Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

Rick Santorum on War & Peace

Republican Jr Senator (PA)


Stay in Afghanistan until security of our country is secure

Q: Would you send troops back into Iraq right now?

SANTORUM: Well, I wouldn't right now, but we need someone who has a strong vision for the region and we have not had that with this president. He has been making mistakes at every turn in Iran, in Egypt, I would argue, Libya, Syria, Israel. All of these places, he has made mistakes on the ground that have shown the people in that region that we are the weak horse. That is something that cannot happen because it will cause events like you're seeing in the Straits of Hormuz. There will be push. America is soft and so they can be pushed around. That's what this administration has done. They did it by withdrawing from Iraq, and [the same] if we get out of Afghanistan. Let's just wait and see how things turn out when the United States isn't there and see how consequential our efforts were for the stability of that region.

HUNTSMAN: So how long do you want to wait?

SANTORUM: Until the security of our country is ensured.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

Iranian people admire us; Iranian leaders are evil

Q: [to Ron Paul]: You think that a nuclear Iran is really none of our business?

PAUL: I don't want Iran to get a nuclear weapon. But sanctions themselves always leads up to war.

SANTORUM: Well, Ron, we have a very great relationship with the Iranian people. The Iranian people have taken to the streets repeatedly and still do, in trying to overthrow their government. And we had a president of the United States who stood silently by as thousands were killed on the streets, and did nothing. In fact, he tacitly supported the results of the election. When I was in the Senate, I pushed to help those revolutionaries before the revolution, to give them resources. The Iranian people love America because we stand up for the truth and call evil, which is what Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are, we call evil what it is. That's why they admire us, because we tell the truth. Now we just have to have a president that helps them to do what is necessary, which is to turn that regime out.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

Afghanistan victory means Taliban is neutered, not wiped out

Q: Would you define victory in Afghanistan?

Santorum: Victory against the Taliban in Afghanistan is that the Taliban is a neutered force. They are no longer a security threat to the Afghan people or to our country. That would be victory. It doesn't mean wipe them out, we can't wipe them out, but they're no longer a security threat.

Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

Work with Israel to take out Iranian nukes by force

Gingrich [to Santorum]: [To avoid Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, we need] first, maximum covert operations, to block and disrupt the Iranian program, including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems. Second, maximum coordination with the Israelis, in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran. And if in the end, despite all of those things, the dictatorship persists, you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.

Santorum: I disagree with Newt: more sanctions and providing more support for the pro-democracy movement isn't going to be enough. We should be working with Israel right now to do what they did in Syria, what they did in Iraq, which is take out that nuclear capability before the next explosion we hear in Iran is a nuclear one and then the world changes.

Source: 2011 debate in South Carolina on Foreign Policy , Nov 12, 2011

We need 20,000 troops to stay in Iraq to achieve victory

Q: If the security situation were to fall apart in Iraq in 2012 would you support sending US troops back to the region to stabilize the gains made?

SANTORUM: I'm not for taking them out of the region. I believe we need to listen to our generals, and our generals are being very, very clear that we need to continue to stabilize Iraq, the Iraqi government wants and needs our intelligence in particular, needs force protection. We need to have--I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000 troops potentially to remain in Iraq, not indefinitely, but to continue to make sure that this is a stable transition. When it comes to this issue, I stand up and say that when we engage in Iraq and Afghanistan, we engage because we want to be successful. We want victory. We want to have accomplished a national security objective for this country to make sure that we are safer. We are not on a political agenda to withdraw troops. So the first thing is to make sure that we secure success.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

We're tying one hand behind our backs; change Afghan rules

HUNTSMAN: [to Santorum] We're at a critical juncture in our country. Our core, our economy, is broken. We're 25% of the world's GDP. The world is a better place when the US is strong. So guiding a foreign policy standpoint needs to be fixing our core. Bu after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

SANTORUM: Just because our economy is sick does not mean our country is sick, and it doesn't mean our values are sick. And we're going to stand up for those values every opportunity to make sure that our country is safe. The bottom line is, we should be fighting wars to win, not fighting wars for politics. And this president is fighting a war in Afghanistan with one hand tied behind our generals, not giving the troops they need, not giving the authority, the rules of engagement to allow us to be successful. And unless we change those rules of engagement and make sure that our folks can win, then we are going to play politics with our military.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

Jihadists want to kill us for what we are

PAUL: [to Santorum]: We're under great threat, because we occupy so many countries. We're in 130 countries. We're there occupying their land. And if we think that we can do that and not have retaliation, we're kidding ourselves.

