While it is good news that Iraqi forces were able to retake the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State (ISIS), neither they nor U.S. forces should relax, Ambassador James Woolsey tells Newsmax TV.
"It's a good step," Woolsey said Monday on "Newsmax Prime." "It's a positive thing, and we shouldn't denigrate it if the Iraqi Armed Forces are now getting organized enough that they don't run at the sight of ISIS, but rather take them on and beat them."
That's a good change, "but we shouldn’t relax," Woolsey said. "ISIS is still going to come after us here in the United States, they're going after more replays of Paris and Europe. We've got a long, hard sluff ahead of us."
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Woolsey, who served as director of Central Intelligence under President Bill Clinton, said U.S. airstrikes aren’t effective because they are too few in number.
"Go back in the time of the first Gulf War, we were flying thousands of sorties a day," Woolsey told guest host Joe Pags. "And now here in Iraq and a little bit in Syria we're flying a few sorties a day and most of those don't deliver their ordnance. The air controller has to get his recommendation referred back to a committee hundreds of miles away with senior officers and maybe a lawyer or two to decide whether they can execute a strike. It really is a ridiculous way to try to win an air war."
The United States also should be concerned about the Taliban being part of the Afghan government, Woolsey said.
"We have left them a sanctuary, a thousand-mile-long sanctuary in Pakistan, and, basically, we have a very, very hard time effectively over time fighting the Taliban," he said. "We have not had good choices made in many circumstances by their prime minister, and we got a very difficult situation in Afghanistan."
In Syria, Russia is not fighting ISIS to help us, but to help itself as it props up President Basher Assad and protects it's access to ports in the Middle East, he said.
Woolsey said Israel has a right to defend itself against ISIS attacks "because it does not have a friend in the White House at least for the next year," Woolsey said, "The whole relationship with Israel has been very different in this administration than in any administration that's gone before whatever our sometimes differences and disagreements with the Israelis."
He also backed Pentagon officials
who are bucking President Barack Obama's plan to close the prison on Guantanamo Bay holding terrorists.
"You got to level about it and you may get fired, but military guys have had to face that before," Woolsey said. "The president's quite wrong in trying to close Guantanamo and we are going to be very much in a kind of treat terrorist like trout – catch and release business – if we get rid of Guantanamo."
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