Front and Center: National Security and the Next Presidency
FOX News Asks Rob O’Neill to Assess Candidates’ Stances on Leading the Country Militarily.
On October 13, the democratic presidential candidates rolled the dice in Las Vegas at the CNN-sponsored democratic debate. Among the contentious issues they were asked to address under the bright spotlight:
“What is our greatest national security threat?”
Former Navy SEAL and FOX News contributor on military strategy Robert O’Neill was certainly interested in their responses. He sat down this week with FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade to share his post-debate assessment of which, if any, democratic candidate might effectively lead the U.S. military.
Kilmeade: “Rob, out of those five that you saw on stage, who did you feel best about leading the country militarily?”
O’Neill: “I was most impressed with Senator Webb. He has a lot of experience. He’s a Vietnam vet. He fought against the enemy on the ground. Secretary of the Navy. Assistant Secretary for Defense. And he’s very realistic about the threat of China and what they’re doing in South China Sea. The problem he’s having…he’s more of a Harry Truman/JFK type democrat. He’s not moving toward socialism like this country seems to be moving to on that side of the aisle.”
Kilmeade: “Bernie Sanders didn’t vote for any war resolution in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He didn’t even recognize ISIS as an enemy of the country.”
O’Neill: “They (the other candidates) didn’t recognize ISIS as an enemy. They don’t recognize Russia as an enemy. He (Sanders) was asked what we’re doing with Russia and I think he said, ‘I think Putin regrets it.’ If we go forward with a let’s cross our fingers and hope there’s karma instead of a forward defense, a line of solidarity as a deterrent, that’s going to be an issue.”
Kilmeade: “I think in the big picture, too, everyone was just running from the Iraq War, which you fought in. Does that bother you?”
O’Neill: “It bothers me the way they talk about it. They’re very quick to blame the republicans for the invasion, which we can say was a mistake being hindsight. But, at the time, where we were with the threat of everyone saying there were weapons of mass destruction, it was time to go in. They never once mentioned we pulled out too quickly, which we did. There are a lot of problems with ISIS. But they’re not even recognizing ISIS.”
Kilmeade: “The sequester has gutted the military. When you talk to the guys serving, do they feel it?”
O’Neill: “The guys feel it. They’re noticing, in spots, where there is not enough fuel to do the evolutions. These are guys at the highest level. Just the budget cuts alone have stopped some training trips, things like that. It seems the democrats just talk about supporting the vets after the fact. They don’t want to build anything up to deter. They want to take away.”