Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said America can’t win against the Islamic State “by killing them” and ought instead to focus on addressing what she claimed was the root problem — their poor economy — and help them get jobs.
“We’re killing a lot of them, and we’re going to keep killing more of them,” she said during a televised segment on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. “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 medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s a lack of opportunity for jobs, whether …”
Mr. Matthews then cut her off and said: “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 and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?”
Ms. Harf dug in and insisted improving the economic opportunities for the terrorist group is the key to turning back their terror, The Right Scoop reported.
“We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance,” she said. “We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”
The move prompted a day of widespread ridicule on social media, with #JobsForISIS becoming one of the top 10 trending topics on U.S. Twitter for much of the morning and afternoon.
Among the suggestions were — from @jgalt9 “manufacture [hijabs] for cars driven by women“; from @GOPMommy “There has to be some positions open in the IRS“; and from @brick143, “Targets for Navy SEAL training.”
For her part, Ms. Harf used Twitter to double down on her claims Tuesday, noting in a series of tweets that Republican lawmakers and military officials had made what she called similar statements.
“Military ldrs have long said [counterterrorism] takes more than military action. Adm Mullen in 08: ‘We can’t kill our way to victory.’ And let’s not forget George W Bush’s comments on [Countering Violent Extremism]: ‘We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.’ GWB: We will challenge the poverty & hopelessness & lack of education & failed govts that too often allow conditions terrorists can seize,” she wrote over several tweets.
“1 more (of countless others): Colin Powell on fighting terrorism not just w/military means but by combatting poverty. Point is that pols across spectrum, military cmdrs, & CT experts all agree strategy needs to address conditions that allow extremism to grow,” she concluded.