Cruz Threatens to Nuke ISIS Targets

Exclusive: Republican presidential campaign rhetoric is red-hot regarding Islamic terrorism, with Sen. Cruz suggesting the use of nuclear weapons to see “if sand can glow in the dark,” a threat even more troubling than Donald Trump’s call to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the U.S., writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As Republican presidential candidates lined up to one-up each other about how they would fight Islamic terrorism, many mainstream pundits questioned the hysteria and took particular aim at billionaire Donald Trump for seeking a moratorium on admitting Muslims to the United States, but Trump’s proposal was far from the most outrageous.

Getting much less attention was a statement by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is considered by many a more likely GOP nominee than Trump. Cruz suggested that the United States should nuke the territory in Iraq and Syria controlled by Islamic State militants.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for U.S. President.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Republican candidate for U.S. President.

“I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out,” Cruz told a Tea Party rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In reference to Cruz’s comment, a New York Times editorial added, “whatever that means.” But the phrase “glow in the dark” popularly refers to the aftermath of a nuclear bomb detonation.

In other words, Cruz was making it clear to his audience that he would be prepared to drop a nuclear bomb on Islamic State targets. While the bombastic senator from Texas was probably engaging in hyperbole as he also vowed to “carpet bomb them into oblivion” the notion of a major candidate for President cavalierly suggesting a nuclear strike would normally be viewed as disqualifying, except perhaps in this election cycle.

While Cruz drew little attention for his “glow in the dark” remark, Trump came under intense criticism for his proposal to block the admission of Muslims into the United States until the nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on” in the aftermath of the Dec. 2 terror attack by a Muslim husband-and-wife team in San Bernardino, California.

Across mainstream politics and media, Trump’s idea was decried as both “unprecedented” from a top candidate for President and a likely violation of the U.S. Constitution which respects freedom of religion and requires equal protection under the law.

Other Republican candidates, even the more “moderate” ones, also talked tough about Muslims in what shaped up as a heated competition to outdo one another in appealing to the angry and frightened right-wing “base” of the GOP.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush argued that the threat from Muslims was unique: “The idea that somehow there are radical elements in every religion is ridiculous. There are no radical Christians that are organizing to destroy Western civilization. There are no radical Buddhists that are doing this. This is radical Islamic terrorism.”

Bush’s comment failed to recognize that the institution of Christianity has been at the center of “Western civilization” since the latter days of the Roman Empire and that “Christian” nations have routinely plundered other civilizations all over the planet, including across the Islamic world both in Asia and Africa. [See’s “Why Many Muslims Hate the West” and “Muslim Memories of West’s Imperialism.”]

Though inspired by a pacifist, Christianity has established a record as the most bloodthirsty religion in history, with its adherents conducting massacres and genocides in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia every continent except Antarctica, which is largely uninhabited by humans. In many cases, European Christians justified the repression and extermination of non-Christians as the will of God, deeming indigenous people to be “heathens.”

The violence by Western nations against Muslims also is not something confined to history books and the distant past. In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair led an unprovoked invasion of Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed much of Iraq’s national infrastructure.

In other words, in the view of many Middle Easterners, the West continues to wage war against their civilization. However, none of that reality is reflected in the current U.S. political and media debate, even when a major Republican candidate raises the prospect of dropping the Bomb.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and You also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

28 comments for “Cruz Threatens to Nuke ISIS Targets

  1. Gee Vee
    December 10, 2015 at 07:41

    desperate times call for desperate measures…NATO should lead the attack…

  2. Brendan
    December 9, 2015 at 09:33

    It’s likely that Cruz made that remark to get support from the casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who also likes the idea of using nukes in the Middle East.

    Adelson recommended the use of nuclear weapons as part of American negotiations with Iran, ironically over the Iranian nuclear program. He said that the US President should set off a nuke in the middle of nowhere in Iran, and then threaten to drop the next one in the middle of the capital city:

    ” Adelson continued: “Then you say, ‘See? The next one is in the middle of Tehran.’ So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. … ” ”

    Sheldon Adelson was previously expected to support another conservative hawk, Marco Rubio, but Sheldon’s wife Miriam appears to prefer Cruz:

    “Miriam Adelson has become enamored of late with Ted Cruz, according to four Republican sources close to the couple. The Texas senator has impressed her with his unwavering toughness on national security issues, especially his support for Israel, the issue that the couple cares most passionately about.

    Both the Adelsons give generously in their own names, almost always in tandem: The couple’s publicly reported donations exceeded $98 million during the 2012 election. Miriam Adelson wrote nearly half those checks personally, totaling more than $47 million, usually delivering them on the same day her husband wrote seven-figure checks for about the same amount.

    The Adelsons’ dilemma comes at a critical juncture in the GOP race. Rubio and Cruz are openly sniping at each other over national security issues as they vie to become the “responsible” conservative alternative to frontrunner Donald Trump.”

