Tags: Ash Carter | defense secretary | war with ISIS

Defense Secretary Carter: US Already at War with ISIS

 (Getty Images and MSNBC)

By    |   Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 08:43 AM

The United States is already at war with the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in extensive interview airing Thursday, amid calls for a stronger response against the threat from the Obama administration.

"We have to defeat ISIL," Carter told MSNBC "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezenski. "It is something that must be defeated."

And after last week's attacks in Paris, Carter said he is "glad the French are galvanized in joining the fight now," and he agrees with French President Francois Hollande that there is a war against ISIS, saying that "Hollande has said it very well."

"We are fighting every day," Carter said. "We have 3,500 people on the ground in Iraq...we're flying air sorties [that are] very intense, very effective. We're starting hit the fuel convoys now. ISIL uses the oil infrastructure to raise money."

He also pointed out that strikes in recent weeks have taken out various ISIS leaders as well, including infamous terrorist "Jihadi John" Mohamed Emwazi, considered to be the lead executioner for ISIS and the man whose British-accented voice is heard on many videos that show hostages being beheaded.

Already, the United States has changed some tactics, said Carter, including going after the fuel convoys.

"If you look at the data, the thing that most enhances the impact of the air campaign is better and better intelligence," said Carter. "We're prepared to change the rules of engagement. We've changed tactics as we just did in the case of the fuel trucks."

That decision happened before the Paris attacks, and Carter said that it the intelligence was needed to identify that "part of the energy infrastructure, which is being used by ISIL to finance their operations. We're getting better and better at this every day...I hope as a consequence of the terror attacks France is indicating willingness to do more, and the European countries do more than [they have done] so far."

In the end, it's vital that ISIS be defeated, said Carter, "but they have the stay defeated. And that means that there has to be capable and motivated local forces that are prepared to sustain the defeat. We know from Afghanistan and we know from Iraq that that's the hard part."

It is also important to clear the Syrian city of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the Islamic State, said Carter.

"Our approach to that is to surround it, close it off and then take it back," he told the show. "They need to be destroyed there and some reasonable form of government which has to be local has to be restored there so it doesn't descend into chaos once again."


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The United States is already at war with the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in extensive interview airing Thursday, and is calling for a stronger response against the threat from the Obama administration.
Ash Carter, defense secretary, war with ISIS
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2015-43-19
Thursday, 19 Nov 2015 08:43 AM
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