Is this part of their training?
Only four or five Syrian individuals trained by the United States military to confront the Islamic State remain in the fight, the head of the United States Central Command told a Senate panel on Wednesday, a bleak acknowledgment that the Defense Department’s $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters has gone nowhere.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the top American commander in the Middle East, also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon.
His comments came during a testy hearing in which a succession of senators from both parties criticized the American-led effort in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State, the Sunni militancy also known as ISIS or ISIL…
In May, the Defense Department began its training program for up to 5,400 fighters a year, in what White House officials described as a necessary component of President Obama’s strategy to use local troops on the ground against the Islamic State, combined with American air power.
…General Austin told the Senate committee that many fighters in the first class of 54 graduates of the training program for Syrians were attacked in July by an offshoot of Al Qaeda, the Nusra Front, and either fled or were killed…
He acknowledged that the program was behind schedule, and said that the military was reviewing it. Asked how many fighters were still in Syria, General Austin said that “it’s a small number.” He added, “We’re talking four or five.”…
“So we’re counting on our fingers and toes at this point when we had envisioned 5,400 by the end of the year,” Senator Claire McCaskill said.
Actually, we only need the fingers on one hand – or the toes on one foot.
$500 million for 4 or 5 fighters still in the game. Tell you what, Mr. President. I’ll need more than my social security check. Give me $100 million and I’ll go over and fight as an American civilian senior citizen.
Airfare, new military duds, snazzy firepower – I’d really like one of those $5000 sniper rifles – enough to hire a couple gangbangers to cover my butt.. I could get into action for less than $100K. I’d leave the rest of the money behind to fund education for school kids here in New Mexico. I’d fight for them.