Obama Considers Training Syrian Rebels

News Commentary — May 30, 2014

They say that those who won’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it and the U.S. could be about to learn a very nasty lesson that it should have grasped decades ago.
Obama at the US Military Academy

Obama at the US Military Academy

Before the onset of 1960s the U.S. sent military advisers to what was then French Indochina; their task being to train local forces to fight communist insurrection.
The number of advisers increased and as the 1960s progressed they were joined by U.S. combat troops, as American involvement went from simply training and arming the local troops to actually fighting what became the Vietnam War.
Now, as U.S. troops ostensibly prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan — I say “ostensibly” because Obama still wants a U.S. force of nearly 10,000 to remain — America could be about to repeat that same mistake in Syria.
For reports following his speech at the U.S. Military Academy suggest that he’s considering sending U.S. military advisers to train “Syrian opposition fighters”.
No matter that many of those fighters are not even Syrian, President Obama is reportedly seriously considering assisting them following the drubbing they’ve received recently at the hands of Syrian government forces.
Nor does it seem to bother President Obama that the forces trying to oust Assad seem to lack genuine popular support. Or that 150,000 Syrians are estimated to have died in the ongoing conflict.
The fact that many of the ‘Syrian opposition’ forces are aligned with al Qaeda-linked affiliates doesn’t seem have put him off either. In his speech at the U.S. Military Academy, President Obama emphasised that removing Syrian President Assad was now a priority.
“I will work with Congress to ramp up support for those in the Syrian opposition who offer the best alternative to terrorists and a brutal dictator,” Obama said.
The speech follows the Senate Armed Services Committee passing a bill last week authorizing the U.S. Defence Department to provide training and equipment to elements of the Syrian opposition.
Obama administration officials have been at pains to point out that opposition fighters would be carefully screened before receiving any U.S. assistance. Although they didn’t elaborate on how this would be done effectively by U.S. military instructors in a region racked by conflict thousands of miles away.
Under the planned initiative, the U.S. would send a limited number of American troops to Jordan as part of a training mission that would instruct members of the Free Syrian Army on weapons handling and tactics.
So while one U.S. led conflict is ostensibly drawing to a close, another could be about to escalate somewhere else.
One is tempted to ask: is this the much trumpeted promise of “change” that Obama pledged in his election campaign? Because if it is it’s not much of a change. There’s still the same carnage, the same innocent lives wasted and the same potential profits for arms manufacturers. The only difference is the location. It’s not Vietnam as it was nearly half-a century ago, or Iraq or Afghanistan.
Now Obama seems more firmly focused on Syria and I can’t help but wonder what Karmic payback America will reap as a result?
Having elected a succession of leaders who’ve done nothing notable but lie and wage wars the cost must surely be very high.