As Donald Trump has stated before, he really blames Hillary Clinton for ISIS. He continued this tack in the debate, making several false claims concerning Clinton and ISIS.
Early on in the debate, at the 22:45 mark of the above video, Donald Trump says “see, you’re telling the enemy everything you want to do. No wonder you’ve been fighting — no wonder you’ve been fighting ISIS your entire adult life.”
Firstly, Hillary Clinton is 69 years old. She became an adult in 1965. ISIS was formed in the mid-2000s from an Al-Qaeda splinter group, so clearly it is impossible that she has be fighting the terrorist group for her “entire adult life.”
Secondly, Hillary Clinton was only Secretary of State for four years, from 2009-2013. She was only tasked with contributing to the fight against ISIS for those years, a fraction of the time that the group has existed, much less the 51 years that Hillary Clinton has been an adult.
Later in the debate Trump continued this line of thinking.
Well, President Obama and Secretary Clinton created a vacuum the way they got out of Iraq, because they got out — what, they shouldn’t have been in, but once they got in, the way they got out was a disaster. And ISIS was formed.
So she talks about taking them out. She’s been doing it a long time. She’s been trying to take them out for a long time. But they wouldn’t have even been formed if they left some troops behind, like 10,000 or maybe something more than that. And then you wouldn’t have had them.
While it is impossible to tell what would have happened if the exit from Iraq was handled in a different way, but it seems unlikely that a small force of 10,000 troops would have made a difference. Furthermore, there has never been a US troop presence in the ISIS strongholds of Syria and Libya, so a presence in Iraq would be irrelevant to those areas.
According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, as Secretary of State, Clinton lobbied strongly to keep a larger force of troops in Iraq, but was overruled by President Obama. Clinton was also a strong proponent of arming the moderate rebels fighting against ISIS.
The hands of the Obama administration were largely tied, as they were legally bound to remove the troops from Iraq due to an agreement signed by the Bush Administration to remove all troops from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Trump was certainly in favor of completely removing our troops in Iraq as early as 2006, when he made this statement to CNBC:
I would announce that we have been victorious in Iraq and all the troops are coming home and let those people have their civil war. I just said, announce victory, get them home…. Let’s say, ‘Victory, Tremendous.’ Have a big thing in the streets. Then get out real fast before you get shot. Let’s get home.
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