State of Maryland Archives: on War & Peace


Dan Bongino: Too late to act if Iran gets even just a few nukes

"I'm not an adventurer, but I'm also not an isolationist," Bongino said. "We have to hold Iran to their word," he said, to allow nuclear inspections. "They have the capability to develop four to five warheads and if they choose to use them, or supply them to terrorist groups, there will be no Monday morning quarterbacking," Bongino said. "It will be too late."

Bongino also said he is a strong supporter of Israel, which he said is our only strong ally in the region.

Source: Cumberland Times-News on 2012 Maryland Senate debates Jul 22, 2012

Mary Landrieu: New course for our strategy in Iraq, with benchmarks

I support a new course for our strategy in Iraq. The President needs to provide the American people with measurable benchmarks of victory. This is the only way that the public can have the assurance that we are making progress. Unfortunately, the Administration has not provided such benchmarks. That failure has been a major cause of the policy errors and mismanagement that we have seen far too often in this very difficult situation.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.marylandrieu.com, “Issues” Mar 2, 2008

Benjamin Cardin: Withdraw troops plus diplomatic solution, but no timetable

Q: In June you “called on the Bush administration to immediately begin withdrawing US troops from Iraq & adopt a plan to pull American combat forces out of the country by the end of 2007.” What if Iraq is not secure at the end of 2007? Still pull our troops out?

A: Iraq’s in the middle of a civil war. We need to combine withdrawing our troops with also a political & diplomatic solution. We need to engage the international community and recognize that there’s a civil war going on in Iraq. It’s not in our interests to continue the current policy.

Q: Let me ask my question again. If there was chaos on the ground at the end of 2007, would you still bring all troops home?

A: I don’t believe in a time schedule.

Q: But you called for all troops out by the end of 2007.

A: No, I said it’s reasonable to expect that if we start redeploying our troops, start engaging the international community, that it’s reasonable to expect that our combat troops could be out by the end of 2007. I stand by that.

Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Benjamin Cardin: Never turn our back on our troops

Q: Would you vote to cut off funding for our troops while the war’s going on?

A: No. I will never support turning our backs on our troops. I’ve supported the appropriation bills, in order to make it clear that our troops who are in harm’s way have everything they need to be safe. What Congress needs to do is consider all options. It needs to use every option they can, so the president presents, presents a plan. My objective is to gives us the best chance to achieve US objectives.

Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Benjamin Cardin: Redeploy our troops and focus on the war on terror

I plan to start redeploying troops to show the world that we’re not going to be an occupation force; convene the international community so that we can develop a diplomatic & political solution; use non-governmental organizations to deliver humanitarian assistance; bring in the international community to help train the troops. I’d bring the troops home. I want more flexibility to focus on the war against terror. Our influence internationally is being compromised because of our commitment in Iraq.
Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Michael Steele: We need a clear strategy, and to pressure Iraq gov’t

Q: On Iraq, in July you said, “For me, staying the course, yes.” Two weeks later you said, “It didn’t work. We didn’t prepare for the peace.” And then when asked if you agreed with the management of the war, “By & large, absolutely, yeah.” And then 10 days ago: “The situation is not going well on the ground. We are getting deeper and deeper into a mess.” Where are you on Iraq?

A: The war in Iraq right now stands with a mess that we need to fix. We are at a point right now where there is no clear strategy. Going forward, what is the strategy? Put in place the benchmarks, put the pressure on the Iraqi government to lay out very clearly and very forcefully that they’re committed to democracy.

Q: Did the Bush administration help create this mess?

A: The Defense Department did not give the president the kind of strategy that he needed to prosecute this war. From the beginning we didn’t have enough troops on the ground, from the beginning there was no clear decision to win the peace here.

Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Michael Steele: Iraq war worth it, to establish beachhead of democracy

Q: Do you believe the war has been worth the price we’ve paid in lives and costs?

A: I think the war has been worth it to the extent that what we’re trying to establish there is a beachhead of democracy. When we walk out of Iraq, what do we want? Do we want an Iraq that’s an ally of the US, or do we want an Iraq that is an enemy of the US? We want an ally, so it’s been worth it to us to establish this beachhead of democracy and an ally in an area where we’ve had some trouble in the past.

Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Michael Steele: Would still vote for the Iraq war even there were no weapons

I would think we’d still prosecute the war. But what I would do, if we’re going to do it, let’s make sure we have the right complement of personnel on the ground and that we are looking forward in this and not looking backwards. And that’s where I am right now: What are we going to do, what is our strategy to begin to move our soldiers home and have Iraqi government and leadership move forward and keeping what they want in Iraq?
Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Michael Steele: Withdrawal is on the table if Iraqis want a civil war

If the Iraqi people don’t want this, if they are content to have this internal strife, they want civil war, they want this, this terrorist beachhead to be formed, then we will have to re-evaluate our policy, and our foreign policy position with respect to that country. And that would be on the table, absolutely.
Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

Michael Steele: Make sure we leave behind in Iraq is an ally

Q: I asked you if the status quo was the same six months from now, you said “Get out.” So what would Iraq look like six months from now?

A: What we need to make sure we leave behind in Iraq is an ally, not an enemy. What we need to do is make certain that, whether it’s looking at the Biden plan in terms of a trifurcation or looking at a whole Iraq, this is the conversation we need to get into right now that we haven’t. What we have done, ostensibly, for the last three years, is slowly march towards nothing. A few weeks ago, the Iraqi government took control of its military. That is a notable benchmark. But there are so many others that we need to reach, and so many others that we have to do, that together will move us in a direction towards putting in place a stable Iraq that we can rely on as an ally, and not just sort of, “Well, we withdraw the troops or we don’t fund them.” That is not the strategy. What is your, what is your goal to put the pressure on the Iraqi government?

Source: 2006 Maryland Senate debate on Meet the Press Oct 29, 2006

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