After absorbing $500 million of taxpayer money, the U.S. military’s Syrian operation has only trained “four or five” Syrian personnel. The revelation of the massive anomaly has caused outrage in the Senate, especially in light of the U.S. Syrian operation requesting another $600 million to continue “terrific training.”
General Lloyd Austin, US. Central Command commander, told the Senate armed services committee on Wednesday that the number of trained Syrian anti-ISIS rebels could actually be counted on one hand. “We’re talking four or five,” General Austin told a shocked Senate armed services committee.
The training initiative kicked off in 2014 and was President Barrack Obama’s answer to taking over Syrian territory from the terror organization ISIS. According to 2014 reports, the initiative was to have trained 5,000 rebels against ISIS by now.
Christine Wormouth, Pentagon’s policy chief, conceded the initiative’s terrible performance saying, “The program is much smaller than we hoped.” She further added that the program was currently had 100 to 120 fighters who were “getting terrific training”.
Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri mocked the program, saying it was simply incredulous that the U.S. Defense Department would seek another $600 million to fund the training of fighters who could be counted “on our fingers and toes”.
McCaskill said, “It’s time for a new plan.”
Austin continued to amuse the angered Senate committee, chaired by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, saying the fight against ISIS was making progress. He said he would not recommend establishing a military to protect civilians in Syria from both dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces and ISIS.
According to Austin, “I don’t see the force available being prepared to protect them currently.” Though there was a “slow movement at the tactical level… There haven’t been any dramatic gains on either side.” The statements came just after ISIS seized the Syrian city of Palmyra and the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
McCain would have none of it. He described the administration’s strategy “a debacle” and joined in the fight for a new strategy in the Middle East.
The U.S. Defense Department has completely flopped in Syria. Not only did ISIS’ capture of Ramadi destroy Austin’s plan, internal intelligence reveals the military is facing increasing pressure to present a ‘we-are-winning’ narrative back at home. This could not be farther from the truth. Funding of the Syrian rebels training program should be halted effectively pending a clearer better strategy.