WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-08), a ranking Republican Member of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke to Eric Shawn on Fox News this weekend about the rampage of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) across Iraq. Franks criticized the Obama Administration for failing to listen to the generals who warned that a failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement would lead to the sort of scenario currently unfolding, stating that the Administration has a “magic ability…to get it wrong every time,” and that the notion of “ignoring the danger of this jihadist ideology has bewildered our friends and emboldened our enemies and it’s left suffering and death in the wake every time.” The full segment and a transcript is available below:
Eric Shawn: The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are on the march. They are said now to be only 40 miles away from Baghdad. And with those 300 U.S. military adviser on their way to Iraq to help the Shiite government get the crisis under control, will they? Republican Congressman Trent Franks from Arizona sits on the House Armed Services Committee and joins us now from San Diego. Congressman, good to see you. Look, 300 American adviser. Can that number turn the tide against these fired up, ruthless Islamic militants?
Trent Franks: Well, our special forces and some of the advisers we are sending have an incredible ability to organize and to understand the danger that we face there, so there is certainly some efficacy to that. But, you know, the bigger story here: when you opened the program, you mentioned the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. That really tells the whole story if we examine carefully. Because this administration somehow has this magic ability when it comes to the middle east or really anywhere else in the world on foreign policy to get it wrong every time. Their generals warned them that if we pulled out of Iraq without a status of forces agreement that something like this could happen. And this ISIS group that makes al-Qaeda look like a bunch of cub scouts — one of the most dangerous and brutal groups in the world — they are beheading their way across Iraq, they are killing especially Christians. And yet, we have known about this group for quite some time. This administration simply had to read their own (ISIS’) reports of some 10,000 operations of military capacity there, and they claimed to have had 4,000 improvised explosive devices, over a thousand assassinations. I just don’t know how this catches this administration every time. It seems like the naiveté and the hell-bent notion of ignoring the danger of this jihadist ideology has bewildered our friends and emboldened our enemies and it’s left suffering and death in the wake every time.
Eric Shawn: Congressman, excuse me for interrupting, someone pointed out al-Maliki didn’t want us there. That the Obama Administration insisted on the parliament approving that status of forces and that wasn’t going to happen. So, you know, this is al-Maliki’s fault.
Trent Franks: Well, Maliki is obviously a failed leader. There is no question about that. But this administration has projected weakness and vacillation and naiveté all over the world. And, if you just grant me diplomatic immunity here, Eric, I don’t mean to be harsh, but somewhere, on a peanut farm in south Georgia, Jimmy Carter must be breathing an enormous sigh of relief, because he knows now that he will not go down in history as the most inept president we have ever had.
Eric Shawn: I want to point out again that you are a Republican. If I could point that out. But there is something in the Wall Street Journal – front page today — about a secret U.S. plan to aid Iraq that fizzled among mutual distrust. The administration tried to do something secretly, says the Wall Street Journal, but in just didn’t work. We won’t read the whole thing, Congressman, but let me just get your reaction, because we only have a minute.
Trent Franks: Well, ultimately, as you know, there are issues all over the country and the world now that I think represent some pretty serious danger to this country. This administration has even talked about allying ourselves with Iran and that will only give them additional credibility. If iran gains a nuclear weapons capability, which I think this helps them in that pursuit, we will need a new calendar, Eric. It will change our world that much. And our children will then walk in the shadow of nuclear terrorism. And I have to suggest to you it just boggles and be bewilders me to no end.
Eric Shawn: We have to leave it there. Thank you for joining us.