State’s Marie Harf: ISIS couldn’t even have predicted how powerful ISIS would become

posted at 7:21 pm on September 29, 2014 by Noah Rothman

It is becoming increasingly clear that those who did not laugh at President Barack Obama’s assertion that it was the intelligence community and not his administration who severely underestimated the Islamic State’s capabilities were apparently deeply offended by it.

“Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama told CBS reporter Steve Kroft.

In fact, it turns out that a number of administration officials were critical of Obama’s Syria policy because they feared that the scenario the United States is now confronting in the Middle East might arise. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she urged the president to arm moderate Syrian rebels as early as 2012 — a task the United States is only now undertaking — in order to help collapse Bashar al-Assad regime and contain militant groups in an internationalized post-Assad Syria.

“We pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS,” said former CIA Director and Defense Sec. Leon Panetta recently, in agreement with the former secretary of state.

But while this may sound like Monday morning quarterbacking to the president’s defenders, there were plenty of Saturday night quarterbacks in the intelligence and defense establishments who were sounding alarms about ISIS well before they became the national security threat they are today.

Even the State Department was fully aware of the scale of the threat represented by ISIS. In February, just as the Islamic State burst across the Syrian border and began sacking Iraqi towns and cities with alacrity, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk testified on the increasing danger associated with the ISIS threat.

“First, it is attacking Shia civilian areas in an effort to rekindle a civil war,” McGurk said of ISIS’s near-term plans for the region. “Second, it is attacking Sunni areas to eliminate rivals and govern territory.”

“Third, ISIL is attacking the Kurds in Northern Iraq in disputed boundary areas to incite ethnic tension and unrest,” he added.

Check, check, and check. “The campaign has a stated objective to cause the collapse of the Iraqi state and carve out a zone of governing control in western regions of Iraq and Syria,” the State Department official warned.

Flash forward to today, and the administration’s communications officials have been thrust in the unfortunate position of having to defend the president’s artless buck passing. In service to that thankless mission, State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf was forced to tell CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that no one, not even ISIS, could have possibly predicted the rise of ISIS.

“The president said, for a long time we’ve known about the serious threat from ISIL, but everyone — us, the Iraqis, even ISIL itself probably — was surprised by how quickly earlier this summer they were really able to take territory in Iraq,” Harf said.

You see, even the Islamic State was shocked by their own capabilities. Thiers was a wondrous journey of self-actualization in the form of a campaign of crucifixions and beheadings.

“They moved more quickly than anyone could have imagined,” she added, forgetting apparently that many did imagine ISIS’s blitz across Iraq in specific detail.

“You know, assessing the will of a force to fight — the capability is one thing you can assess — but the will is a tough thing to assess,” she added. Because everyone really knew that ISIS had the capability to mount a smashing offensive across the Middle East, but no one knew that they had the stoutness of character to achieve it!

What an embarrassing display.

How much damage could the president have avoided doing to his administration if he had just said, “I underestimated ISIS and I overestimated the Iraqis.” His critics would have had a field day with it for 48 hours, but the media would have quickly moved on to another story. It would have disappeared in short order. Now, the intelligence community is out for blood, and the president has sparked a bureaucratic war inside the Beltway. Much like his response to ISIS, Obama’s underestimation of the intelligence community will likely prove to be shortsighted.


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Comments

ROFL

These clowns….man alive, now they’re blaming ISIS itself for Dog Eater’s failure to confront and smash them, this is incredible.

Bishop on September 29, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Bmore on September 30, 2014 at 12:34 AM

The Obama administration is always making excuses.

corkie on September 30, 2014 at 1:43 AM

Progs can’t help themselves. Larceny is in their DNA, lying is first nature not second and deceit is their default. Even if telling the truth were easier, they lie, just because they can.

I think they enjoy watching people choke on their sh!t. It makes them feel powerful and grown up.

AppraisHer on September 30, 2014 at 2:56 AM

It hurts to watch the officials now. You are embarrassed for them, and shocked they are obviously not embarrassed for themselves.

If one of them would do what that black reporter did in Alaska (not the running the pot trafficking thing, but the other thing) and just said “f it!” and walked off, I’d be hopeful.

But Obama’s messianic personality has truly corrupted a number of people.

We are in a historic moment here. For generations we wondered in horror just how Germans, Russians and Chinese could blindly support leaders who were so obviously flawed. Now we know.

If, God forbid, Obama’s massive errors in judgment leads to a WMD attack that kills tens of thousands, history will ask “how did we let this happen?”

