OTR Interviews

ISIS outsmarting the US military? 'This is a failure of the Obama administration ...'

Since the US-lead coalition airstrikes began, ISIS has adapted and gotten better at evading strikes. What must the US do next?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," October 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Is ISIS now outsmarting the U.S. military? That's a disturbing thought. But here is what we know. Since the U.S. started air strikes, ISIS has gotten better at hiding. And that is keeping many U.S. planes from dropping bombs.

Here is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, on ABC's "This Week."


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The enemy adapts and they will be harder to target, yeah. They know how to maneuver and how to use populations and concealment, and so when we get a target, we will take it.


VAN SUSTEREN: And former Navy SEAL, Carl Higbie, joins us. Good evening, sir.

CARL HIGBIE, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: How are you, Greta. Thanks for having me on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Very well.

That is grim news from General Martin Dempsey. It sounds like ISIS is hiding, more difficult to get. That is not a good sign.

HIGBIE: Right. As they take over more area and they assume more people into their project, I will call it, it makes it easy for them to hide because they can just act like a normal person. They can say, hey, I'm not ISIS. I'm not a radical extremist. I am a part of the population. That is the problem. We are fighting an ideology here and our senior commanders still haven't realized that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that make air strikes less effective. I assume that it does, if we can't find them and don't know if they are hiding.

HIGBIE: Right. It does make them less -- it makes it harder to put effective air strikes out because we don't know where to hit. We can hit all the vehicles we want. That comes down to the root problem, how do we measure success? Is success destroying buildings, vehicles or ISIS fighters? We don't know because they haven't laid it out yet. This is a failure of the Obama administration. We need to seriously look forward and see what are the goals here.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you are looking at goals, let me tell you the signs, is we have Anbar that's now being taken over by ISIS. We have the Iraqi military base overrun by ISIS. We have Kobani which has essentially been overrun by ISIS. And we have ISIS 15 miles outside of Baghdad. And we have ISIS hiding from our planes trying to kill from above. We have ISIS killing women and selling them into slavery, and children as young as 8, as well. It doesn't sound -- I would not say that the overall campaign has been profoundly successful, though I admire our military for trying so hard.

HIGBIE: No, this is an attempt by the Obama administration to put a political stitch in before the November elections. If we really wanted to solve this problem, we need to bomb them just like we did in Berlin in World War II. There was no media complaining about it. We did what we need to do. We sent the troops in afterwards to make sure the job was done. And that is the only effective way to complete this task.

VAN SUSTEREN: If we don't, what happens? If we just -- just stumble along like we are doing, what happens?

HIGBIE: I talked about it in my book, "Battle on the Home Front," that Baghdad -- I said Iraq would fall and we would be back fighting this war again. We fight this same war every decade in the same region. Baghdad will fall, I believe.

VAN SUSTEREN: Baghdad, I don't know if -- we may not be there when it falls. And there are a lot of other nations that could help out, too.

We only have 10 seconds left, Carl, but I would like to see other nations help, too.

HIGBIE: Absolutely. They have to.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm talking about Saudi Arabia, mostly.

HIGBIE: Absolutely, they should.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Because countries like France are helping. There are other countries helping.

Anyway, Carl, thank you.

HIGBIE: Thank you, Greta.