National Security

Morning Joe Panel Shreds Obama Administration for Its Handling of Iraq, Syria

MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday had some harsh words for the Obama administration and their handling of the crises in Iraq and Syria.

After Katty Kay reported that much of the city of Fallujah has been retaken from Islamic State (ISIS) forces in Iraq, she discussed how criticism is heading towards the administration from inside the Department of State, citing a New York Times article about 51 diplomats calling for strikes against Bashar al-Assad's repressive regime.

Host Joe Scarborough then called out U.S. government officials for their lack of a response.

"You could go back and find clips where we would ask policymakers, I'm serious, I'd say 20,000 have died there. What are we going to do? ‘Well, it's tough.’ 40,000 have died there. I remember the summer that 40,000 became 100,000 and we'd say to policymakers, what do we do? ‘Well, it's difficult, it's very difficult.’ And I say that's what you said when 20,000 died. Then it's 200,000. We're up to 400,000," Scarborough said. "The bitter irony that Samantha Power, the woman that won a Pulitzer for writing A Problem From Hell, is now a leader in this administration that has turned a blind eye and the entire west, has turned a blind eye to violence and bloodshed that actually would have made the Bosnians blush is pretty remarkable. Pretty staggering."

"It's a crisis of colossal missed opportunities, right? We know that if we had acted much sooner five years ago when this war broke out, if the West had backed what was then a secular, moderate opposition to President Assad that was making gains against the regime of Assad, we could have had an impact," Kay said.

The conversation soon turned to the 2016 presidential election.

"It does, I think, though when you have this searing critique of 51 different people, it's an embarrassment first of all for the administration but it also, I think, points to the idea that we need to have serious discussions. We are in the middle of a political campaign," NBC correspondent Chris Jansing said. "This is not going to go away in January when the new president takes office. There needs to be a serious conversation on the campaign trail about these kinds of issues."

Before long, the question became about if President Obama wants to do anything overseas.

"The question here isn't really the public's appetitie, it's the president's appetite. If the president really wanted to make this happen, his job would be make the kind of case that you did and to rally the people of America behind it and rally the world behind it," columnist Ron Fournier said. "The issue here is the president for the reasons that we've said, really doesn't have the appetite to do this. He doesn't think it's the right thing to do."

"By the way, the president doesn't have the relationship with foreign policy leaders either, because that's just not something he ever valued," Scarborough said.