Congress questions training project

Several weeks ago, members of Congress were wise to ask about progress in a half-billion-dollar project to train Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State terrorists. They learned the initiative was a dismal, expensive failure. Fewer than half a dozen of the trainees were in the field in Syria, a general told lawmakers.

Soon after that, the plug was pulled on that project.

This week, as part of a multifaceted defense bill, Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request to provide $715 million to help Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State.

Yes, the same Iraqi forces who, in running from IS troops earlier this year, abandoned millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. equipment.

Clearly, fighting the Islamic State effectively should be a priority. But simply handing money to the Iraqi army may not accomplish that.

Lawmakers should monitor the assistance program, insisting on evidence of results. If they cannot be provided, that initiative, too, ought to be scrapped – and the money diverted to something more realistic.