8th District Democrats debate response to terrorism
How to deal with the threat of ISIS and other terrorist groups is an issue where voters can find some separation between the three candidates in the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.
State Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin, Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel and former Illinois deputy treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg discussed their preferred approaches to the problem during an interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board last week.
Having previously served in the U.S. Navy, Noland argues that much of the nation's foreign policy is based on its energy policy. Finding ways to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil would lessen its presence in the Middle East and its involvement in the region's conflicts, he said.
Noland agrees with President Barack Obama's policy avoiding the deployment of ground troops to deal with ISIS abroad, and says earning the trust of those who enlist in the military requires a sincere respect for their commitment and sacrifices when making decisions on war and peace.
"They have to believe we're going to be effective in our diplomacy, effective in the way we prosecute wars," he said. "We need to maintain the trust of our allies abroad as well."
Bullwinkel, whose brother is receiving counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, said diplomatic solutions should be pursued whenever possible.
"We have to just be very, very careful before we send anybody into a war zone unless it's absolutely the only option left on the table," Bullwinkel said. "Not that I don't recognize ISIS is a danger. ISIS is a huge danger."
The U.S. needs to do more to build coalitions with America's allies for both diplomatic and military efforts, she said. And more attention should be paid to combating the recruiting efforts of ISIS and similar groups, Bullwinkel added.
Krishnamoorthi, who sought the 8th District seat in 2012 but lost in the Democratic primary to U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, said the threat of ISIS differs significantly from that of enemies of the past, in that its leaders aren't likely to formally surrender on the deck of the battleship Missouri as Japan did in World War II.
"I think ISIS is a cancer," Krishnamoorthi said. "It must be eliminated. It cannot be contained."
While the battle against ISIS will inevitably involve military might, it should involve soldiers of the nations most directly involved, like Saudi Arabia or Turkey, he said.
Krishnamoorthi said he doesn't support either Patriot Act-like surveillance of American citizens nor the type of rhetoric Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently engaged, using a faith-based criteria for who can enter the country, as a means of fighting terrorism.
The 8th District encompasses portions of northwest Cook County, northern DuPage County and northeast Kane County. The seat is being vacated by Duckworth, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in November.
DuPage County Board member Pete DiCianni is the only Republican 8th District candidate on the March 15 primary ballot.