  3. hidflect
    December 9, 2015 at 07:14

    Nukes are the Genie in the lamp. You never let the Genie out but you always carry the lamp wherever you go. Cruz is exhibiting the logic of a child. “I’ll set my Genie on you!” No, buddy. Don’t do it.

  4. Howard Cort
    December 9, 2015 at 06:17

    There is an air of fear in the land. There should be responsible responses. One could be
    Congress approprioating a significent amount to bring the screening process to an even higher level of success than now, perhaps even through a competitive bid process. Another
    could be enlisting other nations , particularly in the Middle East to improve their screening of departing passengers. Another could be to beef up, even further, our border patrols..

  5. Jerad
    December 9, 2015 at 05:30

    Robert Parry, like so many in the media and academia, seems to have a very selective view of history. According the the pervasive narrative, only white “Christian” nations have blood on their hands. While a more realistic look at human history shows one long stream of oppression and violence from the dawn of the first civilizations all the way up to the present day. For example, the sanguinary history of Muslim conquest in India makes British colonialism seem benevolent by comparison. Likewise, the various periods of Mongol conquest accounted for tens of millions of deaths. Indeed, some linkage can be made between Mongol expansion and the Black Death which wiped out so many millions. If white Europeans are held to account and charged with genocide for the various diseases they brought to Native Americans during the Age of Colonization, then the same charge can be leveled against the Mongols. The point to all this, is that we need to stop this selective history gazing, because there is blood on the hands of every civilization that ever amounted to anything on the world stage.

    • Gregory Kruse
      December 9, 2015 at 14:28

      Your comment is true, but I don’t understand why you have to make a point of accusing Mr. Parry of being “like so many in the media and academia”. Actually he is quite unlike “so many”. I have read hundreds of articles by Parry, and I wouldn’t make a like accusation. Oftentimes it seems to me, that when a person uses such tactics, it indicates a feeling of arrogance in them. I have never detected such arrogance in Mr. Parry’s writing. Perhaps you should start your own blog, and then you could not only set everyone straight about everything, but you could also enjoy the comments of arrogant people who take one of your articles to be evidence that you have a “selective view” of something or other.

    • Steve
      December 9, 2015 at 18:48

      Jerad, Mr. Parry was merely trying to address the notion advanced by many (exemplified by the Bush quote) that violence as a tactic is something that is unique to “radical Islam” — and that Christianity and the West is blameless in this regard. This article wasn’t intended as a comprehensive treatment of all cultures throughout history and how they may have handled violence.

    • Brian
      December 11, 2015 at 00:34

      As soon as you try to blame the worst disease ever visited on Eurasia (the Black Death) on just one of its peoples, you have lost all credibility and I’m not even going to fact check the rest of your points. You seem to have forgotten that the charge concerning small pox in North America is that infected blankets were given deliberately to the native peoples. Ever wonder why so many more people south of the US-Mexico border seem a lot browner overall, all the way down to the tip of South America? Maybe that’s because the Spaniards and Portuguese were a lot less interested in actually colonizing those nations–for good for ill–than with replacing them wholesale. Genocide happened in North America, many times. The Beothuks of Newfoundland? Gone. The Hurons? Gone. Get the fuck over it.

      • Brian
        December 11, 2015 at 00:35

        For “less” read “more” in my reply.

  6. December 9, 2015 at 03:22

    The source of all this hate can be late at the doorstep of Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch. After polluting the media of the U.K. he turned his attention to the U.S..

    It is Fox TV that has encouraged this pair of irresponsible narcissists (and many others) most space to air their repellent extremist views, which are starting to make them sound more and more like the extremists they claim to oppose. Change a few few words here and there and it would be easy to think Abu al-Baghdadi had spoken.

    Rupert Murdoch is possibly the most bitter and twisted old man on the planet; he is not fit to head a global media empire.

    • dahoit
      December 9, 2015 at 12:35

      C’mon,every MSM is controlled by fellow Zionists,Murdoch is just a bit cruder.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    December 9, 2015 at 02:46

    THEY have turned our nation into a reality show. Us citizens should all just take a day off, and turn off the radio and TV, and seriously do some quiet meditation. The whole nation would sit in silence. Nothing would move type silence. Cook outs – yes, plane rides – no. The problem with our media is there is no objectivity to any narrative of an issue. The Internet offers alternative, but does it influence? By the accounts of many ISIS influences over the net, so why not influence Americans with the truth for once, and see how that works out to combating terrorism? America needs to settle the heck down. Leaders need to start telling the people the truth, and the truth is, is as long as this country can afford to drop bombs, there will be more terror attacks. It’s time America takes a good look into the mirror, for there may be the best place to start.

    • Gregory Kruse
      December 9, 2015 at 14:17

      I have cancelled my TV service, but I still have internet and phone. It does make for a longer day and evening, but I haven’t taken up mediation yet. I did start re-reading “The Magic Mountain” though, which is the next best thing, maybe.

