Hillary Clinton has said the US will go after ISIS terror group and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the same way America had focussed on defeating al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden if she is elected as the next president.
“We have to defeat ISIS. That is my highest counterterrorism goal and we have got to do it with air power. We have got to do it with much more support for the Arabs and the Kurds who will fight on the ground against ISIS. We have to squeeze them by continuing to support the Iraqi military,” Democratic presidential candidate Clinton said here on Wednesday.
A ‘commander in chief’ forum, hosted by NBC on the decommissioned USS Intrepid which is now a floating museum, brought Clinton, 68, and her Republican rival Donald Trump, 70, together just weeks before they square off at the first presidential debate on September 26. While Clinton and Trump did not come face to face at the forum, they were questioned one after the other by Today show anchor Matt Lauer, who moderated the forum.
Clinton vowed that under her presidency, she will not send ground troops into war-ravaged Iraq or Syria, but said the White House will ensure that the Iraqi military has all the support, including special forces, surveillance, intelligence, reconnaissance help. “They are not going to get ground troops. We are not putting ground troops into Iraq ever again and we are not putting ground troops into Syria. We are going to defeat ISIS without committing American ground troops. So those are the kinds of decisions we have to make on a case-by-case basis,” Clinton said as she assured that it is in America’s national security interest to defeat ISIS.
“I intend to make that happen. And as part of it, we are going after Baghdadi, the leader, because it will help us focus our attention, just like going after bin Laden helped us focus our attention in the fight against al-Qaida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater,” she added.
(With PTI inputs)