- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf doubled down on her claim that the long-term solution for dealing with Islamic State terrorists was to help them with economic opportunities — help them get jobs — saying that those who criticized that notion were perhaps not smart enough to understand.

On CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked about her comments.

“I’m not the first person to say something like this,” Ms. Harf said, Mediaite reported. “Military commanders that we’ve had throughout many years here fighting this war on terrorism have said the exact same thing, that in the short term when there’s a threat like ISIL. We’ll take direct military action against these terrorists. We have done that. We are doing that in Iraq and Syria. But longer term, we have to look at how we combat the conditions that can lead people to turn to extremism.”

Mr. Blitzer then asked: “So you suggested that maybe if you find these young men jobs, they might not become terrorists?”

Ms. Harf called that a “gross oversimplification” of her view and went on to clarify — but also doubled down and suggested that those who couldn’t grasp her notions were perhaps not as smart as the experts.

In statements a few moments later, she said: “We cannot kill every terrorist around the world, nor should we try. How do you get at the root causes of this? It might be too nuanced an argument for some, like I’ve seen over the last 24 hours [in] some of the commentary out there, but it’s really the smart way that Democrats, Republicans, our partners in the Arab world think we need to combat it.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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