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March 26, 2016

Does Anyone Have a Plan to Stop Isis? [Y-not]

As Europe burns, differences between the GOP presidential contenders' approaches to terrorism are emerging. Here's a brief rundown:

Kasich Wants To Redraw Middle East Map (March 10th):

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the U.S. needs Muslim allies to stop the Islamic State group, even if that means allowing regional powers to create a new Middle East. As Republican presidential candidates debated how to fight ISIS militants Thursday night in Miami, Kasich took the opportunity to remind voters that he spent 18 years on the armed services committee...

It appears to have gone largely unnoticed, but during that same debate Donald Trump called for between 20,000 and 30,000 ground troops. Mr. Trump has previously called for boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

Ted Cruz has continued his tough talk about ISIS:

"Today's attacks in Brussels underscore that this is a war," Cruz said. "This is not an isolated incident, this is not a lone wolf, this is a war with radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS has declared jihad on Europe and on the United States of America."

Cruz went on to call for a range of policy prescriptions, saying the first thing he would do in such a situation would be to work to prevent any additional imminent attacks and to find everyone affiliated with the relevant terror cell. He went on to relay his usual message regarding dealing with ISIS, from "carpet-bombing them to oblivion," to working with allies, arming Kurds on the ground and using additional, "overwhelming" force if necessary, before getting "the heck out."

He's received a lot of criticism for using the term "carpet bombing." But others have defended his use of that term:

Recently a few have come out and openly attacked Senator Ted Cruz for his reference to carpet bombing ISIS. Individuals such as Sen. Lindsey Graham have flat out ridiculed Sen. Cruz for using this kind of language. As myself a retired TACP and JTAC, I can defend Sen. Cruz's use of this kind of language. I have fought overseas and as a JTAC and called in many air strikes against the enemies of this nation. I have many friends with shared experiences as fellow TACPs and JTACs who have done likewise and been akin to Titans on today's battlefields. Those are the men I look up to in my career field, men who do not go off and ridicule others who may not understand how it all works, but instead recognize that some exist who will never get it and leave it at that. I felt that way because no matter what, there are those who refuse to learn and prefer their own misconceptions.

That being said I cannot simply remain silent when people like Sen. Lindsey Graham and others ridicule of Sen. Cruz for his use of language like "carpet bombing." He may as well condemn ME since I've used that same descriptor a thousand times in conversation. Not only is it still a legitimate tactic in the toolbox of our military, it has practical applications today. The point of carpet bombing is to attack a concentrated enemy force seeking to do maximum damage such as large vehicle formations, large troop formations, cratering terrain in an effort to deny enemy freedom of movement such as airports and major highways, and that is just a few of the many practical applications today.

When I hear "carpet bombing" I just think of a sustained wave of concentrated conventional bombing as opposed to the use of nuclear weapons or precision bombing. YMMV

For some perspective on the GOP candidates' positions, Hillary Clinton's ideas are mock-worthy. I mean, LITERALLY MOCKED BY VOX.

Bernie Sanders' ideas aren't any better. Here's what The Daily Beast had to say earlier this year:

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants Iran and Saudi Arabia to send ground troops into Syria as part of a coalition of Muslim nations to fight ISIS, an idea he's pressed multiple times as a strategy to fight Islamic extremism in the region.

It's the Middle East policy equivalent of a COEXIST bumper sticker. Sanders's proposal might sound promising to a foreign policy lightweight -- but those with expertise in the area know that the concept is deeply troubling.

Do I think any of these folks, including the Republican candidates, have a fool-proof, detailed plan to eliminate ISIS? No. Ultimately, we're faced with choosing a candidate with the intelligence to surround himself with good people (you can read about the teams Kasich, Cruz, and Trump have assembled at these links) and the temperament to handle complex problems.

About that last bit, I found Donald Trump's sit-down with the editorial board of the Washington Post earlier this week to be quite illuminating:

RYAN: You [MUFFLED] mentioned a few minutes earlier here that you would knock ISIS. You've mentioned it many times. You've also mentioned the risk of putting American troop in a danger area. If you could substantially reduce the risk of harm to ground troops, would you use a battlefield nuclear weapon to take out ISIS?

TRUMP: I don't want to use, I don't want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I'm a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he's a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way he spent 18 million dollars' worth of negative ads on me. That's putting [MUFFLED]...

RYAN: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?


TRUMP: I'll tell you one thing, this is a very good looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I'm talking to?

If you're still flirting with Trump's candidacy, I encourage you to read the entire thing.

Here's a brief re-enactment:

**I've decided to close this thread. Restrict your discussions to ISIS policy. Open thread has been placed below for off-topic discussions.**

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:45 AM

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