Bill Clinton: U.S. has proven it can't win an Iraq land war

Bill Clinton: We can't win Iraq land war
Bill Clinton: We can't win Iraq land war

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Bill Clinton: We can't win Iraq land war 01:46

Story highlights

  • "We can't win a land war in Iraq, but they can and we can help them," Bill Clinton says
  • Former president was on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" Thursday
  • He says inclusion of Sunnis in Iraqi government is essential to defeating ISIS
  • Stopping the Ebola outbreak in West Africa "will take a Herculean effort"
Former President Bill Clinton voiced support for the U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS and said only the Iraqi people can win a land war in Iraq.
Speaking Thursday night on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Clinton said the United States has proven it can't win an Iraq war with boots on the ground, but that moderate Sunni tribal leaders working with an inclusive Iraqi government can.
"We can't win a land war in Iraq, but they can and we can help them," Clinton said.
Clinton said he thinks President Barack Obama's strategy to combat ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, "has a chance to succeed."
"The Iraqi government finally includes Sunnis who were representing those tribal leaders who are moderate and without whom ISIS cannot be defeated," he said.
"We can give them intelligence, and we can do bombing, and we have to do that to send a signal to them. That there's a price for decapitating those people," he said, referring to the recent beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and of British aid work David Haines.
"You can't let people get away with that, that's a terrible signal to the world," he said.
Clinton also believes that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa can be stopped, but that "it will take a Herculean effort."
"A lot of these people can survive if they get proper care quickly, and we can stop the epidemic and let it burn itself out," Clinton said.
Obama, officials from the World Health Organization, the United Nations and Doctors without Borders will gather with the former president at a meeting of his Clinton Global Initiative, which starts Sunday. The Ebola outbreak "probably represents the confluence of all the various things that you can do at Clinton Global Initiative," said Stewart.
"This is an emergency because nobody knows how to cure this," said Clinton.
The World Health Organization said Thursday that the death toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 2,622 dead. The number of reported infections is 5,335, though the actual number is "almost certainly" higher, Clinton noted.
Clinton said that this Ebola epidemic is different than previous outbreaks in remote rural areas mainly because of the density of people in the urban areas in which it is striking.
"There are a lot of people there and there are just too many bodies brushing up against one another every day," he said.