CNN 2015 GOP primary debate: on War & Peace


Ben Carson: 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

Bobby Jindal: Replace Assad; hunt down & destroy ISIS

Q: Senator Graham says that the United States has a moral obligation to these Syrian refugees. Do we?

JINDAL: America's the most compassionate country in the entire world. That's the nature of the American people. Let us draw a direct line between this Syrian refugee crisis and this president's failed foreign policy. Obama drew a red line in Syria and did not enforce it and now we're seeing millions of refugees potentially going into Europe. The answer is not to put a band-aid on this and allow even more people to come into America. We've got a normal refugee process. Simply allowing more into our country doesn't solve this problem. The way to solve this problem is for us to be clear to our friends and allies that we're going to replace Assad, we're going to hunt down and destroy ISIS; our friends don't trust us, our enemies don't fear and respect us.

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

Bobby Jindal: ISIS are barbarians; hunt them down and kill them

We need to do whatever is necessary to hunt down and kill these radical Islamic terrorists but this president has helped--his policies have helped to contribute to this problem. He went to the Pentagon the same week they announced they were cutting back the number of troops in the Army to say that we're not going to win this through guns, it's going to be a change of hearts and minds. These are barbarians. They are crucifying people alive, Christians and other Muslims.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Use nuclear option in Senate to overturn Iran nuclear deal

Now it takes a two-thirds vote to reject the Iran deal. Will the Senate Republicans--they still have time--are they willing to use the nuclear option, meaning get rid of the filibusters, stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power? Now is the time for the Senate Republicans to stand up and fight.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Carly Fiorina: Arm the Kurds and other allies in the Mideast

Sen. Marco RUBIO [to Fiorina]: The Russians will begin to fly combat missions in [Syria and its region], not just targeting ISIS, but in order to prop up Assad. [Russian leader Putin] will then turn to other countries in the region and say, "America is no longer a reliable ally, Egypt. America is no longer a reliable ally, Saudi Arabia. Begin to rely on us." He is trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East, and this president is allowing it.

FIORINA: We could rebuild the Sixth Fleet [the US' main force in the Mediterranean Sea]. I will. We haven't. We could rebuild the missile defense program. We haven't. I will. We could also, to Senator Rubio's point, give the Egyptians what they've asked for, which is intelligence. Bombs and materiel. We have not supplied it.We could arm the Kurds. They've been asking us for three years. All of this is within our control.

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

Donald Trump: I'm pro-military but I opposed invading Iraq in 2003

TRUMP: I am the only person on this dais that fought very, very hard against us going into Iraq, because I said going into Iraq--that was in 2003, you can check it out--I'll give you 25 different stories. In fact, a delegation was sent to my office to see me because I was so vocal about it. I'm a very militaristic person, but you have to know when to use the military. I'm the only person up here that fought against going into Iraq.

Sen. Rand PAUL: I've made my career as being an opponent of the Iraq War. We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We're still paying the repercussions of a bad decision.

Dr. Ben 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.

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

Donald Trump: If Obama had attacked Syria, we wouldn't have refugees now

Somehow, [President Obama] just doesn't have courage. There is something missing from our president. Had he crossed the line and really gone in with force, done something to Assad--if he had gone in with tremendous force, you wouldn't have millions of people displaced all over the world.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

George Pataki: Give the Israelis massive MOPS bombs to use against Iran

Q [to Pataki]: I want to quote Rick Santorum: "We should send a very clear message that If you are a scientist and you're going to work on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe." Does that message work? Is anything that works on the table?

PATAKI: Not on the table but I think there's a lot that does work. And that is to have a strong America, a strong military and a resolve where the Iranians know that not only are we going to reject this deal on day one and re-impose sanctions but, if they move forward with the nuclear program, their safety for those facilities will be at risk. I'll tell you a couple of things I'd do. I'd give the Israelis bombs called MOPs, massive ordnance penetrators. Give them to Israel. Let the Iranians know we're prepared to work with Israel to make sure they never have a nuclear weapon.

