A previous report said: “The main problem thus far has been finding enough Syrian recruits untainted by extremist affiliations or disqualified by physical or other flaws.” And so currently there are only 60 men receiving this training. No one, however, is willing to examine the larger implications of this. The Pentagon is pouring money into this program anyway, and will continue to do so.
WASHINGTON: The United States was only training about 60 Syrian opposition fighters to battle Islamic State as of July 3, far below expectations, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress Tuesday, citing rigorous U.S. vetting of recruits.
The program, which launched in May in Jordan and Turkey, was designed to train as many as 5,400 fighters a year and seen as a test of President Barack Obama’s strategy of engaging local partners to combat extremists.
Carter’s acknowledgement of the low number of recruits will give ammunition to critics who say Obama’s strategy is too limited to have any influence on Syria’s brutal civil war….
Some Syrian rebel leaders say the force the United States is training risks sowing divisions and cannot succeed without directly targeting Syrian government forces, who are currently off-limits for U.S. offensive operations.
But fighting Assad will only strengthen the Islamic State, not weaken it.
The top Democrat on the committee, Senator Jack Reed, said ISIS “remains the dominant force in western Syria.”
“Absent a moderate opposition that is willing to and capable of taking territory from ISIS and holding it, any change in the status quo is unlikely,” he said, using an acronym for the group.
Obama was briefed by his top military commanders at the Pentagon Monday. He said at a news conference later that “we will do more to train and equip the moderate opposition in Syria” but did not offer details.
Carter told Congress the number of recruits would increase as the United States learned how to better streamline vetting.
“We are also refining our curriculum, expanding our outreach to the moderate opposition, and incorporating lessons learned from the first training class,” Carter said….
Expanded outreach, yes, that will fix everything.