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Hillary Clinton was expressing what has become Washington's new conventional wisdom when she implied, in her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, "moderates" might have prevented the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). In fact, America has provided massive and sustained aid to the moderates in the region.Over the last decade, the U.S. helped organize Iraq's "moderates" – the Shiite-dominated government – gave them tens of billions of dollars in aid and supplied and trained their army. But, it turned out, the moderates weren't that moderate and as they turned authoritarian and sectarian, Sunni opposition movements grew and jihadist opposition groups such as ISIS gained tacit or active support. For decades now, American foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support "moderates". Perhaps the biggest stretch of all is the idea that the moderates could win in Syria. It is one thing to believe that moderates can organize well, make their case, and get to the polls.
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