The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the U.S. military — and Commander in Chief Barack Obama — were completely “surprised” when Islamic terrorists swept into Mosul, Iraq, and took control, admitting that no one had even drafted contingency plans for such a development.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, a former head of the U.S. Army and Central Command who became the highest-ranking military officer when Obama picked him in 2011, said ISIS — an Islamic group the White House and top officials call ISIL — shocked them all with the swiftness and power of their invasion.
“So, look, there were several things that surprised us about ISIL,” Dempsey said in an interview with Frontline. “The degree to which they were able to form their own coalition, both inside of Syria and inside of northwestern Iraq; the military capability that they exhibited, the collapse of the Iraq Security Forces. Yeah, in those initial days, there were a few surprises.”
Asked if the U.S. military had plans for the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city after the capital, Baghdad, Dempsey said: “Well, no, there were not.”
Obama and top officials are often “surprised” by world developments — Obama himself regularly says he first heard of one event or another “in the newspaper.” But for the top military officer to admit the U.S. had no idea Mosul would fall — and no plan for the eventuality — is itself “surprising.”
“Good lord, he should resign,” Maguire told Yahoo News, when read a transcript of Dempsey’s comments for the Frontline show, “Obama at War,” which airs Tuesday night on PBS.
“The highest ranking military officer in the country is surprised by an issue that has been percolating for over a year?” John Magure, a former senior CIA officer in Iraq, told Yahoo News. “That is breathtaking . Where in hell is the Central Intelligence Agency? We’ve got a $75 billion intelligence budget. There is no excuse for this.”
This is the same administration that said the attack at thew U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was “spontaneous” and caused by an anti-Islam film on YouTube — both later completely discredited claims. But it does continue to be “surprising” the number of crises that catch the administration off guard.
Obama referred to ISIS as the “jayvee,” a junior varsity team not as skilled as the varsity, in January 2014. And Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in September said ISIS was “underestimated” — “I didn’t see the collapse of the Iraq security force in the north coming.”