Clinton: 'We've Got to Do More to Understand That This Is a War'

By Susan Jones | July 15, 2016 | 9:35am EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clintonspeaks at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Thursday, July 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

( - We're in a "world war situation," Fox News's Bill O'Reilly told Hillary Clinton Thursday night. He asked her if it's time to mobilize NATO and have Congress declare war on those fighting for their self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.

"We need to strengthen our alliances, and I include NATO in that," Clinton said. "We've got to do more to understand that this is a war against these terrorist groups, the radical jihadist groups. It's a different kind of war. We need to be smart about how we wage it, but we have to be determined that we're going to win it. That's going to require working with other people," Clinton added.

O'Reilly asked her again, in light of the latest attack on France, if she would support invoking Article 5 of the NATO charter to declare war on ISIS.

"Well, I have long called for NATO to be modernized, to take on the threat that terrorism poses in Europe and Middle East and even in our own country. So I would be very interested in working to determine how best to do that," Clinton responded.

"One of my priorities is to launch an intelligence surge. We still do not have enough intelligence cooperation between our agencies and those in other countries, including in Europe, and we need to have a focal point--"

"Why don't we have the intelligence?" O'Reilly interrupted.

Clinton said the Europeans have been reluctant to share information: "They don't share enough information even across their borders. So I think that we need strong, tough diplomacy, starting with our friends, to do on a bilateral basis with individual countries, collectively with the EU, with NATO and others, to do everything we need to be prepared to work with each other to ferret out these terrorists and to prevent future attacks."

Clinton also told O'Reilly she supports "squeezing" Islamic State terrorists into smaller and smaller territory rather than sending a U.S.-led NATO force into a direct attack on Raqqa in Syria.

"And what we're seeing, because of American troops...we have been able to get the Iraqis, the Kurds, and others to do a much better job of fighting. In fact, a lot of experts believe that as we take territory back, we are going to be poised for a very important attack on Mosul.

"As we take territory back from ISIS forces, they will try to engage in other terrorist attacks...That's what they're doing now, so we've got to go after their headquarters," Clinton said. "We have to keep pushing them into a smaller and smaller territory so that we can take out their leadership, take out their infrastructure, and do as much as possible to end--"

O'Reilly interrupted, saying he would do two things -- call a summit meeting of all Western countries to join the fight against ISIS, and second, attack Raqqa, which is 35 miles from the border of Turkey, a NATO ally: "And we're going to come in, and that's not going to be their headquarters anymore. That's what I would do," O'Reilly told Clinton.

"Well, look, that -- you know, that is, in my view, not the most effective way," Clinton responded. "What is happening now is we are taking territory back in Iraq. We are squeezing them with consistent air attacks. We have killed a number of their leaders. Assuming we are successful and American military leadership is in the hunt on this in Mosul, we are pushing the Turks -- they have moved far more than they had. And, in fact, probably the attack at the Istanbul Airport was because the Turks are really cracking down.

"We are putting together a much more effective coalition," Clinton continued. "I would intensify those efforts. I have no problem with having a summit. I would include, however, not only NATO allies. We've got great allies in the region who are holding the lines for us, places like Jordan, like Israel. Others who are really on the front lines themselves."

Clinton said when she served as Secretary of State, "I started the first-ever international group to deal with global terrorism and to bring everybody to the table. Places that we know money and fighters come out of, and to get them to make more commitments to deal with what they, themselves, have not stopped within their borders.

"And I think we've got to elevate this, make it a very high priority, and I would."

Appearing on CNN a short time later, Clinton said much the same thing to Anderson Cooper:

"Well, I think it's clear we are at war with these terrorist groups and what they represent," she said. "It's a different kind of war and we need to be smart about how we wage it and win it. So I think we have to look at all possible approaches to doing just that."

Asked to elaborate, Clinton said, "We are at war against radical Jihadists who use Islam to recruit and radicalize others in order to pursue their evil agenda. It's not so important what we call these people as to what we do about them."

Clinton told Cooper that she has proposed "a series of measures" to prevent terror attacks such as the one on Thursday in France, "including launching an intelligence surge." And she repeated that "our European friends, through the EU, through NATO, individual nations, have to be willing to work with us to try to get better intelligence that will help them and also help us prevent attacks."

She also said she would "intensify our efforts against the ideologues who peddle radical jihadism online."

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