From the Times, helpfully buried on the Fourth of July (presumably because they didn't want to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas):
Obama’s Blueprint for Fighting Terrorism Collides With Reality in Iraq
WASHINGTON — Speaking at West Point in May, President Obama laid out a blueprint for fighting terrorism that relies less on American soldiers, like the cadets in his audience that day, and more on training troops in countries where those threats had taken root.
But this indirect approach, intended to avoid costly, bloody wars like the one the United States waged in Iraq, immediately collided with reality when a lethal jihadi insurgency swept across the same Iraqi battlefields where thousands of Americans had lost their lives.
The seizing of large parts of Iraq by Sunni militants — an offensive hastened by the collapse of the American-trained Iraqi Army — stunned the White House and has laid bare the limitations of a policy that depends on the cooperation of often balky and overmatched partners.
While the militants from ISIS have moved swiftly to establish a caliphate from eastern Syria to central Iraq, the White House is struggling to repel them with measures that administration officials concede will take months or longer to be effective.
The Times goes easy on Obama here:
Last week, Mr. Obama announced a plan to spend $500 million to train and equip rebels in Syria. But the Pentagon has only begun detailed planning for the program, and officials said it would be months, or even more than a year, before the fighters would be battle-ready.
Obama announced that Assad must go and that we would provide aid to the moderate oppositio years ago, although lethal aid has only been publicly on offer for a year. That said, training and equiping the moderates now should be easy, since the few surviving non-radicalized rebels could fit in a pickup truck.
Some administration officials are also suggesting that Iran could be a partner in a post-war Syria, helping to ensure security there during a transition period, after which Assad would negotiate his own departure.
Because if Assad throws in with the US and helps crush ISIS he will naturally expect to be rewarded with an early retirement. Wow.