And someday, we’ll have to answer.

archer52 on September 30, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Maximum effective range of an excuse = 0meters

BadBrad on September 30, 2014 at 7:30 AM

pretty, blonde, and stupid is no way to go through life.

deimos on September 30, 2014 at 8:07 AM

It’s like GRODY…
GRODY TO THE MAX
I’m sure
It’s like really nauseating
Like BARF OUT
GAG ME WITH A SPOON
GROSS
I am SURE
TOTALLY…

♫ Dep-State Girl
She’s a Dep-State Girl
Dep-State Girl
She’s a Dep-State Girl
Okay, fine
Fer sure, fer sure♫

Sing it Marie… you clueless dingbat.

viking01 on September 29, 2014 at 10:47 PM

ROFL!

If I still had a radio show, I’d introduce the latest State Department fumbling on the world stage to Frank/Moon Zappa’s “Valley Girl” :)

ConstantineXI on September 30, 2014 at 8:10 AM

If, God forbid, Obama’s massive errors in judgment leads to a WMD attack that kills tens of thousands, history will ask “how did we let this happen?”

And someday, we’ll have to answer.

archer52 on September 30, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Obama has already made a terrorist WMD attack inevitable, with the coddling of the Iranians and the wide open border.

As I have said, that event will make his name as reviled as Hitler’s.

ConstantineXI on September 30, 2014 at 8:12 AM

pretty, blonde, and stupid is no way to go through life.

deimos on September 30, 2014 at 8:07 AM

More like, “Fat, Fake Blonde, and Stupid is no way to go through life”.

ConstantineXI on September 30, 2014 at 8:13 AM

ISIS opens consulate in Ankara, Turkey. Helpfully provides it’s gmail address.

http://www.aydinlikdaily.com/Detail/ISIS-Opens-A-Consulate-In-Turkey/4576#.VCqguxZWUdr

Viator on September 30, 2014 at 8:26 AM

This is really Hillary in a wig.

Wade on September 30, 2014 at 8:38 AM

I hope somebody is compiling all these quotes to pull them out the next time any Democrat accuses a future Republican administration of being clueless and making lame excuses.

I suppose every administration has a few of this type of stupid ‘dog ate my homework’ statements, but the Obama administration has provided a cornucopia.

s1im on September 30, 2014 at 8:39 AM

The ignorance and arrogance of this administration is incredible. How the spokes people can say what they do day after day takes your breath away.

Rumpole of the Bailey on September 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Marie BHarf is the poster child for stupid people actually achieving success. Every time I see this bleach blond bimbo valley girl, all I can think of is Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, except Silverstone was actually attractive and by comparison smarter than that bag of stupid State Dept. Spokeswoman.

RandallinHerndon on September 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM

That’s some smart power right there.

smfic on September 30, 2014 at 8:55 AM

It is bad enough that the American people ae laughing at these clowns, but the entire world is laughing at them as well. I am not sure that has ever happened to this country that it made itself the butt of a global joke. This is what electing Obama has done for us. If we had a honest media, it would never have gotten this far.

Techster64 on September 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

ISIS moved so quickly because their ROE didn’t include trying to win hearts and minds and creating democratic govts where none had ever existed. We’ve forgotten how to win and wage wars. This is why we’re in country for as long as we are and end up with more dead and wounded. They’re showing us how it is done when you want to win.

Kissmygrits on September 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM

Throwing the CIA under the bus could be Obama’s last fatal move.

claudius on September 30, 2014 at 9:21 AM

He insists he’s the smartest person in the room at any given time,

Meople on September 29, 2014 at 7:34 PM

When you surround yourself with idiots…

pain train on September 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Hey, what rhymes with Harf? Anyone here care to write a limerick?

Steve Z on September 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM

There once was a lady named Harf
Who looked good in a skirt and a scarf
And the other dumb lackey
Who’s named Jen Psaki
Speak out Soetoro’s barf.

RPL on September 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

How about firing the CIA, FBI, NSA and State Department and hiring the Israelis to handle intelligence and security?

hertfordkc on September 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Oops. Left out Homeland Security.

hertfordkc on September 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Pin a note on her shirt and send it out for the press.

Less embarrassing for everyone.

lynncgb on September 30, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Buffy the Vampire SLayer

Bitter Clinger on September 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

“Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama told CBS reporter Steve Kroft.

Clapper acknowledged that you think this, Pres. Soetoro?

Is that what you meant to say, or do you even know what you meant to say?

Akzed on September 29, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Read his (BHO) remarks carefully. He says that he “thinks” that Jim Clapper has acknowledged that BHO thinks they understimated the situation in Syria. He doesn’t say for certain that Clapper has acknowledged BHO thinks the Intelligence Community screwed up. He just “thinks” Clapper acknowledged as much.

