Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer tore apart Sen. Rand Paul Friday for saying earlier in week the “hawks” in the Republican Party were to blame for the rise of ISIS.
Appearing on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Krauthammer told the host Paul’s “ignorance really astonishes me” before laying out his dissent point-by-point. The commentator ripped Paul’s statements about giving weapons to groups to combat ISIS, saying the U.S. needs to stop pouring money into the Iraqi’s who don’t want to fight, but rather to the Kurds and Sunni-Anbar tribes who are “pro-American.”
HUGH HEWITT: Charles Krauthammer, who is right in this spectrum of explanation for ISIS?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: You know, sometimes [Rand] Paul’s ignorance really astonishes me…He says, you know, these guys, Lindsey Graham, wanted to bomb Assad, which somehow contributes to the growth of ISIS. Is he aware of the fact that until this week or it was last week when ISIS took over Palmyra, ISIS had not once taken a city or a town from the Assad government? Every place that has been taken over was swallowing up territory from anti-Assad insurgents. Some religious, some jihadists, some secular, some sort of pro-Western you would say. That’s where their growth has been. He doesn’t even understand that ISIS and the Assad government, until last week when ISIS grew so strong that it could be bold and invade essentially Assad territory. ISIS and Assad have had this cozy, tacit, non-aggression agreement where they essentially split the country in two and Assad relied on ISIS to swallow up all the anti-Assad opposition. So that’s #1.
If he thinks that we’d be helping ISIS by attacking Assad, we didn’t do it, but that’s not because ISIS rose. It took over in the areas of Syria where there was no government presence. 2) The idea that these weapons that we had given, well that mostly occurred in Mosul. That was the outer region. That’s after ISIS had taken over Syria. That’s after ISIS swept into parts of Iraq. And yes, it got a lot of weapons at the end, and I think our policy is misguided to arm the Iraqi security forces, which are unreliable as our own secretary of defense has said “they don’t have the will” to fight.
But that’s not our mistake. The big mistake is — we should not be refraining from sending weapons. We should be sending them to the right people. To the Kurds who want to fight and are pro-American, and to the Sunni-Anbar tribes — the few remaining right now because it’s so late in the game, who are pro-American and are desperate for weaponry to fight off ISIS. One of the leaders of the tribes said last week after Ramadi that they have to go out and to purchase their own bullets. What are we doing? We are pouring money into a government in Iraq that has an army that doesn’t want to fight, and a government that is heavily influenced by Iran.