For John, BLUF: Syria is a mess. Are we doing anything to make it better? Nothing to see here; just move along.
Writing in Commentary Magazine, Journalist and Historian Max Boot, questions our commitment to the Syrian Rebels, under the title "Mission Impractical".
The Washington Post today provides fresh details about the anemic CIA program to train moderate Syrian rebels. Reporter Greg Miller writes that “the CIA program is so minuscule that it is expected to produce only a few hundred trained fighters each month even after it is enlarged, a level that officials said will do little to bolster rebel forces that are being eclipsed by radical Islamists in the fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”Why is this? Max Boot attributes it to the White House. He quotes The Washington Post as saying:
The CIA’s mission, officials said, has been defined by the White House’s desire to seek a political settlement, a scenario that relies on an eventual stalemate among the warring factions rather than a clear victor. As a result, officials said, limits on the agency’s authorities enable it to provide enough support to help ensure that politically moderate, U.S.-supported militias don’t lose but not enough for them to win.Not a very "George Patton" like objective.
This is not a win for the United States. It’s actually our nightmare scenario. And President Obama’s half-hearted policy of not really supporting the moderate rebels–or only supporting them enough to perpetuate the stalemate–is helping to bring it about. Incidentally, American apathy is also enabling the war to rage on and to kill thousands more people every month. This is neither moral nor strategically smart.The underlining is mine.
So much for "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P). Now it is Responsibility to Frustrate Everyone. The idea that there are to be no winners seems pretty pernicious.
Regards — Cliff