Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, NewsEdge

Republicans demand US lead a new war to ‘eradicate Isis’ after Paris attacks

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Jeb BushForeign policy hawks seized on the Paris terrorist attacks to argue for more aggressive military intervention in the Middle East, as national security issues assumed centre stage in the US presidential race.

Following a Democratic television debate on Saturday that was dominated by calls for a tougher response to Islamic State radicals, leading Republicans joined the fray on Sunday in a series of political interviews that also saw linked attacks on immigration and calls for more intelligence surveillance.

“This is clearly an act of war and an attack on one of our Nato allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the Nato agreement, and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge,” Senator Marco Rubio said on ABC.

He was joined by his Florida rival Jeb Bush, who also demanded the US lead a new war to “eradicate Isis from the face of the earth” and warned that screening of Muslim refugees from Syria was unlikely to be fully effective in preventing terrorist infiltration of the US.

“Ultimately, the best way to deal with the refugee crisis is to create safe zones inside Syria so that people don’t risk their lives and you have don’t have what will be a national security challenge both for our country and Europe,” Bush said on CNN.

“We should focus our efforts as it relates to refugees on the Christians that are being slaughtered,” he added, suggesting that specific efforts should take place to determine individuals’ religion before refugees were admitted into the US.

Republicans are increasingly less reticent than Democrats to describe the battle against Isis in religious terms. The South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham went furthest of all the presidential candidates on Sunday by demanding an immediate ground invasion of Syria.

“The best thing the United States can do to protect our homeland is to go on offence, form a regional army – with the French involved if they would like to be – and go in on the ground and destroy their caliphate,” Graham said.

“We are going to fight [Isis] in their backyard or we are going to fight them in our backyard,” he added, arguing thousands of US troops would be needed in Syria and Iraq to “pull the caliphate up by the roots, take back land held by Isil and hold it until Syria repairs itself”.

Graham has long been an outlier even among hawkish Republicans, but his tone is increasingly matched by politicians in both parties as the White House struggles to articulate its compromise strategy of airstrikes and limited ground support from US special forces.

Administration officials were on the defensive on Sunday after a pre-recorded interview with Barack Obama in which the president boasted of “containing” Isis was rapidly overtaken by events in France.

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” said Obama in remarks to ABC that were recorded before the Paris attacks but after the Beirut and Russian aircraft bombings. “From the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.”

On Sunday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes insisted this was a “very specific point that the president was making”, rather than a broader claim of victory.

“There is no question that this is a very significant threat that is going to require a long-term campaign and there are going to be setbacks,” Rhodes said.

“We have to very methodically degrade this threat,” he added, pointing to fresh US attacks on a leading Isis figure in Libya.

Nonetheless, the slip has seen even Democrats distance themselves from Obama’s strategy for tackling Isis.

“It cannot be contained. It must be defeated,” said Hillary Clinton at the outset of Saturday’s second presidential debate.

“Our prayers are with the people of France tonight but that is not enough,” she added. “We need to have a resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical jihadist ideology that motivates organizations like Isis, the barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist, terrorist group.”

Related: Democratic debate: candidates face off on foreign policy in light of Paris attacks

Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders briefly warned that the track record of US intervention in the Middle East had not helped. But even Democrats running to the former secretary of state’s left have criticised her for not being clear enough that the US has to lead action against Isis.

“I would disagree with Secretary Clinton, respectfully, on this score,” said the former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley in the debate. “This actually is America’s fight.”

Bush also echoed calls made by the US intelligence community in the last 24 hours for the Paris attacks to lead to a rethink of recent reforms designed to protect against overly intrusive surveillance.

Meanwhile, Obama met Russian president Vladimir Putin on the fringes of the G20 summit in Turkey, to discuss diplomatic progress toward ending the civil war in Syria and call for a ceasefire.

Copyright © 2015 theguardian.com. All rights reserved.

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  • Willy Rho

    Why let ISIS control the Rules of our Fight with them?
    Their Strengths are stealth and Ruthless Murders.

    Our Strengths are 18 Ohio Class Fleet Balilistic Missile Submarines.
    Each with 24 Trident 2 D5 Missiles and each Missile carries 24 MIRVED warheads. That amounts to more than 5,000 Warheads, with a yeild of likely about 250 kilotons.

    So we could Nuke ALL Muslim Murdering Centers in less than 3 hours.
    Why allow ISIS Demon Murderers call the style of the fight. Why let 5,000 more Americans to be maimed and killed, just to let them win? EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU ARE MORONS.

    ONLY 3 HOURS OR FIGHT AND DIE FOR ANOTHER 50 YEARS.
    IF YOU WANT OUR PEOPLE TO DIE AND LOOSE OR IF NOT REMOVE THE UNLAWFUL/ILLEGAL POTUS.

  • don allen

    one answer to this scrooge of our earth, put the A bomb on their ass. drop it
    right in the middle of raqqa syria their home port. when at war their are no barriers
    you fight to win period…………

  • LandMinesOTB

    Islam should be viewed as a plague against humanity (and especially against over 50% of the human race: women).
    Their agenda is world domination, genocide and hatred. They should be eradicated. Islam should be illegal everywhere in the world, most especially those places who value freedom and equality.

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