By Bill Maher
What's not to like about the al Nusra Front? They're among the Syrian rebels' most well-trained, well-armed, and well-organized opposition groups. They're so strong and well-positioned that other opposition factions feel they can't afford to alienate them. And this month they literally came out and pledged allegiance to al Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
There are headlines about other rebel groups "slamming" al-Nusra over their pledge, but in fact most aren't, and the ones that are seem to be adopting the "Shh! Not in front of the infidels!" approach.
From al-Nusra's sharpest critics, the Syrian Islamic Front:
"We protect the principles of Islam like the Islamic state, fighting in the name of God and his prophet Mohammed, Islamic law. But all reference to certain names that create a strong reaction around the world against the Syrian people must be avoided. You do not need to say that you belong to this name... when you know that this will hurt the Syrian people and help the tyrant."
Oh yeah, that sounds like a rousing denouncement of all al Qaeda stands for.
Nobody watching this should be surprised. Unless your name is John McCain, who said last year, "It's time to act. It's time to give the Syrian opposition the weapons in order to defend themselves." Or if you're Joe Lieberman, who concurred: "This will not get better until the rest of the world at least gives the arms to the Syrian freedom fighters with which they can defend themselves and their families."
Or if you're McCain and Lindsey Graham, who last month offered a joint statement saying that if the Syrians had indeed used chemical weapons, the response "should include the provision of arms to vetted Syrian opposition groups, targeted strikes against Assad's aircraft and SCUD missile batteries... and the establishment of safe zones inside Syria to protect civilians and opposition groups."
Come on guys, this time they'll love us. We just know they will! Let's roll!