Van Hollen: Countering the threat of ISIS is a national security priority for the U.S., but we should not bear the burden alone. I support the use of American surveillance, intelligence assets, and airpower to support the ground operations of the Iraqi army and Kurdish fighters in Iraq, and strike ISIS military equipment and command and control elsewhere. I have spoken out forcefully against the idea of American troops on the ground in Syria, remembering the lessons of the Iraq War, which I opposed from the start. The removal of Saddam Hussein unleashed clashing sectarian forces that spawned al Qaeda in Iraq--the parent of ISIS. We should end the 2002 Iraq War Resolution authority and the current version of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, which provides a blank check for the Executive to put U.S. ground combat forces into Iraq, Syria and other areas.
Szeliga: My father, an Army officer, instilled in me from an early age the importance of America having a strong military to keep our nation safe. The terrorist group ISIS presents a serious threat to the US and its allies and must be destroyed. The US foreign policy in the Middle East has left our traditional allies doubting US resolve. Our hasty drawdown contributed to the rise of ISIS. The current policies are clearly not working as ISIS continues to overtake territories and impose horrible human rights atrocities. Without a clear plan that includes our international allies, I would not support putting our men and women of the United States military on the ground. Right now, America is leading from behind and we are much less safe today than we were seven years ago.
Flowers: I support the international agreement with Iran as a first step towards normalizing relations and I support increasing the use of diplomacy in our foreign policy in general. I also support prohibiting and eliminating all nuclear weapons throughout the world, including in the United States. The U. S. should not spend $1 trillion over the next ten years on upgrading nuclear weapons. Instead, we should use that money for pressing domestic needs and engage in multilateral negotiations with all nuclear weapon states to reach an agreement to ban nuclear weapons. I agree with my physician colleagues who understand the devastation that nuclear weapons can produce and the imperative that we end their threat everywhere.
One of the primary reasons I decided to run for the US Senate is because of my opposition to the backroom deal the Obama Administration struck with Iran. Let's look at the facts: Iran has proven time and again it is absolutely not a trustworthy actor, yet much of the deal requires the world to trust them. For example, Inspectors are required to request access from Iran to inspect some of their nuclear sites.
The deal only lasts for 15 years. So if Iran actually follows the agreement, they are still able to restart their nuclear program after the deal expires. In other words, the deal just kicks the can down the road. In the meantime, with sanctions lifted, Iran has the ability to bring in anywhere between $50 billion and $150 billion in new revenue.
Rich is an Iraq veteran and also served as senior lawyer at three U.S. Senate committees, working for principled legends like the late Jesse Helms--one of the few to serve on Capitol Hill with experience in both the mechanical trades and the armed forces
Douglas will leverage his military background and legal experience as former senior counsel to key U.S. Senate committees to protect the nation's security interests and reform foreign policy in the wake of the Iran agreement, the so-called "red-line" against Syria using chemical weapons, Russian aggression in Ukraine and the threat of ISIS at home and abroad.
"These times demand a mastery of Senate rules and the subject matter," said Douglas. "They require tenacity to overcome inertia and Senate unwillingness to assert itself in policies defining the nation. If the Senate fails, we fail. I aim to prevent that."
Bongino also said he is a strong supporter of Israel, which he said is our only strong ally in the region.
A: Iraq’s in the middle of a civil war. We need to combine withdrawing our troops with also a political & diplomatic solution. We need to engage the international community and recognize that there’s a civil war going on in Iraq. It’s not in our interests to continue the current policy.
Q: Let me ask my question again. If there was chaos on the ground at the end of 2007, would you still bring all troops home?
A: I don’t believe in a time schedule.
Q: But you called for all troops out by the end of 2007.
A: No, I said it’s reasonable to expect that if we start redeploying our troops, start engaging the international community, that it’s reasonable to expect that our combat troops could be out by the end of 2007. I stand by that.
A: No. I will never support turning our backs on our troops. I’ve supported the appropriation bills, in order to make it clear that our troops who are in harm’s way have everything they need to be safe. What Congress needs to do is consider all options. It needs to use every option they can, so the president presents, presents a plan. My objective is to gives us the best chance to achieve US objectives.
A: The war in Iraq right now stands with a mess that we need to fix. We are at a point right now where there is no clear strategy. Going forward, what is the strategy? Put in place the benchmarks, put the pressure on the Iraqi government to lay out very clearly and very forcefully that they’re committed to democracy.
Q: Did the Bush administration help create this mess?
A: The Defense Department did not give the president the kind of strategy that he needed to prosecute this war. From the beginning we didn’t have enough troops on the ground, from the beginning there was no clear decision to win the peace here.
A: I think the war has been worth it to the extent that what we’re trying to establish there is a beachhead of democracy. When we walk out of Iraq, what do we want? Do we want an Iraq that’s an ally of the US, or do we want an Iraq that is an enemy of the US? We want an ally, so it’s been worth it to us to establish this beachhead of democracy and an ally in an area where we’ve had some trouble in the past.
A: What we need to make sure we leave behind in Iraq is an ally, not an enemy. What we need to do is make certain that, whether it’s looking at the Biden plan in terms of a trifurcation or looking at a whole Iraq, this is the conversation we need to get into right now that we haven’t. What we have done, ostensibly, for the last three years, is slowly march towards nothing. A few weeks ago, the Iraqi government took control of its military. That is a notable benchmark. But there are so many others that we need to reach, and so many others that we have to do, that together will move us in a direction towards putting in place a stable Iraq that we can rely on as an ally, and not just sort of, “Well, we withdraw the troops or we don’t fund them.” That is not the strategy. What is your, what is your goal to put the pressure on the Iraqi government?
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