Gates: US Has ‘All Along, Underestimated ISIS,’ ‘We Can Do More’

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued the US “can do more” against ISIS, and “we have, all along, underestimated ISIS” on Friday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.

Gates said, “I think we can do more. I think that we actually can do more with the resources that we already have dedicated. I think we can let our special operations forces have more leeway in Iraq. I think that we can embed advisers and trainers, not only with the Iraqi Security Forces down to the battalion level, but also with the Sunni tribes that are wanting to fight ISIS, and with the Kurds. I think we can provide more weapons to those groups. I think we can provide forward air controllers or spotters. I think we need to take another look at our intelligence, to see if we’re being aggressive enough there, and to see if some of the restrictions that have been placed on NSA in recent — in the last year or two should be reversed.”

He was also asked, “Do you think when the president first referred to ISIS as the JV league, that it set the tone, and delayed the severe response, and it’s too late now?”

He answered, “Well, I don’t know if it’s too late, but I do think that we have, all along, underestimated ISIS, both in terms of how tough it will be to root them out in Syria and Iraq, but also their ability to extend beyond that area, to Europe, and potentially, also to the United States.”

Later, Gates argued that “some of the rhetoric, coming out of Washington, is — does not signal a strong and confident country, which I believe we are. And I think we need to be more measured…in the way we talk about these things, and we also need to stop demonizing each other. And that includes people both in the Congress, and in the White House.”

Gates also stated that a database of Muslims would be “a terrible mistake” and “not who we are as a country.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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