On Friday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol suggested that perhaps President Barack Obama is evolving with his foreign policy on Iraq with his announcement on Thursday night that the United States would be waging a humanitarian mission against ISIS forces in northern Iraq.
Kristol cited a New Yorker interview Obama conducted with David Remnick in which he downplayed the role of non-al Qaeda split-off groups in Iraq and said this minor change in direction by Obama may signify he has “learned.”
“You can’t govern policy on where you’d like to be, or ‘Bush fought a difficult war there. So, I’m not getting involved,’” Kristol said. “I think that’s driven him over the last three, four years in a very unfortunate way. David Ignatius says to you half hour ago White House officials were struck by the military sophistication of ISIS. President Obama smugly told David Remnick back in January, remember that big interview with The New Yorker, he said, Remnick said, ‘What about al Qaeda? Is it decimated as you say? ‘Oh yeah. The terrorist groups that are left – they’re like the JV who put on Lakers uniforms. They’re not serious like al Qaeda was before 9/11.’”
“Maybe he’s learned – and you know for two months, seriously people in Washington have been saying ISIS is a serious threat. ISIS controls hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria, thousands, actually. ISIS controlled Mosul, city of 2 million people for a month. They got all the money. They looted the banks there. And they control a dam in northern Iraq. You know, one thing president — I’m for him intervening and hope he does more than he said he would do last night. It’s a strategic threat, though. It’s a mistake to say we’re going to help. I feel terrible about these Yazidis on the mountaintop. We should help them, but you can’t just say we’re going help them, we’re going to protect the Americans in Erbil. It is a strategic threat to the United States for them to control that territory.”
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