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Cruz: ‘May’ Use Ground Troops To Fight Islamic State, Depends on Commanders, Use Kurds As Boots on Ground

Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said, ” We should use the Kurds as our boots on the ground. Now, in addition to that, it may well require embedded special forces and other troops” and that ” we need to do whatever is necessary to defeat ISIS…we need to listen to the judgment of our military leaders, of our generals and admirals in terms of how you execute that plan” on Wednesday’s “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel.

Cruz was asked, “You also said you will not put ground troops in Syria to fight ISIS?”

He responded, “actually, that’s not what I said. What I said we need to do whatever is necessary to defeat ISIS. And that’s what I’ve said from the very beginning, that what we need to start with, is a commander-in-chief that lays out the objective, lays out the objective that we should utterly destroy ISIS. That’s what’s missing right now. President Obama refuses even to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ much less than take on and defeat ISIS. And, in terms of how we do so, once we have that objective, we need to listen to the judgment of our military leaders, of our generals and admirals in terms of how you execute that plan. Now I believe the first steps to that plan should be overwhelming air power. To put things in context, in the first Persian Gulf War, we launched roughly 1,100 air attacks a day. We carpet bombed them. for 37 days, and at the end of that, our troops went in in 36 hours mopped up what little was left of the Iraqi Army. In contrast, the Obama administration, right now, they’re launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day. It’s pinprick foreign policy. It’s photo op foreign policy, and it’s ineffective. The second element of our strategy right now, needs to be arming the Kurds. The Peshmerga, the fighting forces of the Kurds, they are on the ground. They are fighting. They’re effective fighters. They’re allies of ours. Right now, ISIS is using US military equipment that they seized in Iraq. And the Kurds’ equipment is outmoded. And yet the Obama administration, for political reasons, it doesn’t want to upset Baghdad, refuses to arm the Kurds. We should use the Kurds as our boots on the ground. Now, in addition to that, it may well require embedded special forces and other troops, particularly to direct the air power, but it should be driven by what is militarily necessary to accomplish the task.”

Cruz was then asked, “for the record, you are disagreeing with my assessment that you will consider putting troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria, for the record, correct?” He answered, “I have said from the beginning that we should follow the judgment of the commanders.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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