Obama says he was ‘skeptical’ of Syria rebel boondoggle from the start
The failed $500 million program to set up a proxy army in Syria was a test, US President Barack Obama told ’60 Minutes’, adding that he had doubts about the project from the start. He also ruled out sending US troops to Syria.
“I’ve been skeptical from the get-go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria,”Obama said in the interview. “My goal has been to try to test the proposition, can we be able to train and equip a moderate opposition that’s willing to fight ISIL?”
Broadcast Sunday night, Obama’s interview with CBS correspondent Steve Kroft was recorded last Tuesday, days before the administration announced it would stop attempting to train a force of ‘moderate’ militants in Syria.
After spending hundreds of millions of dollars, Washington had only “four or five”fighters to show for the effort. Most of the equipment ended up in jihadist hands as US-trained rebels were captured or deserted without ever facing Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in battle.