According to the New York Times, last year (2014) the Nusra Front, an Islamic Syrian faction affiliated with Al Qaeda, "smashed the main groups that had been trained and equipped" by an American program run by the CIA. This year, an American backed and trained group called Division 30 was attacked by the Nusra Front. Remarkably, this year's attack was not anticipated:
- In Washington, several current and former senior administration officials acknowledged that the attack and the abductions by the Nusra Front took American officials by surprise and amounted to a significant intelligence failure.
- While American military trainers had gone to great lengths to protect the initial group of trainees from attacks by Islamic State or Syrian Army forces, they did not anticipate an assault from the Nusra Front. In fact, officials said on Friday, they expected the Nusra Front to welcome Division 30 as an ally in its fight against the Islamic State.
- - Anne Barnard and Eric Schmitt, Rivals of ISIS Attack U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group, NYT, July 31, 2015
Despite spending about $70 billion per year on "intelligence," the American government seems to lack the minimal intelligence needed to anticipate that an anti-American group that attacked an American-affiliated military group last year might attack another American-affiliated military group this year.
Meanwhile, Republicans continue their attempt to do away with the U.S. Export-Import Bank, an effort described by North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp as "mind-bogglingly idiotic" (quoted by Joe Nocera in Revenge of the Ideologues); and Nicholas Kristof observes that the Republican attempt to end the Title X family planning program is "moronic":
- To appreciate the dumbing down of American politics, consider this: Conservative Republicans, indignant about abortion, are trying to destroy a government program that helps prevent 345,000 abortions a year.
- - Our Sex-Crazed Congress, NYT, August 1, 2015