President Obama took a shot at Republican White House hopeful Ben Carson’s foreign-policy chops yesterday, in response to the famed neurosurgeon’s claim that it would be “fairly easy” to destroy ISIS.
“What I think is that he doesn’t know much about it,” the president told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos on Thursday. “I think it’s fair to say that over the last several years, I’ve had access to all the best military minds in the country and all the best foreign policy minds in the country. And I’m not running for office. And so my only interest is in success.”
Carson’s foreign-policy views have been a target of ridicule since the Fox Business debate Tuesday, when he was asked about Obama’s decision to send about 50 special-forces operators to Syria. His answer seemed to suggest that China has forces in Syria and that ISIS could be “easily” destroyed through military action in Iraq. “I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate,” Carson said. “And you look for the easiest place to do that? It would be in Iraq. And if — outside of Anbar in Iraq, there’s a big energy field. Take that from them. Take all of that land from them. We could do that, I believe, fairly easily, I’ve learned from talking to several generals, and then you move on from there.”
#share#That gave oxygen to critics who regard Carson as too much of a policy novice to be a serious contender for the presidency. But the GOP front-runner received modest praise from former CIA director Michael Hayden on Friday. “I must admit what you see publicly is what you get personally: a well-meaning, serious, bright man, trying to understand things which his life experience really hasn’t given him understanding about in the past,” Hayden said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.