Tags: Emerging Threats | Exclusive Interviews | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Middle East | MidPoint | Syria | War on Terrorism

John Fund to Obama: Don't Blame CIA, Advisers for ISIS

By    |   Monday, 29 Sep 2014 03:26 PM

After months of refusing to acknowledge direct warnings about the threat posed by the Islamic State, President Barack Obama now appears to recognize that military force must be used against an enemy that is unlike any the United States has faced before, columnist John Fund told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"He's now alert and he is reacting with firmness the way that he thinks he should," Fund told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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But the president is still "late to the game and playing catch-up ball," said Fund, national affairs columnist for National Review Online and senior editor at the American Spectator.

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on CBS on Sunday, the president blamed the Central Intelligence Agency for failing to spot the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, before its lightning rampage across Syria and Iraq.

Fund said that, in fact, "the president was properly briefed," on the terrorist army incubating in the midst of Syria's civil war and on the importance of arming moderate rebels in the conflict.

"He was properly informed about the danger of ISIS; he just chose not to act and chose not to understand what the full consequences of that meant," said Fund. "He had lots of military advice from last year, in the fall, when everybody said you should support the Syrian rebels . . . he was the only person around the conference table who said no, but his vote was the only one that counted."

As the warnings and intelligence on ISIS piled up in early 2014, "the president was not someone who could blame his advisers," said Fund.

Fund said the president didn't act on sound intelligence and unanimous advice because they contradicted his plan to extract the U.S. from the Middle East after a decade of fighting.

"He wanted to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan," said Fund. "He didn't want to hear any news that would indicate that he might have to go back in . . .These were inconvenient facts.

But U.S. inaction in Syria left the world as a whole more vulnerable to bad actors, according to Fund.

"Any time you have the United States appear in a position of weakness, it encourages adversaries to test us," he said. "And if they test us and we don't respond, they test us some more, and then finally when we wake up it's too late."

"That really goes to the heart of presidential leadership," said Fund. "If a president is tough enough that adversaries know he's going to respond, they're less likely to test us."

Fund disagreed with critics who have said the president is just trying to run out the clock on his term and hand off the Middle East to his successor.

"I think the president would like to solve the problem," said Fund. "He recognizes there is a problem now even though he is late to the game. But there's not much time."

"President Obama may operate in an impeccable manner between now and then, but the damage has been done and ISIS is now earning, what, $9 million a day through oil sales, blackmail and various other activities so that it can finance its own operation," said Fund.

"We've never seen a terrorist group like that — that has the income-stream equivalent to that of a nation-state."

Fund also questioned "the presumption . . . that boots on the ground would solve matters," arguing that an influx of U.S. troops could make matters worse.

"We saw some of that in Afghanistan and Iraq at times during the last 12 years, so I don't want to prescribe exactly what the president's behavior should be" regarding ground forces, he said.

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After months of refusing to acknowledge direct warnings about the threat posed by the Islamic State, President Barack Obama now appears to recognize that military force must be used against an enemy that is unlike any the United States has faced before, columnist John Fund told Newsmax TV on Monday.
John Fund, CIA, force, rebels
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2014-26-29
Monday, 29 Sep 2014 03:26 PM
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