ISIS surprised President Barack Obama, he finally admitted in a CNN interview, saying he was taken aback by the militants' rise even though he was warned about them by former President George Bush.
Obama has been derided for referring to ISIS as a “JV team” in 2014, according to Townhall, although since then it has become one of the most vicious terrorist groups in history.
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told the New Yorker at the time.
“Let me ask you if it’s possible in your position to be completely honest and say the rise of the Islamic State surprised you, it took you by surprise, it took the administration by surprise,” CNN’s Fareed Zakaria asked Obama in an interview that aired Wednesday night, according to Mediate.
“The ability of ISIL to not just mass inside of Syria, but then to initiate major land offensives that took Mosul, for example, that was not on my intelligence radar screen,” Obama responded.
In a “60 Minutes” interview in 2014, he also pointed a finger at the intelligence community for the rise in ISIS, Mediate noted.
“Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said at the time.
The Islamist militants' march across Iraq and Syria forced Obama to send U.S. forces back to the region after Americans had put “an end to the decade-long ground offensives there,” CNN noted.
The crisis in Aleppo hangs over Obama as he leaves the White House, as thousands of Syrians remain caught in the besieged city without food or medical supplies while various factions fight violently to capture it.
Obama said Syria is an issue that will haunt him, but he told Zakaria he made the best decisions he could, given the country’s circumstances.
The president said avoiding a ground conflict in Syria was “the smartest decision from a menu of bad options that were available to us.”
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.