Now the most famous peanut farmer of all weighs in on President Obama’s ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State strategy:
“[Former President Jimmy] Carter said it was hard to figure out exactly what President Obama’s policy is in the Middle East.
“It changes from time to time,” Carter said. “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”
“First of all, we waited too long. We let the Islamic state build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria,” he said. “Then when [ISIS] moved into Iraq, the Sunni Muslims didn’t object to their being there and about a third of the territory in Iraq was abandoned.”
“We waited too long” may only apply to making the current strategy work, but absent that context, the implications are distressingly neo-connish: Does Carter mean the US should have gone into Syria with guns a’blazing as soon as ISIS reared its psycho head? Should we have SURGED MORE in Iraq? Carter doesn’t say, but it sounds like he may be in the tank for Hillary. (I kid!)
Carter sees some hope for the current American policy against ISIS in Iraq where troops on the ground will follow up after air strikes.
“If we keep on working in Iraq and have some ground troops to follow up when we do our bombing, there is a possibility of success.”
No such ground troops are available in Syria at the moment, he said.
“You have to have somebody on the ground to direct our missiles and to be sure you have the right target,” Carter said. “Then you have to have somebody to move in and be willing to fight ISIS after the strikes.”
I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean American ground troops, so I think the “possibility of success” he refers to is pretty much exactly what PBO is trying to achieve, i.e., providing air support and hoping the various players on the ground get their shit together enough to oppose the crazies. It’s a chump bet if you ask me, but no one did.
Also, Carter thinks drone strikes on Americans abroad are unconstitutional, that the oppression of women is the most pressing human rights issue on the planet and that Republicans are still tooting the same shopworn dog-whistle they first pressed to their moist, pursed lips in 1964. I think we can all agree the latter sentiment is true.