Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Jimmy Carter | criticizes | Obama | ISIS

Carter Criticizes Obama for Failing to Intervene Earlier on ISIS

Image: Carter Criticizes Obama for Failing to Intervene Earlier on ISIS
(Adam Hunger/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 09:06 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter blamed the rapid rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) on President Barack Obama, saying he didn't act soon enough to stop the militant organization from gaining strength.

"[W]e waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability, and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria," the 39th president told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Then when [ISIL] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn't object to their being there, and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned."

Carter said he believed there was a chance that the airstrikes could succeed if troops were on the ground to bolster the effort.

"If we keep on working in Iraq and have some ground troops to follow up when we do our bombing, there is a possibility of success," he said.

"You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target," he added. "Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes."

Carter also criticized Obama for changing his position on the Middle East numerous times, something which former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta have also said.

"It changes from time to time," Carter told the Star-Telegram. "I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president."

In the wide-ranging interview, Carter voiced his opposition to the administration's killing of four U.S. citizens in drone strikes in the Middle East. Anwar al-Awlaki, for example, a terrorist informant linked to the 9/11 attacks, was one who in 2011 was killed by the U.S. government in Yemen.

"I really object to the killing of people, particularly Americans overseas who haven't been brought to justice and put on trial," Carter said, adding that the killings violate "our constitutional and human rights."

Last month, Carter changed his own longstanding position toward pacifism in the Middle East to advocate for attacking ISIS, saying during a speech, "I'm really concerned about them, you know. Is the bombing of ISIS justified? I say yes."

Meanwhile, Leon Panetta has given a series of interviews since the release of his book, "Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace," earlier this week in which he criticized Obama for pulling troops out of Iraq and failing to arm Syrian rebels to prevent the rise of ISIS.

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Former President Jimmy Carter blamed the rapid rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) on President Barack Obama, saying he didn't act soon enough to stop the militant organization from gaining strength.
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2014-06-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 09:06 AM
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