Meant to be a subtle jab at her Republican rivals, Hillary Clinton inadvertently took a dig at President Barack Obama’s current strategy in fighting the Islamic State during her national security speech in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tuesday.
The Democratic frontrunner directly rebuked the concept of containing ISIS, something Obama claimed to have accomplished just hours before the coordinated terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.
"It is not enough to contain ISIS. We must defeat ISIS, break its momentum, and then its back," Clinton said.
Claiming to know the desires of the terrorists she refused to call "radical Islamic extremists," Clinton said the U.S. should not engage ground troops in the region. The former secretary of state, following Obama’s example, has already drawn a red line on not putting boots on the ground in Syria to fight ISIS even if they successfully carried out a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland. A majority of Americans now support sending ground troops to put an end to the Islamic extremists.
"We can’t afford another ground war in the Middle East; that’s exactly what ISIS wants from us," Clinton said.
She also decried empty rhetoric directed towards the Islamic caliphate, saying it falls short of a strategy.
"Shallow slogans don’t add up to a strategy," Clinton said.
President Obama previously admitted he had not fully developed a working strategy to defeating the terrorist organization. The president and his administration have constantly reiterated their desire to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the jihadist organization and insist the president’s plan is working. Americans overwhelmingly disagree.
For someone who appeared to be disgusted by shallow slogans, Clinton and the Obama administration have used quite a few. "Smart Power" was a favorite of Obama’s early in his first term. "United for Ukraine" was about as successful as the "Russian Reset" in stopping Putin’s aggression in Crimea. And the "Bring Back Our Girls" movement that spread on social media, while well-intentioned, failed to convince Boko Haram to return 200 Nigerian schoolgirls they abducted.
In the very same speech she accused Republicans of using empty words for political posturing on national security, Clinton did not offer specifics.
"One, defeat ISIS in the Middle East by smashing its stronghold, hitting its fighters, leaders and infrastructure and intensifying support for local forces who can pursue them on the ground," Clinton said. "Second, defeat them around the world by dismantling the global network of terror that supplies radical jihadists with money, arms, propaganda and fighters.
"Third, defeat them here at home by foiling plots, disrupting radicalization and hardening our defenses. Now these three lines of effort reinforce one another, so we need to pursue them all at once using every pillar of American power."
Clinton’s plan listed goals of defeating the terrorists by "foiling plots" and other means but failed to explain how she would go about doing so. She listed what she wanted to get done, but did not deliver a way the U.S. federal government would accomplish these objectives.
The definition of "plan" according to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary is "a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something."