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Cruz’s Atrocious Ideas for the War on ISIS

Ted Cruz made some typically obnoxious statements about the war on ISIS over the weekend:

If I am elected president, we will utterly destroy ISIS. We won’t weaken them. We won’t degrade them. We will utterly destroy them. We will carpet bomb them into oblivion [bold mine-DL].

This is the sort of “tough”-sounding proposal that would be atrocious and stupid if put into practice. A terrorist group isn’t going to be “carpet bombed into oblivion.” At best, it would be temporarily weakened, and then would gain large numbers of new followers and sympathizers as a result of such a bombing campaign. In the process of trying to obliterate the group with carpet bombing, Cruz would slaughter tens of thousands of civilians in the cities that ISIS has seized. In addition to being a violation of international law, this indiscriminate bombing would be morally outrageous and would be an enormous propaganda boost for ISIS and other jihadist groups across the region. It would likely cause many other governments to withdraw their support for the campaign, which would leave the U.S. with even fewer contributions from our allies and clients than we already have. Any military gains that might be made along the way would come at such a high price in civilian lives, international opprobrium, and increased jihadist recruitment that they wouldn’t be worth much at all. If one wanted to guarantee the radicalization of many more Muslims here and around the world (and thus ensure more attacks like the one in California), carpet bombing ISIS-controlled cities in Iraq and Syria would be a good way to start.

Cruz made an even more outrageous statement that favors using nuclear weapons in the war on ISIS:

I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.

This is a deranged thing to say, and it shows just how unsuited Cruz is for the presidency. These statements are also a reminder of how dangerous Cruz’s foreign policy can be. He may occasionally make valid criticisms of neoconservative and liberal interventionist blunders, but his own ideas are frequently no better and sometimes can be even worse.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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