  8. Greg Driscoll
    December 9, 2015 at 02:16

    for those at the top, war is peace
    because there are no personal consequences –
    the fog of war thrives
    in the Chief’s mind long before
    any shots are fired:
    blind leading the blind – and all
    shall fall into the abyss.

    * * *

  9. December 9, 2015 at 01:16

    Each day Mr. Cruz and Trump have a competition. Both aim to become dumber! They have a unique ability to think different… to think out of the box reality.

  10. Abe
    December 9, 2015 at 00:43

    Given the nuclear dick-waving delusions of Senator Cruz and his fellow AIPAC shills, let’s hope Obama does not again decide to “give Congress a voice”

    • Joe Tedesky
      December 9, 2015 at 02:54

      So, Abe, you are saying Cruz is like LBJ? That delusional thing of theirs, must be required in a Texas politicians profile package (no pun intended) …..uh partner!

      • extinctiongangbang
        December 9, 2015 at 17:49

        Much as i lothe and detest el BJ, it was not he who ever proposed nuking anything. You may be conflating his campaign in 1964 with that of his opponent, Barry Goldwater, who did propose to nuke Communist China and lost by the greatest contested drubbing in American history, 61-39%, for scaring the shit out of the American people. That recklesslness made him the Ted Cruz of his day.

        • Joe Tedesky
          December 10, 2015 at 01:28

          Right, but I was referring to LBJ’s liking to wave certain things.

    • Abe
      December 9, 2015 at 03:10

      Cruz obviously suffers from “Cuban missile crisis”. It’s a lot like pissing down your leg, as LBJ would say.

      • Abe
        December 9, 2015 at 20:17

        More accurately, Cruz is pissing down Miriam Adelson’s leg. Kinky.

    • dahoit
      December 9, 2015 at 12:33

      Yeah,the Zionists couldn’t get a more attractive pos than this mole traitor.
      They want him as bad as stolen body parts.Wolfson;good name eh?

  11. Abe
    December 9, 2015 at 00:34

    Jeb Bush: “There are no radical Christians that are organizing to destroy Western civilization.”

    What Does the Christian Right Want? Chris Hedges on American Fascists (2007)

    • rosemerry
      December 9, 2015 at 16:25

      1.Does Jeb remember Tim McVeigh, a good Catholic man like Jeb?

      2. Has he ever heard Ghandi’s comment on “Western civilization.”
      He said “I think that would be a good idea”

  12. Dan Lowe
    December 9, 2015 at 00:06

    I live in Montana, surrounded by hundreds of warheads, constantly reminded how we still live in the same century of 1945. I’m 29 years old, too young to remember even 1962, but the only time I’ve ever died in my dreams I was consumed by a nuclear shockwave, left in total darkness and silence, unable to open my eyes to the world that may or may not have still existed around me.

    If Ted Cruz is seriously advocating the use of nuclear weapons, he should be, at best, removed from the Senate by his colleagues who supposedly detest him already, or at worst barred from future debates. If the media wants to continue patronizing him, every interview needs to start with asking him if he was just posturing for the campaign, or if he even grasps the weight of his statements. If there’s seriously support for this notion, then we can only hope the voyage to Europa is ready to go.

    Everything else I want to say about the senator digresses into emotional, likely illegal calls for vigilante action (but even then not involving the use of nuclear weapons). For what it’s worth, I didn’t feel this way prior, and considered him as legitimate a candidate as, say, Newt Gingrich.

    It’s one thing for the military to manage contingencies about weapons they have an irrefutable responsibility to understand, including how they are deployed, secured or potentially disarmed. But advocating for their use on hostage populations reveals that he is unfit to bear the responsibility.

    • Bob
      December 9, 2015 at 15:31

      He just wants no one to mess with his state

      • Charles
        December 18, 2015 at 01:49

        He’s not even a Texan but knew what state to invade in order to get elected. We need a native, not a Latino-Canadian, who is truthful, understands what Texas and the U.S. are about, and really cares about our nation. There hasn’t been a decent Republican as president since Theodore Roosevelt, who stood up for the commoners, and would have run the Koch brothers out instead of being on the take from them.

        If you knew what Texas was like 30 years ago, long before the disastrous sinkholes and earthquakes caused by fracking, you’d consider the dangers of electing candidates pushing for big business instead of all citizens.

    • Peter Loeb
      December 10, 2015 at 07:52


      “Though inspired by a pacifist, Christianity has established a record as the most bloodthirsty religion in history, with its adherents conducting massacres and genocides in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia – every continent except Antarctica, which is largely uninhabited by humans. In many cases, European Christians justified the repression and extermination of non-Christians as the will of God, deeming indigenous people to be ‘heathens.'”..Robert Parry, above

      An exhaustive study on these points is in:


      This work should be a solid basis for further inquiry and provides
      thorough information and analysis . As Prior himself notes, the fact
      that he has not all the answers is the result of few (to no) other enquirers.

      This is a thorough work by the late (Catholic) theologian but it is not
      intended merely as a theological “study.”

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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