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Rick Santorum on War & Peace

Republican Jr Senator (PA)


Iraq: We have a great game plan, and Rumsfeld does fine job

CASEY [to Santorum]: I’ve called for Donald Rumsfeld to be replaced. Where do you stand on that?

SANTORUM: I think Secretary Rumsfeld has done a fine job as the defense secretary, and the problems that we are confronting are problems of an enemy that’s much more potent than I think anybody ever anticipated. You know, we have a great game plan. We need to go out there and continue to fight this war on Islamic fascism.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

War in Iraq is one front in war on Islamic fascism

We need to go out there and continue to fight this war on Islamic fascism. Not just the war in Iraq. That’s a front of a multi-front war in which we’re fighting against an enemy that’s a very dangerous enemy. This is an enemy that uses a tactic that is a very effective tactic against us, called terror, because they don’t care about life, and we do. We have an enemy that now is trying to get nuclear weapons. The real tough questions is how do you win this war? And I’ve laid out a very clear vision on that
Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Iran is at the heart of the Iraq war

Q: Our ambassador to Iraq has said the principal problem is not foreign terrorists, it’s sectarian violence, Sunni vs. Shiite. This is Shiite vs. Sunni, Iraqi vs. Iraqi. What do you do about that, stay the course?

SANTORUM: That makes it more complex. The radical Sunni terrorist groups, as well as Shia nation-states like Iran, want to defeat the United States.

Q: But stay on Iraq, Senator.

SANTORUM: I’m coming back to it. But you can’t ignore the fact that Iraq is simply a front. And Iran, the principal stoker of this Shia/Sunni sectarian violence, would love nothing more to see than the Iraqi democracy fail. Iran is the one that’s causing most of the problems in Iraq, and, obviously, with Israel today. Iran is the country that we need to focus on in this war against Islamic fascism.

Q: So Iran now has more influence in Iraq than they did before Saddam Hussein?

SANTORUM: I would say that they have more influence in a free country than they would within a totalitarian regime.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Saddam had no new WMDs, but did have old WMDs

Q: In Oct. 2002, you said, “Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious and grave danger to the safety of the American people. Given the threat posed by his weapons of mass destruction.” Would you now acknowledge that that was not correct?

SANTORUM: We have found weapons of mass destruction, they were older weapons, but we have found chemical weapons.

Q:The president has accepted the report of his two task forces which said, “Iraq did not have the weapons our intelligence believed were there.”

SANTORUM: There were all sorts of weapons that our intelligence believed were there. So far we have not found any new weapons. But we have found over 500 old chemical weapons.

Q: Was Saddam a serious and grave danger to America?

SANTORUM: I believe that Iraq was a serious and grave danger to America.

Q: Based on what?

SANTORUM: Based on the fact that they were working with other terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, and that they had camps that they were training Baathists and terrorists.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but still a necessary war

Q: President Bush said that Iraq had “nothing to do with Sept. 11th.” Do you agree with that?

SANTORUM: As far as we know, that’s the case. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a working relationship with a variety of different terrorist organizations. In fact, the Saddam Hussein government was giving terrorists bounties for killing Israelis.

Q: But knowing what you know now about the weapons of mass destruction, the primary rationale for the war, would you believe that the Iraq war was a choice or a necessity?

SANTORUM: I believe that it was a war of necessity because they were a threat. It is important that we are in the Middle East right now and confronting this broad war against Islamic fascism. The bottom line is that we are now almost 5 years from Sept. 11th. We have not had any kind of terrorist attack in this country, because we’ve taken it to them. We’ve disrupted their networks, not just in Afghanistan. Iraq was a state sponsor of terror, and we went after them.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

My Iraq plan, and my opponent’s plan, is same as Bush’s

Q: In ‘04, after the war, you said, “the Bush administration deserves a lot of credit for getting it right in Iraq.” Do you believe the Bush administration is still “getting it right”? In Iraq, what would you do differently?

