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August 25th, 2014
06:35 PM ET

Fmr. NATO commander: The attack on ISIS needs to be led by Sunni Arab countries, not U.S.

(CNN) – The Obama administration has been criticized for pledging no boots on the ground in the attack against militant group ISIS (also known as ISIL). But a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander says it's the right move.

"The nations in the region have to do all the work on the ground," Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.) said in an interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

"I wouldn't want to see us put the 10th Mountain Division in there and have a bunch of young American soldiers up again in combat, because we don't speak the language; it's not our culture; we cannot easily identify friend from foe in that battlefield," said Clark.

The White House press secretary said there is no "active plot underway to attack the U.S. homeland by ISIL," downplaying expectations for military action in Syria.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized the administration, saying in a tweet, "The White House is trying to minimize the threat we face in order to justify not changing a failed strategy."

Clark respectfully disagrees with the senator from South Carolina.

"The White House is wisely marking time while it sorts out the situation on the ground. It wants to go in an effective way. Not simply stir the pot with a bunch of ineffective air strikes somewhere," said the general.

"I'm convinced that under Gen. Dempsey and ... Secretary Hagel, and President Obama, we will have the most effective response against ISIL, but it has to be led by the Sunni Arab countries in the region," Clark said.

For more of our interview with Gen. Wesley Clark (Ret.), check out the video above.

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