Hillary Clinton Takes Aim at ISIS, Cruz, and Trump

A day after the Brussels bomings, the Democratic candidate talks counterterrorism.

Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in SeattleBrian Cahn/Zuma Press

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Today Hillary Clinton delivered a hastily convened speech on counterterrorism at Stanford University in response to the bombings in Brussels on Tuesday. In a half-hour address at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Democratic presidential candidate laid out her strategy for combating ISIS and chastised her Republican rivals Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. “Yesterday’s attack in Brussels was the latest brutal reminder that our fight against ISIS and radical jihadist terrorism is far from finished,” Clinton said at the opening of her speech, arguing that “what America needs is strong, smart, steady leadership to wage and win this struggle.”

The two top Republican presidential candidates recently named their national security advisors (including conspiracy theorists Frank Gaffney and Joe Schmitz) and have seized on the Brussels attacks to call for the policing and monitoring of Muslim communities in America. Clinton called them out for “offensive, inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes Muslims…We need to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners.”

Clinton went after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s positions on Syria and Iraq, particularly his call for the “carpet bombing” of ISIS. “It would also be a serious mistake to begin carpet bombing populated areas into oblivion,” Clinton said, echoing comments by President Barack Obama. “Proposing that doesn’t make you sound tough. It makes you sound like you are in over your head. Slogans aren’t a strategy. Loose cannons often misfire.”

Her proposals for defeating ISIS included providing a safe haven within Syria to stem the tide of the migrant crisis, increasing intelligence sharing with our European allies, intensifying the US-led coalition’s air campaign, and stepping up support for for local Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground.

In a dig at Trump’s recent suggestion that United States should rethink its involvement with NATO because it is “costing us a fortune,” the former Secretary of State said such a stance “would reverse decades of bipartisan American leadership and send a dangerous signal to friend and foe alike.” She suggested that Trump wanted to turn US alliances into a “protection racket.” “Putin already hopes to divide Europe,” Clinton said. “If Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin. It will make America less safe and the world more dangerous.” She did not take any questions after the speech.

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