Cruz: 'It's Not Our Job to Be Social Workers in Iraq'

By Susan Jones | September 17, 2014 | 5:15 AM EDT

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaking on Capitol Hill. (AP File Photo)

( - "Look, it's not our job to be social workers in Iraq and put them all on expanded Medicaid. It is our job to kill terrorists who have declared war on America and who have demonstrated the intention and capability to murder innocent Americans," Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News's Sean Hannity Tuesday night.

Cruz said he was not happy with the responses he received from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Tuesday, when Hagel and Dempsey testified about the ISIS/ISIL threat before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Cruz, a committee member, said he tried to "press them hard on the very simple question -- if the objective were to destroy ISIS, not to degrade them, but to destroy them within 90 days -- what would be militarily necessary to do that?"

"And I'm sorry to say, neither gentleman could give an answer to that. Indeed, General Dempsey said the military can't do that. It's not a military operation, and their focus, sadly, seems far more focused on issues of political reconciliations, on side issues. I mean, frankly, their answers were far more those you would expect of a social worker than of military leaders."

In response to Cruz's question at the hearing, Dempsey said, "It's not possible" to destroy ISIS in 90 days.

On Fox News, Cruz accused the Obama administration of being "fundamentally unserious" about the terror threat posed by the Islamic State terrorists:

"We've seen ISIS go from roughly 10,000 fighters to now north of 30,000. And the administration's approach -- ISIS right now is the face of evil. They are crucifying Christians. They are persecuting Christians. They are beheading children. They have beheaded two American journalists on the global stage. And they have promised to take jihad to our shores.

"And the administration's response -- they deal with this as a PR matter, drop a bomb here, send a missile there. When I asked General Dempsey, militarily, how would we go in and kill the terrorists before they're able to take jihad to America, his answer was, Well, we need to see political reconciliation. We need to change the conditions on the ground so people are not susceptible to extremism.

Rubio: Terrorists must be 'defeated by ground troops'

Also appearing on Hannity's show Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said ISIS/ISIL is "going to have to be defeated by ground troops."

"Now, ideally, in a perfect world, they would be local ground troops. They would be Sunnis and -- taking back their villages. They would be Iraqi armed elements. There would be Syrian rebels who are moderate and equipped. That's the ideal outcome.

"We have to be prepared, however, for the reality that that may not come together in time, that they will have to be confronted. And if at that point, the choice we have is the following. If it doesn't work out with these local troops, does ISIL get to stay? Do they continue to be able to operate, or do we truly do what's necessary to defeat them?

"And this president clearly is looking forward to leaving it to his successor to figure all of that out because as he has said repeatedly, Americans are not going to do anything beyond these air strikes. I think that's -- he's not being honest with the American people when he talks about it that way."

Rubio said if the United States had supported "moderate groups" in Syria a year or two ago, it might now be easier to work with them. "Unfortunately, time has passed. These groups have degraded. And it may be harder than ever to find a group we can work with."

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