It’s just double talk. He really doesn’t say anything more than “I think that he thinks that I think.” Without the TOTUS, he is functionally illiterate.

GAlpha10 on September 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

One excuse is as good as another for these people. Please, I’m tired of the excuses. Take some responsibility and be accountable. And last but not least, stop sucking at your jobs.

ConDem on September 30, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I’m sorry, I can’t get past the naughty librarian image.

BobMbx on September 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

None of this “we screwed up” makes the case for actually arming the rebels in Syria. No matter who screwed up.

I’m sorry, I can’t get past the naughty librarian image.

BobMbx on September 30, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Hehe. You’re not the only one.

GWB on September 30, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Who is the world’s dumbest woman: Marie Harf, Jenn Paski … or Debbie WSasserman Schultz?

bw222 on September 30, 2014 at 10:22 AM

So this is what is looks like when the POTUS resorts to “the dog ate my homework” excuse. It looks just as stupid in 5th grade.

STL_Vet on September 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Hey, what rhymes with Harf? Anyone here care to write a limerick?

Steve Z on September 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM

There once was a bimbo named Harf
Who is always good for a larf
Till you realize, too late,
That she speaks for our State
Then her briefings just make you barf.

Yankee Doodle on September 30, 2014 at 10:26 AM

So this is what is looks like when the POTUS resorts to “the dog ate my homework” excuse. It looks just as stupid in 5th grade.

STL_Vet on September 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

From a President who ate the dog that ate his homework.

RandallinHerndon on September 30, 2014 at 10:36 AM

State’s Marie Harf

CAUTION: CHILDREN AT PLAY

petefrt on September 30, 2014 at 10:43 AM

pretty, blonde, and stupid is no way to go through life.

deimos on September 30, 2014 at 8:07 AM

As a blond who looks about 20 years younger than my actual age, I gotta say, could they get someone who at least looks competent? I get away with it because I am competent, but this is pathetic.

Maybe she could get a butch haircut and dye her hair brown-go for the Rachel Maddow look.

talkingpoints on September 30, 2014 at 10:45 AM

The bleach blonde is the dumbest. But Harf wears the hipster glasses because she thinks they make her look smart.

ConstantineXI on September 29, 2014 at 7:34 PM

Nah, we can still see her face.

talkingpoints on September 30, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Hey, what rhymes with Harf? Anyone here care to write a limerick?

Steve Z on September 29, 2014 at 7:44 PM

The media based in D.C.
Rely to a tragic degree
On a young ditz at State
To profoundly relate
What passes for its policy

Harf as the Department’s face
Is obviously a disgrace
But among laughing stocks
I won’t stop at the spox
Not while John Kerry’s running the place

Barnestormer on September 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM

“You know, assessing the will of a force to fight — the capability is one thing you can assess — but the will is a tough thing to assess,” she added.

No, Marie, I think ISIS quickly and correctly determined Obama’s will to fight.

virgo on September 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

When I first read the headline, I thought it said “sLate” not “sTate”, which made more sense…

I daresay we have seen a member of the true JV team…

Entrephil on September 30, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Noah, people are always giving you a hard time about proof reading and up till now I’ve not really cared very much but…

Thiers was a wondrous journey of self-actualization in the form of a campaign of crucifixions and beheadings.

Thiers?

Come on Noah, spellcheck!!

Goldenavatar on September 30, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Hillary said she tried to arm the ‘rebels’ in 2012 but couldn’t.

If she had succeeded then ISIS would be controlling all of Syria now instead of just part of it.

Now, back to the bimbo eruption at State…

TerryW on September 30, 2014 at 12:04 PM

The arming of the Syrian “moderate” rebels is a serious mistake for which the country will suffer – but not Obama or Hillary. She should get no credit for now chiding him over this, since it is such a stupid idea. Which, come to think of it, is probably why she supports it.

The error was made by this administration, including State, when they failed maintain force in Iraq. The steps being taken are mere bandaids. The ship has sailed. The barn door is open. (Insert further cliches here.)

Hucklebuck on September 30, 2014 at 12:26 PM

This young woman apparently got the short straw, similar to Susan Rice going out to the Sunday talk shows after Benghazi. Those in the know didn’t want their names to be attached to the stupid talking points the administration was/is pushing.

Angineer on September 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

State’s Marie Harf: ISIS couldn’t even have predicted how powerful ISIS would become

Maha Rushie: If ISIS couldn’t even predict how powerful they would become, then imagine the awe of the Korasan Group, who didn’t know they existed until the White House made them up.

petefrt on September 30, 2014 at 12:35 PM

I can’t figure out what the White House was thinking when they gave Marie Harf this position. Could they be deliberately putting a bimboey-seeming young chick (albeit with trendy glasses–a sure sign of BRAINZ) in order to attract criticism from the right? I mean, we all know conservatives hate women and think they’re dumb. Is she war-on-women bait?

