During their latest debate, the four remaining Republican presidential candidates revealed the one thing they all had in common..all four of them would put more boots on the ground to fight ISIS.
During their 12th presidential debate on Thursday evening GOP candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich each declared just how draconian they would be in dealing with ISIS in the Middle East Syria.
The Republican contenders also scoffed at military efforts the Obama administration and vowed to send waves of US troops “to wipe ISIS out,” as Kasich put it.
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Think Progress reports:
Perhaps the most shocking commitment came from Donald Trump who said he would do so, even if 20,000 or 30,000 troops were needed.
“I would listen to the generals, but I’m hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000,” Trump said. “We don’t fight like we used to fight. We used to fight to win. Now we fight for no reason whatsoever. We don’t even know what we’re doing. So, the answer is we have to knock them out. We have to knock them out fast.”
Many foreign policy experts have cautioned against the use of ground troops to fight ISIS, as it could exacerbate conflicts in the region.
While the other candidates did not specify the number of troops they would send to fight the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State, or exactly what that commitment would look like, they did agree that a U.S. presence on the ground was needed.
“We need to do whatever is necessary to utterly defeat ISIS,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “And that needs to be driven not by politicians but by military expertise and judgment. Right now we’re not using a fraction of the tools that we have. We’re not using our overwhelming air power. We’re not arming the Kurds. Those need to be the first steps. And then we need to put whatever ground power is needed to carry it out.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich similarly called for U.S. troops on the ground to fight the militant group and stressed the need for a coalition. “Arabs have to be with us. The Europeans have to understand that this threat is closer to them than even is closer — is as close as it is to us. And in addition to that, you have to be in the air and you have to be on the ground,” said Kasich. “And you bring all the force you need. It has got to be ‘shock and awe’ in the military-speak. Then once it gets done, and we will wipe them out, once it gets done, it settles down, we come home and let the regional powers redraw the map if that’s what it takes.”
Rubio did not call for boots on the ground in the debate on Thursday, but he has repeatedly done so in the past. In an interview with the Guardian in November last year, he said that the United States needed to support a “ground force that is made up primarily of Arab Sunni fighters from Iraq, from Syria, but also from Jordan, from Egypt, from the Emirates, from Saudi Arabia” with additional airstrikes and special operations forces on the ground. Rubio did not tell the Guardian how many troops were needed and said the size of the U.S. special operations force “would depend on our military tacticians to outline a strategy and tell us what the commitment would be.”
“Whatever it is, we’re going to do that. If you’re going to engage militarily, you have to ensure you have the resources to win, not simply to have a symbolic gesture,” he said. In the March 3 Republican debate, he called for ground troops to fight ISIS not just in Iraq and Syria — but in Libya as well.