If you have $500,000,000, you can buy 60 moderate Syrian Rebels!



$500 million dollars later, the Pentagon has trained 60 "moderate" Syrian Rebels.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter caused a stir Tuesday when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the $500 million program to train and equip “moderate” Syrian rebels to take on the Islamic State had so far yielded just 60 vetted candidates.

Among the problems: stringent vetting standards, the U.S. requirement that rebels be willing to fight ISIL but not Syrian President Bashar Assad

The first problem is the basic vetting, which involves background checks, proof of identification and a pledge to obey the basic laws of war. Some volunteers have been booted from the program for simple reasons such as not meeting age requirements, one defense official told POLITICO, while others could not pass one or more layers of screening to protect the U.S. and allied troops conducting the effort.

Let's translate: in other words, even with the incomplete screening we were able to do, it was obvious that many of them were radicals who would turn their guns against us the first chance they got.

The second problem is the requirement that the Syrian volunteers must agree only to fight ISIL and not the Assad regime. U.S. officials say the “ISIL-first” strategy is essential because without a political structure in place to replace Assad if he died or left power, chaos in Syria would worsen and the state would fail, like in Libya.

What??? The state has already failed! Assad is just as bad as the Islamic State. Mass murder is mass murder.

But many Syrians who have been brutalized in the civil war bear more animus toward Assad than toward ISIL, which is one reason why the “ISIL-first” commitment has winnowed out so many people who came forward.

I think this is closer to the mark but not quite on it. I think these "rebels" not only have more animus towards Assad, I think they like the Islamic State. The reality is that there are three, and only three fighting forces in Syria: Assad and his Hizbullah and Iranian buddies, the Islamic State, and the Al-Nusra Front, which is the local Al Qaeda franchise (Over two billion severed!). There are no good guys. There are no moderates. Whenever we give guns to "moderates", it immediately ends up in the hands of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State.

We should give weapons to the Kurds and the Israelis, and otherwise stay out of it. Otherwise we are just wasting money and aiding our enemies.

(Abridged version originally published in AT)



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