Barack Obama, lauded for his allegedly spellbinding eloquence, sure makes a lot of verbal miscues: “57 states,” “my Muslim faith,” etc. If he were a conservative Republican, he would have long since been banished to the Dan Quayle Rest Home for Tongue-Tied Politicians.
Now he adds yet another to his Biden-worthy list: in his Pentagon address on the Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL, as the president insists on calling the group) Obama boasted:
With the additional steps I ordered last month, we’re speeding up training of ISIL forces.
In a clumsy attempt to repair Obama’s slip, the transcript at White House.gov added the word “Iraqi” in brackets after “ISIL,” rendering the statement incoherent. And that was that, except for the lingering impression that Obama’s words had left. This particular presidential slip, judging by his policies, was more Freudian than most.
Because Obama was correct: his policies have resulted in the strengthening of ISIL forces by supplying them with much-needed weaponry.
We have given weapons to groups that the Pentagon has designated as “moderate,” groups such as the Free Syrian Army — which has collaborated with the Islamic State. The Obama administration’s avid yet fruitless search for “moderates” to fight the Islamic State resulted in the U.S. training and arming a great many jihadis now fighting for ISIS.
Last September, Obama said:
We have a Free Syrian Army and a moderate opposition that we have steadily been working with that we have vetted.
The New York Times explained that fighting the Islamic State was the particular goal Obama envisioned for these “moderates”:
Mr. Obama said he envisioned the Free Syrian Army’s providing the ground presence needed to confront ISIS in Syria.
Yet even at that time, the FSA was neither moderate nor a foe of the Islamic State.
Bassel Idriss, a Free Syrian Army commander, said in early September:
We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun.
Perhaps aware his group is supposed to be full of “vetted moderates” who are ready to fight the Islamic State, not work with it, he added:
We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice.
This included the Islamic State, the primary enemy they were supposed to be fighting.
The evidence that our “vetted moderates” were actually aligned with the group the U.S. vetted them to oppose dates back even further. Jordan Schachtel reported at Breitbart in July 2014:
[S]everal factions within the Syrian opposition force known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have pledged services to the Islamic State, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Sources and eyewitnesses said that the FSA has handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers.
Where did the Free Syrian Army get those weapons it turned over — in large numbers — to the Islamic State? From the United States, of course.
Where the Islamic State wasn’t given American materiel, it seized it. The Islamic State’s conquests include millions of dollars’ worth of American munitions and fighting equipment taken from the Iraqi Army.
When it conquered Mosul, the Islamic State is reported to have taken twenty-three hundred Humvees. At the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, in May 2015, the Pentagon admitted that Iraqi troops abandoned the following to the Islamic State:
[A] half-dozen tanks, a similar number of artillery pieces, a larger number of armoured personnel carriers and about 100 wheeled vehicles like Humvees.
Video of a Ramadi police station from an Islamic State jihadi showed:
… box after box of American mortar shells and bullets that appeared shiny and new. Several Humvees, apparently not long out of the packing crates, sat abandoned nearby. “This is how we get our weapons … The Iraqi officials beg the Americans for weapons, and then they leave them here for us.”
The collaboration between the FSA and the Islamic State continues. Patrick Poole notes in the PJ Tatler that a July 8 report from Al-Masdar al-Arabi makes clear that the “moderates” are in league with the “extremists”:
Reports from the resort-city of Al-Zabadani have confirmed that the Western-backed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is currently fighting alongside two terrorist groups, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
Meanwhile, the U.S. is training only sixty fighters — sixty, not sixty thousand — in the extravagantly funded effort to aid indigenous warriors in destroying the Islamic State. The Associated Press reported in late June:
[T]he main problem thus far has been finding enough Syrian recruits untainted by extremist affiliations or disqualified by physical or other flaws.
Given its track record with the Free Syrian Army, even when the Obama administration finds Syrians they deem to be “untainted by extremist affiliations,” they often have “extremist affiliations” that the vetting experts missed. And so we go on aiding the Islamic State, and the Freudian Obama was right: we will soon be speeding up that aid.
It would save everyone a great deal of time and trouble if Obama simply declared the Islamic State itself to be “moderate” and began aiding it directly. After all that has happened in his disastrous administration, would that surprise anyone?