Pentagon chief says the on-the-ground plan to defeat ISIS has been slowed by lack of recruits

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Updated June 23, 2015 12:55 PM
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Credit: Hosam Katan/Reuters/Landov

Maybe this is where Donald "I’m Really Rich" Trump comes into play when it comes to defeating ISIS.

The Pentagon confirmed Monday that the United States has begun paying Syrian moderates to fight the Islamic State militants in Iraq known as ISIS. But those 90 or so fighters, who started training by forces from a U.S.-led coalition last month, are getting only modest stipends of $250 to $400 per month, Navy Cmdr. Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, tells USA Today.

About 6,000 Syrians have volunteered for the training program, but more than 4,000 of them still need to be vetted, Smith told the national newspaper.

Last week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services he was looking for 24,000 fighters to train, but not enough able bodies were stepping up.

“Our training efforts in Iraq have thus far been slowed by a lack of trainees – we simply haven’t received enough recruits,” Carter testified to the committee.

Maybe it’s the pay?

Trump, the billionaire businessman, put fighting ISIS front-and-center in his platform when he announced his presidential candidacy June 16: “I have an absolute way of defeating ISIS, and it would be decisive and quick and it would be very beautiful. Very surgical.”

Trump has yet to elaborate.