Engel on Obama Speech: 'Same Strategy That Hasn't Been Working'

December 6th, 2015 9:18 PM

Maybe you're a liberal, reluctant to accept Charles Krauthammer's conclusion that President Obama's speech on terror tonight was a "complete failure." Fine. But there's no getting around Richard Engel, whom no one would accuse of conservatism. Speaking with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, the bleak assessment of NBC's chief foreign correspondent was that President Obama laid out "the same strategy that hasn't been working for last several years."

After a point-by-point takedown of Obama's weak tea, Engel concluded "the course of treatment that he laid out for this sick patient with cancer with no immediate cure does not seem like an incredibly strong prescription." Ouch.

As NewsBusters has reported Engel has described himself as "basically a pacifist." So while anything but a hawk Engel, as documented by NewsBusters, has repeatedly questioned the efficacy of President Obama's anti-terrorism policy.

BRET BAIER:  Charles, thoughts? 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER:  Woody Allen said showing up is 80% of life. In that sense, he showed up. Finally appeared to address the issue. I think that counts for something. As to the substance and tone, it's a complete failure. 

. . . 

RICHARD ENGEL: He laid out this strategy, again. And it's really the same strategy that hasn't been working for the last several years. And I picked up on the same headline you did. This is a cancer with no immediate cure, and then he sort of laid out the course of treatment for this very sick patient and he laid out a four-point plan. I wrote it down. First one was hunt down plotters in any country necessary. So, is that happening? Yes, that's happening. There are drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia. So on that point I think he's been quite strong. So fact check that part.

Number two, he said that training and equipping Iraqi and Syria and deploying special ops. That hasn't been an effective program. The training and equipping of the Iraqi army: that's where ISIS got all of its weapons in the first place. They were weapons that were given to the Iraqi army; the Iraqi army collapsed, now we're retraining it. The whole which groups in Syria are supposed to be back is a complete debacle. So that part of this cure for this cancer that is infecting the patient hasn't been working and doesn't seem incredibly hopeful.

Point three, intelligence sharing, sealing the border with Turkey. Intelligence sharing, certainly. Sealing the border with Turkey: that border is still quite open. ISIS has almost like a base of operation in Turkey. So point three, the third part of the cure, not working particularly well.

The fourth one, he said that there's discussions underway to end the Syrian conflict with cease fires and he didn't mention Assad but that's what he is talking about. And that will eventually bring Russia on board. That sounds fantastic but all of indications I have is that anything along those lines is months down the road, if we even get there. That's still very much a work in progress. So the course of treatment that he laid out for this sick patient with cancer with no immediate cure does not seem like it is an incredibly strong prescription.