Ted Cruz: Our Focus In Syria ‘Should Be On Utterly and Completely Destroying ISIS’

MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 29: Republican Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) takes part in a town hall event moderated by Anderson Cooper March 29, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by
Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz explained to a military father during Tuesday’s CNN town hall that he would do “whatever is necessary militarily to defeat ISIS.”

Tim Mattson’s son Jordan in 2014 traveled to fight ISIS in Syria alongside Kurdish forces. Matson asked Cruz if, as Commander-In-Chief, he would send “an overwhelming force with unrestricted use of power to obliterate ISIS and send a message to those who want to do evil upon the innocents of their fate if they do this.”

Cruz spoke of the history of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton leading world forces in toppling the brutal dictator that had come to somewhat cooperate against terrorism under U.S. strength. “The consequence in Libya is that that country was handed over to radical Islamic terrorists. It’s become a war zone of battling warlords.”

He moved to apply that history to Syria. “The problem is, if we simply topple Assad, the most likely outcome is that ISIS takes over Syria. And handing Syria over to ISIS to radical Islamic terrorists who are waging war with us is a mistake.”

“Our focus, I believe, in Syria should not be on toppling Assad, our focus should be on utterly and completely destroying ISIS because ISIS is our enemy, and ISIS has declared war on America and they pose a direct threat to our national security interest.”

Cruz said he would do “whatever is necessary militarily to defeat ISIS.” He described a portion of that as being air power.

He brought in a reference to the first Persian Gulf war during which there was a 37-day period during which the United States was launching approximately 1,100 air attacks a day. He compared that to President Barack Obama launching between 15 and 30 air attacks on ISIS a day today.

“You can take out their command and control headquarters, you can take out their communication, you can take out their means of transportation…you can take out their oil fields, you can take their oil refining capacity, you can take out their infrastructure, you can target their troops and their troop movements. And we’re not doing that right now.”

Cruz called “overwhelming air power” the “first step.”

The next step he said, “is arming the Kurds.” He called the fighting forces of the Kurds, the Peshmerga, “longtime allies of America” fighting ISIS now. “ISIS is using U.S. military equipment that they seized in Iraq. The Kurds are using outmoded equipment and the Obama administration refuses to arm them because of political reasons. That doesn’t make sense.”

Cruz said he would do “whatever is necessary” to win, but that he wouldn’t “send our troops into combat the way Barack Obama is doing, with rules of engagement so strict that they cannot fight, they cannot win and they cannot defeat the enemy. If we’re gonna use our troops, we’re gonna defeat the enemy.”

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