The Las Vegas Republican debate Tuesday night was downright bloodthirsty. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz promised no fewer than six times to “kill” ISIS forces, including by carpet bombing. “If I am elected president, we will hunt down and kill the terrorists,” Cruz said. “We will utterly destroy ISIS.”
Not to be outdone, Donald Trump defended his proposal to kill the families of terrorists — notwithstanding Sen. Rand Paul’s observation that this would “defy every norm that is America” and violate international law. With truly Trumpy logic, the GOP frontrunner replied, “So, they can kill us? But we can’t kill them?”
But the greatest offense of the evening was perpetrated by the host network. CNN, in a debate focused on national security and foreign policy, failed to ask a single question about the world historic accord reached last weekend by nearly 200 nations in Paris to reduce the world’s greenhouse emissions.
Instead, moderator Wolf Blitzer provided a platform for the GOP candidates to uncork frightening — and unfathomably expensive — proposals for the United States to take the fight to ISIS, and Syria, and Russia, and China, and North Korea, and, well, you get the idea.
The bellicosity of the policy proposals quickly spilled over into the language of the debate itself. This was the last prime-time battle of 2015, and the candidates seemed determined to inflict damage with caustic one-liners. Most desperate was Jeb Bush, who aimed his bombast, squarely and repeatedly, at the frontrunning Trump.
Here the nine most severe burns of the debate.