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MSNBC Analyst McCaffrey: Obama Saying ISIS Was the JV and Contained Is ‘Nonsense,’ Conduct ‘Disappointing’


MSNBC Military Analyst Gen. Barry McCaffrey argued that “the president’s notion they [ISIS] were the JV, that they’re contained, that the only option is 150,000 troops back in to Iraq is nonsense” and described his conduct in that day’s press conference as “disappointing, at best” on Monday’s “MSNBC Live.”

McCaffrey said, “I thought the president’s conduct there was disappointing, at best. Number one, things have changed. A million refugees to Europe is new. Number two, Snowden’s impact on our intelligence collection has been devastating, and Silicon Valley’s unwillingness to cooperate fully with NSA is a disappointment to many of us. And then I think the notion of refugees, the fact we have not provided adequate humanitarian assistance to stabilize these populations in Jordan and Turkey, and we only see an opportunity to either bring them to Europe, and empty out Syria is a lack of clarity in thinking.”

McCaffrey added, when asked what is the right way to go after ISIS, “it seems to me you don’t make it a domestic political consideration. I thought announcing less than 50 special operations people into Syria, and having it done out of the White House press spokesman was remarkable. A lot of our air power, US Air Force and naval air power right now is so constrained by micromanagement and rules of engagement, that it’s ineffective. So, I think you have to at some point say, do we want to go after these people with muscle, special operations command, US air and naval power, CIA direct action, or not? And if you do, the White House ought to stay out of it and just announce political objectives that they want to achieve. Now, I think the final notion, Brian, is, we ought to thank God for customs and border protection, the FBI, and the CIA intelligence keeping us safe. We don’t have hundreds of thousands of angry Muslims in this country. we are getting a lot of Muslim population. Mostly, they feel they get a fair shake in this society. So, France and Europe though are in a different situation. They don’t control their borders, and dumping a million refugees into Germany in a given year strikes me as a bad policy.”

After anchor Brian Williams said, “I do take from your remarks that you feel we could do so much more militarily.” McCaffrey stated, “well, I think so, yeah. I think, at the end of the day, ISIS — we’ve been completely ineffective in this notion of finding moderate opposition inside Syria, spending hundreds of millions of dollars. The Iraqi Army took off like scalded hares, 2 1/2 divisions, leaving behind, literally billions of dollars worth of equipment. So I think to some extent, we’ve, again, tried to micromanage the situation. This is a Shia-Sunni religious war struggle going on in the Middle East. And as Richard Haas has said on NBC News before, these nation states are going to re-arrange their boundaries until they make more sense, rather than post-World War I boundaries they now are bagged up in. So, I think we got to rethink the whole process and the president’s notion they were the JV, that they’re contained, that the only option is 150,000 troops back in to Iraq is nonsense. We can do better containing, and attacking directly, ISIS, where they live, in both Iraq, and Syria, and Lebanon, and elsewhere.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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