Obama: We underestimated rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Obama: We underestimated rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria

[Ed. – What do you mean ‘we,’ (half) white man?]

President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL) and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off the militant group in an interview that will air Sunday on 60 Minutes.

The president was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about comments from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. not only underestimated ISIS, it also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group.

“That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”

“Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said, blaming the instability of the Syrian civil war for giving extremists space to thrive.

The comments were among the president’s most candid to date about the rapid rise of the terrorist group that has ransacked much of Syria and Iraq in recent months.

“Essentially what happened with ISIL was that you had al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash with the help of Sunni tribes,” he explained. “They went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos.”

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