There are times when I wish things were simply not so. Days when I wish I could awaken and find out that the past six or so years were just a really bad dream– wishful thinking. I am truly tired of the Obama administration’s lying to the American people and dismissing us as ignorant. Just recently President Obama deployed 450 more American military trainers/advisors to Iraq bringing the total number to 3,450. Amazingly there are only 2,580 Iraqi troops to be trained — 1780 Shiites and 800 Kurds. And now a new revelation that will shock you even further — or perhaps we are beyond being shocked anymore. We have become “comfortably numb.”
As reported by Military Times,Fewer than 100 Syrian rebels are being trained by the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State group, a tiny total for a sputtering program with a stated goal of producing 5,400 fighters a year. The training effort is moving so slowly that critics question whether it can produce enough capable fighters quickly enough to make a difference. Military officials said last week that they still hope for 3,000 by year’s end. Privately, they acknowledge the trend is moving in the wrong direction.
On June 26, 2014, the White House said it was asking Congress for $500 million for a three-year train-and-equip program. It only got started in May, however. That program, together with a more advanced but also troubled parallel effort to rebuild the Iraqi army, is central to the U.S.-led effort to create ground forces capable of fighting IS without involving U.S. ground combat troops.’
So this was the vaunted strategy of President Obama, and sadly I’ve heard from other sources that the actual numbers of “Syrian rebels” being trained is closer to…TEN.
Well, it would seem the competition is a little tough out there in Syria. After all, you have ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, and Hezbollah — not to mention the troops in the Syrian Army. I presume that leaves very few for U.S. training. Why is it that we’re not hearing about training and equipping the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Jordanian Army?
There were plenty of senior military officers who chimed in that this plan about training a Syrian rebel force was a pipe dream — and it has come to fruition. And to think that last year this time President Obama asked for 500 million taxpayer dollars, and a year later we have a whopping ten or so. Now, silly me, why not just send our own force allied with Kurds, Jordanians, and Egyptians and crush Islamic jihadists? With just a smidgen of leadership, that could have been accomplished last year. And please, a mighty coalition of 60 nations? I’m not from Missouri but, “show me.”
The Military Times writes, “The main problem thus far has been finding enough Syrian recruits untainted by extremist affiliations or disqualified by physical or other flaws. Of approximately 6,000 volunteers, about 1,500 have passed muster and await movement to training camps in other countries. Citing security concerns, the Pentagon will not say exactly how many are in training.
Officials said that as of Friday, the number was under 100 and that none has completed the program. “We have set the bar very high on vetting,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, the Central Command special operations commander who is heading the program, wants volunteers with more than a will to fight. “We are trying to recruit and identify people who … can be counted on … to fight, to have the right mindset and ideology,” and at the same time be willing to make combating IS their first priority, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services Committee on June 17.”
This is the problem with “outsourcing” the national security strategy of the United States. We went down that road in Libya and saw the results of arming Islamic jihadists — four Americans were abandoned and killed as a clear testimony to the tragic folly of that approach.
The sad reality is that President Obama is not trusted in the Middle East and is not taking a leadership role. If anything, he is more than willing to obfuscate and abdicate to anyone else as part of a stalling tactic to wait this out for the next eighteen months. In the meantime, ISIS grows stronger and more emboldened into a global Islamic jihadist movement, and trust me, they have their cells in America awaiting the green light. The attacks of this past weekend from France to Tunisia to Kuwait are just the tip of the powder keg.
The fact that another individual in New Jersey was arrested for supporting ISIS must alarm us sooner or later to this clear and present danger. This is not something that can be delayed, as the Iranians are doing with the negotiations. There has to be an action taken, and the incessant rhetoric and deceit has to end.
The Obama administration is playing with the lives of the American people, even the greater world. ISIS represents the Nazism of our time and we learned once before what happens when the world excuses away — actually cowers away from evil.
Many Syrian rebel volunteers prefer to use their training to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, the original target of their revolution. While IS has been a brutal occupant of much of their country, the rebels see the extremists as fighting a parallel war. Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, doubts the viability of the training program. “It is simply difficult to acquire the number of Syrian rebels willing to participate in the training under current parameters,” she said. Abdul-Jabbar Abu Thabet, commander of Aleppo Swords Battalion, a moderate faction that is fighting both Assad’s forces and IS, said he believes the Americans are more interested in recruiting Syrian army defectors than moderate rebels. He said he would no longer give Americans the names of training candidates from his group, after having done so once and not receiving a U.S. response. “The Americans are saying they want to train rebels to fight against Daesh only,” he said by telephone from northern Syria, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. “The fighting should be against Daesh, the (Assad) regime and everyone who is against the revolution.”
Red lines, declarations, and talk mean little to bloodthirsty Islamic jihadists. Rumors of U.S. military support to Hezbollah — who supports the Assad regime — do not bode well to encourage confidence and trust in the Obama administration.
As stated, I wish this were all just a bad dream but it’s not. All of this is really happening. Again, you cannot conduct national security strategy based on campaign promises and ideological intransigence. The enemy has a vote.