Second American journalist reportedly beheaded

Charles Krauthammer on President Obama still looking for a strategy to deal with ISIS


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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INGRAHAM: Hi, I'm Laura Ingraham in for Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight. Let's get straight to our top story. Of course, news reports say that a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, who had been threatened with death at the hands of ISIS thugs, has in fact been beheaded. His death follows that of James Foley who was killed just last month. Today Fox News' James Rosen asked the State Department spokeswoman if this reported second beheading will escalate the administration's approach to ISIS.


JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: Does the Obama administration consider this an act of war?

JEN PSAKI, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We certainly -- I'm not going to put new labels on it, James. I would say we certainly consider this act, this reported act, the act of the killing of James Foley as a horrific terrorist act.


INGRAHAM: But there are now reports that President Obama has known for at least a year that ISIS posed a dangerous threat not only to Iraq and to Syria, but to our own vital interests. And still, the president admits he's still looking for a strategy to address the threat. And now even some Democrats are criticizing the president.


DIANNE FEINSTEIN, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: I think I've learned one thing about this president. And that is he's very cautious. Maybe in this instance, too cautious.


INGRAHAM: With us now to comment on this rather strange Obama doctrine, if that's what you can call it, Dr. Charles Krauthammer. So, Charles, I know we don't have a strategy yet, but analyze this current situation for us after, again, another horrific beheading. The administration responds saying it's horrific. Well, we know that.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, it's a nonresponse. The video like the one that preceded it was called a message to America. In it Obama's directly addresses is a challenge to him. We know with the first video Obama made a statement. Then he went off and had a round of golf. I wonder if when he lands in Estonia if they'll have a round of golf, as well. This is a president who refuses to act, as you say, refused to act on a year's worth of intelligence because he fits his view of the world. His understanding of reality. To fit his own ideology. This is a president pledged to basically withdraw the U.S. from the world. This is the anti-Bush. A, because he believes America that doesn't have the moral right to intervene in the world. He's not a believer in American exceptionalism. In the confessional tour he made at the beginning of his presidency abroad, he talked about all of our sins. Second because he prides himself, there's a streak of narcissism in him. As a man who ends wars, historically important. You know, he says, "I ended the war in Iraq." Of course, he didn't. David Petraeus ended the war in Iraq. He threw away the fruits of victory. And lastly because he cares about domestic affairs above all - and what sees is public opinion, which very correctly and understandably does not want to intervene abroad unless led by a president who explains why, and thus he's been utterly passive. The passivity continues.

INGRAHAM: Although, the new poll that came out NBC/"Wall Street Journal, ": 54 percent of Americans said we haven't been aggressive enough in response to the Islamic threat. So, in the absence of presidential leadership, the public sees the brutality, understands now more fully what's happening not only to our vital interests, but to the Christian people, to the other religious minorities. Amnesty International called it an ethnic cleansing I think of epic proportion, what's happening right now in Iraq. After we were there, Christians were living there, at one point, you know, 2 million Christians. Now it's down to 600,000 people, Charles. And we were led to believe by this administration that they were blindsided. So it's willful, it's -- it's willfully telling the American people, oh, this -- this was kind of surprising to us. It was J.V. But they weren't blindsided, were they, Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: But it's willfully telling himself, Obama creates a reality around himself. He's surrounded by sycophants. Nobody of any stature of his administration who will tell him he's wrong, who will tell him when he gets the briefings for over a year on ISIS and the growing threat that it is not something he can ignore. And the reason there's been a shift in public opinion is that public opinion today is seeing what was obvious five years ago, that when you withdraw American power from the world, whether in Iraq, in Syria, where you go into Libya and then abandon it, whether with Russia, wherever it is, there are consequences, and there is setting into Americans the reason you cited that poll, the reason that shows Americans are believing that we aren't aggressive enough, there's a sense of shame. We are the great power of the world. We see all of these atrocities, and now challenging America, with atrocity involving Americans who are cruelly beheaded and killed. - INGRAHAM: Would you even respond to that video today in the way that the State Department did? I mean they came out, DOT comes out, it is kind of like tit for tat. You know, we behead someone, you respond. I mean it's almost like -- of course I work for President Reagan, you were around then. You almost want our actions to speak louder than any words. And we have kept up the airstrikes. They got a big - big, you know, Islamic leader in Somalia. We killed Gadahn yesterday it looks like. They really set information. So, they have had some pretty big strikes.

KRAUTHAMMER: What's important is not how we responded immediately afterwards. Remember, after 9/11, George Bush did not respond, he didn't toss a useless missile into an empty tent in Afghanistan. The way the Clinton administration had done after the bombings on the embassies in Africa. He waited a month and then he rallied. The tremendous operation was a 100 days. They took down the fully entrenched government in Afghanistan. What the world wants to see is actions, not words. The president's words don't mean anything. He establishes a red line in Syria. It doesn't exist. Nothing happens. He's now in Estonia. He says, "We will stand with the Estonians." That doesn't mean a thing. He stood by - he hasn't even supplied the Ukrainians with weapons to defend themselves.

INGRAHAM: But Charles, shouldn't be .

KRAUTHAMMER: It's got to be action.

INGRAHAM: In the region, shouldn't we have the powers in the region also step up? We hear about the moderate Muslims, are all against this. We don't hear it. We don't see the real tangible evidence of their meaningful assistance. I'm sure this stuff going on behind the scenes, we want our European partners involved, America has to lead. But I think the American people -- OK, we have a lot on our backs, we'll do it. But we want some other people involved. That's what the other side said, that's the liberals clearly want before we get there.

KRAUTHAMMER: That's the word. For the one thing the Obama administration prides itself on diplomacy. You know, George W. was crude and blunt, and we are subtle and sophisticated. We can do diplomacy. The best example is to go for it. Here's the president, George Bush Sr., who organized a coalition. But only after he said, "If this will not stand. We will lead." Obama never says that.

INGRAHAM: Charles, thanks so much.

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