They’re com­ing to kill you, Amer­ica.

Dirty bombs. Cy­ber­at­tacks. Elec­tro­mag­net­ic pulses.

Ir­an.

Dodd and Frank.

“Strong, power­ful young men.”

Between skir­mishes over Ted Cruz’s eli­gib­il­ity, Don­ald Trump’s leg­al au­thor­ity, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cred­ib­il­ity, Chris Christie’s RINO­ism, Bernie Sanders’s so­cial­ism, and Barack Obama’s pat­ri­ot­ism, the GOP pres­id­en­tial field tried Thursday night to scare the hell out of Amer­ica.

Tak­ing ad­vant­age of lais­sez-faire mod­er­at­ors in their sixth de­bate, the GOP’s top sev­en pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates spouted talk­ing points that ranged from war­mon­ger­ing to weird.

Sen. Ted Cruz set the tone by duck­ing an open­ing ques­tion on the eco­nomy to de­nounce Obama for Ir­an’s seizure of 10 U.S. sail­ors who ap­par­ently breached Tehran’s ter­rit­ori­al wa­ters. The sail­ors were quickly re­leased after be­ing held at gun­point. One of the men apo­lo­gized in an Ir­a­ni­an pro­pa­ganda video.

If he is elec­ted, Cruz de­clared, no Amer­ic­an ser­vice­man would be forced to his knees, and any coun­try that tried would feel “the full force and fury of the United States.”

The crowd roared in ap­prov­al, but even his sup­port­ers should con­sider the Cruz Doc­trine: The U.S. will go to war against any na­tion that briefly de­tains U.S. mil­it­ary per­son­nel who breach that na­tion’s ter­rit­ory.

Amer­ic­ans are jus­ti­fied to be afraid. Amer­ic­an lead­ers should work to calm the pub­lic. Not these GOP pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates. They’re com­ing to scare us, Amer­ica.

New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie wouldn’t be out­done. He vowed that no U.S. ships would ever fall in­to the hands of “tin-pot” dic­tat­ors.

Former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush de­clared that Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner Hil­lary Clin­ton “would be a na­tion­al se­cur­ity dis­aster.” He cited her role in a string of for­eign flare-ups in­clud­ing the 2012 Benghazi at­tacks and … “Dodd-Frank.”

Bush did not ex­plain why bank­ing reg­u­la­tions would make Clin­ton a lousy com­mand­er in chief.

No mat­ter, Sen. Marco Ru­bio of Flor­ida offered, Clin­ton is un­qual­i­fied to lead the U.S. mil­it­ary be­cause she “lied” to the fam­il­ies of the vic­tims of the Benghazi at­tacks about the raid’s cause. (The Wash­ing­ton Post called his cri­ti­cism a stretch. “The evid­ence for this claim is murky and open to in­ter­pret­a­tion,” Glenn Kessler wrote. “But Ru­bio really goes too far in sug­gest­ing that she told this to all of the fam­il­ies of the four who were killed in the ter­ror­ist at­tacks.”)

Then the de­bate took a turn for the truly sur­real.

Re­tired neurosur­geon Ben Car­son warned that ter­ror­ists could sim­ul­tan­eously ex­plode dirty bombs, un­leash cy­ber­at­tacks, and trig­ger an elec­tro­mag­net­ic pulse that would shut­ter the na­tion’s en­ergy grid.

No flocks of killer uni­corns?

“Can you ima­gine,” Car­son asked, “the danger that would en­sue?”

Front-run­ner Don­ald Trump re­newed his op­pos­i­tion to Muslim im­mig­ra­tion—“that could be the great Tro­jan horse”—and sug­ges­ted that his policy against Syr­i­an refugees stems from his cas­u­al ex­am­in­a­tion of tele­vi­sion foot­age. “Where are the wo­men?” he said, ap­par­ently re­fer­ring to crowds of Syr­i­an refugees, which in his eyes are dom­in­ated by “strong, power­ful young men.”

In the af­ter­math of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Par­is and San Bern­ardino, Cali­for­nia, na­tion­al se­cur­ity has edged out the eco­nomy as the primary con­cern of many voters. Polls show Pres­id­ent Obama’s ap­prov­al rat­ing on fight­ing ter­ror­ism dropped as he struggled to strike a bal­ance between over­re­act­ing and un­der­re­act­ing.

Amer­ic­ans are jus­ti­fied to be afraid. Amer­ic­an lead­ers should work to calm the pub­lic. They should re­dir­ect anxi­et­ies to­ward sup­port of well-reasoned re­sponses that make the na­tion as safe as pos­sible without ca­reen­ing to­ward an­oth­er war over false pre­tenses.

Not this crew. Not these GOP pres­id­en­tial can­did­ates. They’re com­ing to scare us, Amer­ica.

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