Do you recall how the Obama administration refused to support mainstream opponents to the Assad regime in Syria for years, until Islamist extremists came to dominate the forces fighting against the Syrian president? President Obama then decided he would counter ISIS influence in Syria with a half billion dollar training program for "moderate" Syrian opponents of Assad. Ever wonder what happened with Washington's major investment in moderate Syrian fighters? Wonder no more.
In stunning testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, a Pentagon general informed shocked senators that the $500 million investment from the coffers of American taxpayers has led, thus far, to "4 or 5" Syrian fighters being trained and actually deployed in the fight against ISIS. And the general is uncertain if the number was either four or five? The answer is fiscally important, for in a best case scenario America spent a mere one hundred million dollars per moderate freedom-fighter; worst case, the tab rises to $125 million per fighter.
The statement on the paltry results achieved from such a major investment by the Obama administration drew gasps of horror and stunned laughter from the senators. This is more than a failure of President Obama's Syria policy; it is a manifestation of total incapacity to manage and steward the funds provided to the government by the nation's taxpayers. But don't expect any resignations over this dismal "return on investment." As shocking as this episode may seem, many American citizens will not be surprised. In fact, the training program for moderate Syrian fighters can serve as a metaphor for so many fiscal aberrations that far too often are the rule rather than the exception when it comes to the fiscal probity of the federal government.
If you want an explanation for the reason why America is in such bad fiscal health--and why a majority of Americans view their government as corrupt and incompetent--here is a prime example for the ages.