Clinton passed up an opportunity to double-down on her early campaign call to establish a safe zone inside Syria, the biggest difference she had with President Obama over fighting the Islamic State, but something she hasn’t recently repeated.
Instead, she more or less called for a continuation of the current administration’s policy, saying that “we have to intensify our air strikes against ISIS [Islamic State], eventually support our Arab and Kurdish partners to be able to take on ISIS in Raqqa,” their headquarters in Syria. “Our military is assisting in Iraq,” Clinton said, and we are “hoping that within the year we’ll be able to push ISIS out of Iraq and really squeeze them in Syria.”
Recalling her participation as secretary of state during the operation that took out Osama bin Laden, Clinton said she would emphasize the importance of going after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Speaking of what Trump has called his “secret plan” to go after the militants, Clinton used an oft-repeated line, saying that “the only secret is that he has no plan.”
If he does, Trump did not share it tonight. He quickly shifted the subject to insisting, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he never supported the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, and charged that the Obama administration — and Clinton — were responsible for the birth and growth of the Islamic State.