Today marks the eleventh month of the America’s unauthorized war against ISIS.
In case you were wondering how things were going with this little dust up in a faraway; land the answer is “not so good.”
The Obama administration's “strategy” to defeat ISIS calls for Iraqi and Syrian rebel forces on the ground supported by US fighter planes and bombers in the air. The key to victory lies in local military forces pushing back ISIS and holding ground.
Yesterday Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey appeared before the Armed Services Committee to provide a progress report on our efforts to defeat ISIS.
In what can only be described as a stunning revelation, Carter informed the committee that the United States has only trained 60 Syrian rebel fighters to combat ISIS in Syria…far short of the goal of 3,000-5,000 per year. A lack of volunteers, intense vetting process and government red tape are quoted as the reasons for the snail like progress.
In Iraq a similar situation exists. Training has been slowed by a lack of volunteers. Carter blamed the highly sectarian nature of the Iraqi state as the reason for the lack of trainees. Translation…locals are not volunteering because they do not trust their government and fear reprisals from other religious sects if they end up on the wrong side of the conflict.
This report comes on the heels of similar statements made last month when Carter informed the committee that the US had not been receiving the help in needs from the Iraqi government in enrolling Sunnis in the Iraqi security forces. Carter repeated his claim that the Iraqis showed no will to fight.
Dempsey echoed Carter’s sentiments regarding the lack of resolve on the part of the locals. Responding to calls for more US boots on the ground to stiffen the resolve of the Iraqi forces, Dempsey responded: “I would not recommend that we put US forces in harm’s way simply to stiffen the spine of local forces. If their spine is not stiffened by the threat of ISIS or their way of life; nothing is going to stiffen their spine.”
The war against ISIS has been going on for eleven months. Congress has yet to exhibit the political courage to authorize the military action. We have spent $55 million in Syria to train the Syrian rebels. We have 60 trained troops to show for it. We have spent $3 billion in borrowed funds to destroy ISIS targets only to have ISIS retake the ground due to a lack of opposition. The Iraqi forces have showed no will to fight and the Iraqi government has failed to co-operate.
Like I said…”not so good.”