The U.S. is “not winning” the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, at least that what Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton thinks.
However, she said that “it’s too soon to say that we are doing everything we need to do.” She has called on Congress to update the use-of-force authorization passed after 9/11, which will provide President Obama with more options in the fight against ISIS.
“We have to fight them in the air. We have to fight them on ground and we have to fight on the Internet. And we have to do everything we can with our friends and partners around the world to protect ourselves,” Clinton said in an interview on ABC’s This Week Sunday, CBS News reported.
She said that she expects Obama to discuss an “intensification” of the efforts to fight terrorism Sunday, when he delivers his prime-time address from the Oval Office. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement that the president will go over “the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe,” according to The Washington Post.
Clinton also thinks that the message won’t be enough. “I think…that’s what we’ll hear from the president, an intensification of the existing strategy,” she said during the interview with George Stephanopoulos. “And I think there’s some additional steps we have to take.”
She has called for “much more robust air campaign” against the Islamic State, which would include leadership and oil infrastructure, CBS reported. She added that the U.S. needs to get the Sunnis and Kurds in the region to fight against ISIS on land.
Clinton has continued to argue that American combat troops won’t improve the area’s situation. She says that the U.S. should “up our special ops numbers” from the 50 en route to the region.
“Then we need to take stock of what else we need. I think the more than 3,000 Americans that we have on the ground in Iraq, who are advising, assisting and enabling the Iraqi military have to be given the flexibility and support they need,” Clinton said. “And I believe strongly we should perhaps ask some of our current and retired military officers, who dealt with the Sunni sheikhs in Anbar and elsewhere to once again reconstitute the fighting force that they put into the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq.”
Though Clinton doesn’t think any of these steps require new military authorization, she still argues for Congress voting on one. Why? She says that it’s crucial “for the Congress to vote on behalf of the American people and to make sure that we are updating it to take into account the new authorities that that risks.”
When she was asked about Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz’s idea to carpet bomb ISIS, she said that that is “an easy thing to say.” But, Cruz has “never had any responsibility for trying to figure out who the bad guys are and who innocent civilians are.”
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush appeared on the show later, and he claimed Clinton was just playing word games, The Post reported. “They are at war with us and we should have a strategy not just to restrain but to destroy them,” Bush said. “We have to get the lawyers off the war-fighters’ backs.”
Clinton also revealed on This Week that along with the military, she thinks that social media should be involved. “We’re going to need help from Facebook and from YouTube and from Facebook. They cannot permit the recruitment and the actual direction of attacks or the celebration of violence by this sophisticated Internet user,” she explained. And she’s called on the “best minds” to “come together to help us deal with this evolving threat.”
Additionally, Stephanopoulos pushed Clinton to explain her refusal to say that the U.S. is declaring war on radical Islam, according to CBS.
“I don’t want to do that because, number one, it doesn’t do justice to the vast numbers of Muslims in our own country and around the world who are peaceful people,” she said. “Number two, it helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS and other radical jihadists who use this as a way of saying we’re in a war against the West. You must join us. If you are a Muslim, you must join us.”
“If you’re a law-abiding, peace-loving Muslim, you need to be with us against those who are distorting Islam,” Clinton said.
Of course, Republican presidential candidate immediately took to Twitter to attack Clinton, saying that she was “afraid” to use the terminology.
Hillary just said that she will not use the term "radical Islamic" – but was incapable of saying why. She is afraid of Obama & the e-mails!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2015
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also criticized Clinton, and democrats in general, for not using the term. “This is the problem with the president and with Secretary Clinton, who provide leadership by euphemism. They won’t say radical Islamic jihadists,” Christie said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
“Now, when you say radical Islamic jihadists, they understand, the rest of the Muslim community understands, the folks who are peaceful, and who attend mosques in a peaceful way, work in our country, raise their families, pay their taxes, they know they’re not radical Islamic jihadists,” he added. “That’s why we need to use the words, because it differentiates them from the peaceful, law-abiding American Muslims who play by the rules and raise their families and don’t want to see this kind of conduct going on.”