2016 Republican Field Offers Obama Advice on Iraq

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the Islamic State "the face of evil." Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called the Islamic State "the face of evil." Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock.com

AMES, Iowa—A crop of Republican 2016 hopefuls offered varying advice for how to handle the situation in Iraq, but all called on President Obama to offer a more coherent and comprehensive explanation of his plans going forward.

While most of the would-be presidential candidates said they support Obama's decision to authorize targeted air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, they called on him to outline his foreign policy vision as it relates to Iraq and the Middle East more broadly.

Five Republicans—Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania—addressed the issue with reporters following their respective speeches at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, a gathering of religious conservatives.

Cruz called on Obama to seek authorization from Congress should the air strikes continue, calling the rise of ISIS the "latest manifestation of the failures of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy" and saying the congressional authorization process would help force Obama to "articulate a clear military objective."

ISIS is "the face of evil," he said. "I'm glad that President Obama is finally beginning to take the threat of ISIS seriously."

Their comments came just days after the Obama administration announced the air strikes, with the president writing in a letter to Congress that the strikes would be "limited in scope and duration." Over the course of the daylong event, the 2016 prospects and other speakers blasted Obama's overall foreign policy leadership on issues ranging from ISIS and Iraq to the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Santorum said Obama should have used his "incredible powers of persuasion" to keep more troops in Iraq in 2011.

"It's stunning that they fall back on that it wasn't their fault," Santorum said. "I just think that's false."

Huckabee did not think additional ground forces were necessary, but said the United States should be arming Kurdish forces directly.

"Should we have ground forces? No, we don't need them," Huckabee said. "…If we had good sense, we would arm the Kurds as we said we would."

In his speech to the crowd of religious conservative activists, Perry criticized Obama's overseas outlook as a whole, saying his foreign policy is "absolutely—it's not distinguishable from anything."

Jindal praised Obama's decision to order the air strikes, saying it helped prevent "the imminent slaughter" of Christians and other religious minorities, but that Obama has yet to explain a "coherent" foreign policy.

"One of the things that frustrates me, we've still not heard a coherent strategy when it comes to dealing with ISIS," he said. "I think [Obama] owes it to the American people, he owes it to our troops in uniform, to define what the strategic vision is, what the strategic plan is."

(Image via Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.