Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer rejected the notion that President Barack Obama was “taken by surprise” by the sudden surge of ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria, instead accusing him of “willful blindness” in the face of Islamic fundamentalism.
After months (if not years) of dismissing the fundamentalist Muslim fighters in Iraq and Syria as “jayvee,” the White House has suddenly surged to confront IS after a series of rapid gains made by the brutal Islamists in northern Iraq.
But while many of the president’s military and counterterrorism advisers have recently come out declaring the ISIS existential and promising additional, broad military action against them, the president has remained silent.
“Look,” Krauthammer said on Fox News “Special Report” Friday. “I don’t think the issue is the president was unaware or taken by surprise. I think this was willful blindness to the nature of the threat.”
“For the 5 and a half years he’s been in office, he’s tried to minimize the whole idea of the War on Terror,” the columnist explained. “He abolished the term. He gave a speech six months ago saying the War on Terror must end, it’s damaging our country — as if he can unilaterally declare and end to a war when the other guy hasn’t declared an end on his side.”
He has said the tide of war is receding,” Krauthammer continued. “But he did that by defining the threat and the enemy as al-Qaida central, as if the enemy is a club that lives in Pakistan or parts of Afghanistan and that’s it. So whenever you had an explosion of Islamic radicalism in Mali or Libya or elsewhere, it was considered something else, as he said, a jayvee team.”
“This is a willful attempt to actually will away the war that we were looking at,” he charged. “Well now with ISIS, the pretense and the will to pretend otherwise can no longer exist.”
“He knows that the threat is there, and what’s happening is he isn’t on board,” Krauthammer concluded. “This is his advisers and the military trying to prepare him for a decision he has not yet made, but is going to have to make.”