In her newly published interview with hawkish Jeffrey Goldberg, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was sharply critical of President Obama’s “failure” in Syria, saying that if he had only sent dramatically more weapons to the so-called “moderates” in the Syrian rebellion, ISIS would never have grown so large.
Clinton insisted that if the US had “carefully” vetted, trained, and armed the Free Syrian Army from day one, it would’ve become a “credible” opposition force, and that the lack of US intervention in force in the early days of the Syrian Civil War created a “big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”
President Obama more or less directly answered the question in his own newly published interview with the also-hawkish Thomas Friedman, an interview done after Hillary’s, in which he insisted that the notion of creating a “moderate” Syrian army by throwing weapons at “what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth” was a “fantasy.”
Though Obama’s comments are an answer for why the US didn’t more dramatically escalate its arming of rebels, it leaves open the question of why Obama has continued to throw hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons at the Syrian rebels when, by his own admission, he knew it was never going to work.
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