Front-running Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Thursday that “an obsession in some quarters” over use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” actually aids terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaida by denying the United States global partners needed to defeat these violent extremists.
“It gives these criminals — these murderers — more standing than they deserve,” Clinton said during a speech in New York City outlining her national security plans. The former secretary of state argued that it didn’t ultimately matter what kind of terrorist the United States called 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. It mattered that the United States killed bin Laden.
Moving forward, Clinton said America must “lead the world” to defeat ISIS, the organization behind last week’s Paris attacks, which she described as “at the heart of the new landscape of terror.” She also appeared to contrast herself with President Barack Obama, who drew criticism for saying ISIS was “contained” just before the bloodshed in the French capital.
“Our goal is not to deter or contain ISIS, but to defeat and destroy ISIS,” Clinton said. She favors increased air strikes and sending some U.S. ground troops, but not a large number of American boots on the ground.
With the Paris attacks renewing political debate over the nature of Islam, Clinton stressed the religion itself is not our adversary. “Muslim Americans are working every day on the front lines of the fight against radicalization,” she said.