The Heritage Foundation has announced that it will co-host — with the American Enterprise Institute and CNN — a Republican presidential debate on foreign policy and national security.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a month (the debate won’t happen until Tuesday, November 15), but such a focus is long overdue. Because if the past is prologue — and it is — then tonight’s GOP presidential primary debate will give short shrift to the most urgent questions of war and peace, which, typically, only the commander-in-chief himself can resolve.
Worse yet, many of the views expressed by this evening’s GOP primary hopefuls will be downright hostile to a robust defense, adequately funded, and an assertive and engaged U.S. foreign policy.
Ron Paul, of course, is the most offensive and un-Republican of the lot. In the Aug. 11 GOP debate, for instance, Paul said that it was understandable why Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; and that, as president, he would “stay out of their [Iran’s] internal business.”
“We’re there occupying their land,” he explained Osama bin-Laden-like in the September 12 debate. America is “under great threat because we occupy so many countries.”
“We have been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years,” he added. “Would you be annoyed? If you’re not annoyed, then there’s some problem.”
Of course: America is the problem! But then again, as former United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick once put it, “They always blame America first.”
In 1984, when Kirkpatrick spoke, “they” were the San Francisco Democrats. But today, “they” are the Ron Paul pseudo-Republicans — aka “non-interventionist” or isolationist libertarians.
In truth, Paul is perpetuating a malicious lie about America. We have not been indiscriminately “bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years.” In fact, we have been remarkably careful and circumspect in our use of military force.
Indeed, never before in history has a country waged war more judiciously and with greater care and deliberation. And so, according to the Iraq Body Count, an authoritative, nongovernmental database of Iraqi civilian deaths, fewer than 12,000 Iraqis have died at the hands of American and coalition forces.
Moreover, reports CNSNews, the “IBC recorded 630 ‘non-combatant Iraqi deaths resulting directly from actions involving U.S.-led coalition forces’ in 2008, 80 in 2009, and 32 in 2010.”
Then there’s Jon Huntsman. “Our core is broken,” he declared in the September 7 debate. “We are weak. We have got to strengthen ourselves. I say we’ve got to bring those troops [in Afghanistan] home… We’ve going to do some nation-building right here at home.”
Obama and the far Left couldn’t have said it any better. There’s only one problem: Huntsman purports to be a Republican, not a Democrat. And last I checked, the GOP was for winning our nation’s wars, not forfeiting them.
Oh, it’s not all bad. Rick Santorum, for one, has been a voice of calm and steady defense and foreign policy reason in a sea of irresolution, retreat and confusion.
“Someone who’s running for president of the United States [for] the Republican Party should not be parroting what Osama bin Laden said on 9/11,” Santorum said in response to Ron Paul’s far-left, don’t-blame-Iran rant.
“Iran is a country that has been at war with us, [America], since 1979,” Santorum explained. “Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan than the Iraqis and the Afghans have.”
Unfortunately, Santorum and Romney are fighting a defensive battle against the “non-interventionists” or isolationists, who now command the energy and enthusiasm of the Republican base. George McGovern would be proud; Ronald Reagan: ashamed.