Ben Carson on War & Peace
Tea Party challenger in Republican primary
Gov. John KASICH: I don't believe the United States should involve itself in civil wars. Civil wars are not in our direct are interest. The fact is, is that we should go to war when it is our direct interest. We should not be policemen of the world, but when we go, we mean business.
CARSON: I was not particularly in favor of us going to war in Iraq, primarily because I have studied the Middle East, recognizing that those are nations that are ruled by dictators and have been for thousands of years. When you remove one of those dictators, unless you have an appropriate plan for replacing them, you're going to have chaos.
CARSON: In terms of the rules of engagement, I was talking about, Obama has said,we shouldn't bomb tankers coming out of refineries because there may be people in there or because the environment may be hurt. That's just asinine. You're not going to accomplish your goals without some collateral damage. You have to be able to assess what is acceptable and what is not.
CARSON: I asked the Syrians themselves: What do you want? Their supreme desire was to be settled back in their own country. I said, "What can America do?" They said, "Support the efforts of those who are trying to provide safety for us, including the Jordanians." They had a brand new hospital, for instance, that was unstaffed because there wasn't enough money to do it. But if you go into Hasakah province, that's an area that's as big as Lebanon. It's controlled by the Kurds, the Christians and the moderate Sunnis. You could settle a lot of people there.
Sen. Lindsey GRAHAM: I've been to the refugee camps in Turkey, and Jordan. We've got to stop this war. Do you realize that there are more Syrian refugees in Lebanon going to school than Lebanese children? Do you realize if this war goes for another year the King of Jordan could fall? Let's have a no-fly zone
CARSON: My point is let's not sit here and talk about what we can't do. Instead, we have some terrific military intelligence and advisers who know how to get the job done. Let's ask them.
Q: Are those advisers not being consulted? What do you think that they're saying that is not being paid attention to?
CARSON: All you need to do is go out and talk to a number of the generals who have retired, in many cases prematurely. You want to know the exact reasons why we're not winning and ask what advice has been given and how it has been ignored. I would suggest that you talk to them.
CARSON: I think that's a move in the right direction, because we clearly need to have those special ops in terms of helping to guide what the Air Force is doing. But I think that that's only a small part of it; we need to have a much bigger plan when it comes to battling the global jihadist.
Q: What is your much bigger plan for Syria?
CARSON: Well, my plan involves Putin and Iran. Those are the forces that are propping up the Assad regime. And even though Putin came in there and said he was going to fight ISIS, he's really fighting the anti-Assad forces. What we need to be thinking about is how do we oppose him? First of all, look where most the refugees are, at the Turkey-Syrian border. I think we should establish a no-fly zone there. We should be doing this in communication with Putin to try to decrease the likelihood of conflict and keeping the forces apart.
CARSON: Yes, I would. I think we saw what happened in Iraq when we precipitously withdrew. I don't think that we want to make that mistake again. And I'm very happy to see that we have a learning curve there.
We looked at the "Authorization for Use of Military Force" passed in October 2002--in effect, this was a declaration of war, in response to 9/11, against any countries that aided the 9/11 terrorists. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry both voted for it, and both later claimed it was NOT a declaration of war, and/or that they were misled in their vote, because President Bush falsely claimed that Iraq aided the 9/11 terrorists. It was not a formal declaration of war like after Pearl Harbor, but it did involve Congress.
CARSON: I would use every resource available to us, which includes financial resources, covert operations, Special Forces, and ground troops if necessary. Because it's unlikely that a coalition will form behind nothing.
In terms of going into Syria, I think we need to push them out of Iraq, which is the largest part of the caliphate ISIS has established. We also can't let them continue to control Anbar, one of the largest energy fields. I would be in favor of pushing them up into Syria. There's a very complex situation in Syria. You have the Russians coming in there now and establishing themselves. You have China starting to do the same. You want to be very, very careful before you jump into the middle of that situation.
Q: So you're one of those that says, "Let Assad and ISIS fight it out amongst themselves, and then clean up the mess later?"
CARSON: That is certainly something to consider.
PAUL: I've made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War.
CARSON: When the issue occurred in 2003, I suggested to President Bush that he not go to war. So I just want that on the record. And, you know, a lot of people are very much against us getting involved right now with global jihadism. And they refer back to our invasion of Iraq. And they seem to think that that was what caused it. What caused it was withdrawing from there and creating a vacuum which allowed this terrible situation to occur. But it is very different from what is going on today. We're talking about global jihadists who actually want to destroy us. They are an existential threat to our nation. Our children will have no future if we put our heads in the sand.
In February, Carson said America must step up its leadership in the effort to combat Islamic State. At CPAC, Carson said he would order the military to destroy the group and would not "tie (the military's) hands."
CARSON: Well, first of all, recognize that ISIS and some of the other radical Islamic terrorist groups -and let's not forget about the Shia which are based in Iran-- are responsible for a lot of terrorism. They would like to destroy us and our way of life. We have a couple of options. We can sit back and say, "Nah, they're not that big a deal," or we can recognize that the longer we allow them to grow, to spread, to root, get their roots well established, the more difficult it will be to eradicate them later. So what I mean is we have to eradicate them now. We have to use every means possible to do that. And we certainly don't want to have people who know very little about military strategy micromanaging a very competent military that we have.
During that war in the jungles of Vietnam, we burned villages with napalm and destroyed the lives of many innocent villagers who had nothing to do with the political struggle. The Vietcong forces had the tremendous advantage of knowing both the terrain and the people, which eventually afforded them the victory in the war. Since the Vietnam conflict ended poorly, our nation experienced a period of shame and humiliation for which the military was blamed, and many of the returning veterans were treated with disrespect. The Vietnam Was dampened America's enthusiasm for war, and we experienced one of the longest periods of peace in our nation's history.
The point here is that it is very difficult to determine our nation's morality based on its military conflicts. Then too one can legitimately ask the question, is any war moral?
Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy. The point, of course, is that in some cases, clever tactics can be employed outside of military action to respond to hostile actions
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