How Bad Is Our Syria Strategy? ‘Abject Failure,’ Says Pentagon
Nearly one year later, progress remains elusive.
Last September, Barack Obama praised Congress for approving his plan to kill two birds with one stone. “I’m pleased that Congress … have now voted to support a key element of our strategy: our plan to train and equip the opposition in Syria so they can help push back these terrorists,” he said. We were assured the strategy would provide Syrian rebels with enough clout to liberate the country without the involvement of the U.S. military. “These Syrian opposition forces are fighting both the brutality of ISIL terrorists and the tyranny of the Assad regime. … With this new effort, we’ll provide training and equipment to help [the New Syrian Force] grow stronger and take on ISIL terrorists inside Syria. … [W]e can join with allies and partners to destroy ISIL without American troops fighting another ground war in the Middle East.”
Nearly one year later, progress remains elusive. CBS News reported this week that “there’s no doubt the Pentagon’s first attempt to insert fighters into Syria met with what one official called ‘abject failure.’” The U.S.-trained Syrian rebels, which consist of just 54 fighters, were attacked by terrorists associated with the Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-linked fringe group. Seven were kidnapped, five killed and 18 injured. In other words, this wasn’t even the Islamic State’s doing, and already more than half the force is depleted. As for the others? Good luck finding them. When your assets are literally running away, you know you’re leading from behind. The Daily Signal suggests, “[T]he best way to address the threat ISIS poses is by ramping up air strikes, embedding more Special Operations Forces with Iraqi and Kurdish troops and using special forces in direct-action missions when needed.” It’s not too late to reverse this failed strategy. But will Obama listen?
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