Ames, Iowa GOP Debate: Paul Schools Santorum, Bachmann on Iran, War
(The New American) -- by Thomas R. Eddlem --
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) schooled former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on foreign policy issues in the August 11 GOP presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.
Asked by Fox News channel anchor Chris Wallace why Paul was "soft" on Iran in his opposition to economic sanctions against the country, Paul told the debate audience that the threat from Iran was small when looked at through the lens of history: "Just think of what we went through in the Cold War when I was in the Air Force, after I was drafted into the Air Force, all through the Sixties. We were standing up against the Soviets. They had like 30,000 nuclear weapons with intercontinental missiles. Just think of the agitation and the worry about a country that might get a nuclear weapon some day."
Paul concluded of sanctions: "That makes it much worse. Why would that be so strange if the Soviets and the Chinese had nuclear weapons, we tolerated the Soviets. We didn't attack them. And they were a much greater danger. They were the greatest danger to us in our whole history. But you don't go to war with them."...
Paul's statements did not sit well with neo-conservatives at the debate podium. Rick Santorum, who had authored a sanctions bill against Iran as a Senator, took particular umbrage at Paul's analysis...
Representative Michele Bachmann agreed with Santorum, stating,
Regarding Iran, Iran is the central issue in the Middle East and their capacity to become a nuclear power. They are one of the four state sponsors of terror in the world. I sit on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. I can't reveal classified information, but I can say this: As President of the United States, I will do everything to make sure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.Paul concluded,
You've heard the war propaganda that is liable to lead us into the sixth war and I worry about that position. Iran is a threat because they have some militants there, but believe me, they're all around the world and they're not a whole lot different than others. Iran does not have an air force that can come here. They can't even make enough gasoline for themselves.Paul said that the propaganda about Iran matched the propaganda drumming up support for war against Iraq in 2002 — all of the claims of which ended up being exaggerated or patently false. "They're building up this case just like we did with Iraq. Build up the war propaganda. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq." He noted that war propagandists claimed "they had nuclear weapons and we had to go in," and then, referring to Santorum, added: I'm sure you supported that war as well." (Santorum nodded that he did support the Iraq war from the beginning.) Paul concluded: "It's time we quit this. It's trillions of dollars we are spending on these wars."
Paul campaign staffer Jack Hunter blogged on the Paul presidential campaign website,
Paul is the only candidate tonight that hasn’t unilaterally declared war on Iran, (or if you’re Rick Santorum, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Syria) for the same vague and likely unfounded reasons as the last war. Most importantly — and this is key — Paul is the only candidate who has mentioned that we can no longer afford trillions of dollars to fight wars that don’t make sense....MORE...LINK