The man who once wore four stars on each shoulder of his US Army uniform was also the same man who sat in the Director’s chair at the CIA. This same man saw his legacy of decades worth of public service swirl down the proverbial bowl after it was disclosed he shared classified information with his biographer and paramour, Paula Broadwell.
Yet as reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) of Paris, France via Yahoo! News, and also by the Economic Times of New Delhi, India, both on Sept. 1, 2015, despite the spectacular fall from grace for David Petraeus, somehow people in power still listen to his thoughts and opinions. Case in point would be the retired general actually advocating the United States “peel off” so-called moderate “reconcilables” from the al-Qaeda terrorist organization’s umbrella of allied Islamic jihadists to saddle up with the newly reconstituted and US trained, funded, and supplied Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The retired general’s sense of timing couldn’t be worse, or simply just callous, depending on one’s perspective. Either way, he doesn’t seem to remember that the United States is just a few days away from the anniversary of the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorist attack that resulted in nearly 3,000 innocent people were wither vaporized, burned or fell to their deaths that day.
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Citing multiple sources here, the estimated 10,750 fighters of the al-Nusra Front pledged allegiance to Usama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization during September of 2013. But Petraeus did specify that the United States should “under no circumstances try to use or co-opt Nusra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, as an organization against ISIL.”
It was then that the disgraced general suggested, “But some individual fighters, and perhaps some elements, within Nusra today have undoubtedly joined for opportunistic rather than ideological reasons: they saw Nusra as a strong horse, and they haven’t seen a credible alternative, as the moderate opposition has yet to be adequately resourced.” Petraeus failed to divulge how he intended to identify the individuals or elements within al-Nusra who may wish to hitch their wagon to the FSA.
In reference to the moderate opposition, Petraeus was undoubtedly speaking of the arguably greatest waste of American taxpayer money ever: the Free Syrian Army. The same army that couldn’t shoot straight has made headlines recently, but not exactly praising their military prowess on the field of battle.
Initially one of the many rebel militias seeking the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the FSA has long been seen as a failure that would eventually cease to exist as an effective fighting force. As multiple sources cite here, as far back as 2013 many looked upon the group as having more than just a slight chequered past. Many Middle East watchers and military-minded experts couldn’t help but wonder if the United States is backing a loser in the FSA.
As evidenced by time, the FSA indeed disintegrated, only to see Barack Obama as their savior and very generous patron. As reported by the Washington Free Beacon (WFB) earlier last month, the United States spent $500 million to totally re-build an effective army from the ashes. After a year’s worth of training and half a billion dollars, a mere 54 individuals are what make up this “army” which is in military reality, the most expensive platoon and a half in the history of organized warfare.
As the WFB noted, at least five of the FSA have recently been captured by al-Nusra. The whereabouts, disposition and fighting capabilities of the remaining 49 has yet to be released to the public.