Cruz: ‘Solution to ISIS Is Not Expanded Medicaid in Iraq’

By Melanie Arter | February 11, 2015 | 2:41pm EST

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in a speech at the Defeat Jihad Summit by the Center for Security Policy, said Wednesday that the solution to defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is “not eradicating poverty throughout the Middle East” or “expanded Medicaid in Iraq.”

“The solution to ISIS is not eradicating poverty throughout the Middle East. The solution to ISIS is not expanded Medicaid in Iraq. The solution to ISIS is to hunt down and kill the terrorist leaders, but when you have an administration that will not utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorist,’ you have an administration that is unwilling to effectively design and implement a strategy to defeat radical Islamic terrorists,” said Cruz.

Cruz said it’s as if the Obama administration was given “a do not speak card.”

“The words radical Islamic terrorism do not come out of the president’s mouth. The word jihad does not come out of the president’s mouth, and that is dangerous,” Cruz said.

Cruz recounted the words of Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing months ago.

“I took the opportunity to ask the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: what would be required militarily if the objective were to destroy – not to degrade, not to weaken, to destroy – ISIS in 90 days. What would be required militarily? The response from General Dempsey: I’m sorry that is simply not possible,” Cruz said.

“Now my response was, ‘Okay, perhaps that timeframe is unrealistic. You tell me from the military perspective if the object is to destroy ISIS, what is required to do so.’ The response was, ‘We cannot destroy ISIS until we change the underlying conditions on ground that make young men in poverty susceptible to extremism,’” Cruz recounted.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in September, Dempsey told Cruz defeating ISIS in 90 days is “not possible.”

“We could destroy a lot of equipment; we could drive them underground, if you will. But as I said, they will only be defeated or destroyed once they’re rejected by the populations in which they hide,” Dempsey said at the time.

“There is a technical term for such things: it is nonsense. At the bar, it’s a different technical term, but live streamed in front of our friends in the media, nonsense is the term we will use,” Cruz said in his speech at the Center for Security Policy Wednesday.

In Cruz’s opinion, the solution to defeating ISIS is to immediately arm the Kurds. The Kurdish Peshmerga fighters “are effective, disciplined, serious fighters,” he said.

“They are boots on the ground right now this instant. They are fighting the fight with ISIS right now this instance. The problem is ISIS has US military equipment that they’ve seized, and they’re using it to murder the Kurds, and we rather foolishly are insisting on sending any military aid through Baghdad, which delays and prevents the Kurds from actually getting that weaponry,” Cruz said.

Cruz also criticized the administration’s approach to the situation in Iraq by “seeking political consensus and compromise.”

“And the entire approach is driven by a desire of seeking political consensus and compromise. You hear the administration say on and on that first in Iraq we’ve got to see the different groups come together in peace and harmony - we have to bring Sunni and Shiite together,” Cruz said.

“Listen, the Shias and Sunnis have been battling with each other since 632 AD. For a president of the United States to believe he is going to resolve a 1500-year-old religious conflict is the height of hubris and ignorance,” he said.

“It’s not our job or objective to cause Sunni and Shiite to sit down and break bread together and embrace like brothers. It is our job to prevent Islamist terrorists who want to murder Americans and our allies from being able to do so,” Cruz added.

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