Hillary Clinton Unveils Strategy to Defeat and Destroy ISIS

Clinton, for the most part, aligned herself with President Obama’s strategy.

ByABC News
November 19, 2015, 12:18 PM

— -- Nearly one week after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Hillary Clinton today laid out her strategy to combat ISIS and global terrorism in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

The former secretary of state focused her remarks on three objectives: defeating ISIS in Syria, Iraq and across the region; disrupting the terrorist organization’s global infrastructure and facilities; and preventing and halting homegrown threats here in the United States.

In order to do this, Clinton said the United States and international coalition must first “intensify and broaden” their efforts by creating a "more effective coalition air campaign” combined with local ground forces.

“It’s time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny ISIS control of territory in Iraq and Syria. That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign; with more allied planes, more strikes, and a broader target set,” Clinton said. “And we should be honest about the fact that to be successful, air strikes will have to be combined with ground forces actually taking back more territory from ISIS.”

Clinton, for the most part, aligned herself with President Obama’s strategy. She said she agrees it is not the “smart move” to “again have 100,000 U.S. troops in combat in the Middle East,” and said that while the United States must “lead” the fight, it should "support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission.”

Her remarks were a subtle change in tone from what Clinton said during Saturday’s Democratic debate, where she noted, "it cannot be an American fight."

Clinton seemed to clarify that line today when she said, "this is a worldwide fight and America must lead,” which drew criticism from her challengers from both parties.

Clinton did reiterate her call for a no-fly zone over Syria, something the Obama administration has so far said it opposes. But in the Q&A that followed, Clinton clarified that the no-fly zone would not be over the entire country, but “principally over Northern Syria.”

Clinton also said the United States must do more to stop ISIS’ growth online, and called on Silicon Valley and those in the private sector to help. "We must deny them virtual territory, just as we deny them actual territory,” she said.

She called out the GOP for their use of the phrase “radical Islamists,” which she says gives terrorists more standing than they deserve. “Islam is not our adversary,” she said.

And Clinton doubled-down on her call for allowing refugees into the United States.

"It would be a cruel irony, indeed, if ISIS can force families from their homes and also prevent them from ever finding new ones,” she said.

During the Q&A that followed, Clinton added that “we should not have religious tests" to decide which refugees can come into the country.

Earlier this week, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said he would back refugees who could “prove” they were Christian.

Her remarks come just hours after ISIS released a video announcing new threats against New York City.

In an interview on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” this morning, Clinton called the threats “serious” and pointed to lax gun laws as a factor in the increased threats.

“It’s way too easy to get guns in our country, terrorists can get guns who should never be allowed to,” she said. "They're on the no-fly list but they often aren't checked or can get guns online, so we do have to take it serious and have to be vigilant."

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