Done and done: we’ve managed to train 60 Syrian fighters to battle ISIS

posted at 12:41 pm on July 7, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

Ash Carter took the stage at an Armed Services Committee hearing on the hill today and came forward with a rather stunning admission. One of the key elements of our “leading from behind” effort in Syria was to keep US boots off that ground and to train some of the locals to fight for their own home turf. A few months into the effort and with plenty of resources to spare, we’ve managed to train up sixty guys.

The United States was only training about 60 Syrian opposition fighters to battle Islamic State as of July 3, far below expectations, partly due to rigorous U.S. vetting of recruits, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday.

“We are looking for ways to streamline our train and equip program’s vetting process to get more recruits into the training pipeline,” Carter told a Senate hearing in prepared remarks.

To be fair, Bill Nelson (a member of the committee) was quick to get on the air with a rebuttal which actually makes sense. He says that they have “fully vetted” sixty fighters and got them into the training program, but there are seven thousand more fighters going through the vetting process. That really doesn’t sound shocking to me at all. We’re talking about a scorpion’s nest over there and figuring out who is who and where their loyalties lie is no walk in the park. If anything, we could be hurting our efforts if we wind up training and arming a bunch of guys who turn out to have just been waiting around for the next bus to leave for the ISIS recruiting center. And for the most part we’re not talking about people who are showing up with passports, full sets of documentation, resumes and job references here. Frankly, I’m not sure how they are managing the vetting at all at this point.

But the revelations do seem to underscore some of the questions which arose around John McCain’s previous plans about using home grown forces to fight either ISIS or Assad. He has long been pushing to arm the rebels and at least do something rather than sitting on our hands. (From one year ago)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pressed for increasing aid to moderate rebel groups after meeting Syrian opposition leaders in Turkey Wednesday, warning that delays would “fuel the growing danger” to U.S. security.

McCain said pro-Western Syrian forces were fighting a “two-front war” against both Syrian strongman Bashar Assad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a Sunni militant group that has captured huge swaths of both countries.

“Further reluctance to support moderate Syrian opposition forces in fighting more effectively against both Assad and ISIS will only fuel the growing danger that the current threats in Syria and Iraq now pose to the United States and our national interests,” warned McCain.

McCain said he met with representatives from the main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, as well as the interim government, activists and commanders from the Free Syria Army.

I still think it’s good in theory, but the execution is beyond tricky. We have far too many “friends” over in that part of the world who turn out to have a knife waiting to stick in our backs as soon as we turn around. To do a proper job, this sort of vetting is required, but the actual process of doing so is daunting. The exit question is… how did the administration not anticipate this before pushing all of our chips in on this plan? Shouldn’t this have been predictable? And how much time actually remains on the clock if they think they can finish training and arming seven thousand more fighters at this rate? We could be in there for a decade, assuming Syria even lasts that long.


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Comments

Armed with better ideas, no doubt!

redshirt on July 7, 2015 at 12:44 PM

And it only cost us billions!

Woot!

WhirledPeas on July 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

And how many have we trained in the past to fight for ISIS? A whole lot more.

VorDaj on July 7, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Just need a better ideology.

And hashtags.

Gotta have a solid plethora of hashtags.

That’ll do the trick.

[Seriously…until there are thousands of ISIS fighters/thugs smoldering in the streets across the region, blown to smoking bits, ISIS will prevail.]

coldwarrior on July 7, 2015 at 12:47 PM

Or one week’s beheading.

Oil Can on July 7, 2015 at 12:49 PM

At least it fared better than all those “shovel-ready” jobs that were filled.

JetBoy on July 7, 2015 at 12:49 PM

OT:

The South Carolina Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a bill removing the Confederate flag from a pole in front of the Statehouse, sending the proposal to the House, where it faces a less certain future.

I just can’t thank Nikki Haley enough for affirming the left’s narratives that Southerners are racists by complying with the demands of SJW in getting rid of the Rebel flag flying over a Confederate monument.

This will do so much to improve race relations in America. ////

lineholder on July 7, 2015 at 12:50 PM

It’s rather like the LAPD choosing to arrest more Bloods than Crips.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2015 at 12:51 PM

Reminds me of that scene from the movie Aliens with
Sigourney Weaver….the Sergeant informs the force he is
collecting all their ammo due to the threat of the Reactors
being hit. They look at each other and one says,
“So what are we supposed to use on them, Harsh Language?”

Why yes you are! Better ideas…no this isn’t Ford Motor
Company…..

ToddPA on July 7, 2015 at 12:54 PM

It’s a good thing that lying to infidels is prohibited in that part of the world. And that throwing down your weapons and running or defecting to the other side is a social faux pas.

The important question is when will we be sending these guys millions of dollars worth of our best vehicles, weapons and ordnance?

Our government is run by Islamist sympathizers and fools.

ROCnPhilly on July 7, 2015 at 12:58 PM

He has long been pushing to arm the rebels…

I still think it’s good in theory, but the execution is beyond tricky.

