As many might remember, during the fourth GOP presidential debate Ben Carson gave a rather incoherent answer concerning the Middle East where he clearly suggested that the Chinese were conducting military operations in Syria. Following his statements the media pressed the presidential candidate about his comment and how someone who has absolutely no access to high-level national security intelligence could obtain information that even the CIA, NSA and the Obama administration didn’t have.
“I have several sources that I’ve gotten material from. I’m surprised my sources are better than theirs,” Carson said on Friday in response to reporters pointing out to him that the president had denied any Chinese military involvement in Syria.
That same day one of Carson’s top advisers, Armstrong Williams, told MSNBC that the candidate had been told by reliable “sources on the ground” that the Chinese are in Syria. He also went on to make a snide remark about the mainstream media, suggesting that just because the press doesn’t know about the Chinese doesn’t mean information wouldn’t come out in a few days confirming Carson’s comments.
Then later that same day his campaign issued another statement saying that, no, Carson does not believe that the Chinese are involved militarily in Syria, but pointed out that they do have a diplomatic relationship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
So, just to summarize thus far, in a matter of a few days Carson went from stating he had intelligence better than the president’s own intelligence that told him the Chinese were involved militarily in Syria; an adviser to his campaign essentially mocked the press for suggesting that Carson was just making it up; then, finally, his campaigned admitted that this “intel” he was essentially boasting about was nothing more than the basic knowledge that anyone with the Internet could find out through Google that China has diplomatic ties with the Assad regime.
Oh, but it gets worse.
On Tuesday, a top foreign policy adviser to Carson, Duane R. Clarridge, basically said that the presidential frontrunner isn’t very “smart” when it comes to foreign policy. Via The New York Times:
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.” (Source)
Naturally, Carson’s campaign responded to this story, bashing The New York Times by literally attacking Clarridge’s age and suggesting that they took advantage of an elderly man.
“He is coming to the end of a long career of serving our country,” Carson communications director Doug Watts said. “For The New York Times to take advantage of an elderly gentleman and use him as their foil in this story is an affront to good journalistic practices.”
So, we’ve gone from Ben Carson suggesting that the Chinese military is on the ground in Syria; to the candidate mocking the Obama administration’s intelligence; to finally admitting that he has no intelligence confirming that China’s military is there; to his campaign attacking the mental competency of one of his foreign affairs advisers.
It’s stunning to realize that there are millions of conservatives who think this guy is fit to be president. Give me a break. Ben Carson has absolutely no business even running for president, let alone being a leading candidate for one of our nation’s two largest political parties.
And Carson’s gaffe couldn’t have come at a worse time considering tension is extremely high right now following the Paris attack. It really exemplifies the fact that he clearly has no clue what’s even going on in the Middle East, let alone how to go about understanding international terrorism or foreign affairs.
How will this impact his campaign? Time will tell, but I think it’s becoming clear that there’s a lot of internal tension brewing as they scramble to try to coverup Ben Carson’s total incompetence.
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