National Security

Vietor: I Agree With Bill Kristol on Iraq

'You cannot allow an Al Qaeda safe haven'

Former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said he agrees with Bill Kristol that the United States should not allow ISIL to build an Al Qaeda safe haven in Iraq.

Vietor, who once dismissed a line of questioning from Bret Baier about Benghazi with, "Dude, this was like two years ago," appeared on CNN's The Lead with Kristol to debate U.S. strategy on Iraq.

Kristol, who has fiercely defended the invasion of Iraq in recent days, argued that "Letting ISIL dominate huge swathes of Iraq and Syria, letting Iran dominate much of the rest of Iraq, the implications of that regionally and globally, as Secretary Kerry and others have said, Ryan Crocker the former ambassador said, don't kid yourself. If there's an Al Qaedastan in northern, western, Iraq, that's a threat to us, not just to the region. That's a terror base."

When John Berman brought up public reluctance to intervene in Iraq, Kristol replied, "The public is ambivalent as they always are. But I think we need some strong leadership here from the president."

Berman pointed out that the president himself has acknowledged that these terrorists pose a threat to U.S. interests in Iraq.

"I agree with you and I agree with what Bill said," Vietor answered. "You cannot allow an Al Qaeda safe haven. We saw on 9/11 what happens when you do so."

Vietor then added that, due to popular dislike of U.S. intervention, "the answer is going to take some time."