issues2000

Topics in the News: Iraq


Jeb Bush on Homeland Security : Dec 10, 2014
OpEd: a multilateralist more than a neoconservative

Is Jeb a neocon? That means a "neo-Conservative," the group that dominated the George W. Bush administration. We conclude: No, not quite, Jeb is not a neocon like his brother George. Jeb may be advised by neocons, but he is more of a multilateralist, and much more cautious in his foreign policy, than the second President Bush. At issue with the George Bush presidency is that George allowed the neocons to determine policy, especially with the Iraq War (a major neocon goal). Jeb starts off much more knowledgeable and involved about international affairs than was George at this phase of his campaign, and Jeb does not seem as likely to unilaterally follow neocon policies.

Jeb said, "I love my brother. I'm proud of his accomplishments." That applies a lot to war issues, as does Jeb's statement that "history will be kind to George W. Bush."

Jeb will spend the campaign prep season distancing himself from his older brother. How he does so on was policy is yet to be seen.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: Jeb vs. Hillary On The Issues, pp. 155 &168

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Nov 16, 2014
Do whatever it takes to destroy ISIS-including ground troops

Q: You said recently about the President's foreign policy, "It's tempting to think he is just inept." What should we be doing differently now against ISIS?

ROMNEY: The right course for this nation is to do whatever it takes to destroy and defeat ISIS. And it's appropriate for us to provide support to the Iraqi military & intelligence. And I think the President's wrong in saying that under no circumstances will he consider ground troops. No one wants to put their own ground troops there. But if you're going to defeat something, you don't tell the enemy exactly what you plan on doing or what you won't do. You say "we're going to defeat you regardless of the consequence."

Q: So if it comes to it that we may have to send American fighting forces, not just advisors?

ROMNEY: Well, no one wants that. But when the President says "we're going to destroy ISIS," it doesn't mean "well, we'll destroy it only in the following ways." You say instead we're going to do whatever it takes to destroy ISIS.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to target ISIL

Q: Are you ready for the president to order airstrikes in to Syria?

RUBIO: Absolutely. I think it's critical that we do that. If you're serious about defeating ISIL, you have to go after where they're headquartered. What is important to understand about their presence in Syria is that they are generating revenue in Syria, with former Assad refineries that they now control and they're generating revenue from. But all of their supplies, their command and control structure, is being operated from there. You cannot defeat ISIL unless you hit them in those parts of Syria that they now control, where the Syrian government is not even present. ISIL is a group that poses an immediate danger to the United States. And if we are serious about defeating them, then we must strike them both in Syria and in Iraq.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Airstrikes to topple Syrian government are counterproductive

Q: [In calling for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq to target ISIL], this is a bit of a change for you, is it not? You were a little reluctant about going in to Syria, if I recall?

RUBIO: Well, if you recall, at that time, what the president characterized basically as a symbolic military action against the Assad government, which I thought would be counterproductive. I thought the best way to topple Assad was to arm, equip, train and capacitate moderate rebel elements within Syria. I thought that was a better approach. This is different. We're talking about targeting ISIL, which is a group that poses an immediate danger to the United States. And if we are serious about defeating them, then we must strike them both in Syria and in Iraq. The previous debate was about what to do with Assad, and I thought the best way to topple Assad was not through airstrikes, but through equipping the moderate rebel elements.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Sep 7, 2014
Bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age, with Congress' approval

Q: You offered this scolding assessment of how the U.S. is confronting the threat from ISIS:

CRUZ (ON TAPE): What we ought to have is a direct concerted overwhelming air campaign to take them out.

Q (END TAPE): In Iraq and Syria?

CRUZ: The focus should be Iraq, but the real focus should be taking out ISIS. Within Syria, it should not be our objective to try to resolve the civil war in Syria.

Q: You said that the U.S. should bomb ISIS back into the Stone Age. Should that take Congressional approval?

CRUZ: It should absolutely take Congressional approval, I think.

Q (voice-over): But not all Republicans agree. On Friday, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida sent a letter to the White House saying the president doesn't need Congress, he should act swiftly on his own. What advice would you give the president?

CRUZ: I think it is an urgent concern to strike while ISIS is vulnerable.

Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rick Perry on Foreign Policy : Jul 13, 2014
We can't isolate ourselves within our shores; we must engage

Q: You really whipped Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed: "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism would compound the threat of terrorism even further." Well, he responded today. He said, "Unlike Gov. Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq. I ask Gov. Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'"

PERRY: In that part of the world, we have allies there in the form of Israel and Jordan that expect us to stand with them, to help them. When you read his op-ed, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies. America can no longer draw a red line around the shore of America, and think that we're somehow or another not going to be impacted. We must engage and tactically, thoughtfully, use the assets that we have against ISIS to keep these individuals from being able to create an Islamic state.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jul 13, 2014
How many Americans should die to defend Iraq?

