Ben Carson on War & Peace



Counter countries propping up Assad: Russia and Iran

Q: You saw the president's plan to put 50 special operations forces on the ground in Syria. Do you agree with the plan?

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.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Nov 1, 2015

Maintain U.S. military presence in Afghanistan

Q: You've said that you would maintain the military presence in Afghanistan, as President Obama announced this week?

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.

Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz , Oct 18, 2015

Don't get involved in Syria, but push ISIS in that direction

Q: Recently, you said you would go after ISIS with ground troops in Iraq, but not Syria. Why?

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.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

I opposed war in Iraq in 2003; then I opposed withdrawal

TRUMP: I am the only person on this dais--the only person--that fought very, very hard against us going into Iraq--that was in 2003. You have to know when to use the military. I'm the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

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.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Untie the military's hands; let them destroy ISIS

On Islamic State, Carson says the U.S. should step up its efforts to destroy the Islamic State militant group, and not "tie" the military's hands.

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."

Source: PBS News Hour on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , May 3, 2015

Eradicate ISIS as quickly and efficiently as possible

Q: How would you address the rise of ISIS and other radical groups?

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.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 1, 2015

Tyranny follows if we disarm nukes & madmen get them

I realize that some feel that the United States and other world powers with nuclear weapons have no right to declare that others cannot have them. On the surface this seems like a fair argument, but can you imagine how many deaths would occur if everyone were given a handgun? Perhaps it would be FAIR to give everyone a handgun, but it certainly would not be WISE. Although I applaud efforts toward nuclear disarmament, I also realize that if no one had nuclear weapons and one of the madmen of the world acquired them, worldwide tyranny would quickly follow. Therefore, we must be careful in pursuing our goals of an idyllic world.
Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.135 , Jan 24, 2012

No right to assume that our way was right for 1960s Vietnam

Though there were always protestors to our wars, few conflicts were considered immoral until the Vietnam War. Many said that stopping communism's spread was a noble goal and fully justified our involvement in this war, but others argued with some validity that we had no right to assume that our way of governing was superior to communism.

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.

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.103 , Jan 24, 2012

Morality of war in Iraq was highly debatable

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the enthusiasm for military intervention was tremendous. A war with well-defined & widely accepted goals that ends in victory will virtually always be seen as virtuous. The subsequent war with Iraq years later was much more controversial, especially after WMDs were not found. Whether the war in Iraq was moral or not is highly debatable. If you think stopping a brutal dictator from continuing to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people is worthwhile, then you are more likely to believe that we acted in a morally justifiable manner. If you are more concerned about the over 4,000 American lives that were lost and the hundreds of billions of dollars that were added to our national debt to be passed along to our children, then you're more likely to feel that our efforts were immoral.

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?

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.104 , Jan 24, 2012

Better response than post-9-11 invasions: oil independence

After the 9/11 crisis almost everyone united behind President George W. Bush for a reason. Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital. I believe that if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years as part of our efforts to strip terrorism of its resources, that business, industry, academia, & everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.

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

Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.134 , Jan 24, 2012

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Page last updated: Dec 07, 2015