National Security

Cruz’s ‘carpet bombing’ call ‘doesn’t pass muster,’ says Obama

Sen. Ted Cruz’s calls for “carpet bombing” of Islamic extremists came under criticism from President Obama during Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address.

A month after Cruz (R-Texas), who is running for president, said that he wanted to “carpet bomb ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] into oblivion,” Obama on Friday dismissed the promise as unserious bluster.

{mosads}“The world will look to us to help solve these problems, and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians,” the president said, during one of the biggest speeches of his final year in office. “That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”

Instead, Obama called for “a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power,” including diplomacy, international coalitions and trade.

The apparent hit at Cruz on Tuesday is likely to incite anger from the Texas Republican, who is among the top contenders in recent presidential polls. Cruz has accused Obama of placing politics over policy, and is likely to wear the president’s scorn as a badge of honor.

“We will carpet bomb them into oblivion,” Cruz said in Iowa in December, while trying to duck charges that he was too soft on national security. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.” 

During a Republican presidential debate in December, the senator explained that he wanted to use “overwhelming air power to utterly and completely destroy ISIS.”

The Pentagon has joined Cruz’s critics in lambasting the call.

Last month, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva said that “carpet bombing” enemies “is not the way that we apply force in combat.”

“It isn’t now, nor will it ever be,” he added.

Tags 2016 State of the Union Barack Obama Ted Cruz

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