Do you actually believe that the US isn’t or wasn’t involved in funneling weapons to the Syrian rebels…or do you expect others to believe that?

sharrukin on July 7, 2015 at 1:04 PM

…his insanely long list of accomplishments…

everdiso on June 30, 2015 at 4:34 PM

he is better than we deserve

nonpartisan on June 27, 2015 at 10:24 AM

GrumpyOldFart on July 7, 2015 at 1:09 PM

The program, which launched in May in Jordan and Turkey, was designed to train as many as 5,400 fighters a year…

Missed it by that much…

rcpjr on July 7, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Arm the damn Kurds…

Get this thing over with.

coldwarrior on July 7, 2015 at 1:11 PM

So we’ve managed to train all of the moderates then?

agmartin on July 7, 2015 at 1:12 PM

With this Administration, it’s not about results – it’s all about driving the appearance of doing something…

…while enabling the side they are really rooting for in order to ‘fix past wrongs’.

Athos on July 7, 2015 at 1:13 PM

lineholder on July 7, 2015 at 12:50 PM

They’re also honoring Rev. Pinckney by hanging his portrait in the Senate (which I actually think is really nice).

But, when DogEater eulogized the good reverend, he called him ‘Pick-ney‘ lolz. He couldn’t even manage to say his BFF’s name correctly.

WhirledPeas on July 7, 2015 at 1:22 PM

Great! Sure! Go ahead and let ISIS know they don’t need a bigger amphitheater for holding their executions.

Dusty on July 7, 2015 at 1:27 PM

Arm the Peshmerga and YPG directly. I don’t care what Iran or Turkey think about it.

Idiot Democrats voted down arming the South Kurdistan Peshmerga a couple weeks ago. I don’t see how that’s controversial at all – unless our Regime is more worried about how the Iranian Regime feels about it than they are in defeating ISIS. The Peshmerga just defeated another large ISIS attack on Kirkuk, BTW.

forest on July 7, 2015 at 1:28 PM

Just need a better ideology.

And hashtags.

Gotta have a solid plethora of hashtags.

That’ll do the trick.

[coldwarrior on July 7, 2015 at 12:47 PM]

Which reminds me, Drudge has a link up to a CDC official ranting on Obama’s amateurishness (among other things) re immigration policy.

Legacy!

Dusty on July 7, 2015 at 1:33 PM

He says that they have “fully vetted” sixty fighters and got them into the training program, but there are seven thousand more fighters going through the vetting process.

So help me with the math here…

They’re actually admitting that only 0.8%… LESS THAN 1% of Muslims are moderate enough to not to turn on the US and qualify for weapons and training?!?!?!

HELLLL-OOOOO… anyone paying attention?!?!?!

dominigan on July 7, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Barry and Company’s Muslim Brotherhood and Caliphate thing hit a major block when it came to Assad and Syria. That’s why they had to invent ISIS. “Al-Qaeda” is barely even mentioned anymore. That’s because the old creation of Al-Qaeda was ineffective so they refashioned it as ISIS (or as Fearless Leader always says, “ISIL”).

Not only was Assad able to hold out, but he also has Russia’s backing. That’s hard to overcome.

This whole thing has been a scam playing upon Americans’ patriotism, support for Israel and fears of terrorism from the get-go.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that George W took out Saddam as the first part of what would eventually be called the “Arab Spring”. If so, then this obviously goes way back before BHO. Who’s behind all this? Hmmmm.

It seems the progression dealt with the most powerful secular states in order of military strength, at least in the Levant…first Iraq, then Syria. I can only imagine that Jordan was to be next. But, they got stuck on Syria.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 7, 2015 at 1:48 PM

One would assume that these sixty people have verified Twitter accounts. #arminglocalcelebrities #AssadisaMeany #pleasestopfightingokayguys

BKeyser on July 7, 2015 at 1:54 PM

Arm the damn Kurds…

Get this thing over with.

coldwarrior on July 7, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Lol, you act like Kurds aren’t also involved with things like honor killings.

V-rod on July 7, 2015 at 2:08 PM

FDA is in charge of the security and the training program.

goatweed on July 7, 2015 at 2:24 PM

So, how many of the seven thousand currently going through the vetting process will actually be approved for training? Another fifty?
Meanwhile, the success of ISIS is luring thousands of fighters to the battlefield, none of whom ISIS needs to vet.
This certainly seems like another of Obamas brilliant ideas, which is totally unrealistic and doomed to failure. By the time, if ever, there are enough “moderates” trained to supply any even small degree of oppositio, the entire ME will have fallen into the clutches of ISIS.
It is a real shame that the nation which is the leader of the free world has an idiot for it’s president.

bobthm3 on July 7, 2015 at 2:52 PM

It’s a good thing that lying to infidels is prohibited in that part of the world. And that throwing down your weapons and running or defecting to the other side is a social faux pas.

The important question is when will we be sending these guys millions of dollars worth of our best vehicles, weapons and ordnance?

Our government is run by Islamist sympathizers and fools.

ROCnPhilly on July 7, 2015 at 12:58 PM

Indeed.

AesopFan on July 7, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Yeah but NATO trained and equipped ISIS to fight everybody else, so…

Akzed on July 7, 2015 at 3:03 PM

Hey, if it’s the right 60, it might work. Haven’t you seen Seven Samurai? 47 Ronin? The Magnificent Seven? The Dirty Dozen?

C’mon, your DYING to see The 60 Syrians. Amiright?

Kraken on July 7, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Their trainer, Sargent B Bergdahl was quoted saying that these 60 recruits “had great ideas”
/jk

virgo on July 8, 2015 at 2:50 AM

Now that we have trained them do we treat them like Barney Fife and not give them any ammo to fight with?.

MSGTAS on July 8, 2015 at 11:11 AM