Rick Santorum lost me on Iran

As Thomas noted, Rick Santorum gave a great answer on abortion in last night’s debate. And I know that Kathryn and Thomas are rooting for Santorum in tomorrow’s Iowa Straw Poll. But his continued support for challenging Iran is a deal breaker for me.

Let’s remember that every candidate on the stage in last night’s debate is pro-life. On marriage, only Ron Paul (in favor of getting government out of the marriage ‘business’) and Jon Huntsman (pro-civil unions) are objectionable, in my mind. So Catholics who care about life and marriage could select just about any of the candidates on stage if they were an Iowa voter in Ames tomorrow. You would pick Cain, Bachmann, Pawlenty or Santorum (maybe not Romney though–still don’t trust him).

But I have to say this: Rick Santorum’s answer on Iran last night was shameful.

He suggested that someone opposed to aggressive action against Iran or anyone who thought Iran wasn’t a direct threat to the United States “wasn’t seeing the world clearly.”

He specifically compared those who oppose military intervention with Barack Obama, who went around the world apologizing for America’s past actions.

“[Ron Paul] thinks that we have to go around and apologize for the fact that we’ve gone out and exerted our influence to create freedom around the world,” said Santorum.

“Exerted our influence”? It’s called war.

Maybe I heard him wrong. He can’t be saying that someone cautious after 10 years of Afghan war and 8 years of Iraq is equivalent to Sean Penn bad mouthing our country overseas?

Well, in case you missed the point, Santorum managed to squeeze the world “apologize” 3 times in just under 20 seconds.


So in Rick’s mind, you either favor military action against Iran or you are an apologist? Talk about a false dilemma. So would Pope Benedict XVI also be an ‘apologist’ in Santorum’s mind?

I’ll readily admit that at the beginning of the Iraqi War, I was a hawk. But what has surprised me is that more conservatives haven’t decided to second guess this strategy of military interventions. Conservatives recognize government’s shortcomings in shaping our own society. You would think they could appreciate the limitations of using the military to remake an entire region of the globe into flourishing democracies.

Sadly, the only person to challenge Santorum’s saber rattling was the crazy uncle Ron Paul, who will give the pure libertarian answer every time, even if it means saying yes to legalizing heroin.

This has the disastrous effect of making noninterventionalism look crazy. When in reality, invading every country is what’s crazy. Let’s put on the brakes, people.

Iowa is in the Upper Midwest. Like Minnesota and Wisconsin, Iowa is less hawkish than other parts of the country. Republicans suffered brutal electoral loses in the Midwest in 2006 and 2008 because of the Iraqi War. I had hoped that this would mean that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (who unlike Santorum won in 2006) would embrace a more modest foreign policy. (Not pacifist like Ron Paul, but not uber-hawk like Santorum.) Sadly, Pawlenty doubled down and went the Wilsonian direction of trying to make the world safe for democracy, like Bush in 2005.

I’ll give Santorum some credit. He’s a true believer. He really thinks that Iran is a big threat to the United States (I’ll grant it poses a threat to Israel, but not to us). He mentioned in the debate that he was on top of this issue many years ago.

Yeah, and where did that get us? The voters in Pennsylvania thought you were off base on Iran. So they sent you home and we all got stuck with Senator Casey.

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38 thoughts on “Rick Santorum lost me on Iran

  1. Jasem says:

    American’s seem to want to have it both ways. why can’t you look at things from the other sides point of view. US has bases all around iran. all the puppet arab countries host american army bases. iraq is occupied, afghanistan is occupied, turkey is gonna have their missle deffence installed by americans. some of the other ex-soviet countries have american bases, the drones, the warships, the threats of war, the nuclear israel. and you’re complaining that iran is talking bad about the US? what would the US do, if russia did the same thing to US? occupy all the surrounding countries, put their bases all around it? don’t you think a nation has a right to be angry at the united states. do you read history books? [i bet all you read about is the us history if even that] since the 1900 (when oil discovered in iran and even before that), either the british, russuans, germans, americans or the french meddled in iranian affairs.

    why shouldn’t iran be angry at all this? the presidential candidates of your country, which considers itself as the best country in the world, say stupid things that are unprofessional and against diplomatic norms, such as backing the killing of iranian scientists which is against american laws (assassination of foreigners in their country). even the colonial british don’t utter such irresponsible things.

    the american foreign policy has been the same for as long as history can remember and obama gave the hope that he was gonna be different. and now he is not any different when it comes to US foreign policy.

    why not just focus on your own internal problems, economy, social issues, poverty as opposed to want to have a foot in every corner of the world. every dynasty in the history of this world, had its ups and downs. all of them went down and became irrelevant once they started conquering nations and exerting their military power in every corner of the world, becoming corrupt and arrogant.

    1. Hamed says:

      Well Said Jasem

  2. Hamed says:

    and dont get me wrong , im not another anti-goverment iranian who nags about its ruling system , im actually a pro-goverment
    and even though its full of flaws like anyother system in the world I Assure you that even though we might be your enemy on values , but unlike Al-quade (which is our enemy as well ) we are Logical Pragmatic people (name one Iranian who commited suicidal operation)!
    or on nuclear issue .. Even if we were building a nuke (which we are not) why would we want to drop a nuke anywhere ??? It would be absolutely Suicidal , I just dont get it !
    this whole Issue of “Iranian Threat” is politicaly motivated ,
    WHATCH OUT who you vote for and dont Start an Unpredictable Game
    Iran is like no other country US has invaded before !
    Iran has reasons to distrust united states and vice versa
    but there is no reason to begin another bloodshed

    I wish you all Peace and Traquility

    Regards from Iran

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