Rear Adm. John Kirby on Tuesday defended the Obama administration’s actions in Iraq and urged "strategic patience" in the war with the Islamic State, prompting disbelief from other panelists on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
"We have a strategy" to degrade and defeat IS, Kirby said, walking back a Monday comment by President Obama that "we don’t yet have a complete strategy."
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Obama was widely criticized for the admission, which mirrored a similar comment from 2014. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson called the admission an "accidental revelation of the truth" earlier in the program.
Kirby maintained that the U.S. policy was "putting pressure on ISIL" despite the terrorist group’s litany of tactical successes.
Additionally, Kirby called for calm as the administration works out how to deal with the Middle East crisis.
"I think all of us need strategic patience as we work our way through it," Kirby said, repeating a euphemism employed by the Obama administration in February.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski, daughter of former National Security Director Zbigniew Brzezinski in the Carter administration, muttered that "strategic patience" sounded like the title of one of her father’s books.
The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward pushed back against Kirby’s claim, stating that the rollback of IS "just can’t be done with this level of force."
"Maybe you can be lucky some days," Woodward added, "but anyone you talk to, any military person, anybody that has thought this through, says you just can’t get there" with the current policy.
Under fire from the other panelists, Kirby admitted that "there is perhaps room for improvement there."