GOP Taking Hawkish Stance Against ISIS

Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 08:25 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The call for U.S. military intervention against the violent Islamic State (ISIS) is growing, according to The Washington Post, resulting in an about-face from even some in the libertarian-leaning faction of the GOP.

The call for U.S. involvement is escalating as the November midterms draw near. GOP Senate candidates in battleground states are taking an increasingly “hawkish tone,” according to the Post, particularly those candidates who are themselves vets, including those in Iowa, Arkansas and Alaska.

The hawkish sentiment is also evident in likely 2016 presidential contenders.

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican known as more of a dovish isolationist than a hawk, told the Associated Press last month that if he were president, “I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who, like Paul, is seen as presidential contender and has strong ties to the tea party, attended an Americans for Prosperity meeting over the weekend where he called for “bombing the Islamic State back to the Stone Age.”

And Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called for increased airstrikes, additional Special Forces troops and more munitions to the Kurds, The Wall Street Journal reported last month. Perry said ISIS “need to be eliminated,” cautioning that the U.S. should leave all options open, including ground troops.

“I think signaling to your enemy what you’re not going to put on the table is very, very bad,” he said.

The remarks come on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that the United States did not yet have a strategy to combat the threat of the Islamic State (also known as ISIL).

The statement set off a firestorm of criticism from both the left and the right and has resulted in some Democrats acknowledging that they too are ready to go after ISIS.

Business Insider reports that Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, plans to introduce legislation next week authorizing Obama to carry out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

"This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria," Nelson said in a statement. "Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty."

Brian Walsh, a former spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Post that candidates are responding to the barbaric acts being perpetrated by ISIS, including the recent beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

“Things are moving back in that [hawkish] direction, reflecting the mood of most Americans who are angry at what they’re seeing,” Walsh said.


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