Filling in for Glenn on Tuesday, Buck Sexton introduced his trademarked "Buck Brief," a short monologue related to national security he performs on his regular afternoon show on TheBlaze Radio. After some cool, digital sound effects and a voice saying, "This is a secure space. All outside comms are down. Prepare to receive the Buck Brief," Buck dove into President Obama's policies dealing with ISIS and other global threats.
Listen or read the full transcript below.
BUCK: Well, it took years. And the casualties in the Syrian civil war have reached well over 250,000. But finally, the United States and Turkey are intervening or planning to intervene in a substantial fashion in that conflict, trying to do something that will have a real effect on the ground. Turkey and the U.S. have agreed in general terms to put together what they're calling a safe zone in northern Syria. Now, this it must be said, is distinct from a no-fly zone, which has been talked about for years as a method of protecting certain areas of Syria. Of course, it hearkens back to the days of the no-fly zone in Iraq, during which the Shia South and the Kurdish North were protected from Saddam's Air Force by the U.S. no-fly zone, by Saddam's helicopters, by whatever else he could put up in the sky.
There's been talk about this for some time. Now, let's keep in mind, there are already efforts that have been underway for years to do something about this conflict that has given rise to not only the Islamic State, but has also seen the usage of chemical weapons. It is believed at least dozens of times, chemical weapons deployed on the battlefield. The creation of mass casualty weapons, deployed as mass casualty weapons, like barrel bombs, which is essentially a giant IED dropped by Assad's helicopters from the sky over civilian-populated areas. Just a large -- large tub of gasoline with shrapnel attached to it, and it just blows up and tries to wound, kill and maim as many people as possible.
That's the conflict as it's been going on now. As I said, grinding on the rise of the Islamic State. Also, other Islamic groups, most notably Jabhat al-Nusra, which is really just al-Qaeda in Syria. We don't call it that. I don't really know why. But it is the al-Qaeda in Syria branch. And then there are other groups like Alra-hasham (phonetic). And these hard-lined Islamist and jihadist groups that are not technically a part of that, but have sort of taken a piece of Syria as their own territory. It is a giant mess. The efforts for the U.S. to do something so far and with coalition allies, has been to call it lackluster would be generous. The airstrikes in Syria have been minimal. There's an unwillingness for this administration to have any real casualties on their side of the battlefield. On ISIS, because they're so afraid of hitting civilians in the process. And that's unfortunately not a method for really hitting an enemy. If you're so concerned with this, you're not going to have any impact. And that's what we've seen so far.
Now, the creation of this safe zone, which will take some time in coordination with Turkey, which, of course, shares the border with Syria could be a good development. It seems to be a welcome development particularly for the rebel forces. The so-called modern Syrian forces. Whatever that means. Your guess is as good as mine. The modern Syrian forces on the ground in this conflict. Who have been, of course, pushed back and have become one of the least effective of all the fighting forces on the ground in Syria. The ones that the US wants to win have been allowed to take a beating and are not in a position to take the fight to the enemy and hold territory.
It was publicized just a few weeks ago that the Pentagon has managed to train a total of 60 fighters for the Syrian conflict. Sixty fighters is what we've pulled together. That is certainly not enough to make any real difference. And it shows you just how slow and plotting the administration's response to this grinding humanitarian and security catastrophe in Syria. Remember, the Islamic State based out of Raqaa still holding a lot of territory, is growing as a state, is becoming increasingly sophisticated, increasingly well armed, and is able to go on offense on multiple fronts at once with coordination and tactical precision. That's the enemy that our allies on the ground face.
Now, finally we're saying, there's going to be a safe zone in northern Syria. Well, that's going to require some doing on our part and from the Turks. And, of course, the Turks have their own problems. Not just with the civil war that is right across their border to the south and the prospect that if they become too enmeshed in all this, they may find themselves targeted by the Islamic State. That's a very real concern. That all of a sudden you could have a series of suicide bombings in Ankara or Istanbul that the Islamic State is claiming credit for. But beyond that, of course, they have their own problems with the Kurds. The Kurds who have been a useful force against the Islamic State are a political risk for Turkey.
Turkey has always had this problem with its Kurdish minority based largely down in the southeast of the country, along the Syrian and Iraqi borders. They're worried that if the Kurds are allowed to be the ones that establish their own de facto safe zone in these areas, groups that are tied to or part of the PKK, which is an insurgent group that has been fighting against the Turks for a very long time, might also stir up trouble on Turkish soil. They'll have to figure out a way to both push back against Kurdish forces, while also creating a safe space in the midst of this massive conflagration that is Syria, that of course has spilled across the border into Iraq and has now spawned a terrorist state, not just a state sponsor of terror, but a full-blown terrorist state with ISIS. That is setting up franchises well outside the Iraq/Syria corridor in places as far flung as Libya, Afghanistan, the Sinai Peninsula, even Boko Haram has pledged its fealty (phonetic) in Nigeria. And, of course, is calling for attacks from all over the world against the West. Against America. Against Europe. With lone wolves given free reign to figure out how best to strike at the Christian and Zionist invaders as the jihadists refer to them.
So this is the reality now of what they're trying to deal with in northern Syria. And, of course, many of us look at this and say, well, this certainly feels like too little too late. Why would this be sufficient to do anything in this conflict that will actually change any trajectory. That will start -- as the stated goal of the administration is to -- to degrade and destroy ISIS. Why do we think that's the case? What evidence do we have that this will be sufficient?
Keep in mind that they're going for a safe zone. Not a no-fly zone. Because once again, the administration thinks, well, if we call it something else and take a half measure, then I can't be blamed as much if this goes wrong. Because at least we're not what that silly Bush administration was. That's really one of the main motivations that they have on a lot of foreign policy issues when it comes to dealing in the Middle East, it's certainly one of the more prominent theories they operate from. Don't be Bush. That's what Obama thinks about whenever he's looking at this on a map, whenever he's briefed by chairman of the JCS, or whoever -- head of the CIA. Head of the various national intelligence agencies. He's got to be sitting there thinking, well, I can't be Bush. I can't be dragged into a quagmire. And so what's the minimum?
What we find out though is that minimum -- and this from a president, by the way, who said never again. Who made it a point to set up some sort of an international response mechanism to ethnic cleansing and to genocide. That half measures and minimalist approaches have allowed for slaughter of Christians in the Middle East. The near extinction of Christian communities in parts of Iraq. An ancient Christian community, by the way. Well, we've as a country been told that it's just a matter of time before they -- the administration gets its act together and takes real action here. Decides that it's going to do something meaningful.
Well, here we have it. It might be a few years too late. But a safe zone. A safe zone that, give it some time, will turn into a no-fly zone. But that will be on the next president's watch. Once again, you see, this president just wants to get out of office without being Bush, without making those same mistakes, without taking us down those same paths. You can decide for yourself what you think the wisdom of all that is. But that's the reality of his policy in Syria.
And that's the Buck Brief for today.