George Stephanopoulos Frets Over U.S. Taking Action Against ISIS: ‘Is There A Danger Here of Overreacting?’

On Sunday, August 24, This Week moderator George Stephanopoulos bizarrely worried that the U.S. might take too much action in combating the terrorist group ISIS.

Speaking to Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, wondered “it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting?” [See video below.] 

For his part, Kristol immediately shot down Stephanopoulos’ claim that the U.S. risks overreacting with ISIS:

The fundamental danger remains underreaction. I would like a little overreaction by the president now. He's coming back from his vacation. He should go to Congress right away to get an authorization. But meanwhile, he's acting under the War Powers Act and he shouldn’t wait. He shouldn't wait. There's a huge amount of bombing and damage that could be done to ISIS tomorrow if the president orders it.    

Following the conservative columnist’s strong comments, Stephanopoulos conceded that “given the president's rhetoric on Thursday, a cancer on the world, there’s going to be a dramatic escalation of action as well to match that rhetoric.”

While the ABC host did his best to hype the U.S. potentially overreacting in its handling of ISIS, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan continued to pile on against the Obama Administration’s lack of action on the terrorist group:

What was very interesting the past week, was the comments of Chuck Hagel. Not a burly, pro-war figure. Someone who has been skeptical in the past saying, this is the biggest and worst thing we have seen in a long time. The comments of General Dempsey saying, essentially the same thing. Something big and bad is happening here. It's part of the reason the president was so criticized for not saying what, in fact, I think Hagel and Dempsey said. Do you know what I mean? They were making presidential-type statements. 

The Wall Street Journal columnist's comments echoed those made by Bob Woodward on Fox News Sunday when he criticized the Obama Administration for having “inconsistencies” in how it views the ISIS threat. Even though Stephanopoulos was eager to fret over the U.S. taking increased steps to defeat ISIS, both Kristol and Noonan seemed much more concerned over the immediate threat posed by the terrorist group.

See relevant transcript below.


ABC

This Week with George Stephanopoulos

August 24, 2014 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: On the bigger questions, Bill Kristol, it struck me how quickly this has all moved. From ISIS being a minor threat, the president talking about it several months ago as the junior varsity, to now an imminent threat, the words of Chuck Hagel, to the United States. And I guess I wonder, is there a danger here of overreacting? 

BILL KRISTOL:  I wish there were but I think the fundamental danger remains underreaction. Back in January when the president said to David Remnick, we have decimated Al Qaeda, core Al Qaeda as they like to say. It's just the JV now. The ambassador, our ambassador to Iraq, appointed by President Obama, Robert Beecroft was telling Martha Raddatz, she reported this on your show and here on ABC that we have a huge problem. There’s this group ISIS that has taken over Fallujah and Ramadi and has ambitions to go north. Someone asked the ambassador, I believer in private, well what is the White House doing about this? He kind of shrugged. So I think the president, I would like a little overreaction by the president now. He's coming back from his vacation. He should go to Congress right away to get an authorization. But meanwhile, he's acting under the War Powers Act and he shouldn’t wait. He shouldn't wait. There's a huge amount of bombing and damage that could be done to ISIS tomorrow if the president orders it. 

STEPHANOPOULOS: And given the president's rhetoric on Thursday, a cancer on the world, there’s going to be a dramatic escalation of action as well to match that rhetoric. 

PEGGY NOONAN: Yeah, what was very interesting the past week, was the comments of Chuck Hagel. Not a burly, pro-war figure. Someone who has been skeptical in the past saying, this is the biggest and worst thing we have seen in a long time. The comments of General Dempsey saying, essentially the same thing. Something big and bad is happening here. It's part of the reason the president was so criticized for not saying what, in fact, I think Hagel and Dempsey said. Do you know what I mean? They were making presidential-type statements. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.