Krauthammer, Special Report Panel Clobber Obama Over Spread of ISIS

The Thursday panel on Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Bret Baier took on the issue of the Obama administration’s so-called policy in addressing ISIS and blasted the President for maintaining that the U.S. and its allies are not losing the fight against the Islamic extremist group despite the seizures this week of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. 

Leading the way was FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer, who asserted that “[t]he administration is sounding like Baghdad Bob during the invasion of Iraq” and that “[t]hey're losing” which “[e]verybody understands.”

Following a clip of a testy exchange between State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf and a State Department reporter, host Bret Baier began the segment by reading aloud a quote from President Obama’s interview with The Atlantic before turning to National Public Radio’s Mara Liasson and admitting to her that “there seems to be a series of bad days” that are reminiscent of 2006 during the Iraq War.

Not long after she began her answer, Liasson started poking holes in the current White House attitude on fighting ISIS in the Middle East: 

[T]he problem is that the White House, at least talking points, are there’s only two choices. What we're doing and reinvading Iraq, sending hundreds of thousands of ground troops. There's a lot in between there and the question is what, if anything, is the White House willing to do other than what it's doing right now? 

Krauthammer then joined the conversion and, as expected, held little back in slamming the administration: 

The administration is sounding like Baghdad Bob during the invasion of Iraq. They're losing. Everybody understands that. ISIS, it wasn't only that they took over in Iraq, but it took the town – the city of Palmyra in Syria which gives it control of half of Syria and later, in the day today, they took over a crucial crossing point between Syria and Iraq, essential erasing the frontier and making it easier to resupply Ramadi. 

Considering all that ISIS has been able to accomplish in the last week, Krauthammer observed that “[t]hese are huge strategy gains” and “not tactical defeats and what Obama says, well, it's because it wasn’t our – the guys who were trained by us who were in Ramadi.” 

With the simple declaration that “this is nuts,” Krauthammer picked apart the premise that the issues in fighting ISIS lie in the lack of training for the Iraqi military:

The idea is, if you're going to have success, you have to have training and you have to have will. The idea that what the Iraqis are lacking is training is ridiculous. We've been training them for 15 years. If the troops haven't gotten their heart battle, it will not succeed and that's what happened in Mosul when they ran away and that's what happened in Ramadi when they ran away. 

Later, fellow panelist and FNC contributor Judge Andrew Napolitano opined that “[t]he President coveys an image of being passive and indecisive and that leads to an image of defeat.” In addition, he made the analogy that, on ISIS, Obama is “punching with his left hand and apologizing to the galleries with his right hand for hitting too hard.”

(h/t: Daily Caller)

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on May 22 can be found below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
May 21, 2015
6:52 p.m. Easterm

BRET BAIER: The President was asked, are we losing against ISIS in Atlantic magazine. He said this, “No, I don't think we're losing...There's no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced..The training of Iraqi security forces, the fortification, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.” We're back with the panel. Mara, I tell you, there seems to be a series of bad days. We saw this in 2006 at the White House and there was a change. 

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO’s MARA LIASSON: Well, you know the President was very accurate. Not being trained fast enough. It’s not happening and the problem is that the White House, at least talking points, are there’s only two choices. What we're doing and reinvading Iraq, sending hundreds of thousands of ground troops. There's a lot in between there and the question is what, if anything, is the White House willing to do other than what it's doing right now? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Tactical Setback; Pres Obama Contends Not Losing ISIS Fight]

BAIER: Charles? 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The administration is sounding like Baghdad Bob during the invasion of Iraq. They're losing. Everybody understands that. ISIS, it wasn't only that they took over in Iraq, but it took the town – the city of Palmyra in Syria which gives it control of half of Syria and later, in the day today, they took over a crucial crossing point between Syria and Iraq, essential erasing the frontier and making it easier to resupply Ramadi. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Palmyra, Syria Falls to ISIS]

These are huge strategy gains. They are not tactical defeats and what Obama says, well, it's because it wasn’t our – the guys who were trained by us who were in Ramadi. This is nuts. The idea is, if you're going to have success, you have to have training and you have to have will. The idea that what the Iraqis are lacking is training is ridiculous. We've been training them for 15 years. If the troops haven't gotten their heart battle, it will not succeed and that's what happened in Mosul when they ran away and that's what happened in Ramadi when they ran away. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Pres Obama Strategy vs ISIS]

BAIER: You know, Judge, the Pentagon continues to have these different stories about a air strikes and how much they're doing. We know definitively now from our people over there that there have been no air strikes in Ramadi in the past 24 hours. It seems like there's this shift and people trying to figure out what's going on. 

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: I wish I knew. I wish we all knew knew what was going on and, on this, I agree with both of my colleagues. The President conveys an image of being passive and indecisive and that leads to an image of defeat. If you're going to be there, fight to win to and come home. If you don't think we can win it, then we shouldn't there be. In my view, this cannot be won without a long term commitment of ground troops for a long period of time and nation-building and the American public will not tolerate that politically and we can't afford it. However, what we're doing now accomplishes nothing. He's punching with his left hand and apologizing to the galleries with his right hand for hitting too hard.

NB Daily Foreign Policy Iraq Middle East Syria Military War on Terrorism Fox News Channel Special Report Video Government & Press President Barack Obama President Obama ISIS Mara Liasson Bret Baier Charles Krauthammer Barack Obama
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