Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | George W. Bush | ISIS/Islamic State | Steve Malzberg Show | jargon | administration

Elliott Abrams: Obama ISIS Jargon Tied to 'the Bush Thing'

By    |   Friday, 12 Sep 2014 07:32 PM

The Obama administration is reluctant to call its offensive against ISIS a war because it doesn't want to be compared to the presidency of George W. Bush, which was involved in two wars, says Bush's former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams.

"It has become a kind of language game. Part of it is the Bush thing — that this administration is still rejecting the Bush administration, rejecting the war on terror, and they want to make it seem as if it's something very different," Abrams said Friday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It's not all that different because we still face a threat over there and a threat to the homeland and we've got to do something about it. So these are just word games that they're playing."

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Abrams, now a senior fellow at The Council on Foreign Relations, said understands that the White House doesn't want to promise "a quick victory" to a such a complex operation.

"We're not going to be able to totally destroy and eliminate this group any more than we've been able to totally destroy and eliminate al-Qaida," he said.

"But we have prevented them from attacking the homeland and we have made them much, much weaker, and ISIS in Syria and Iraq is going to be, in a way, easier because they've made a mistake that al-Qaida didn't make.

"They've acted like a country. They've taken a huge amount of territory, they've taken cities, they're using Humvees and personnel carriers and all. Those are good targets for us, and in a way that they may collapse more quickly than we sometimes fear."

Abrams said the Obama administration should been doing more to dismantle ISIS over the past few years because "it would have been a lot easier."

"I'm glad we're doing something. But the president didn't really explain how this is supposed to work. I mean one month ago he was saying the idea that the Syrian rebels are going to be able to fighting ISIS is a fantasy ... Now all of a sudden they're our allies," he said.

"That's OK if you say, look, you know, I was wrong, I have new information, I misjudged. But he never says that. At any given moment he's always right."

"If you ask who's going to do the actual fighting and are we going to give them the support they need, the answer looks like yeah in Iraq, maybe, [the] Iraqi army, the Kurds, the Sunnis. But what about Syria? He really didn't explain that."

Obama was reportedly told by top generals that he needs to put Special Ops and advisers on the ground in Iraq, but apparently rejected the advice.

"It's part of a pattern because he's always ignoring military advice. They told him, don’t' get out of Iraq quite so fast, don't get out of Afghanistan quite so fast. And now they're saying, look, we're going to need some boots on the ground. He just doesn't pay attention to it," Abrams said.

"Now he did say we're sending 475 more guys. And unless they're wearing carpet slippers, those are boots on the ground … It would have been a lot better off if he hadn't been so adamant in saying there will never be any combat troops.

"The message we want to send to the people we're asking to join us in this coalition, like the Arabs, is we're in this, we're going to defeat these guys, we're going to really bring them down to a very weak state … count on us, American leadership is back."

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The Obama administration is reluctant to call its offensive against ISIS a war because it doesn't want to be compared to the presidency of George W. Bush, which was involved in two wars, says Bush's former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams.
jargon, administration
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2014-32-12
Friday, 12 Sep 2014 07:32 PM
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