For the past 48 hours, people have been pondering if GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson would really follow through on a major claim he made during Tuesday's CNN-hosted debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Radio host Hugh Hewitt asked candidate Carson if he was ruthless enough to wage war as the U.S. commander-in-chief. Specifically, Hewitt asked: "You are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?" Carson responded, "You got it. You got it."
Hewitt posed during the debate: "People admire and respect, and are inspired by your life story, your kindness, your evangelical core support. We're talking about ruthless things tonight-carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that? Could you order airstrikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief?"
Carson's reply was: "Interestingly enough, you should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them, 'We're going to have to open your head up and take out this tumor.' They're not happy about it, believe me. And they don't like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me. Later on, you know, they really realize what's going on. And by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it's actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by a thousand pricks."
Hewitt pushed again, to ensure he was understanding Carson's intent: "Can you be as ruthless as Churchill was in prosecuting the war against the Nazis?"
"Ruthless is not necessarily the word I would use, but tough, resolute, understanding what the problems are and understanding that the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of this country and to do what is necessary in order to get it done," said Carson.
Later Tuesday evening, one of Carson's Facebook fans, Cynthia Miller, remarked on his page: "You did well. Your closing remarks could have been better. You did show that you have policies on terrorism and know foreign policy, so the media cannot say you are weak on those areas."
Since the debate, Carson posted his "Seven Steps to a Safer America" plan. In that plan, Carson states: "We must act boldly and decisively to protect American citizens from terrorists at home and abroad. We can no longer dawdle while ISIS continues to persecute Christians, enslave young girls, oppress civil societies and perpetrate terrorist attacks against the free world."
"We must destroy their caliphate and prevent their terrorists from infiltrating our homeland. We must also secure our borders, identify radical Islamic extremism by name and root out its agents and collaborators in our own country. My (seven steps) offers a path forward for confronting these threats and protecting this great country," Carson states.
He states U.S. officials don't really have the option of deciding whether it's easy or not to take out people who are putting America in danger. "We have to take them out. We have to do what's necessary."