Meanwhile, Bashar Assad is using what remains of his air force to drop barrel bombs on positions that the moderates still hold around Damascus and in the northwest. The U.S. could destroy and ground every Syrian plane and helicopter in less than a week, and the moderate rebels must wonder why its friends would all but paint a bull’s-eye on their backs and then do so little to help them.
Mr. Obama has ordered the Pentagon to train as many as 5,000 moderate rebels in the coming months, but at the present rate there may not be many left to train. It’s a moral disgrace and strategic blunder to offer help to Syrians, thereby making them targets of America’s enemies, but then refrain from using air power to assist them. Once the election is over, the President’s floundering Islamic State strategy should return to the Congressional agenda.