Hillary Clinton: Our Goal is to Defeat and Destroy ISIS


Nearly a week after the terrorist attacks in Paris and criticism surrounding the Obama administration to do more in the fight against terror, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton revealed her plan to defeat ISIS on Thursday at the Council on Foreign Affairs in New York.

“Our strategy should have three main elements. One, defeat ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and across the Middle East. Two, disrupt and dismantle the growing terrorist infrastructure that facilitates the flow of fighters, financing, arms, and propaganda around the world. Three, harden our defenses and those of our allies against external and homegrown threats,” Hillary Clinton said during the press conference.

The former Secretary of State said in order to accomplish that objective the U.S. must recognize that ISIS is “demonstrating new ambition, reach, and capabilities” which must be stopped.

“Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS.”

Clinton added, the plan would begin a “new phase” to “intensify and broaden” the U.S. efforts to disable ISIS’s control over territory in Syria and Iraq.

“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.”

“Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS.”

- Hillary Clinton

Referring to President Obama, Clinton also does not recommend sending hundreds of thousands of American ground troops to the Middle East. Instead she said the U.S. should “support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission,” and reiterated America’s role.

“No other country can rally the world to defeat ISIS and win the generational struggle against radical jihadism. Only the United States can mobilize common action on a global scale - And that is exactly what we need. The entire world must be part of this fight, but we must lead it.”

Clinton added taking on ISIS means more than just combating the terrorist group in a physical capacity, the United States must also target the “ideological movement of radical jihadism.”

In wake of the Paris attacks, encrypted apps have come into question for potentially aiding terrorists in organizing their plot. At this point there is still no confirmed evidence to support that idea but ISIS has used social media as a platform for recruitment. Clinton called on Silicon Valley along with the private sector to assist the government to stop the online growth of ISIS.

"We must deny them virtual territory, just as we deny them actual territory,” said Clinton.

Clinton did reiterate her call for a no-fly zone over Syria, an option the Obama administration has on the table but has opposed thus far. She said success will only be achieved if Arab countries and Turkey step up involvement in a “much bigger way.”

“This is their fight and they need to act like it. So far, however, Turkey has been more focused on the Kurds than on countering ISIS. And to be fair, Turkey has a long and painful history with Kurdish terrorist groups. But the threat from ISIS cannot wait,” said Clinton.

Secretary Clinton also addressed the debate over Syrian refugees coming into the U.S. and the potential threat to homeland security.

“Our highest priority, of course, must always be protecting the American people. So yes, we do need to be vigilant in screening and vetting any refugees from Syria, guided by the best judgment of our security professionals in close coordination with our allies and partners,” said Clinton. “Congress needs to make sure the necessary resources are provided for comprehensive background checks, drawing on the best intelligence we can get.”

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to slow Syrian and Iraqi refugee flow into the United States and bolster vetting. The bill now goes to the Senate for approval. If passed it would require the FBI and top security officials to certify a background investigation for each refugee guaranteeing no security threat to the U.S. Right now the process to approve a refugee takes approximately two years. On Wednesday, the White House issued a veto threat over the refugee bill.

"Given the lives at stake and the critical importance to our partners in the Middle East and Europe of American leadership in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis - [President Obama] would veto the bill," said the White House.

At the press conference announcing her defeat terror strategy, Clinton aligned herself with the Obama administration’s stance on refugees coming to the U.S.

“We cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and humanitarian obligations,” said Clinton. “Turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against Muslims, slamming the door on every single Syrian refugee – that is just not who we are. We are better than that.”