Mika Brzezinski probes Obama: Wasn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be ‘decimated?’

posted at 10:41 am on June 23, 2014 by Noah Rothman

President Barack Obama took some tough questions from a betrayed Mika Brzezinski in an interview broadcast Monday morning.

The president began by defending his decision to withdraw entirely from Iraq – a move he said was not his decision but Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s as recently as Friday. “Unless we are prepared to stay indefinitely in all these various countries, something that we can’t afford and would involve over time accusations that we were occupying these countries, at some stage they’re going to have to take responsibility for working together,” the president said.

The president arguing fiscal responsibility in this case is dubious considering that America’s financial restraints only seem to enter into his calculation when they are associated with issues of national security. Nevertheless, as expensive as a permanent force in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been, it is also a strategic necessity and should have been perused as an imperative. America maintains residual post-war forces in South Korea, Japan, Germany, and the Balkans – forces which were also accused of being armies of occupation. For past commanders-in-chief, that charge never seemed to carry much weight.

The MSNBC host then asked the president why virtually all of the promises and pronouncements he made regarding his administration’s success in prosecuting the war on terror and eliminating the threat posed by al-Qaeda and insurgent forces in Iraq are proving to be wrong.

“You said that the war was ended in Iraq,” she said. “You said al-Qaeda was decimated. You said it was stable.”

“It was,” Obama replied. “But just because something is stable two years ago or four years ago doesn’t mean that it’s stable right now.”

Finally, Brzezinski asked the obvious question. Given what you know now about the crisis in Iraq, she probed, should you have moved faster to contain the Syrian civil war? To this, an inquiry which has been asked countless times by figures both hostile and friendly to the Obama White House, the president reverted to his comfort zone: attacking straw men.

“If what you’re suggesting is that there was a simple solution in Syria that would have avoided the civil war and chaos there,” Obama replied (she wasn’t), “that’s just not true.”

It is a wonder that Brzezinski did not bristle with offense after having had her question avoided and words put in her mouth, but she apparently found this response credible.

Finally, Obama insisted that his administration cannot play “whack-a-mole” when it comes to terrorist threats to the United States. This is simply preposterous. Not only has the administration been doing just that for the past five years – it is the very essence of his approach to the war on terror – but it is the foundation of the preemptive strike doctrine which both Bush and Obama have pursued. What the president means is that it is too politically toxic to whack this mole in particular.

This incoherent interview on the subject of Iraq is disconcerting. It revealed that the president continues to view this national security threat as a political conundrum.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The second is that his contempt for American power – a basic class signifier in the circles in which he’s moved all his life – is so deeply ingrained that he doesn’t care what replaces it.

Oh, he cares. In every instance he’s arranged things so as to give the broadest possible opening to the worst actors available to take it.

Missy on June 23, 2014 at 5:16 PM

The Middle East is on fire with radical Islam on the rise.

Is it out of bounds to observe that this is happening under Barrack Hussein Obama’s watch?

shinty on June 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

“To this… the president reverted to his comfort zone: attacking straw men.”

Suggesting that expense or angry accusations from people whose personal or political schemes have been thwarted is just as much a strawman, particularly when so many of those accusations domestically are shrieked from his base. Everything the government does is expensive, and as Noah says, the only time he balks at spending are in matters of security.

She should have asked him which option he was hoping for, a Sunni crescent or a Shi’ite crescent. And if he based his release of the Taliban Five on the same budgetary priorities.

That would have been an interesting moment.

Recon5 on June 23, 2014 at 6:24 PM

This incoherent interview on the subject of Iraq presents nothing new. It revealed that the president continues to be an inveterate liar, an idiot, and naive at that. Anyone paying any attention at all knew these things before election day, 2008.

Ay Uaxe on June 23, 2014 at 6:36 PM

I never capitalize islam or muslim, or mohammed because I do not believe they deserve the respect of being proper nouns.
ConstantineXI on June 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Jeez, what a bigot. Why wouldn’t you capitalize anything associated with a mass-murderer, serial rapist, and pedophile??

/

Nutstuyu on June 23, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Mika Brzezinski probes Obama: Wasn’t al-Qaeda supposed to be ‘decimated?’

Of course they can’t do much about al-Qaeda because that would tick off the D.C. insiders’ friends (cash flow) in Riyadh. Now, they may do some drone strikes, but those were probably hits due to infighting and the Prez is all about supplying favors…to the right people.

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 23, 2014 at 8:34 PM

They’re laughing at republicans. They know everyone knows they did a thorough job of deleting those emails and they know Obama will protect them for doing his wishes. With the low-life senate democrat’s willingness to never allow a successful impeachment no matter the lies and illegalities nothing can be done – at least not until after 2016. Only then can we hope for a Republican administration to make them pay with prosecutions, if they have the balls – but I suspect most Republicans are basically neutered.

Chessplayer on June 23, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Watching this interview, why did I find myself waiting for Mika to do the Sharon Stone “Basic Instinct” pose for her guy?

NoPain on June 23, 2014 at 9:15 PM

It’s a good thing Hopey is a Christian, because if the radical Islamic towel heads ever thought he had Mooselum sympathies, they would be rounding up the Christians in the Middle East and begin exterminating them.
At least there’s that, MikaPoo.

FlaMurph on June 23, 2014 at 9:48 PM

“It was,” Obama replied. “But just because something is stable two years ago or four years ago doesn’t mean that it’s stable right now.”

Apparently, this Harvard Law magna cum laude doesn’t know the meaning of the word “stable”…

JohnGalt23 on June 23, 2014 at 10:15 PM

“It was,” Obama replied. “But just because something is stable two years ago or four years ago doesn’t mean that it’s stable right now.”

Apparently, this Harvard Law magna cum laude doesn’t know the meaning of the word “stable”…

JohnGalt23 on June 23, 2014 at 10:15 PM

Harvard honors are a joke, around 90% of Harvard Law grads graduate with honors of some kind, and there is no proof of what honors Barry might have been awarded.

In any case, there’s an asterisk by his degree: *awarded on the basis of Affirmative Action.

slickwillie2001 on June 23, 2014 at 10:44 PM

We don’t want any part of Iraq so he withdraws the troops, but then tells the Iraqis how to run their country? I guess somebody wants their cake and eat it too?

Brock Robamney on June 24, 2014 at 6:14 AM

GM isn’t doing too good either.

cimbri on June 24, 2014 at 6:37 AM

Decimate originally meant ‘one in ten’ which woould mean that Al Qaeda might be wounded but far from annihilated.

zoyclem on June 24, 2014 at 7:28 AM

Mika Brzezinski probes Obama:

What did Joe Scarborough say?

Brock Robamney on June 24, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Why does obama have red eyes and looks so pale?

gwhh on June 24, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Comment pages: 1 2