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Republican candidates discuss ISIS strategies

Democrat vs. Republican on whiteTo former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the biggest obstacle to defeating ISIS is getting “the lawyers off the backs of the war fighters.”

“Right now under President Obama we’ve created this standard that is so high that it’s impossible to be successful in fighting ISIS,” Bush said at last night’s CNN Republican debate, speaking critically of the administration’s ISIS strategy.

Then turning his attention back toward GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, Bush offered the observation that the billionaire’s bluster regarding banning Muslims from entering the country is doing its own level of harm.

“We need to engage with the Arab world to make this happen. It is not a serious proposal to say that to the people that you’re asking to support, for their support that they can’t even come to the country to even engage in a dialogue with us. That’s not a serious proposal. We need a serious leader to deal with this,” Bush said.

Trump, for lack of a better way to put it, trumped

“Tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them, I don’t think so, Wolf. They’re not coming to this country. And if I’m president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They’re going. They’re gone,” Trump said, referring to something, not sure what, but something.

Sen. Marco Rubio entered the fray a little later, saying ISIS “needs to be confronted with serious proposals,” and offering that ISIS is a “very significant threat” and that the Obama administration “has left us unsafe.”

“He spoke the other night to the American people to reassure us. I wish he hadn’t spoken at all. He made things worse because what he basically said was we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing now and what we are doing now is not working,” Rubio said, without offering specifics or even generalities as to what he would do differently.

As Bush was given the opportunity to offer comment on Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, Rubio was given the same opportunity, but he demurred.

“I understand why they feel that way, because this president hasn’t kept us safe,” Rubio said.

Sen. Ted Cruz was also given the chance to offer comment on Trump’s anti-Muslim proposals, and like Rubio deflected.

“Everyone understands why Donald has suggested what he has. We’re looking at a president who’s engaged in this double speak,” Cruz said. “Where he doesn’t call radical islamic terrorism by its name. Indeed, he gives a speech after the San Bernardino attack where his approach is to try to go after the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, rather than to keep us safe.

“Even worse, President Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing bringing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to this country when the head of the FBI has told Congress they cannot vet those refugees.”

Cruz, of course, is misstating, to the point of deliberately misstating, the in-flow of refugees from Syria. The president has proposed resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. To date, 1,800 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011.

To Cruz’s credit, he has at least gone on record with something resembling a strategy regarding ISIS.

“I introduced legislation in the Senate that I believe is more narrowly focused at the actual threat which is radical Islamic terrorism, and what my legislation would do is suspend all refugees for three years from countries where ISIS or Al Qaeda controls substantial territory,” Cruz said.

And we’re all mad at Trump, like he’s the only hate-monger …

– Story by Chris Graham