United States Senator Deb Fischer says the Obama Administration needs to insure Congress and the American people that it has a plan to defeat the Islamic State.
Fischer, a Republican, says despite assurances given to Congress, the administration had to know its program to train Syrian rebels wouldn’t work.
“Obviously, through some questioning of committee members, myself included, we discovered that this program is a failure. It is not working,” Fischer tells Nebraska Radio Network. “When I questioned Gen. Austin about how many rebels that we still had that were trained by the United States, who were still on the ground, I was told four or five. The committee was pretty amazed by that.”
Fischer, a member of the Armed Services Committee, says it is time for the Obama Administration to re-think its effort to fight the Islamic State.
“I’m glad the administration now has owned up to that that it is a failure and they need to try something else,” Fischer says. “Well, you know, now we have the problem of what’s next?”
Fischer has been one of the leaders on the Armed Services Committee in questioning how the administration plans to stop ISIS.
“We’re not trying to micro-manage programs, but we are trying to get information so we know what resources we need to approve so they can accomplish their missions,” according to Fischer. “We have not been able to hear a coherent plan, any kind of strategy, any kind of goals; we haven’t even heard goals on Syria.”
The “train and equip program” aimed to create an army of 5,000 to 12,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, known also as ISIS and ISIL. The “train and equip” program began with high aspirations and a $500 million budget. Fischer supported it as did Congress. Instead of thousands, it assembled only 60 troops who were routed in their first conflict, leaving at best five troops.
Fischer says Russia is fomenting unrest and instability in the Middle East to advance its own imperialistic agenda.
Fischer joined Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, in a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter last week, requesting information regarding the adjustments to this policy, which at the time was being reviewed and debated by the Pentagon.