Recap of Sun. Talks Shows on Fight Against ISIS

Republican presidential candidates touted their foreign policy credentials and offered their approach as how to defeat the growing threat of ISIS in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday night.

Marco Rubio expanded on the need to motivate the Sunni allies in the Gulf region to take the lead of the fight while conducting special operations in Syria. Lindsey Graham, however, called on the administration to up the military campaign in Syria to prevent another 9/11 that’s on the way. Jeb Bush said the U.S. first needs a strategy, one that the administration is lacking. He also suggested that the Paris attacks would benefit candidates like him who are viewed as best suited to serve as commander in chief in these challenging times.

Read excerpts of the candidates’ comments on the Sunday talks shows below:

Rubio on the U.S. military campaign against ISIS: “I think that we need to begin to work more closely, for example, with the Sunni tribes in Iraq who do not want to work under the thumb of the central government in Iraq. We also have to get our Sunni allies in the region more involved in this fight. The only way to ultimately defeat ISIS is for them to be defeated ideologically and militarily, by Sunnis themselves… I also believe that we need to increase the number of special operators… conduct an increased number of special operations attacks, targeting ISIS leadership, and revealing that they are not invincible… Long-term, however, in the big picture, the only way to defeat ISIS militarily is for Sunnis themselves to be the bulkhead of the fight. But it will require us to do more in the short stage.” [ABC’s This Week]

Graham says U.S. needs to up offensive campaign against ISIS, Assad in Syria: “I believe the United States and the world needs to go on offense and stop the reason people have to leave Syria… The best thing the world could do for Syrian people is to create a safe haven within Syria, a no-fly zone. The best thing the United States could do to protect other homeland is go on offense, to form a regional army with the French involved that they’d like to be and go on the ground to destroy their caliphate… We’re going to fight ISIL in their backyard or we’re going to fight ISIL in our backyard. I choose to fight them in their backyard. I choose to fight them in Raqqa, not on the streets of the western capitals of the world or American cities. So, what would I do? I would form a regional army made of Arabs and Turkey and American forces would be part of that army. We’d go in on the ground in Syria. We’d pull the caliphate up by the roots and we would take back land held by ISIL and hold it until Syria repairs itself. That requires American boots on the ground in Syria and we need more American boots on the ground in Iraq if we’re going to protect the American homeland because they’re coming here if we don’t stop them there.”

— “There is a 9/11 coming — and it’s coming from Syria if we don’t disrupt their operations inside of Syria… I’m trying to protect America from another 9/11. And without American boots on the ground in Syria and Iraq, we’re going to get it here at home.” [CNN’s State of the Union]

Bush says we first need a strategy on Syria: “The president has admitted he does not have a strategy as it relates to ISIS. Hillary Clinton last night said that it’s not our fight. It is our fight. And without our leadership in building a coalition to destroy ISIS, it won’t happen. Creating a strategy means that we create a no-fly zone, create safe havens for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army to be built up… Both ISIS and Assad need to be taken out, which means that we need to have a concerted effort by Europe, the United States, with our leadership, and the Arab world to create an alternative to the brutality that exists, so that there could be disability.”

— on Hillary’s refusal to say radical Islam: “I know what Islamic terrorism is. And that’s what we are fighting with ISIS, al Qaeda, all of the other groups. And that’s what our focus should be on. This is not a question of religion. This is a political ideology that has co-opted  a religion. And I think it’s more than acceptable just to call it for what it is and then organize an effort to destroy it… All I know is that she does not believe that this is our fight. This is a fight for Western civilization. We need to be all in on it.” [CNN’s State of the Union]

— Believes Paris attacks will change the state of the 2016 race: “I think as we get closer to the primaries, people are going to want to know who can sit behind the big desk. Who has the judgment and the temperament to lead this country? And if you listen to some of the candidates speaking about Syria, for example, they’re all over the map… The words that I hear them speaking give me some concern. I laid out a strategy two months ago at the Reagan Library, and its proper strategy I think to be able to destroy ISIS and to have change in the regime related to Assad so that there can be peace and security in the region, and lessening the threat to our own national security.” [NBC’s Meet the Press]

This is a partial recap. We will update this post as soon as we obtain more transcripts. 

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