In an interview with CNN on February 8, Senator Ted Cruz said, "In my view, American boots on the ground should always be the last step, and we need to exercise other steps before that. We have the availability of overwhelming airpower, and we have boots on the ground [the Kurds] that are ready and eager to fight."
On February 21, when interviewed by Anderson Cooper, again on CNN, the Senator was quoted saying "The Air Force has been reduced to about 4,000 planes. We need to increase that to a minimum of 6,000 planes so that we can project power, and use our air power superiority."
And finally, at the Miami GOP debate on March 10, Mr. Cruz belched that "...right now we're not using a fraction of the tools that we have. We're not using our overwhelming air power. We're not arming the Kurds. Those need to be the first steps. And then we need to put whatever ground power is needed to carry it out."
So which is it? Is our air force weak or strong? Are boots on the ground a thing now?
I believe that numbers are solid ground to build on when calling out manipulative self-interested campaign lies - or basically almost everything political-candidates say during campaigns.
Here are some numbers
• The United States air force has some 13,000 aircrafts, with over 5,500 fighter/attack planes.
• The U.S. Air Force alone has 1254 active F-16 fighter jets.
• The US Navy has over 3,500 aircrafts and the Army, Coast Guard and Marine Corps have a total of 6,200 aircrafts give or take.
So our air force is not so much reduced. Or weak. But it is a good slogan to sell and sound strong. I believe it is the definition of strong that has been lost on Republicans for quite some time now. We no longer live in a world where military might makes us strong. It is merely appearances. Republicans are selling their constituents the appearance of security and strength; it is not real.
The reality is that even if we were to destroy ISIS to their last member, it will not eradicate extremism in the Muslim world or the Middle East. Nor will it eradicate American extremism, and you can deny it as much as you want it, but it does exist.
If not ISIS, something else would spring up, and given past experiences, it will be worse. Because evil begets evil, no matter how you try to disguise it. This here, is a problem with a long-term solution, unwinnable by military might. Americans will not be the good guys for killing ISIS, many people will suffer the consequences of American-lead air strikes, as they do today, and of those people, some will turn against America, fueling the violent cycles and willingness. And you can't blame them, because if someone killed my sister while trying to force my salvation, I am not sure I would have a very favorable opinion towards them. Death by one ideology or another is irrelevant to those who bear the brunt of this conflict. I should know. I lost a sister.
In our battle against rogue violent organizations we guarantee recruits for their next generation. Fatah was bad, Hamas is worse. The Soviets in Afghanistan were bad, the Taliban was worse. Al Qaeda was bad, ISIS is worse. Sadly there is no military fix and we cannot invest our future in killing machines and death. Not to mention it seems somewhat inconsistent with the message of religious devotion and divine guidance that is coming out of the same GOP candidate and constituents. Maybe they can invest in long-term solutions that are more along the lines of one of the religions they cling to and recite?
Have the courage to be what you preach my GOP friends. Because the plaguing of American society with the kind of future you are suggesting is not only going to dilapidate our enemies, but will bring the entire idea of America down in an avalanche. I should know. I lost a country.
There is, of course, the possibility that republicans prefer it this way. It is an endless source of income to the military industrial complex, to big industry, to the oil industry, and to wall St... It also goes hand in hand with republican rhetoric that we need to make the strongest military in the world even stronger, because - well, because... it may not be enough to have the strongest and largest air force by over 400% than the next foreign air force (Russia's), and with the second largest air force in the world belonging to the US Navy...! Republicans are suggesting that we should have a military that is bigger than everyone combined, so we can crush whoever doesn't think like us, as we plague our own society with intransigent fixed thought, and impotent creativity. A dying society that invested its resources in creating machines that kill and reek havoc on their fellow humans.
I want to believe America is better than this. That it can stand up for itself in a world controlled by greed, and be all that it says it is; free, bold, innovative, compassionate, strong, and thoughtful. The ideas that were written into the idea of America are great ones; as citizens we are to guard them, not allow interest-based, money-grubbing politicians hijack our country, or our soldiers.