Charles Krauthammer told Hugh Hewitt in an interview, today, that “we have a president who is strategically clueless,” and who has “deliberately or by accident, or by incompetence, weakened the United States” bringing the country to a very weak position in the world.
Earlier in the day, CNN’s Jake Tapper had asked Obama’s deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken why the White House waited so long to do anything about ISIS. Blinken’s answer was an insult to anyone who can remember as far back as eight months ago.
Transcript via Twitchy:
Tapper: Tony, a lot of people have been warning about ISIS for months and months with no action — no serious action — by the White House. Was the intelligence not there? Why is it only now that you’re acting?
Blinken: Actually, we’ve been warning about this for a long time, ourselves, well beyond that. When, initially, in 2012, we said to the Iraqis, AQI — which is ISIS’ predecessor — may be on its heels, but the only way to keep them there is to go after them constantly, and we propose to engage with them to help them do that. The politics in Iraq wouldn’t allow that. But it took a while, and finally in 2013 — a year ago — we began to increase the capacity of the Iraqis to deal with AQI and then what became ISIS. And of course, the Syrian conflict added fuel to the fire. So we’ve been focused on this for well over a year, and unfortunately, the ISIS threat overtook the efforts that the Iraqis were making to deal with it. Now, unfortunately, everyone is seized with this, but what we’re seeing increasingly is coordination among the Iraqis and the Kurds, which is unique. We haven’t seen that in a long time. And countries in the region who’ve responded to this threat, which, it’s a threat to them as well, all getting together and looking to take action.
“We said initially AQI was on their heels,” but-but-but- we had to “go after them constantly” which makes Obama’s decision to pull out entirely instead of working out that Status of Forces agreement all the more irresponsible and inappropriate – to use a couple of the Regime’s favorite terms. But Obama was running on ending the war so —
Tapper, to his credit – didn’t buy the weak spin.
Tapper: Tony, you say you’ve been warning about it, but in January, President Obama told The New Yorker magazine’s David Remnick that ISIS — which was then still considered a part of al-Qaeda fighting in Syria — was like a JV basketball team. He said, quote, “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” Just how badly did President Obama underestimate the threat of ISIS?
Blinken: No, there are two different things going on here, Jake. One is the question of the threat that ISIS poses to us here in the homeland, and unlike core al-Qaeda, right now, their focus is not on attacking the U.S. homeland or attacking our interests here in the United States or abroad. It’s focused intently on trying to create a Caliphate in Iraq and a base from which, over time, to operate. And that’s what we’re focused on. We’re focused on making sure that we can help empower the Iraqis and others to prevent them from doing just that. The president was exactly right: They did not pose a threat like al-Qaeda central to us in the homeland. We want to make sure that they don’t get to the point where they can pose that threat.
You know the Regime’s really in trouble when they pull the “core al Qaeda” malarkey.
Here’s what ISIS/ISIL/JV – whatever you want to call it – has managed to accomplish in a fairly short time via NRO’s , Jonah Goldberg:
Now that same junior-varsity team controls more territory than any terrorist organization in history, has some 5,000 battle-hardened jihadists with Western passports, hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal, and is earning millions more every day by selling oil on the black market. It is slaughtering Shiites, Christians and other “infidels” with a medieval abandon that makes the alleged A-team of al-Qaeda blanch with horror. At this moment, it has cornered tens of thousands of Yazidi villagers on a mountaintop. ISIS presents them with a choice: Convert to Islam at gunpoint or die of thirst.
They have also taken control of Iraq’s largest dam which could be used as a weapon of mass destruction against a half million Iraqis.
We are asked to believe – for no other reason than to spare Obama some embarrassment – that this newly empowered Islamic caliphate that is promising to plant their black flag at the White House – is no threat at all to the homeland.