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

George Pataki: Radical Islam poses threat here in America, like on 9/11

Last week was the anniversary of September 11th and I was governor of New York on September 11th and led us through that horrible day. And I learned that we cannot assume that because radical Islam is a continent away, it doesn't pose a threat to us here in America. It did then, and today, I think, we are at greater risk of an attack than at any time since. We have got to destroy ISIS's ability to attack us here.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Jeb Bush: When we pulled back in Iraq, ISIS filled the void

When we pull back, voids are created. We left Iraq. We should've had an agreement to stay there with a small force, and instead of that, we politically and militarily pulled back, and now we have the creation of ISIS. 36 days ago in this very library, I gave a speech with a comprehensive strategy how to take out ISIS, and it requires American leadership and engagement. We don't have to be the world's policemen. But we certainly have to be the world's leader.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

John Kasich: We operate better in the world when our allies work with us

We operate better in the world when our allies work with us. President Bush did it in the Gulf War. We work better when we are unified. Secondly, nobody's trusting Iran. They violate the deal, we put on the sanctions, and we have the high moral ground to talk to our allies in Europe to get them to go with us. We can have our allies, and we can be strong as a country, and we can project across this globe with unity. That is not what gets us where we want to get as a nation.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Lindsey Graham: If we don't destroy ISIL soon, they're coming here

Q: You are calling for an additional 20,000 U.S. ground forces to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria and you have said that anyone who's not willing to do that should not be commander in chief.

GRAHAM: Right.

Q: No one on this stage has gone that far. So are you saying that they are not fit for the Oval Office?

GRAHAM: If they don't understand that Barack Obama's policies are not working, that we're not going to destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria from the air, they are not ready. If we don't destroy ISIL soon, they are coming here. We're going to need a regional army, the Turks, the Jordanians, the Saudis, the Egyptians get their armies up together and 90% of it will be them. They're going to pay for this war because we paid for the last two. But 10 percent at least will have to be us and we're going in on the ground and we're going to pull the caliphate up by its roots and we're going to kill every one of these bastards we can find because, if we don't, they are coming here.

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

Lindsey Graham: Destroy radical Islam like Reagan destroyed the Evil Empire

I'm the only candidate tonight who served in the military while Ronald Reagan was our president and our commander in chief. It was one of the highlights of my life. I'm running for president to destroy radical Islam, to win the war on terror, to protect you and your family. And in that quest, I have an uncompromising determination to win this war, just like President Reagan had an uncompromising determination to destroy the evil empire, and win the Cold War.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Lindsey Graham: I have a plan to fight ISIL: ground forces in Syria & Iraq

All of us are going to say we want to destroy ISIL. I have a plan to do it. If I'm president, we're going to send more ground forces into Iraq. President Obama made a mistake by leaving too soon against military advice. To every candidate, would you go from 3,500 to 10,000 American boots on the ground in Iraq? Because if you don't, we're going to lose. Are you willing to send American combat forces into Syria as part of a regional army, because if you don't, we'll never destroy ISIL in Syria.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Lindsey Graham: Help the Free Syrian Army; but Obama said no

Q: Your response when it comes to Syrian refugees?

GRAHAM: Number one, how does President Obama sleep at night? Look what you let happen on your watch. Your commanders told you, "don't withdraw from Iraq because we'll lose our gains." Three years ago your entire national security team, Senator McCain and I begged you to do a no-fly zone and help the Free Syrian Army while it would matter. But you said no. I'm blaming Barack Obama for this mess.

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

Lindsey Graham: There's nobody left in Syria to train; need regional army

If I'm president of the United States, I've told you what I'm going to do. There's nobody left in Syria to train. We're going to get a regional army who doesn't like ISIL, who won't accept Assad, because he's a puppet of Iran. We're going in [with troops on] the ground, and we're going to destroy the caliphate, pull it up by roots, and we're going to hold the territory.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Marco Rubio: Theocratic ayatollahs should never possess nuclear weapons

We need a commander-in-chief who will stand up and protect this country. And I'll tell you, I can't wait to stand on that debate stage with Hillary Clinton and to make abundantly clear if you vote for Hillary, you are voting for the Ayatollah Khomeini to possess a nuclear weapon and if you elect me as president, under no circumstances will a theocratic ayatollah who chants death to America ever be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Marco Rubio: We should have supported Syrian uprising from its start

The uprising in Syria was started by the Syrian people. I warned at the time that if we did not find moderate elements that we could equip and arm, that void would be filled by radical jihadists. The president didn't listen, and that's exactly what happened. That is why ISIS grew. That is why ISIS then came over the border from Syria and back into Iraq. And the more we disengage, the more airplanes from Moscow you're going to see flying out of Damascus and out of Syria.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Mike Huckabee: Conflict with Iran is about survival of Western civilization

