Fox News Sunday host challenges National Security Advisor on possible Middle East missteps
By: Al Weaver on September 28, 2014 11:31 AM
Wallace: "President Obama spoke to the U.N. this week, but I want to ask you about his speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year in which he said we are ending a decade of war. Take a look at this:"
Obama: "Today all of our troops have left Iraq. Next year an international coalition will end its war in Afghanistan having achieved its mission of dismantling the core of Al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11."
Wallace: "How could the president have been so wrong?"
Blinken: "The president was exactly right. What we're doing is totally different than the last decade. We're not sending hundreds of thousands of American troops back into Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else. We're not going to be spending trillions of American dollars . What we're doing is supporting local forces with some of our unique assets: airpower, training and equipping them, assisting them, intelligence. They will be doing the fighting on the ground. We can't want it more than they do."
Wallace: "But Mr. Blinkton, he said all of our troops are coming home from Iraq. He just sent at least 1600 troops back into Iraq. He said we've dismantled the core of Al-Qaeda. The Khorasan group, which you struck in the first day, is an off-shoot of the core of Al-Qaeda, and in fact follows the direct orders of the leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri."
Blinken: "Chris, they fled because we were so successful and effective in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's why they fled, because we decimated the core of Al-Qaeda. They removed themselves, moved to Syria."
Wallace: "But they're still a threat…"
Blinken: "Sure. And we said from day one that there would be groups that would emerge in other parts of the world, we've been relentless in going after them. But what we're not going to do is fall into the Al-Qaeda trap of sending hundreds of thousands of Americans back, that's exactly what they want. They want to bog us down, tie us down, and bleed us. We're going to be smarter about this."