The United States should use airpower to destroy the Islamist army in northern Iraq, Gov. Rick Perry said today.
“They are not going to stop in that region of the world — they need to be eliminated, they need to be eliminated now,” he told an audience at the Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. Thursday.
“We need to have all of our options open,” he said.
“It is too important to Jordan, it is too important to Israel, it is too important to the interest of the west in that part of the world to not stop ISIS,” he said, using one acronym for the jihadi army, which calls itself the Islamic State.
If left alone, the group will likely try to attack the United States, he said. “What rational observer thinks that an attack is not part of their plan?” he asked.
“We had better get on top of this crisis by every means. … The price will only go up” with every delay, he said.
Perry’s hardline stance is more hawkish than Sen. Rand Paul, whose record and supporters suggest that he’s deeply reluctant to fight the expanding jihadi force.
Polls shows that Americans are deeply reluctant to resend ground troops back into Iraq after they were withdrawn by President Barack Obama in 2011. However, many GOP leaders, and a large slice of the GOP base, supports a major role for the United States in the region, partly to protect Israel from militants in Gaza or Iran or Iraq.
GOP leader also want to prop up potentially weak Arab regimes in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, who collapse would allow the Islamists to gain far more economic and military power.