Pentagon: White House micromanagement in Syria and Iraq is killing us

Pentagon: White House micromanagement in Syria and Iraq is killing us

As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.

Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. …

Other gripes among the top Pentagon and military brass are about the White House’s decision not to work with what’s left of the existing Syrian moderate opposition on the ground, which prevents intelligence sharing on fighting ISIS…

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel himself is among the critics of Obama’s strategy in Syria. Hagel wrote a memo last week to Rice warning that Obama’s Syria strategy was unclear about U.S. intentions with respect to Assad, undermining the plan. …

Many military officials, including at CENTCOM’s headquarters in Tampa and its air base in Qatar, from which the ISIS air campaign is run, are barred even from communicating with Syrian opposition representatives unless those rebels are on a White House/State Department approved list. Many Syrian opposition leaders complain that Free Syrian Army brigades fighting ISIS now are offering help in making the strikes against ISIS effective but are getting no response from the administration.

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