Pete Hoekstra: Obama 'a Day Late and a Dollar Short' in Iraq

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 11:14 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The escalating violence in Iraq is a direct result of intelligence failures by the United States, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra said today on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum."

"The situation in Iraq is tumbling out of control," Hoekstra told host J.D. Hayworth and Newsmax Senior Editor David Patten. "Looking back, one of the things that we've picked up over the weekend is that America in the West was surprised by the ability of ISIS to move so quickly and to be so disruptive and have the kind of success in Iraq that it's having, so we're going to have to go back and do … an after action review and see how from an intelligence standpoint did we get this so wrong, and how were we caught so off-guard."

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Hoekstra and Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely appeared on the show to discuss the deteriorating situation in Iraq, which Vallely compared to Benghazi. He blamed the Obama administration for being repeatedly burned by a timid, wait-and-see approach to foreign policy.

"This administration is always behind the eight ball when it comes to doing forward thinking and strategy, they're just incapable of it, and I would hope that we will not be late to the game here," Vallely said. "When you do covert operations, you don't discuss the options, you execute them, and this administration seems incapable of executing timely operations."

Ensuring the safety of the 4,000-plus Americans currently in Iraq has to be immediately addressed, as civil war is erupting there, he said.

Hoekstra characterized as "shocking" that with the largest embassy in the world in Baghdad, the United States failed to see ISIS — the Sunni insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — coming. He said the president’s remarks on Friday that he needed time to "consider all the options" is further evidence that Obama is in over his head.

"I'm afraid we're going to be a day late and a dollar short as to what we're going to be able to do there," Hoekstra said. "He's also saying we're not going to really put any boots on the ground, or military action is going to be very, very limited. We're looking to Iran to provide the backbone to the Iraqi army and coordinate and cooperate with us. I mean, we're in a really, really weak situation. This president has given us very, very few options, and you know, I'm not sure how we're going to get out of this."

The Middle East and Europe are looking to America for leadership, something that is sorely lacking under Obama, Hoekstra said.

"They’re lacking American leadership, and they don’t know what to do," he said.

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