The lack of distinction with the current strategy frustrates Republicans like James Jeffrey, who served as deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush.
“Nobody wants to say ‘ground forces,’” said Jeffrey. “If we really want to get a real coalition going forward, trying to do this without some Americans on the front lines is ridiculous.”
Neither the White House nor Republicans have realistic expectations, said Preble. “What Sunni Arabs? Do you think you have some magic formula for finding them that the Obama administration hasn’t tried?” he said.
Cruz and Trump have used the most aggressive language about the need for more intense bombing, with Cruz recently promising to “carpet bomb them into oblivion.” Yet they’ve offered no specifics about targets or parameters or why their approach would be any more effective.