At the Republican debate on National Security, Wednesday December 15, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called for a no-fly zone over Syria, and committed to enforcing it with brutal force. Wolf Blitzer posed the question: if a Russian plane is flying over Syria, would you want to shoot it down? Governor Christie gave an emphatic response:”I would shoot down that plane!”
To clarify, Governor Christie is not likely to fly a combat plane and actually shoot the plane down himself. Like all the other Republican candidates on the debate stage, Governor Christie has no experience of military service. He does not know how to fly a combat plane, and it is not clear that any American combat planes can support that much weight in the cockpit. Governor Christie just wants to sound tough.
Christie did not explain why America is authorized to order a no-fly zone over Syria. Congress has not declared war on Syria, and no one is advocating a declaration of war on Syria, even as they talk of declaring war on ISIS. As Sen. Rand Paul pointed out, Russian planes are flying over Syria at the request of the Syrian government and at the request of the Iraqi government which was installed after American troops overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime. Shooting down a Russian plane is a recipe for a new world war.
During the Cold War, America never shot down a Russian combat plane. Even after Soviet aircraft shot down Korean Airliner KAL 007, neither the United States nor the Republic of Korea responded with military action. Making such a pledge amounts to more chickenhawk droppings, the like of which littered the debate stage on Wednesday.
Sen. Marco Rubio talked of asserting American leadership, apparently through political interventionism backed by threat of military force. His baby face has probably never seen combat, except maybe the Bush/Gore recount battle of 2000.
Sen. Ted Cruz talked about “carpet bombing Isis” and making sand glow in the dark. In the 1960s there was a rash of airplane hijackings by people who wanted to go to revolutionary Cuba. Does Senator Cruz think that a proper response would have been to make Cuba glow in the dark?
Governor Kasich wants to “give Russia a punch in the nose.” Is he going to take a leave of absence from running Ohio’s government to go fight Russia? Probably not.
And Carly Fiorina wants to “bring back the warrior class” including Gen. McChrystal and Gen. Petreaus. Apparently she thinks the Jihadis don’t have enough weapons. The biggest accomplish of Gen, Betray-us when he was in charge of security in Iraq was to lose track of 157,000 guns. Not sure how that made Iraq safer, or why Carly Fiorina thinks these people knew what they were doing. McChrystal, Petreaus and the others she mentioned created the mess in Iraq that has led to the rise of the Islamic State. But Ms Fiorina wanted to sound tough – a chickhawk among the chickenhawks.
If the Republicans cared about America, they would take the clowns who were on stage Wednesday night, put them on a bus, and send it to the George Washington Bridge – and we can hope that Christie’s underlings have learned from him how to close down that bridge till the election is over and these people cannot do as much harm.