Republican candidates just love to pose as tough guys who will use the military to destroy anything and everything. It’s the kind of thing that drives real soldiers, and especially officers with tactical experience in war, crazy. Ted Cruz has been doing this with his idiotic rhetoric about “carpet bombing” ISIS to find out if sand glows. Even Fox News is calling him out on his ignorance:
On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Cruz to respond to military experts who have insisted that “carpet bombing ISIS would never work.”
In fact, former commandant of the U.S. Army War College, Robert Scales, argued that carpet bombing was “just one of those phrases that people with no military experience throw around.”
“I will apologize to no one with how vigorous I will be winning the war on terror,” Cruz replied. “We will start by having a president who will acknowledge our enemy, say it by its name, which President Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to do.”
Nice try, Ted, but that is both a lie and an irrelevant response to the question. Do you or do you not know what carpet bombing is? He makes clear that he does not.
“And you want to know what carpet bombing means?” he continued. “Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Desert Storm. In 1991, we had roughly 8,000 planes. Today, we have 4,000. Our Air Force has dropped in half. In 1991, we had 591 ships in our Navy. Today, we have 272. It’s dropped nearly in half. In 1991, we had over a third more soldiers in our Army.”“And we were launching 1,100 air attacks a day. We were carpet bombing them. And after 37 days of 1,100 air attacks a day, our troops went in in a day and a half and mopped up the remnants of the Iraqi Army because that’s the effect of carpet bombing.”
Wallace, however, noted that the U.S. military leaders insist that carpet bombing was never used in the first Gulf War.
“We did precision striking,” Wallace said. “In addition — if I may — the Iraqi Army was all massed by itself in the Kuwaiti desert. We’re now talking about ISIS soldiers who are not massed, they are embedded in Mosul, they’re embedded in Raqqa with civilians.”
Cruz shot back that the current U.S. strategy was “photo-op foreign policy.”
Another irrelevant response. No, we did not carpet bomb Iraq, in either war. Carpet bombing does not just mean having “overwhelming air power,” it means using that air power in a particular way. We haven’t used it since Vietnam, primarily because we have weapons that have far more precision now. If you’re using guided munitions, you almost certainly are not carpet bombing. And no military officer would agree that carpet bombing would be an effective tactic against ISIS. Robert Scales is right, this is the kind of simpleminded rhetoric that would only be used by a dilettante who has no experience in war.