Hillary Clinton is calling for more allied planes, more airstrikes and a “broader target set” though no large-scale mobilization of U.S. ground troops to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
She called on Congress to approve a new authorization of the use of military force against ISIS, saying that doing so would signal “that the U.S. is committed to this fight. The time for delay is over. We should get this done.”
In the wake of the Paris attacks, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, Clinton said that “every society faces a choice between fear and resolve” an indirect shot at her Republican foes in the 2016 presidential race, who have called for the United States to shut out Syrian refugees.
“This is no time to be scoring political points. We must use every pillar of American power, including our values, to fight terror,” Clinton said.
She said airstrikes by an international anti-ISIS coalition “will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS,” the former secretary of state said Thursday in a speech in New York City.
Clinton called for more “flexibility” for U.S. Special Operations forces and trainers to work with regional forces particularly Sunnis and Kurds in opposing ISIS. She said she is open to sending more than the 50 of those forces that President Barack Obama has already mobilized. But Clinton said she opposes a new U.S. ground war in the Middle East.
“That is just not the smart move here,” Clinton said. But she did not detail her plans if regional powers fail to supply more troops and arms for the fight. Instead, Clinton sought to ramp up pressure on Iraq’s Shia-led government and on Turkey to set aside old grievances, saying that “the threat from ISIS cannot wait.”
She said Qatar and Saudi Arabia “need to stop their citizens from directly funding extremist organizations.” And she acknowledged that the U.S. desire to see the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who she said has slaughtered more Syrians than terrorists have, isn’t a top priority.
“We need people to turn against the common enemy of ISIS,” Clinton said.
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