GOP Debate: Ron Paul Dissents from War on Iran and Syria, Assassination, Torture
(The New American) -- by Thomas R. Eddlem --
Except for dissent from Representative Ron Paul of Texas and (to a lesser extent) former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the Republican presidential candidates blazed their way in a November 12 debate toward foreign policies where the United States would engage in two new Middle Eastern wars against Syria and Iran, re-institute the Bush Administration torture policy, abolish trials for terror suspects, and allow unlimited presidential assassinations.
New Wars Against Iran and Syria
Mitt Romney came out for war against Iran at the beginning of the debate. "If all else fails," Romney told debate moderator and CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley in the South Carolina debate at Wofford College, "then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Likewise, Romney sought war against Syria, suggesting "Of course it's time for the Assad dictatorship to end. And we should use covert activity."
Herman Cain told CBS moderator Scott Pelley that he wouldn't invade Syria, but would wage war against the country by funding a bloody insurgency instead: "I would not entertain military opposition. I'm talking about to help the opposition movement within the country."
Newt Gingrich also called for war against Iran in the form of "maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian program — including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems. All of it covertly," Gingrich added, to audience laughter: "All of it deniable." On Syria, Gingrich would likewise seek widespread "covert" war. Asked by National Journal Host Major Garrett if he would approve military assistance and covert smuggling, Gingrich replied: "I would actively approve taking those steps would which defeat his regime, which would probably be mostly covert."
Texas Governor Rick Perry didn't mention war against Iran, as he wasn't asked the question on it, but suggested that the United States "sanction the Iranian Central Bank right now and shut down that country's economy."
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum also sought war against Iran. "I proposed exactly the things that Herman and and Mitt Romney suggested, which was to give money to the rebel forces there to help the pro-democracy movement and to put tough sanctions in place."
On the other hand, Texas Congressman Ron Paul advocated following the U.S. Constitution on war, which he called "the old-fashioned way, the Constitution. You go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened. And I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq."
Republican candidates also staked out clear positions in favor of torture — without calling it torture. Herman Cain said of waterboarding: "Yes, I would return to that policy. I don't see it as torture. I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique." (Cain also said "I'd keep Gitmo open," a reference to the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba where hundreds of detainees have been held without trial or formal charges for as long as nine years.) Michele Bachmann agreed, telling the audience that "If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding."
Ron Paul called waterboarding torture and said that torture "uncivilized" and "un-American." He also said that torture is "illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. And it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence."...
Ron Paul noted that Presidential assassinations have now included a 16-year-old boy — the son of al-Awlaki — and condemned "this whole idea that now we can be assassinated by somebody that we don't even like to run our medical care, and giving this power to the president to be the prosecutor, the executor, the judge and the jury. We better look at that carefully before you automatically endorse something like that."...MORE...LINK