One Republican criticism of President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State has been that the president has hampered his efforts by ruling out the use of U.S. ground troops. On Sunday morning, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in discussing what to do about the militant group also known as ISIS, didn’t rule out the use of ground troops in some future context. But he did say explicitly that he didn’t think they should be deployed right now.
Appearing on ABC’s "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos, he instead called for the U.S. to more fully arm Kurdish forces to carry the load.
"I know you’ve also discussed the battle against ISIS this weekend in Munich. And I know you said in the past that the answer is to bomb ISIS back to the Stone Age. Most experts say that will not be enough, that you will need ground forces as well. Would you call up American forces if others don’t step up?" Stephanopoulos asked.
Cruz replied, "You know, I don’t believe right now we need American boots on the ground, and the reason is, we have boots on the ground already, with the Kurds. The Peshmerga are trained, effective fighters."
"But I’ll tell you, George, it makes no sense," Cruz continued. "Our government is not providing military weapons effectively to the Kurds ... We need to arm the Kurds and we need to use the Peshmerga as boots on the ground ... What we’re doing now, leaving the Kurds where they’re fighting -- ISIS is using American military weaponry they’ve seized against the Peshmerga. That’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense. We need to stand with the Kurds."
There are differing opinions on foreign policy within the Republican Party. And one can imagine that were this comment from Cruz offered later in the 2016 presidential campaign (and were he to be a leading candidate in that campaign) it would be met with howls from some of the party's hawks, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).