SANTORUM: On your Web site on 9/11, you had a blog post that basically blamed the United States for 9/11. On your Web site, yesterday, you said that it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11. Now, that is irresponsible. Someone who is running for the president of the United States in the Republican Party should not be parroting what Osama bin Laden said on 9/11. We are not being attacked and we were not attacked because of our actions. We were attacked because we have a civilization that is antithetical to the civilization of the jihadists. And they want to kill us because of who we are and what we stand for. And we stand for American exceptionalism, we stand for freedom and opportunity for everybody around the world, and I am not ashamed to do that.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

No isolationism on Libya; but Obama did it wrong

Q: [to Bachmann]: You opposed the US intervention in Libya. If Pres. Obama had taken the same view, Gadhafi would still be in power today.

BACHMANN: I believe that it was wrong for the president to go into Libya. There was no American vital interest in Libya. We didn't know who the rebel forces were in Libya.

SANTORUM: I'm hearing from at least a couple of people on this panel a very isolationist view. Ronald Reagan was committed to America being a force for good around the world. We could have been a force for good from the very get-go in Libya, but this president was indecisive and confused from the very beginning. He only went along with the Libyan mission because the UN told him to. This is a very important issue for our party. Are we going to stand in the Reagan tradition, or are we going to go the isolationist view that some in this party are advocating?

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

We should withdraw from Afghanistan more slowly

Q: [to Pawlenty] With casualties mounting in Afghanistan, and costs adding up, is it still worth it?

PAWLENTY: We were justified in the invasion. It was 10 years ago. People killed Americans. We needed to go there, find them, bring them to justice or kill them. But in terms of where we are now, 10 years removed, I was last there last summer and met with Gen. Petraeus. He thought would it take two years from last summer to have an orderly and successful wind down of our mission in Afghanistan, at leas in terms of significant troop withdrawal. Pres. Obama has accelerated that faster than the generals recommended. I would have accepted their recommendations and drawn them down a little slower.

Q: [to Santorum]: So it is still worth it?

SANTORUM: It is still worth it. But we are going to have to have a successful draw down, not one according to Barack Obama's campaign calendar next year.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Iran has been at war with us since 1979

Q: [to Ron Paul]: Your policy towards Iran is: No sanctions?

PAUL: No, that makes it much worse. This whole idea of sanctions, all these pretend free traders, they're the ones who put on these trade sanctions.

SANTORUM: Well, as the author of the Iran Freedom Support Act, which he is criticizing, it actually imposed sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program--Iran is not Iceland, Ron. Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979. Iran is a country that has killed more American men and women in uniform than the Iraqis and the Afghanis have. The Iranians are the existential threat to the state of Israel, via funding of Hamas and Hezbollah and the support of Syria.

PAUL: The senator is wrong on his history. We've been at war in Iran for a lot longer than 1979. We started it in 1953 when we sent in a coup, installed the shah, and the blowback came in 1979. It's been going on and on because we just plain don't mind our own business. That's our problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Iran must be confronted to stop them from getting nukes

SANTORUM: Iran is the greatest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world and is setting up training camps and is working with Venezuela and other countries south of our border to threaten us. Iran is a country that must be confronted I was in front of this curve. I authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act back in 2004. It was blocked by Joe Biden and Barack Obama, but , nonetheless, we got it passed. And I can tell you, if Rick Santorum is president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon because the world as we know it will be no more.

PAUL: You've heard the war propaganda that is liable to lead us into a sixth war. And I worry about that position. Iran does not have an air force that can come here. And here we are building this case up, just like we did in Iraq--build up the war propaganda. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq. And [Bush claimed Iraq] had nuclear weapons and we had to go in. I'm sure you supported that war, as well. It's time we quit this

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

No national security at stake in Libya

Q: Would any of you have gone into Libya?

Santorum: We need to focus our military on OUR national security not UN or humanitarian efforts, the first being to defend our borders.

Bachmann: No. There is no vital US interest in Libya. Worse, we might be aiding terrorist groups by supporting the Libyan opposition.

Santorum: I would not go anywhere unless our national security was at stake. It seems clear that was not the case.

Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com , Jul 21, 2011

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

Threat posed by Saddam is like drunk driver's threat to all

In plain terms, the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is analogous to the threat posed by a drunk driver. The drunk driver is a threat to all on and in close proximity to the road. Behind the wheel of a rolling weapon, it is only a matter of time before the drunk driver crashes into another car, kills an innocent bystander or causes immense damage to someone's personal property. Saddam is this drunk driver careening along the road, a threat to all those innocents who have the misfortunate to cross his path. It is time to get Saddam off the road before he can kill or injure innocents who cross his path.

I firmly believe that this resolution we are debating will strengthen the hand of President Bush and the international community in forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm and to ensure his compliance with all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Source: Santorum speech in "A Senator Speaks Out", p.220-221 , Oct 10, 2002

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:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
GOP Withdrawals:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Donald Trump(NY)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Page last updated: Mar 07, 2012