The United States needs to provide weapons directly to the Kurdish army that is fighting ISIS in Iraq, two senators said Sunday.
Both Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, told on CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” on Sunday that even after a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by the terror organization, they don’t want to see the United States send ground troops into the region in addition to its air strikes.
But the United States should provide more military aid to the Arab armies already fighting ISIS on the ground – especially the Kurds’ Peshmerga – they said.
“What makes no sense whatsoever is the Obama administration is refusing to directly arm the Kurds,” Cruz said. “We need to arm the Kurds now, because they are our boots on the ground.”
But Cruz stopped short of calling for U.S. ground troops, saying there are other options that must be tried first.
“In my view, American boots on the ground should always be the last step, and we need to exercise other steps before that,” he said. “We have the availability of overwhelming air power, and we have boots on the ground that are ready and eager to fight – the Peshmerga – and they lack sufficient tools and equipment to do so.”
Kaine said the United States can’t do the work that Arab armies and police forces need to do.
“We cannot police a region that won’t police itself, and so the ground troops need to be from the region, but the United States’s strong support, via the air campaign, via training and equipping, helping guide the air campaign to make it effective – that’s what we should do,” he said. “That’s what we are doing, and we can do more of it.”
Also on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, an Iraq War veteran, called for a broader strategy addressing ideological and political problems.
“There’s one common element here, and it is this radical Islamic ideology – and in order to defeat it, we have to do so militarily, but also simultaneously, it has to be an ideological defeat as well as a political solution that’s offered,” she said.