Ted Cruz appeared on The Glenn Beck Program yesterday to discuss Syria. From 8:00 to 10:00 in the interview Beck and Cruz discuss Cruz’s plan for dealing with ISIS. Cruz’s plan is first bomb ISIS, then arm the Kurds to defeat ISIS. Beck and Cruz agree to the effectiveness of this plan; however this plan will lead to more terrorism, more instability in the Middle East and more innocent lives lost.
Cruz believes this strategy will work because it worked in the first Iraq war. Cruz points to the long period of heavy bombing then the ground force coming in to “mop up” the army. Cruz believes we can use our Air Force and then the Kurds will “mop up” ISIS. What Cruz does not realize is the US has been deploying this policy in Afghanistan, Iraq war 2, Libya and Syria.
In Afghanistan we bombed Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We then sent in troops and trained an army for Afghanistan. Now the Taliban are reestablishing themselves as a major force in Afghanistan. ISIS recruits are coming from Afghanistan to Syria. Al Qaeda still exists in Afghanistan. We continue to have to bomb Afghanistan over a decade after starting this war.
In Iraq we overthrew the government with a combination of our Air Force and Army. At one point the US had over 150,000 ground troops in Iraq. The US then trained and armed and Iraqi army. Today in Iraq ISIS holds a large part of the country spanning the Iraq-Syria border. ISIS has accomplished this by taking the weapons that the US government had given the Iraqi Army. The Kurds also hold area in the North. The United States continue to wage air war in Iraq to stop the Sunni terrorist groups. Iraq has now turned to Iran and Russia for help defeating ISIS.
In Libya the US and our NATO allies used air power to destroy the army of Muammar Gaddafi. We then armed a group of rebels that overthrow the Libyan government. Now the country is in shambles. Rival factions control different areas of the country, ISIS even hold territory in Libya. A refugee crisis also exists in Libya and those refugees are washing up dead.
Last year in Syria we began to bomb different Sunni terrorist groups and arm others. Our bombings have been focused on ISIS. The bombing have not had much affect as ISIS still hold significant amounts of land. ISIS continues to grow and is being funded by selling oil to our ally Turkey. The Kurds hold area in the North of Syria, but are under fire from Turkey.
This has been the result of Cruz’s plan in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa. It is a disaster that has led to the mess we face today.
Increased bombing in Syria will lead to more of the same. As we have seen in the past US bombs have been the best recruiting tools for terrorist. ISIS holds major cities with innocent men, women and children being held there by ISIS. It will be impossible to bomb ISIS with out others dying with them. Bombing innocent people leads to more people becoming radicalized, leading to more terror.
Continuing or increasing America’s air war in Syria we also risk international disaster with Russia. With both countries running an air war in a country the size of Missouri the risk of accidents exists. Also with US special forces on the ground and possible Russian troops we run the risk of bombing each others ground forces.
Arming the Kurds is not as simple as Cruz makes it appear either. In the past, the groups we have armed have then used those weapons against our interests in the region or given the weapons to terrorist groups. Weapons given to Libyan rebels are now in the hands of jihadist in Syria. Also arming the Kurds might not go over so well with our ally Turkey, who has warned the US against doing this. There is also the problem that the Kurds may not want to destroy ISIS. So far the Kurds have fought ISIS over cities with large Kurdish populations, but have made no moves against the ISIS capital.
The reason this strategy worked in Iraq war 1 is we were facing an army. All the operations since have been against terrorism. Terrorism differs from an army because it is an idea. You cannot bomb an idea to get rid of it and you cannot arm the enemies of an idea to get rid of it. ISIS groups exist in countries across the Middle East and Africa. Are we going to bomb all of these counties to eliminate ISIS there as well? People who claim to be members of ISIS live in a number of Western counties. Are we going to drop bombs in Canada and France? We cannot fight terror this way.