Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno blasted the Obama administration Tuesday for its passive stance on radical Islamic extremism.
Odierno, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2015, appeared on Bill Hemmer’s “America’s Newsroom” to discuss the aftermath of the Islamic State-claimed truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that left 12 dead and 49 injured.
He said the incoming administration run by GOP President-elect Donald Trump needs to take a far more proactive approach to radical Islam than the Obama administration did, which was overly hesitant and passive.
“I think we’ve chosen for a lot of reasons in this current administration to lead from behind. It’s now time for us to lead from the front. Be aggressive at bringing nations together. Be aggressive in our own policies and bringing the capabilities of our government together to take action,” Odierno said.
For Odierno, the conclusion to take from the attack is that America needs to focus on vetting procedures for refugees, who may be planning attacks on behalf of terror groups like ISIS.
“I believe this is a time of proactive leadership to deal with this problem of radical Islamic extremism head-on,” Odierno said. “And it’s time for us to take action.”
Part of the way to handle Islamic extremism, Odierno added, is to go after ISIS’ funding mechanisms and use of social media as a wildly successful recruitment tool.
Moving to the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey in Ankara, Odierno said although the problems in the Middle East are incredibly complex, what’s clear is that U.S. leadership is needed more than ever and Trump’s comments lead him to believe that he intends to “take action.”
In 2015, Odierno expressed frustration that ISIS was obliterating the gains made by the U.S. military in Iraq and said that had the U.S. remained more engaged in the region, the turmoil and chaos now engulfing the area might have been prevented.