HH: Now let me ask you about boots on the ground, Charles Krauthammer, because the Kurds have an enormous facility structure that we built for them. I have an associate producer who served in Kurdistan with the Marines not too long ago. We could put boots on the ground there that would effectively deter ISIS if we put even a few Marines in. But the Kurds are not, they are like, in many respects, the Israelis. They are not part of this al Qaeda world. They’ll get slaughtered if ISIS moves on them. Are we obliged morally to come to their aid if this advance on the 650 mile front continues?
CK: I don’t think it’s come to that. I don’t think it has to come to that. I don’t think it should have come to that. I mean, let me count the ways. Forget about the withdrawal in 2011, which I mean, all of us knew was going to eventuate in something like this kind of collapse. I wrote a column, it’s in my book, that’s called Who Lost Iraq. It was written December, 2011. It was clear what was going to happen. But let’s not even talk about it. Let’s just talk about the last month. What in God’s name have we been doing refusing, refusing to send in the weaponry – bullets…
CK: …to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military, who are strong and brave and battle-hardened and loyal. They don’t throw off their uniforms and run away. But they were outmanned, outgunned by ISIS with, of course, U.S. equipment that they took from Mosul. And they’re running out of bullets. They literally, this what I read in, I think the word was used by the Times, they begged Washington to send them ammunition, and Obama refused on the grounds that it would undermine Iraqi sovereignty. I mean, what in God’s name is he thinking about?
Hewitt played the audio from Tapper’s interview with Tony Blinken.
HH: Charles Krauthammer, the President was exactly right, unlike core al Qaeda, the focus not on attacking the U.S? Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said I’ll see you in New York. I don’t know how he can escape the consequences of being this badly off of his assessment of ISIS?
CK: I think today or yesterday, that same barbarian said that we will raise the flag of Islam over the White House. First of all, they don’t have to organize planes and pilots. They are now headquarters, world headquarters, training headquarters, for hundreds of Westerners who will flow in and out, go back to their countries, including the United States, and they’re going to blow themselves up in some terrible place and kill a lot of people. So the idea that for terrorism you have to plan a full aircraft attack is, you know, as usual with this White House, not even near to a correct analysis. So A) they can seed us with terrorists anytime they want in vast numbers, or they are developing that as we speak. This is the worst training area, in other words, the most threatening, a lot worse than Afghanistan. It’s right in the heart of the Middle East, and it’s got tons of Westerners. So that’s number one. It is a current threat, even as it is right now as a training area. And second, this idea that somehow all they’re doing is taking over the bloody Middle East, and that’s not a real threat to us, is insane. It’s got the world’s oil, It would threaten and intimidate all our allies in the region. And it will become the base even from where they are now if they don’t expand for, I mean, a terribly strong military machine with unlimited funds in the heart of the Middle East, geographically located near everything. And that’s a huge threat to the Western economy, to Western Europe…
HH: Sure it is.
CK: …and all of the Middle East to the United States. What are these guys thinking?
HH: I don’t know. I’ve got one minute left. I’m going to talk to a leftist after the break, Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. I’ll ask her. But my question to you. There are a half dozen guys who could change public opinion in America. Four of them are named Petraeus, Mattis, John Allen, and Stanley McChrystal. Literally, 45 seconds, do you expect any of them to stand up and say what needs to be done right now, which is to stop ISIS?
CK: No. I think there’s a sense that the military does not involve itself in politics, even though these guys are officially out of the military. I think there is that kind of respect for the political system, which in some ways is a glory of the U.S. But right now, we could use it. No, I think the problem is that the President is the problem. It’s not advice, not public opinion. It is that we have a president who is strategically clueless, and who has deliberately or by accident, or by incompetence, weakened the United States. I don’t know. You pick which of those is true. And we are in a very weak position.
HH: We are indeed. 40 years after Nixon resigned, we’re back to a low point in American power projection around the world. Charles Krauthammer, we’ll be watching you on Special Report tonight. Thank you.
It’s impossible to be this incompetent, frankly. This is obviously deliberate. The only puzzle is how he still can still have so many enablers.
Linked by Doug Ross, thanks