• Obama's Syria policy crumbles

    时间:2017-12-08 01:38来源:赢在路上 作者:自考 点击:

    Obama is trying to blame others for his own shortcomings in Syria.


    President Barack Obama at the White House, September 18, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    The Obama administration's policy toward Syria and its more than four-year civil war is rapidly becoming a black mark on the president's legacy.

    And a scathing new report by Peter Baker of The New York Times details the mind-boggling decision by the White House to refuse to accept any responsibility.

    The blame for the failed US effort to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS "should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place," administration officials told Baker.

    There are only "four or five" US-trained rebels left fighting in Syria after a group of 60 were ambushed in August by the Al Qaeda branch in Syria, the Nusra Front.

    'The devil made me do it'

    Obama's argument, according to Baker, is that "he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment."

    But some people who worked in Obama's administration disagree — and they're calling him out.

    "It looks like the White House would like to blame its critics for its own operational illiteracy," Frederic Hof, a former special adviser for transition in Syria under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told Business Insider over email.

    "I don't think I've ever seen any other administration employ 'the devil made me do it' argument to excuse and explain its own shortcomings.

    "In this case a micromanaging White House saddled [the Defense Department] with something dead on arrival due to a lopsided anti-ISIL mission (one that tried to ignore Assad) and crippling vetting requirements," Hof added, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State, or ISIS.

    Ryan Crocker, a retired career diplomat who was an ambassador to Afghanistan under Obama, echoed Hof's sentiments.

    “How un-presidential that sounds — ‘We didn’t want to do it. We thought it was unsound, but you made us do it,’” Crocker told The Times. “It’s just indicative of their whole approach to Syria, which is not to have a policy. This is the worst thing they could say.”

    ISIS 2014 to 2015

    Institute for the Study of War

    The administration's new argument also flies in the face of a furious push to secure funding for the proposal last year. Obama pressed Congress to pass $500 million amid widespread suspicion from his own Democratic allies. The legislation ultimately ended up prompting more than 90 Democrats in the House and Senate to vote against the president's priority.

    When it passed through Congress, he hailed it as a the best option to help "destroy ISIL without American troops fighting another ground war in the Middle East."

    'Doctors, farmers, pharmacists'

    Obama has always been skeptical about supporting nationalist Syrian rebels attempting to topple Assad.

    Obama famously told The New York Times that the notion arming the rebels would have made a difference has “always been a fantasy" because the opposition of "former doctors, farmers, pharmacists, and so forth" was fighting "a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, [and] a battle-hardened Hezbollah."

    In 2014, Hof wrote that the recommendation to arm the moderate opposition was offered in some form by Clinton — who is now running to succeed Obama in the White House — as well as then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, then-CIA Director David Petraeus, and outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey.

    obama dempsey panetta

    President Barack Obama attends the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, right, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Washington, February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


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