Hagel, Dempsey Offer Few Details, No Guarantees
The one thing that was clear was that the war is going to be long, and both Dempsey and Hagel conceded that the current plans were unlikely to defeat ISIS in Syria. Hagel insisted that the current plans to train 5,000 Syrian rebels to fight ISIS would not be nearly enough to defeat ISIS.
In that regard, Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) was unusually the voice of reason, saying that the belief that the rebels would fight ISIS was a “fundamental misunderstanding” of their nature, and that their focus was on the Syrian government. The US-backed rebels have been allying with ISIS off and on, and recently signed a non-aggression pact.
Both of them tried to assure the Senate, though the news was decidedly not reassuring, that the strategy continues to be a work in progress and that regular adjustments would be made.