“It cannot be contained it must be defeated,” she says, though “military force ... should be used as a last resort.”
Clinton’s job in the debate tonight is harder than it looks, even though she has far more foreign-policy experience than her rivals, and so will more easily look “presidential.” She spent a significant slice of the last Democratic debate defending her vote for the Iraq war, but explaining tonight what she thinks should be done with ISIS could be more difficult. She was seen by some liberal critics as supporting the Iraq war for political reasons. But there’s strong evidence that she sincerely supported it, having “grown increasingly comfortable with military action during the 1990s,” as The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart wrote last year.
A Gallup poll released just before the Paris attacks showed 53 percent of Americans oppose sending ground troops to Iraq and Syria. Only 37 percent of Democrats support doing so.
Asked if the Obama administration had not foreseen the threat of ISIS, Clinton perhaps threaded this needle by blaming the Bush administration. Bush had made an agreement with Iraq to leave by 2011 with a well-trained army, but Iraqi prime minister Nouri al Maliki “decimated” the army.