If you thought the farce of American foreign policy under the Obama administration couldn’t get any worse, you need to revise your expectations.
Earlier this month Defense Secretary Ashton Carter briefed Congress on the $500 million program to train “vetted moderate” Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State.
The United States has only trained approximately 60 Syrian rebel fighters as of July 3, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, saying the number is “much smaller” than the administration hoped to train at this point.
“I said the number 60, and I can look out at your faces and you have the same reaction I do, which is that that’s an awfully small number,” he said.
Carter’s admission highlights the increasing concern over the effectiveness of a program to train a local fighting force to combat ISIS in Syria.
As Politico noted at the time, the price tag for these 60 fighters was $4 million each with half of the $500 million appropriated for Obama’s “vetted moderate” rebel army having already been spent.
So how are our “vetted moderate” rebels faring? No one knows, because apparently they have vanished (HT: Alimhaider).
McClatchy reports today:
The dispute over aims has made it almost impossible for the U.S. and other allies to recruit young Syrians under the $500 million U.S. “train and equip” program. Hundreds of recruits reportedly walked off when they were asked to commit to fight only the Islamic State and not the Assad regime.
The first graduates of the course in Turkey, about 50 recruits, rolled into Syria two weeks ago in four wheel drive pickup trucks. But they haven’t been heard from since.
The U.S. goal was to train at least 5,000 fighters against the Islamic State this year alone.
So after two weeks Obama’s “vetted moderate” army hasn’t been heard from since.
What happened? Some folks on Twitter are exploring the possiblities:
Lest congressional Republicans get too cocky, let me remind them that they are the ones who approved the $500 million for this boondoggle.
Maybe Michelle Obama can get a new Twitter hashtag trending: #BringBackOurRebels.