Hillary Clinton Draws a Line in the Sand in the Fight Against ISIS

Source: AP
Source: AP

Hillary Clinton made clear on Monday that there's a limit to her support for more aggressive American action against the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS or Daesh.

Speaking with CBS News' Charlie Rose, the Democratic presidential contender and former secretary of state all but ruled out a role for American combat troops in Iraq and Syria, the epicenter of ISIS' strength.

"I agree with the president's point that we're not putting American combat troops back into Syria or Iraq. We are not going to do that," Clinton said.

Pressed on whether there were any conditions under which she'd alter that view, Clinton held firm.

"At this point I cannot conceive of any circumstances where I would agree to do that," Clinton said. "Because I think the best way to defeat ISIS is, as I've said, from the air which we lead, on the ground which we enable, empower, train, equip and in cyberspace where don't forget, they are a formidable adversary online."

Still, Clinton left the door open to expanded military involvement in the region.

Though she opposes deploying American combat troops, in a speech last month she called for the deployment of American special operations forces to "contribute to the fight on the ground." On Monday, Clinton told Rose, "We don't know how many special forces are needed," though she was quick to contrast her support for special operations forces with some Republican calls for combat forces.

Continuing her break with President Barack Obama, Clinton stood by her support for a no-fly zone over Syria, a proposal fellow Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) fiercely opposes.

Charges of foreign policy hawkishness helped derail Clinton's 2008 presidential bid, with then-Sen. Obama hammering Clinton for her 2002 vote to authorize the Iraq War. Though Clinton later recanted that vote, progressive skeptics questioned how much Clinton's overall approach had changed, noting her support for American intervention in Libya and Syria during her tenure as secretary of state and her advocacy for a Syrian no-fly zone.

Watch Clinton's comments on ISIS below, and find the full interview here:


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Luke Brinker

Luke Brinker is Mic's politics editor. He is based in New York and can be reached at luke@mic.com.

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