Heroic U.S. effort yields 60 Syrian fighters trained to battle Islamic State

Heroic U.S. effort yields 60 Syrian fighters trained to battle Islamic State
Credit: Muhammed Muheisen/AP

[Ed. – Maybe, just maybe, our approach is flawed if it’s such a major undertaking to vette these training candidates.]

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. …

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?

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