In an interview filled with jaw-dropping cluelessness, Dr. Ben Carson could not say which of our allies he’d turn to first to help fight ISIS. His answer? “All the Arab states.” Also, he knows he’d be better on national security than Hillary Clinton because “I talked to Henry Kissinger.”
You’d think that Carson would have been prepared to answer questions on foreign policy and fighting terrorism two days after the horrific terrorism attacks in Paris. Especially given how Fox and the GOP have rushed to make political hay. But no.
Carson’s unreadiness was evident almost immediately when Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked, as his first question, “If you were president right now, what would you be doing specifically in response to the attack on Paris?” (All exchanges below, via the Fox News transcript)
CARSON: Well, obviously extending, you know, our support to the French. You know, that were our first allies, and we certainly want to stand with them and make sure that they understand that. And that we sympathize with them. But, you know, recognize that the president has a large array of resources available to him besides just the Pentagon. We need to use our intelligence to a much greater extents, our intelligence agencies. I think looking at the ideological war that's being waged by the jihadists, it has been very effective. And we need to wage a counter-war against them utilizing social media, and all the same mechanisms that they use.
And also, the clerics, we need to be putting pressure on them to disavow what ISIS is doing. You know, they can't sit on the sideline here. And I think also, you know, looking at what was accomplished recently, with the taking of a city, you know, that's a long-range thing and it worked very well with the Kurds, shutting off supplies, creating the right atmosphere, providing the type of air support. You know, we can start doing that with other places, too. You look at places like Mosul, you know, we can start now cutting off supplies and controlling –
Wallace pressed for details of what was supposedly Carson’s own plan. And he still couldn’t answer:
WALLACE: But let me, if I may - if I may, let me just focus on the military component. Because obviously, after the slaughter of over 100 people, while all of those are important components, the military component is the most immediate one. And you have said that you would, as president try to create an international coalition militarily to go after ISIS. How would you put that together? Who would you call first?
CARSON: Well, what I was just explaining is, you know, how we use the resources that we have. You know, that includes some of our special ops people working in conjunction with an effective fighting force there. Those are the kinds of things that will create enthusiasm, as we begin to take back the land, take back the areas and damage their image throughout the world.
WALLACE: But who would you call first, specifically, to put together an international military coalition?
CARSON: My point being that if we get out there and we really lead and it appears that we're making progress, then all of the Arab states and even the non-Arab states who I think are beginning to recognize that the jihad movement is global. It is not just local in the Middle East, but if we fight it there, they will have to pool their resources in that area, and then we won't have to necessarily fight them here. That's what I'm saying
WALLACE: But can you tell us who you would call first, sir? On the international scene.
CARSON: I would call for all of the Arab states to be involved in this. I would call for all of our traditional allies to be involved in this. You know, I don't want to leave anybody out. Because really, this is - when you're talking about a global jihad movement, you're talking about a movement whose eventual goal is to dominate the entire world.
So Wallace moved on to ask about another aspect of Carson’s platform – and Carson sounded even less knowledgeable:
WALLACE: But I just want to ask you - You talk about -- and you've been very frank about putting U.S. boots on the ground, would President Carson commit thousands of U.S. troops to going back into Iraq and going into Syria for the first time for a ground war against ISIS?
CARSON: Obviously, we have boots on the ground there already. You know, that's an emotionally laden term. How many people do we need to be there? It's really what are they doing? How effective are they? That's - that I think is much more important than the number of people who are there, and utilizing our special ops, which are absolutely terrific in conjunction with the Kurds in northern Iraq, you can see how effective that is. And as others are able to join us, the Iraqi forces, you know, played an important role in that, too. And they are getting up to speed. We have to continue to work with them, and we will supply what is necessary in order to accomplish the goal. But I don't want to put a specific number on it or indicate what types of people there are. Because those are decisions that I think are made by people who have a tremendous amount of military experience and capability. And, you know, for me to pretend like I have all of that knowledge and the ability to formulate all the specific plans and how to do it, I think is foolish, and I think anybody else who thinks they know it all is foolish also.
And just when you think Carson couldn’t sound any more asinine, he made the Syrian refugee crisis about frontal lobes:
WALLACE: The Obama administration has said before that it would accept up to 10,000 Syrian refugees as part of the humanitarian crisis. We now learn that one of these attackers had a Syrian passport that indicated he had been part of the refugee flood into Europe in October. Would you continue that policy?
CARSON: Well, you know, as I've said all along, you know, bringing people into this country from that area of the world I think is a huge mistake. Because why wouldn't they infiltrate them with people who are ideologically opposed to us? It would be foolish for them not to do that. So, we need to be very compassionate to understand that these people have been displaced and we should use our expertise and resources to help get them resettle over there, and to support them over there, but to bring them here under these circumstances is a suspension of intellect.
You know, the reason that the human brain has these big frontal lobes as opposed to other animals, because we can engage in rational thought processing, we can, you know, extract information from the past, the present, process it and project it into a plan. Animals, on the other hand, have big brain stems and rudimentary things, because they react. We don't have to just react, we can think.
He didn’t sound any better on how he’d enforce a “no-fly zone” with the Russians. But, perhaps saving the best for last, Carson “argued” voters should choose him over someone with actual foreign policy experience because he’s talked to “a lot of incredible people who have a lot of experience getting their lifetime experience.”
