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Harf: No ‘Mulligan’ for ‘Can’t Kill Its Way’ Out of ISIS Problem Remarks

On Wednesday’s broadcast of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to backtrack on remarks she had made previously on the the same network’s show “Hardball” earlier this week in which she said that the United States couldn’t “kill” its way out of the ISIS problem in the Middle East.

“[We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them, so are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians they’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them, we cannot kill our way out of this war,” Harf said on “Hardball.” “We need, in the longer term, medium and longer term, to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs.”

Harf doubled down on her “Morning Joe” appearance.

“I’m not sure I would take a mulligan on this one, but I think he went on to say something I would agree with,” Harf said. “In the short term, and I said this on ‘Hardball,’ we are killing them and will continue killing ISIS terrorists that pose a threat to us. We’re very good at that. Gen. [Michael] Hayden can to speak to that better than anyone.”

“But in the longer term, and this isn’t specific to ISIS, military commanders, politicians of both parties, counterterrorism experts all agree that if you’re going to prevent terrorist groups from spreading to other places and getting more recruits, you have to look at root causes that can lead people to extremism,” she added. “You have to do it all it. You have to take them on military, but you have to look at things like governance, like opportunity, so these groups aren’t able to get more people to their cause.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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