Harf: ‘We Can’t Kill Our Way’ Out of War Against ISIS

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf declared “we cannot win this war by killing them [ISIS], we cannot kill our way out of this war” on Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Harf said that the video of ISIS murdering Egyptian Christians “underscores to people that it isn’t just a fight in iraq and in syria and that it’s not just a fight about dropping bombs on terrorists. It’s really how we stop the causes that lead to extremism in a place like Libya, the fact that there’s no governance, and there’s no opportunity for young people, it lets groups like ISIL grow there and flourish there, which is what you saw with this awful situation with these Egyptians that you just mentioned, but this is a longer fight, it’s fighting them on social media…they’re using social media to get converts to their cause and to spread their hatred all over the world. This week, we’re going to have over 60 countries here in Washington to talk about how do we combat this violent extremism together in the long-term, not just in the short-term fight.

She continued spelling out the fight against ISIS after Matthews declared “if I were ISIS, I wouldn’t be afraid right now…nothing we do right now seems to be directed at stopping this” Harf stated “I think there’s a few stages here. Right now, what we’re doing is trying to take their leaders and their fighters off the battlefield in Iraq and in Syria, that’s really where they flourish…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. 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…”

At this point, Matthews cut Harf off and argued “we’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime, or 50 lifetimes. There’s always going to be poor people, there’s always going to be poor Muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing, they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?”

Harf responded “we can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance, we can help them build their economies, so they can have job opportunities for these people. You’re right, there is no easy solution in the long-term to preventing and combating violent extremism, but if we can help countries work at the root causes of this, what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47, instead of try to start a business? Maybe we can try– try to chip away at this problem, while at the same time going after the threat, taking on ISIL in Iraq, in Syria, and helping our partners around the world.”

Matthews remarked “this sounds like we’re going to get rid of juvenile delinquency in America over time by erasing poverty, improving education. Sure, over time. But the American people, I think, are getting humiliated morally by this.”

Harf then declared “they should know that the United States military is taking direct action in Iraq and in Syria. We’re taking their leaders out. We’re taking out their financing, we’re taking out their training camps. This is a long fight, Chris. But I also think, not to take it to politics for a second, they should tell their elected leaders to support the AUMF that we sent to Congress.” Matthews agreed that members of Congress should support the AUMF.

(h/t The Right Scoop)

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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