One fact I do know: The CIA began the U.S. mission in the Syrian Civil War years before ISIS came into being, and a full year before President Obama began talking up his red lines and proposing a congressional vote to authorize intervention in Syria.
Another fact, I do know: We were told that we were arming “moderate rebels,” but these moderate rebels fought side by side with Al Nusra. And Al Nusra fighters were often known to be using weapons brought in by the CIA or the Department of Defense to fight this war in which we weren’t intervening. We also funded a group called Nour al-Din al-Zenki, until its members showed up on YouTube beheading a child, at which point the “moderate” label no longer quite fit.
Congress, looking at the polls, refused to authorize U.S. military intervention in Syria, which was already ongoing. So did the intervention stop? No, it continued under the 2001 AUMF that authorized the president to make war on al-Qaeda. We were now using the legal authority to hunt and destroy al-Qaeda to fund and arm al-Qaeda’s allies on the ground in Syria.