VirginiaPlain on September 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

I can’t figure out what the White House was thinking when they gave Marie Harf this position.
VirginiaPlain on September 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

She worked on Obama’s 2012 campaign, helping to craft Obama’s national security and communications strategy, and also served as campaign spokeswoman on national security issues. http://bit.ly/1u9dLvZ

petefrt on September 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Even SIS is thrown under the bus.

Those non-state, non-Islamic JV troublemakers.

profitsbeard on September 30, 2014 at 1:02 PM

From the President who ate the dog that ate his homework.

RandallinHerndon on September 30, 2014 at 10:36 AM

That would be a good title for The Collected Thoughts of Chairman Barry.

profitsbeard on September 30, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Those glasses do not make her look smarter.

ElectricPhase on September 30, 2014 at 1:12 PM

State’s Marie Harf: We couldn’t even have predicted how stupid we would become.

redguy on September 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

I hope somebody is compiling all these quotes to pull them out the next time any Democrat accuses a future Republican administration of being clueless and making lame excuses.

I suppose every administration has a few of this type of stupid ‘dog ate my homework’ statements, but the Obama administration has provided a cornucopia.

s1im on September 30, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Excusemeverymuch, but the lapdog media and left are way too busy endlessly ridiculing any gaffe Sarah Palin might make, e.g. 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, etc, etc, etc ad nauseam

DebraChicago on September 30, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I can’t figure out what the White House was thinking when they gave Marie Harf this position. Could they be deliberately putting a bimboey-seeming young chick (albeit with trendy glasses–a sure sign of BRAINZ) in order to attract criticism from the right? I mean, we all know conservatives hate women and think they’re dumb. Is she war-on-women bait?

VirginiaPlain on September 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

What kind of idiot hires two sorority girls to be the spokesbimbos for the US State Department?

ConstantineXI on September 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Okay, like, don’t these fake glaaahsses make me look like totally smart, and stuff?

NickelAndDime on September 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM

“even ISIL itself probably — was surprised by how quickly earlier this summer they were really able to take territory in Iraq,” Harf said.

This can only mean that ISIS was not taking their daily brief?

edsjim on September 30, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Don’t be such a freaking Harf! NewsFLash: The bimbo-blonde at the State Department had no idea back in 2009 that they could all look and sound so stupid or Harf-ish!

stuartm80127 on September 30, 2014 at 4:42 PM

NewsFlash: The bimbo-blonde at the State Department had no idea back in 2009 that they could all look and sound so stupid or Harf-ish!

stuartm80127 on September 30, 2014 at 4:43 PM

ISIS aims to become a Caliphate to match the historic Caliphates,
but even they could never have predicted their success?

The same could be said of the Third Reich, the Ottoman Empire,
. . . . , the Roman Empire, etc.

The US is being run by “challenged” people.

ha_tspc on September 30, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Does this woman have a functioning brain? I read where she went to UVa for an advanced degree. My son graduated from there and he is aghast at some of the left wing grads that come out of there.
BTW-Sheila Jackson Lee went there. Julian Bond is a prof there. And the the Pres. of UVa is a known plagiarist yet the honor system at the university gave her a pass.
Another embarrassment for a once great university.

buffyvs on September 30, 2014 at 7:52 PM

I can’t figure out what the White House was thinking when they gave Marie Harf this position. Could they be deliberately putting a bimboey-seeming young chick (albeit with trendy glasses–a sure sign of BRAINZ) in order to attract criticism from the right? I mean, we all know conservatives hate women and think they’re dumb. Is she war-on-women bait?

VirginiaPlain on September 30, 2014 at 12:36 PM

What kind of idiot hires two sorority girls to be the spokesbimbos for the US State Department?

ConstantineXI on September 30, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Someone trying desperately to convince everyone he really is heterosexual.

Buck Farack

Nutstuyu on September 30, 2014 at 9:31 PM

Okay, like, don’t these fake glaaahsses make me look like totally smart, and stuff?

NickelAndDime on September 30, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Shes the kind of girl that needs to have her mouth filled occupied with something at all times.

Nutstuyu on September 30, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Another very highly educated total idiot. Please President Obama, please, please, please. Go out there and higher a few adults for a change.

nikophil on October 1, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Marie Harf — Obama’s answer to Baghdad Bob.

wagnert in atlanta on October 2, 2014 at 10:01 AM