WALLACE: Finally, sir, we are no longer, it seems to me, after Paris talking about issues like immigration and taxes, as important as they are, we are talking about life and death, we are talking about keeping Americans safe from people who would slaughter us, as they did in Paris. And I guess the question is why should voters choose you over someone who actually has experience in foreign policy, who has experience in national security?
CARSON: Are you talking about somebody like Hillary Clinton perhaps? I would say the reason is because you can articulate intelligent options and because you know how to work with other people and utilize the incredible resources that we have available to us. You know, I've had an opportunity in recent weeks to talk to a lot of incredible people who have a lot of experience getting their lifetime experience. I talked to Henry Kissinger and got his whole perspective on those areas.
CARSON: There are a lot of other people that I will be continuing to talk to. You have to be willing to recognize that you are not the end all, but you are the conduit for the conduct of American policies.
With all due respect, Dr. Carson, you might want to get that frontal lobe working a little harder articulating those "intelligent options" you're touting. Because in the meanwhile, it's hard to imagine anyone thinking this guy looks even remotely presidential. But hey, I'm not a Republican.
Watch this Palinesque display below, from the November 15 Fox News Sunday.
What DOES surprise me is the support and loyalty he gets. The Republican base must be desperate for ANYONE to support from the choices they have been given.
Hm — I think you’re right, Nellie.
None other than that bastion of librulism, the Defense Department, said pretty much the same thing:
DOD study: Climate change is a security threat — right now
By George Leopold Aug 07, 2015
The report finds that rising sea levels and climate disruptions are a “present security threat, not strictly a long-term risk.”
“We are already observing the impacts of climate change in shocks and stressors to vulnerable nations and communities, including in the United States, and in the Arctic, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America,” warns the report (PDF), which was released on July 29.
Alas, poor Ben passed up the chance to look smart, presidential, and — dare I say it — like a Commander in Chief . . . and instead wound up looking like a repeat of Herman Cain’s “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan” moment . . .
There were many ways Carson could have dealt with it. He could have answered by naming one or two or three countries he’d turn to first. But we all know he doesn’t know enough to get into such particulars. So he could have simply said something like, “I don’t know who I’d call first. So much can happen between now and then, I don’t think the order matters as much as getting as many Arab countries on board as possible.” But the fact that he was obviously completely thrown by and unable to deal with the question without resorting to the Palinesque “all of them” made him look inept and not ready for prime time.
Also, in my opinion, his claim that talking to Henry Kissinger and others with “incredible” “lifetime experience” makes him more qualified than Hillary Clinton was way worse than the ISIS amateurishness.
It is enormously complicated. But here’s something that I believe we have to do is we put together an international coalition. And that is we have to understand that the Muslim nation in the region, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, all of these nations, they’re gonna just have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground.
They are gonna have to take on ISIS. This is a war for the soul of Islam. And those countries who are opposed to Islam, they are gonna have to get deeply involved in a way that is not the case today. We should be supportive of that effort. So should the UK, so should France. But those Muslim countries are gonna have to lead the efforts. They are not doing it now.
I think that is very unfair to a few that you mentioned— most particularly Jordan which has put a lot on the line to the United States. It’s also taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and has been therefore subjected to threats and attacks— by extremists themselves.
I do agree that in particular Turkey and the Gulf Nations have got to make up their minds. Are they going to stand with us against this kind of jihadi radicalism or not? And there are many ways of doing it. They can provide sources, they can provide resources. But they need to be absolutely clear about where they stand.”
The above debate excerpts specifically mentioned Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, indirectly the countries of (the Gulf Nations) Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (already noted), and the United Arab Emirates, and some of our traditional allies – the United Kingdom and France.
I suppose Mr. Carson watched the debate, and he meant the foregoing when he said “I would call for all of the Arab states to be involved”.
Now, Jane — why do that and ruin a perfectly good desk? :)
That said, anybody think Wallace didn’t end up smashing his head repeatedly on the desk after that interview?
Because . . . who you call FIRST may determine how many — or even WHETHER any — other nations join the coalition.
In case you haven’t heard, some of those Middle Eastern nations don’t like each other . . .
Carson said he would call the traditional allies and allies in the middle east. What is so important about calling the first, second and third. Wallace who is your first choice as President? wallace: Bush. Wallace who is your second choice? wallace; Rubio. Wallace who is your third choice? wallace: Christie
Me too — and I think you’re one of them.
You said, “Wallace wanted the name of one leader/nation he would call” . . . as reprinted above, IN BOLDFACE, the question was NOT what “one” leader/nation he would call, it was whom he would call FIRST — and it was asked THREE times:
How would you put that together? Who would you call first?
But who would you call first, specifically, to put together an international military coalition?
But can you tell us who you would call first, sir? On the international scene.
The fact Wallace asked whom Carson would call FIRST shows that it is inherently understood that more than one ME nation would be needed to form a coalition; Wallace wanted to know who Carson would reach out to FIRST . . . instead of giving an answer, Carson engaged in Palin-esque word salad . . .
I once shook President Clinton’s hand when he visited USS Dwight D. Eisenhower while I was stationed there.
That obviously makes me as qualified to serve as POTUS as Dr. Carson . . .