real life is not Star Wars. There are not always good guys and bad guys, and when there are, they aren’t always readily identifiable. Attempting to commit the US to a conflict based on an erroneous assumption isn’t just naive, it’s criminal. Our public servants need to do a lot more research before they open their suck. When a former Marine Sergeant can dig up how wrong they are, without the intel resources they have available to them, something’s wrong.