Panetta: Air strikes not enough to stop ISIS

Panetta: Air strikes not enough to stop ISIS
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Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the U.S. must lead the effort to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), adding that more resources are needed.

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“I think the U.S. has to lead in this effort, because what we’ve learned a long time ago is that if the United States does not lead, nobody else will,” Panetta said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Panetta also called on the U.S. to commit additional resources to the fight against the radical Islamic terrorist group.

He said air strikes will not be enough to slow ISIS’s territorial expansion in Syria.

“Look, air strikes are great, you know, we’re hitting some targets, but air strikes alone are not going to win here,” Panetta said.

“We’ve got to take that territory away from them,” he added. “It’s been a year. They’re still in Mosul, they’re still in Ramadi, they’re still in Raqqa, those are areas we have to go after in order to be able to defeat ISIS, ultimately.”

Panetta, who served as secretary of Defense under President Obama from 2011 to 2013, also said it would be unwise to trust the Russians in the fight against ISIS.

“Russia, obviously, it would be nice to have them as part of that effort, but frankly, I don’t trust them in this effort at this time,” he said.