The Corner

Obama Announces New Syria Policy; He May or May Not Actually Support It

When President Obama announces today that U.S. special operations forces will be working side-by-side with rebel forces against ISIS in Syria . . . I can’t help wondering if this is a policy change that Obama actually believes will work and supports, or one that he actually opposes and thinks that is doomed to failure, like he claimed with the plan to arm the Syrian rebels. To hear Obama tell it, somehow his advisers get him to attempt plans he thinks are bad ideas, just because he feels obligated to try to do something:

Steve Kroft: You have been talking about the moderate opposition in Syria. It seems very hard to identify. And you talked about the frustrations of trying to find some and train them. You got a half a billion dollars from Congress to train and equip 5,000, and at the end, according to the commander CENTCOM, you got 50 people, most of whom are dead or deserted. He said four or five left?

President Barack Obama: Steve, this is why I’ve been skeptical from the get go about the notion that we were going to effectively create this proxy army inside of Syria. 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? And what we’ve learned is that as long as Assad remains in power, it is very difficult to get those folks to focus their attention on ISIL.

Steve Kroft: If you were skeptical of the program to find and identify, train and equip moderate Syrians, why did you go through the program?

President Barack Obama: Well, because part of what we have to do here, Steve, is to try different things.

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