Martin O'Malley criticized his fellow Democratic presidential candidates for using the term "boots on the ground" Saturday during the second primary debate.

O'Malley described meeting the mother of a military service member in Iowa who encouraged him not to use the term "boots on the ground" when referring to military strategy.

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"My son is not a pair of boots on the ground," the former Maryland governor said the mother told him.

"These are American soldiers, and we fail them when we fail to take into account the day after a dictator falls," the former Maryland governor added.

O'Malley said the country must use a "whole of government approach" when choosing to get involved in a foreign conflict, including "sustainable development" and "diplomacy."

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