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Senator Ted Cruz doesn't want American ground troops in Iraq to fight ISIS
by Nathan'ette Burdine: February 9, 2015

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) doesn’t want U.S. ground troops in Iraq. During an appearance on CNN’S “State of the Union,” Cruz told host Dana Bash that sending U.S. ground troops to Iraq to fight ISIS should be a last resort.

“In my view, American boots on the ground should always be the last step,” Cruz said. Cruz’s view is in contrast to that of fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who has been trying to push the Obama Administration into sending U.S. ground forces to Iraq.

President Obama has said that sending in U.S. ground forces will not provide a solution to the larger political and social issues grappling Iraq and that the Iraqis need to band together in order to defeat ISIS.

Although Cruz agrees with President Obama that this, the fight against ISIS, is the Iraqis fight, Cruz expressed doubt about the means in which the Obama Administration is using to help the Iraqis, specifically the Kurds, to defeat ISIS.

Cruz told Bash, “What makes no sense whatsoever, is the Obama Administration is refusing to directly arm the Kurds. We need to arm the Kurds now because they are our boots on the ground. I don’t believe it is necessary to put American boots on the ground if we are arming the Peshmerga. They’re fighting there.”

Cruz also told Bash that he believes the airstrikes are working but that the airstrikes can be more effective if the U.S. arms the Kurdish military, the Peshmergas.

“Just today, they didn’t ask us for boots on the ground; but what they did say is they need the weaponry to stand up and destroy ISIS. And the Peshmerga on the ground combined with overwhelming American air power can take out ISIS,” said Cruz.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) agreed with Cruz that the use of American ground forces is not the solution to stabilizing Iraq for the long term.

Kaine told Bash, “I think we just got to be candid. We cannot police a region that won’t police its self. And so the ground troops need to be from the region.”

Bash pointed out that Kaine had “just agreed with Senator Cruz,” and she asked Kaine if he “expected to do that on many issues.”

Kaine responded, “No, on this one-on this one, we’re in the same place. Because again, we can’t police a region that won’t police its self.”

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