Karl Rove: Obama's Had Three Years to Act on ISIS

Wednesday, 03 Sep 2014 02:41 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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President Barack Obama has had many opportunities to act on combating the Islamic State, even as early as three years ago, Republican political strategist Karl Rove told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday.

"The president has a lot longer time frame in which he should have acted. At a minimum, he should have been acting after ISIS exploded into northwestern Iraq in early June, and he still does not have a strategy.

"He should have had a strategy three years ago when he said [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad must go," said Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

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Obama had been "behind the eight-ball, not just last couple of weeks as ISIS has beheaded these two American journalists, but he's been behind the eight-ball for a much longer time frame," Rove said. Throughout this time, the president lacked a "coherent strategy" for the United States to act on the threat the terrorist group posed.

The United States needs to have a "robust commitment to training and aiding and helping lead the Iraqi military effort," Rove said, which means more than the 350 additional troops Obama announced Tuesday he was sending to protect the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

A robust commitment "means, perhaps, several thousand people to be trainers and planners and logistical assistants and intelligence operations, in order to target America's air power and America's military might better, and to help the Iraqis and the Kurds do a better job of being the boots on the ground," Rove said.

One explanation for Obama's reluctance to take action includes his desire not to involve the United States in another war, to which Rove said he isn't "aware of any president who's ever wanted to be a wartime president."

He said it is the duty of the president to rise to the occasion when world events dictate.

"This is a responsibility which a president must be able and willing to shoulder," Rove said. "The president doesn't seem to be up to dealing with it."

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