Recap of Sunday Talks Shows on National Security

The U.S. fight against ISIS and the GOP candidates’ readiness to serve as president amid the shift on national security issues dominated another round of Sunday talk shows.

In an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, Jeb Bush contended that the threat of ISIS is a result of withdrawing all the troops from Iraq: “Had we kept a small force in Iraq, we wouldn’t have the mess that we have right now… That lack of commitment created the instability that now has created a caliphate.” On coalition against ISIS: “Without American leadership this isn’t going to happen. In the post-ISIS world there needs to be stability. You can’t just allow the void to be filled. I think we need to do this not unilaterally, we need to do this in concert with Syrian, Sunni-led forces, well trained, backed up by air superiority, and we need to garner the support of the Arab world in a unified fashion, to create a fighting force that will both take out ISIS as well as bring about change in the Assad regime.”

Bush also suggested that Donald Trump is unfit to serve as Commander in Chief and is not taking national security issues seriously: “I just think he’s uninformed. He knows what he’s saying. He’s smart. He’s playing you guys like a fiddle, the press, by saying outrageous things and garnering attention. That’s his strategy, is to dominate the news. The simple fact is that he’s been wrong on Syria and on the refugees pretty consistently. And no one’s holding him to account. He first said we had no interest in being involved in Syria. And then he said let the Russians take out ISIS. And then he said let ISIS take out Assad. Back and forth it goes. And the net effect of this is in these really serious times he’s not a serious leader… I have great doubts about Donald Trump’s ability to be commander in chief. I really do. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt to see how the campaign unfolded. But if you listen to him talk, it’s kind of scary to be honest with you, because he’s not a serious candidate. He doesn’t talk about the issues at hand that are of national security importance for our country. To keep us safe is the first priority of the president. And he’s all over the map, mis-informed at best and praying on people’s fears at worst.”

Senator John McCain warned on Face the Nation that Trump’s idea of registering Muslims in the United States would affect the fight against ISIS: “I think it has an interesting effect of turning Muslims all over the world against the United States of America, which is 99 and 44 one hundredths percent people who practice an honorable religion. And by the way, the fact is that we can succeed here and ISIS is not that strong but the longer they stay in power, they more this poison spreads and metastasizes from as far away as Afghanistan, Africa, and other parts of the world.”

Ben Carson, who was touring Syrian refugee camps in Jordan over the weekend, spoke to Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press: “I think the military solution, obviously, is to try to exterminate ISIS and the other radical jihadists who will not allow peace to occur under any circumstances until they achieve their goals. But in terms of a place like Syria, you have to recognize that the likelihood of an Assad regime maintaining peaceful control is extremely small. And the likelihood of, you know, El Masrah or any of the anti-Assad factions maintaining control is also very small. So, you need to be working on some type of mechanism to keep it from being in perpetual turmoil… I think the most compassionate thing when you’re fighting a war is to do it quickly. The longer you drag it out, the more people are hurt. And I think we need to work in close conjunction with our Department of Defense, with our Pentagon, with our experts. Ask them, “What do you need in order to accomplish this?” And then, let’s make a decision. Are we going to give that to them? Or are we going to keep, you know, sort of giving them things, you know, piecemeal?”

On Face the Nation, Carson suggested that the U.S. should send $3 billion annually – with help of the West – to Jordan to help with the Syrian refugee crisis: “When I looked at the refugee camps in Jordan, there’s about a three billion shortfall annually. That’s how much money we spent last year on Halloween candy. I mean, is it something that can be done? .. You know our country has done a great job in terms of providing support. But I believe that you know the entire international community could easily make up that 3 billion dollar shortfall. My point in comparing it to the Halloween candy is to say that you know this is not a big deal.”

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Carson pushed back against the suggestion that by taking this trip in the middle of a campaign he’s acknowledging that he isn’t prepared to be commander-in-chief: “I’m acknowledging that I like to know what I’m talking about. You know, it’s the same situation when I went this summer down to the border of Mexico. And, you know, I knew that there were problems there, but to be able to actually talk to the farmers who are being harassed and to the sheriffs and sheriffs’ deputies who are frustrated after risking their lives and then being told by ICE, you must release these people, you get a much better impression seeing a fence with a big hole cut in it with a few strings of barbed wire across that people can easily go through, and that’s a barrier? You know, it’s good to be able to see these things for yourself so you can actually begin to formulate the right kinds of policies with the real information.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich, speaking to Martha Raddatz on This Week, offered his own proposal to fight ISIS on the ground in Syria: “I’m not talking about an occupying force, I’m talking about a coalition that looks awfully like the coalition we had in the first Gulf War. It would involve our friends in the Middle East who want to contribute, also to our NATO allies, because we’re not going to solve this problem with ISIS by just sitting back and delaying or dithering, which is what we’ve done… I think that we should proceed with moving forward on a no-fly zone. And I think we should proceed by putting boots on the ground and a coalition with Europeans and with our friends in the Middle East like we had in the first Gulf War to destroy ISIS once and for all.”

Kasich also addressed his controversial TV ad comparing Trump to Hitler: “This is Colonel Tom Moe, he was a POW for five years in North Vietnam, was beaten and tortured and came within an inch of losing his own life. And these are his words. He feels very strongly about a man who divides us. Look, it’s about whether we want to have a leader who unifies the country. I mean, Trump has criticized and insulted women, Hispanics, Muslims and reporters… We need a leader that brings us together, not a leader that’s separating us, one group from another… I think he’s very divisive and I do not believe he will last. Because somebody who divides this country here in the 21st century, who’s calling names of women and Muslims and Hispanics and mocking reporters, then say I didn’t do it but he did do it, it’s just not going to happen.”

Mike Huckabee was on CNN’s State of the Union to outline the need to force other countries to join the coalition against ISIS: “There’s no excuse, especially for Middle Eastern nations, especially for Muslim Middle Eastern nations, to simply sit back and do nothing and let America, the United Kingdom, France, NATO countries, to let the rest of the world attack this malignant cancer called Islamic jihadism, and then sit back and protect their own special and well-funded kingdoms. There has to be a concerted effort. This is a world battle. And we’re fighting not so much for land, real estate, and the color of our flag.  We’re really fighting for whether or not we’re going to be a civilized world or we’re going to be savages, because what is represented by Islamic Jihadism is nothing less than savagery and uncivilized behavior. When you cut people’s heads off because they don’t agree with your faith, when you put them in a cage, you pour gas on them, and set them afire in a cage, that’s not civilized behavior. That’s savagery. “


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