SANTORUM: The plans that my opponent has laid out in some of his speeches and I’ve laid out in mine are basically the same thing the administration is trying to do. You’re trying to get the Iraqis to take control of the security situation. We are trying to get international cooperation to get money in there. We’re trying to improve their quality of life. We’re trying to stabilize their democracy and make sure their constitution is defended.

Q: Would you put more troops in Iraq?

SANTORUM: I don’t know if it’s a question of more troops or less troops. I think the focus should not be Iraq, but should be Iran.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Needed exit strategy & objective in Kosovo, but not in Iraq

Q: Have the American people have turned against the war in Iraq?

SANTORUM: Yes, they have.

Q: Why?

SANTORUM: Because the Bush administration hasn’t laid out the complexity of dealing with this war and, and how it fits into a broader picture.

Q: When President Clinton took troops into Kosovo, you said, “President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He is yet to tell Congress how much this operation will cost. And, he has not informed our nation’s Armed Forces about how long they will be away from home.“ Do you believe you should have the same standard for President Bush? He should give a defined objective, he should give an exit strategy, he should give a cost, and he should give a timeline for Iraq, just as you were demanding President Clinton give for Kosovo?

SANTORUM: No. Because Kosovo and Slobodan Milosevic were never a security threat to the US. It wasn’t even close.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Sanctions against Iran, despite Administration disagreement

Q: Should we launch a military attack against Iran?

SANTORUM: No, we have an opportunity to go after them by using pro-democracy forces outside and within Iran, and to crack down with additional sanctions. That’s the one-two punch [outlined in my proposed bill]. The administration so far has opposed me on that.

Q: No military option?

SANTORUM: That’s part of the 2% that President Bush doesn’t agree with me on.

CASEY: There’s no question that the policy of our government has to be to do everything possible to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And we’ve got to use sanctions in a very skilled way. We agree that sanctions have got to be very tough.

SANTORUM: You would have voted for my bill?

CASEY: Absolutely. I have to ask about the most prominent critic of Iran’s sanctions, Dick Cheney. Are you going to denounce him for continually opposing sanctions?

SANTORUM: I disagree with him on sanctions, but I don’t denounce people because I disagree with them.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.

Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
  1. The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
  2. The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
  3. Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Reference: Kerry Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act; Bill S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766 ; vote number 2006-181 on Jun 22, 2006

Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.

To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reference: Committee to Investigate War Contracts; Bill S Amdt 2476 to S 1042 ; vote number 2005-316 on Nov 10, 2005

Voted NO on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding.

Amendment to express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A YES vote would:
Reference: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act; Bill S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268 ; vote number 2005-96 on Apr 20, 2005

Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.

Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan; Bill S1689 ; vote number 2003-400 on Oct 17, 2003

Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq.

H.J.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
Reference: Bill H.J.RES.114 ; vote number 2002-237 on Oct 11, 2002

Voted YES on allowing all necessary force in Kosovo.

Majority Leader Trent Lott motioned to kill the resolution that would have authorized the president to "use all necessary forces and other means," in cooperation with U.S. allies to accomplish objectives in Yugoslavia.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)78; N)22
Reference: Motion to table S. J. Res. 20; Bill S. J. Res. 20 ; vote number 1999-98 on May 4, 1999

Voted NO on authorizing air strikes in Kosovo.

Vote to adopt a resolution to authorize the President to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with NATO against Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
Reference: Bill S.Con.Res 21 ; vote number 1999-57 on Mar 23, 1999

Voted YES on ending the Bosnian arms embargo.

Ending the Bosnian arms embargo.
Status: Bill Passed Y)69; N)29; NV)2
Reference: Bosnia Herzegovina Self-Defense Act of '95; Bill S. 21 ; vote number 1995-331 on Jul 26, 1995

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Santorum co-sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.1595. Became Public Law No: 104-45.
Source: Bill sponsored by 77 Senators and 78 Reps 95-S1322 on Oct 13, 1995

Other candidates on War & Peace: Rick Santorum on other issues:
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Page last updated: Jun 14, 2011