COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - If you heard the news that the administration spent $42 million to train just a few Syrian freedom fighters to take on ISIS terrorists, you might have thought it was a joke.
But it's true - a shameful example of wasteful, ineffective spending at a time when the Obama administration also plans to cut Fort Benning soldiers by 3,400.
The Pentagon was given $500 million to train thousands of local fighters to cut into ISIS ranks in Syria. Pentagon officials had to admit to a senate panel that the training has been too slow. Only 5 soldiers are ready to battle ISIS.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, of Alabama had this reaction, "We have to acknowledge this was a total failure. ... I wish it weren't so, but that's a fact."
Training a handful of soldiers for millions of dollars each isn't going to make a dent in ISIS.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon is moving full steam ahead to cut the Fort Benning footprint, shrinking our ability to mobilize against enemies known and unknown.
The Columbus Chamber and top local business leaders have been a loud voice against the cuts and we have openly supported their efforts.
The news that the Pentagon so badly mishandled the Syrian training program, wasting many more millions than the Fort Benning cuts would save, is beyond distasteful to us. It's a slap at every taxpayer and every military family.
Did you hear that the military has asked for another $600 million on top of the original $500 million to finish the Syrian training job?
It's true...and it's another joke.
Tell your senators not one more taxpayer dime should be wasted while Fort Benning's future hangs in the balance.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906