Colin Powell: Military Power Won't Take Out ISIS

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
/ Source: NBC Washington
By Alexandra Jaffe

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Sunday that it’s going to take more than military attacks to take out ISIS, and that air attacks looking to defeat the terrorist group could backfire.

“ISIS is not just an enemy waiting to be defeated in Syria and in Iraq and elsewhere, it is a movement. It’s not something that is going to lend itself to immediate military power to take it out,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The Obama Administration has so far avoided deploying an aggressive military operation against ISIS, choosing so far only to launch air attacks against the group in key regions of the Middle East. But Powell, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush and oversaw the invasion of Iraq, said that “airpower can just do so much,” and warned that air attacks are “destroying a lot homes and towns and villages and other things.”

Instead, Powell counseled, ISIS will “have to be defeated by the people who live in the areas where this movement exists.”

“Especially in Iraq — It’s going to take the Iraqi Army believing in its government, and with a government that believes in its army and is giving the army what it needs to be successful,” he said.

“They have to not only defeat [ISIS] on the ground, but they have to hold the ground, they have to stay there, or else it falls apart.”