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George Pataki: Boots on Ground Way to 'Degrade, Destroy' ISIS

George Pataki: Boots on Ground Way to 'Degrade, Destroy' ISIS
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:55 AM

Former New York Gov. George Pataki, who plans next week to join the growing list of Republican hopefuls for the 2016 presidential nomination, said Wednesday he is in favor of putting U.S. troops on the ground against the Islamic State (ISIS).

"I would use all of our air power, everything from Tomahawk missiles to whatever is necessary," Pataki told CNN's "New Day" program, while slamming the Obama administration for what he said is a lack of strategy when dealing with ISIS.

"How can you lead when you don't have a concept of what you are doing?" Pataki said. "Think back a year ago when ISIS emerged as beyond the JV team, and the president said we are going to degrade and destroy them over time using the strategy we used in Yemen."

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Pataki said the issue is personal to him, as both of his sons served in the military and his older son was a Marine officer in Anbar Province during the surge. Gains were lost when President Barack Obama ordered troops pulled out of Iraq, he said, making the same complaint about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Let's ask that question of Hillary, let's ask her would she have agreed to pull every last troop in 2012 out," said Pataki. "We created a vacuum there that ISIS filled with catastrophic consequences."

And now, to fight ISIS, Pataki said he would "not be averse" for American boots on the ground to "destroy training centers and planning centers."

Pataki said he understands Americans are nervous about having troops on the ground, but "it is our war."

"We both saw Sept. 11, and what happened when we thought because radical Islam is thousands of miles away and did not pose a threat to us here," said the former governor. "It did and it does.

"I don't want to try and create a democracy where one has not existed ... [just] destroy the training centers and the area where they are looking to plan to attack us here, and then get out, and leave a little note behind — you come back and so will we."

Pataki's official announcement is not until May 28, but on Wednesday, he told CNN he is serious about a campaign.

"Conditions have gotten worse domestically and overseas, and if you believe in your ability to leave and sit it out, shame on you," he said.

Further, he has high hopes for a presidential campaign.

"You have to appeal to the Democratic base and others who have not voted Republican enough, and I know I can do that," said Pataki. "In 70 years, there have been two Republicans elected governor of New York, Nelson Rockefeller and me, and we didn't have similar backgrounds going up."

He also fired back at Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has said that governors do not have the foreign policy experience necessary to become president.

Governors have experience serving as an executive and "they have to make decisions, and oftentimes they are tough decisions you have to make on the spot, and legislators don't have to do that ... and I don't think that casting a vote on foreign policy means somehow you are an expert."

Pataki also addressed the issue of same-sex marriage, saying he believes the issue should be left to states to determine, not the federal government.

The former governor, also appearing on "Newsmax Prime" on Tuesday night, said he does not believe former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claims on her email issues.

"Some time ago I said we need a special prosecutor to investigate this," said Pataki. "You know, she came out, but it was clear it was carefully scripted to 'please release the emails, but I've already laundered [them].'"

"Obviously, we cannot trust her," he said. "She's changed the story so many times that we have every reason to believe that those 30,000 deleted emails contain things of importance for the American people. Now, the only way we're going to get them is by getting that server."

However, Pataki insisted that he and Clinton worked well together when she was the Democratic senator for New York.

"You know I'm a Republican and she's a Democrat, but we worked well together," he told Prime host J.D. Hayworth. "She actually did try to act in the interest of the people of our state. We disagree fundamentally on policy ... but when it came to advocating for New York, we worked together."

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Former New York Gov. George Pataki, who plans next week to join the growing list of Republican hopefuls for the 2016 nomination, said Wednesday he is in favor of putting U.S. troops on the ground against the Islamic State.
george pataki, iraq, ramadi, presidency
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 11:55 AM
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