Of the eight (of 17) Republicans who were asked about their plans to eradicate the Islamic State (ISIS) during last week’s two GOP debates, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham is the most hawkish, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is the least, according to a Washington Post ranking.
Graham is "calling for 20,000 American ground troops in Syria and Iraq and regularly says that without American ground involvement, our country risks an imminent Islamic State attack," the Post reports, quoting the senior Palmetto State senator, who maintains that "if we don't stop them over there, they are coming here just as sure as I stand here in front of you."
Breitbart called Graham’s
troops-on-the-ground proposal the worst foreign policy statement of the night, and criticized the Fox News moderators for letting it go unchallenged.
"Graham got away with casually proposing a ground invasion of Syria using American troops that would last 'as long as it takes,'" according to Breitbart.
Behind Graham on the Post’s list is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who vowed to "use every tool at our disposal" to rid the world of ISIS' terror.
"Bush also said stopping the Iran nuclear agreement the Obama administration recently negotiated would be a priority, because Bush and other Republicans fear the lifting of sanctions on Iran will allow Iran to fund the Islamic State," writes the Post’s Amber Phillips.
Former New York Gov. George Pataki said he would be willing to deploy American troops to "destroy their training camps and recruiting centers," but he does not want "to spend another decade or a trillion dollars" in the Middle East.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal advocates working with Sunni allies while also arming and training the Kurds, though the latter would require a change to U.S. law, which only allows the government to send weapons to internationally recognized governments, which the "semi-autonomous" Kurdish region is not.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would begin by referring to ISIS as radical Islamic terrorists — something President Barack Obama has refused to do — and would back a bill to strip American citizenship from those who join the terror group. Cruz said there is a military solution, though he did not provide details.
"Calling radical Islamist terror what it is is a necessary first step that the White House has routinely refused to take, and it is reassuring that Sen. Cruz has no qualms about it. But then what?" asks Breitbart.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry wants to continue building coalitions to combat ISIS, according to the Post, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called for concentrating on current American allies.
"We need to stand up and start leading again, and we need to have allies, not just in Israel, but throughout the Persian Gulf," he said.
Paul, a libertarian and a foreign policy dove, touted himself as "the leading voice in America for not arming the allies of ISIS," according to the Post.
"ISIS rides around in a billion dollars' worth of U.S. Humvees," he said. "It’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop. We shouldn’t fund our enemies, for goodness sakes."
According to Breitbart, "solving the ISIS problem would be much easier if all we had to do was stop giving ISIS money."
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