After his disastrous appearance on Fox News Sunday, Dr. Ben Carson got a friendly Fox News do-over to explain how he’d fight ISIS. And while this time Carson was able to name our allies in the Middle East, he didn’t seem to know much more than that. Even Bill O’Reilly seemed impatient with him.
Before Carson, O’Reilly fell in line with the Fox News meme of acting as if the U.S., not France, had just been the victim of ISIS and blaming Obama for the attack. It was reminiscent of O’Reilly’s attacks on Obama over Ebola. Then, O’Reilly held himself up as an Ebola virus expert and accused President Obama of not protecting the country because he would not bar people from West Africa from entering the U.S. Instead of acknowledging just how wrong he was, now O’Reilly has now seized on ISIS as the latest excuse to accuse Obama of preferring “half measures and rhetoric” instead of keeping us safe.
“There comes a point when a disaster has to be confronted and right now, American foreign policy is a disaster which will have unintended consequences for we the people, perhaps lethal consequences,” O’Reilly intoned ominously.
Enter Dr. Carson. Carson not only had his Palinesque Fox News Sunday appearance to make up for – during which he couldn’t name which ally he’d call first when forming a coalition to fight ISIS - that was followed up by a devastating New York Times article in which his own advisors said he was clueless about foreign policy.
Not that O’Reilly mentioned any of those pesky events. He said, pointedly, to Carson, “Very specifically now, there is a sense of urgency now about ISIS, alright? …How would you defeat the movement or at least beat them back for the time being?”
Carson didn’t sound all that up to speed, other than being able to name the allies.
CARSON: Well, we need to recognize that it is really an existential threat to us as a nation. You know, they’re part of the global jihadist movement. And what I would do is take the war to them very specifically by getting our allies in the area – you know, we have many traditional allies in the area. You know, Jordan, uh, Egypt, uh, Saudi Arabia, as well as our NATO allies because the war is against all of us. You know, and I would cut off their oil because that’s where they got a lot of their revenue.
O’Reilly did not sound impressed. “But how do you cut off the oil?” he asked, noting that Jordan is already bombing ISIS and that both Egypt and Saudi Arabia are involved. “So, you’ve gotta have a plan, Doc.” Then he quickly gave Carson a rehabbing pass. “I’m not saying any American politician’s with a cogent plan at this point. Nobody.”
“The French have already started bombing the oil fields,” Carson began.
Actually, so has the U.S. – which neither BOR nor Carson seemed to know. USA Today notes that the U.S. has been “conducting limited airstrikes against the terrorist group’s oil infrastructure for more than a year, but significantly stepped up the intensity of its attacks when it launched ‘Operation Tidal Wave II’ on Oct. 21.”
Carson continued, “But I say you have to either destroy the oil fields or you have to take them.” But USA Today also quotes several military experts who explain why destroying oil fields is not a sustainable solution (because destroying infrastructure does more damage to the country where the oil fields are than to ISIS).
As Carson went on to talk about the need to “strangulate” ISIS through the world banking system, O’Reilly interrupted. “All of that – you know, Doc, here’s where all the politicians, including you, with all due respect - you’ve got to have specifics.”
Then, Ebola-expert O’Reilly morphed into ISIS-fighting O’Reilly. “NATO should immediately be galvanized together and foot soldiers and air should be raised to go into Syria to get ISIS. Now, you can do it a number of different ways tactically and I don’t think we should be telling the ISIS savages what we’re going to do. But the first step is to get NATO engaged. To get a formal declaration of war on ISIS.”
Carson said he would not oppose such measures. So the discussion moved on to the Middle East refugees. It’s worth noting here, even though he did not say so in this segment that, to his credit, O’Reilly has bucked the GOP and endorsed accepting some refugees. However, he did hint at it in his question.
O’REILLY: You, as a Christian, alright? You know there are suffering migrants. You know there are suffering people in Syria and other places. There’s a movement not to take any of them in the United States. What do you say?
CARSON: I say we have to be extremely wise. If you were trying to infiltrate that group with terrorists, you would see a golden opportunity.
But O’Reilly did not correct the record.
Watch it below, from the November 18 The O’Reilly Factor.