During Saturday night’s Democratic debate, everyone threw their punches at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, including former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. "He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter," she said. "They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

Clinton and fellow presidential candidate Bernie Sanders agreed on disparaging Trump’s ISIS strategy, but clashed on foreign policy issues, with Sanders tying Clinton’s push to oust Libya’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, to her plans for fighting ISIS. "I worry too much that Secretary Clinton is too much into regime change and a little bit too aggressive without knowing what the unintended consequences might be," Sanders said. "We have got to get our foreign policy and our priorities right. It is not Assad who is attacking the United States -- it is ISIS."

Meanwhile, on the GOP end of things, the aforementioned front-runner of the Republican party continued to call for a ban on Muslims in a recent GOP debate, and expressed his plan for how to deal with ISIS during a recent campaign stop in Iowa. “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because...they have certain areas of oil, some in Syria, some in Iraq,” Trump said. “I would bomb the shit out of them.”
“You hear it at the Thanksgiving table all the time,” said Charles Sennott, WGBH News Analyst, in an interview with Boston Public Radio. “I get the emotional reaction to something as frightening as ISIS, is to say, let's go all out. ‘Why aren’t we just going after those guys, I don’t get it. I don’t get why we don’t just go in and bomb the heck out of Iraq.’ But that, strategically, would be potentially catastrophic.”

The idea of bombing an area to attack ISIS, according to Sennott, does not take into account the inevitable civilian casualties. “Take city hall in Raqqa,” Sennott said. “Raqqa is this little hovel where ISIS/Daesh has built its headquarters. The city hall has become where a lot of the leadership is stationed. And right beneath their offices in city hall are the cells that are holding all of these NGO workers, and Iraqis and Syrians and civilians who they’ve picked up, women, young men, anyone who they don’t like is sitting there rotting in these cells, and you’re going to kill a lot of civilians in that one little airstrike.”

But if that sentiment of obliterating ISIS via bombs resonates with everyday U.S. citizens, afraid for their lives, Sennott said he can understand Trump’s appeal to that demographic. “[Donald Trump] is the physical Id of the Republican party,” Sennott said. “And as much as I think Donald Trump speaks to the Id of the Republican Party, ‘yeah, I’m greedy, yeah, I don’t really like minorities, yeah I do want to build a wall, what about it?’ ...I think Bernie Sanders is the Id of the democratic party, which is, ‘yeah, why shouldn’t we take care of poor people, and yeah, income inequality is a big issue, and yeah, war and wealth are connected.’”

During the debate, Sennott said Sanders asked a really important question: Where are our alleged allies in this fight? “When he went after Saudi Arabia and Qatar, he said, ‘yeah, we need troops on the ground, but where are the Saudis, where are the Qataris?’ That is a great question,” Sennott said. “When [Sanders] talks about the billions and billions of dollars the Qataris are spending on exploiting workers for the World Cup, he turned the corner back to why do you do that, and you won’t invest in someone who’s put an enemy on your doorstep?”

According to Sennott, this is an opportunity for allies in ISIS-plagued regions to step up, and put their own troops on familiar soil. “That is a convincing argument where you can take global wealth, you can look at oil-rich countries that have profited greatly off our country buying all that oil, and you can say to them, if you are really supposedly an ally, where the heck are you on this fight, right now?” Sennott said. “Why aren’t your young men and troops on the ground, since this is the greatest peril to you and your kingdoms?”

In both GOP and Democratic debates, candidates were hesitant to explain, in detail, how or if they would put troops on the ground in Syria. “I think it will be a nuanced increase over time,” Sennott said. “I do think there is a fair question the Democrats are putting forward, and that I would hope the Republicans would as well, which is, where are our allies in the region? It’s an outrage that we have these “allies” who do nothing to confront a peril that is really close to their homes, and going after them in a big way.”

Charles Sennott is a News Analyst at WGBH, and heads the Ground Truth Project. To hear more, click on the audio link above.