[The Iranian nuclear deal] is really about the survival of Western civilization. This is not just a little conflict with a Middle Eastern country. This threatens Israel immediately, this threatens the entire Middle East, but it threatens the United States of America. And we can't treat a nuclear Iranian government as if it is just some government that would like to have power. This is a government for 36 years has killed Americans, they kidnapped Americans, they have maimed Americans. They have sponsored terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah, and they threaten the very essence of Western civilization. To give them this agreement, that the president treats like the Magna Carta, but Iranians treat it like it's toilet paper, and we must, simply, make it very clear that the next president, one of us on this stage, will absolutely not honor that agreement, and will destroy it and will be tough with Iran, because otherwise, we put every person in this world in a very dangerous place.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Mike Huckabee: People won't bully us if we have best military in history

Q [to PAUL and HUCKABEE]: How will the world look different in your presidency?

Sen. Rand PAUL: War is the last resort, not the first resort. And, that when we go to war, we go to war in a constitutional way, which means that we have to vote on it, that war is initiated by Congress, not by the president.

HUCKABEE: At the end of my presidency I would like to believe that the world would be a safe place, and there wouldn't be the threats. not only to the U.S., but to Israel and our allies, never send them to a mission without all the resources necessary, but people wouldn't bully us anymore. Because they would know that that would be an invitation to their destruction.

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

Rand Paul: I opposed Iraq war in 2003 & I oppose Syria war now

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. I was opposed to the Syria war. I was opposed to arming people who are our enemies. Iran is now stronger because Hussein is gone. Hussein was the great bulwark and counterbalance to the Iranians. So when we complain about the Iranians, you need to remember that the Iraq War made it worse. Originally, Governor Bush was asked, "Was the Iraq War a mistake?", and he said, "No. We'd do it again." We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us. We're still paying the repercussions of a bad decision. We have make the decision now in Syria, should we topple Assad? I said no, because if you do, ISIS will now be in charge of Syria.

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

Rand Paul: If we had bombed Syria, ISIS would control Damascus today

Had we bombed Assad, like President Obama wanted, and like Hillary Clinton wanted and many Republicans wanted, ISIS would be in Damascus today. ISIS would be in charge of Syria had we bombed Assad. Sometimes both sides of the civil war are evil. Every time we have toppled a secular dictator, we have gotten chaos, the rise of radical Islam, and we're more at risk. I think we need to think before we act, and know most interventions in the Middle East have actually backfired on us.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rick Santorum: Iranians believe in bringing about the end of the world

For 12 years, I have been laser-beam focused on the issue of Iran with a nuclear weapon. Why? Because I understand who they are. Yes, they are radical Islamists. But their particular version is an apocalyptic version, which is a death cult, they believe in bringing about the end of the world. If you poll Iranians and Iraqis, Shi'ites in the region, more than 2/3 of them believe that the end of the world is going to come within their lifetime. Why? Because their regime preaches it. They believe in bringing about the end of times. That's their theological goal and we are in the process of giving them a nuclear weapon to do just that. That's why, on day one, I would say to the Iranian government, you open up all of these facilities for inspection, you make them available to the UN & to the US, everything, we can go everywhere or else we will take out those facilities. And when people say, "you're going to start a war," my response is, "no, I'm going to stop a war because a nuclear Iran is the end.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rick Santorum: ISIL's caliphate changes the game: send US troops

I have proposed 10,000 troops, and more if necessary. Once ISIS established a caliphate, the game changed because once you establish a caliphate, you have an area of control, you have to take ground from that caliphate, because if you don't, then, in the Islamic world, it's seen as a legitimate caliphate. As long as they have territorial integrity, and even expand it, they have legitimacy, so we must take their ground.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

  • The above quotations are from CNN Two-Tier 2015 GOP primary debate
    First Tier: Eleven candidates by polls
    Second Tier: Four other Republicans
    .
  • Click here for definitions & background information on War & Peace.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Carly Fiorina on War & Peace.
  • Click here for more quotes by Donald Trump on War & Peace.
2016 Presidential contenders on War & Peace:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Sep 05, 2016