“What the West really needs to take on the Islamic State is…a jobs program, apparently. That’s what a top State Department spokeswoman suggested when asked in a TV interview Monday night about what the US-led coalition is doing to stop the slaughter of civilians by Islamic State militants across the region.
“Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on MSNBC’s “Hardball:” “We’re killing a lot of them, and we’re going to keep killing more of them…But we cannot win this war by killing them We need…to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether –“
“At that point, Harf was interrupted by host Chris Matthews, who pointed out, “There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor Muslims.” Harf continued to argue that the US should work with other countries to “help improve their governance” and “help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.”
“She acknowledged there’s “no easy solution” and said the US would still take out ISIS leaders. But Harf said: “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 trying to start a business?”
“Asked about Harf’s remarks on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Harf was only making the point that fighting ISIS entails more than just a military solution. The comments come as the Obama administration takes heat from lawmakers for its approach to the Islamic State, whose self-proclaimed fighters in Libya recently executed 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt.
Speaking exclusively for Newslo, Harf said of her comments on MSNBC: “I’m getting a lot of criticism for stating my opinion. At this point, it doesn’t even matter that it’s the State Department’s official take on the current situation. For now, I’m the only one being mocked and ridiculed because I allowed myself to say what I think publicly. But, you know what? I’m not changing my mind.”
She further added: “I still think the problem of ISIS should be addressed in different ways, not just militarily. Another approach that could very well prove to be effective is to try to assimilate ISIS members into the American society and treat them as our own. We could even give them jobs here and show them what it feels like to be a proud citizen of this great country. In fact, it would be almost ideal to put reformed ISIS members to work in the US Immigration Service. That way, I think they could really learn to appreciate what it takes to be an American.”