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American Homefront

Clinton: Special Forces Need to Drink Tea and Raid Compounds

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A “Smart Power Approach” is what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the combined civilian and military partnership aimed at diminishing “the appeal” of terrorism for the next generation.

Secretary Clinton spoke for nearly half-an-hour Wednesday at the International Special Operations Forces Industry Gala Dinner held at the Tampa Convention Center.

“We need special operations forces who are as comfortable drinking tea with tribal leaders as raiding a terrorist compound,” Clinton said. “We also need diplomats and development experts who understand modern warfare and are up to the job of being your partners.”

That partnership includes countering terrorism in cyber space. Clinton then shared that they’d successfully hacked an al-Qaida recruiting ad.

The leader of U.S. Special Operations Command based at MacDill Air Force Base, Adm. William McRaven, praised Sec. Clinton for reshaping the civilian force and aligning it with the military.

“She is our type of lady,” McRaven said as he introduced the Secretary of State, “A woman of uncompromising integrity who won’t back down from a good fight.”

They're called the “quiet warriors” because special operations forces’ missions rarely become public with the exception of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The mention of that SEAL Team 6 raid drew applause, one of several times, during Clinton’s speech. She seized the moment to remind the ballroom full of special forces they are appreciated.

“So much of what you do both the tremendous successes and the terrible sacrifices will never be known by the citizens we serve,” Clinton said and after a pause added, “But, I know what you do and so do others who marvel and appreciate what it means for you to serve.”

The gala dinner is part of the 2012 International Special Forces Week in Tampa that included public demonstrations of aircraft and a mock hostage rescue.