Persuading the folks to fight ISIS

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 16, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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In "Back of the Book" segment tonight, persuading the folks to fight ISIS. A new poll from Pew Research Center has asked this question, "What concerns you more about U.S. Military action in Iraq and Syria -- that the U.S. will go too far in getting involved, or not go far enough."

The nation is split. Forty-one percent say, "We will go too far." Forty-one percent, not far enough.

Joining us now from Washington, the author of the one-million-copy bestseller, "Things that Matter," Charles Krauthammer. All right, so you are making a nationwide speech tonight, which you are, but I'm going to interrupt you rudely.

But you're talking to millions and millions of people. How do you convince them that some ground troops are going to be necessary to defeat this ISIS crew.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Look, we already had General Dempsey beginning to lift the flap of the tent to let people know that's where we are going.

You're going to need a president who's committed, who's going to make the case, but who will say this, "This is not a naked U.S. invasion. It's not going to be just American tanks rolling down as We did in 2003."

This has to be -- and here's what I think is being missed. I heard earlier on the show all these ideas of who will do the fighting for us, the Yazidis, the Christians.

I mean, this is ridiculous. Priests in tanks who are untrained? It's a romantic idea. That's not going to work.

The people who can do the fighting, who could augment and help us, or we could help them actually, are going to be the Kurds, but only in their area, some of the elite Shiite militias.

But the most important element, the one that wasn't mentioned on this show at all, and has to be, is going to be the Anbar Sunni tribesmen. This is not as if this is a new script.

The script was written by David Petraeus in 2008 and 2007. That is the only way this is going to work. You're going to have to have the Sunni tribes flip a third time.

They supported al-Qaeda in Iraq at the beginning of the war and then they flipped. Petraeus did that during the surge, supported by American troops.

That was lost by Maliki who cut them off, persecuted them, starved them of arms and of the money. And what we have to do now is to win them back.

If we win them back, you can expel ISIS from Iraq. We may have to have our people on the ground with them. It's not clear how many.

If you don't have the Anbar tribes who know how to fight and would fight, then we can win. You could expect ISIS --

O'REILLY: All right. Well, you have to hire them and we pay them a lot money. They'll be mercenary troops.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's not just hiring them.

O'REILLY: No, they have to --

KRAUTHAMMER: You have to understand, --

O'REILLY: Right, they have to get something.

KRAUTHAMMER: -- the only reason they're supporting ISIS -- no, what they're getting -- they don't like ISIS.

O'REILLY: No, I know.

KRAUTHAMMER: They expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq with a vengeance in 2007 and 2008 because of how barbarous these people were. They made an alliance of convenience because they were being oppressed by the Shiite government that we left behind in Maliki in Baghdad.

If we can get them to flip back to our side and they rise up against ISIL -- yes, you pay them --

O'REILLY: We're going to need special forces to do that.

KRAUTHAMMER: I agree with you on that.

O'REILLY: OK, but most people --

KRAUTHAMMER: But that's the backbone.

O'REILLY: -- most people don't understand any of this, and I'm not being supercilious -- that was the "Word of the Day" last night -- or arrogant, they don't understand it.

They don't pay attention to it and you can't ask the folks to. You can't ask everybody to micro into Iraq.

KRAUTHAMMER: You've got to tell them. It's not micro. You tell them you have to fight with the local resistance. They can win.


KRAUTHAMMER: But they have to do it on site.

O'REILLY: You would think President Obama would know that because Petraeus is around, and Dempsey knows Petraeus. And they know this. I don't think the President just tells the truth to the American people.

I think he sells them some high-in-the-sky vision of, you know, OK, Syrian rebels, and we'll bring them over and train them and they'll defeat -- nobody believes that.

Nobody. It's just like the immigration thing, that, oh, yes, we're going to get immigration courts and get these people back. Come on, you're not going to do any of that.

And when does it come a point where you just -- people just don't listen to him anymore.

KRAUTHAMMER: Bill, I said that on the night of the speech last week. This was a political speech, it wasn't a military speech.

This was Obama reacting to the change in public opinion that was a result of the beheadings on video.


Nothing had changed on the ground. ISIS wasn't any stronger or weaker after the video than it was before. But Obama completely changed his policy because he was driven, --


-- as he always is, by public opinion, not by strategic changes on the ground. He wanted to get -- the crowd was already on its way. The American people were furious and they wanted action, so he followed the crowd.

He leads from behind all the time.

O'REILLY: OK, but the leading that he did was bogus. He sold this crazy bill of goods --

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm with you on that.

O'REILLY: -- that should never happen. It's like Colonel Schaeffer, with all due respect, he thinks the Egyptian troops are going to go fight them.

I don't think there's a chance in hell the Egyptian troops are going to do that.

KRAUTHAMMER: Of course not. The Egyptians won't even support us in Egypt.

O'REILLY: Right. They have to worry about the Islamic Brotherhood in their own country rising up and killing them. They're not going to send troops over to Syria.

So, all of this stuff is just pie in the sky. And, I don't know, I think the folks have had enough. When they hear this, they'd get a headache and they turn on another show.

KRAUTHAMMER: But it's not as if it's impossible. You get a president who explains we're going to try to do what we did with those successful steerage in 2007 and 8, to flip the people on the ground who have accepted ISIS but who want to reject them if only we will support them and offer them a place in Iraq that they were denied.

That's the only way it's going to work.

O'REILLY: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: Unless Obama explains it, it's never going to happen. But I agree with you, what he sold them was a bill of goods, especially on what would happen in Syria.

O'REILLY: But is it even close any more. You know, it's not -- it couldn't happen no matter what. And then, I'm just going like this, "Is it me. No, it isn't."

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, no it's not you. Obama has said --

O'REILLY: Yes, I know. But you and I agree, Charles. The world knows that we're right. Charles Krauthammer.

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