Q: [to Gov. Rick Perry]: You really whipped Sen. Rand Paul in an op-ed: "Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism would compound the threat of terrorism even further." He responded today. He said, "Unlike Gov. Perry, I am opposed to sending American troops back into Iraq; I support continuing our assistance to the government of Iraq. I support using advanced technology to prevent ISIS from becoming a threat. I also want to stop sending U.S. and arms to Islamic rebels in Syria who are allied with ISIS, something Gov. Perry doesn't even address. I asked Governor Perry, 'How many Americans should send their sons and daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves?'" He really takes exception to your criticism.

I disagree with Sen. Paul's representation of what America should be doing, and when you read his op-ed, he talks about basically, what I consider to be, isolationist policies.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Jun 22, 2014
Provide more assistance to Jordan, to prepare against ISIS

Q: Given that ISIS is a direct throat to U.S. national security, what should this administration be doing?

RUBIO: ISIS wants to establish an Islamic caliphate in sections of both Syria and Iraq, and other places. Potentially, Jordan is next. This calls for us to continue to empower those moderate rebel forces in Syria who are engaged in conflict against ISIS, not just Assad. And I think we need to provide more assistance for Jordan, both in security and in their border, because I think this poses a risk to Jordan down the road, and one that we should take very seriously. The urgent action is to draw up plans that allow us to begin to degrade their supply lines and their ability to continue to move forward.

Q: With airstrikes?

RUBIO: Yes, that border between Iraq and Syria is quite porous. We have got to figure out a way to isolate ISIS from Syria and Iraq, isolate them from each other. And, then, look, I would leave the rest to military tacticians.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on Foreign Policy : Jun 22, 2014
Stay involved against ISIS or Iran becomes regional hegemon

Q: Rand Paul wrote in "The Wall Street Journal" that with airstrikes against ISIS, in essence, we would become Iran's air force by aiding them. Your take?

RUBIO: Well, I don't agree with that statement. I think that's quite an exaggeration. The truth of the matter is that, if we do nothing, Iran is still going to be involved. And imagine if Iran becomes involved, and somehow helps the Iraqis turn back ISIS. You can rest assured that a future Iraqi government will be completely, 100% under the influence and in the pocket of Iran. They will have expanded their strategic reach to include practical control not just over Syria if Assad survives, but also over Iraq, increasingly positioning themselves as a hegemonic power. The United States has different hope for Iraq's future. Our hope is a country that includes Kurds and Sunni and Shia and even Christians, an inclusive country for its future. That is not Iran's goal here.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on Homeland Security : Jun 22, 2014
ISIS is a more serious threat than al Qaeda

Q: How serious is the threat posed by ISIS militants?

RUBIO: Certainly potentially more dangerous today than al Qaeda. They are an extremely radical group with increasing capabilities, and a very clear design. They want to establish an Islamic caliphate in sections of both Syria and Iraq, and other places. Potentially, Jordan is next. And then they want to launch attacks in the exterior, external operations, including targeting our homeland. This is an extremely serious national security risk for the country if they were to establish that safe haven of operation. The reason why al Qaeda was able to carry out the 9/11 attacks is because they had a safe operating space in Afghanistan that the Taliban had given them. And now history is trying to repeat itself here. ISIS is trying to establish the exact same thing in the Iraq-Syria region. And from this caliphate that they're setting up, they will continue to recruit and train and plot and plan and eventually carry out external operations.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2014
ISIS are nasty terrorists but no clear-cut American interest

Q: Do you see a clear-cut, American interest in Iraq?

PAUL: I see mostly confusion and chaos, and I think some of the chaos is created from getting involved in the Syrian civil war. You have to realize that some of the Islamic rebels that we have been supporting are actually allies of the group that is now in Iraq causing all of this trouble.

Q: ISIS, as a terrorist organization, has been billed by many as a clear and present danger. Do you see that?

PAUL: I look at it on a personal basis. I ask, "Do I want to send one of my sons, or your son, to fight to regain Mosul?" And I think, "Well ya, these are nasty terrorists, we should want to kill them." But I think, "Who should want to stop them more? Maybe the people who live there." Should not the Shiites, the Maliki government, should they not stand up? Yes, we should prevent them from exporting terror; but, I'm not so sure where the clear-cut, American interest is.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2014
Iraq War gave Iran regional hegemony & caused Mideast chaos

Q: Former Vice-President Dick Cheney said, "Too many times to count, Obama has told us he is 'ending' the war in Iraq--as though wishing makes it so." Do you agree?

PAUL: Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn't really understand the civil war that would break out. And what's going on now, I don't blame on Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry.

Q: You're not a "Dick Cheney Republican" when it comes to American power in the Middle East?

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2014
Stay involved in Iraq to fight ISIS, not for nation-building

Q: You believe our future involvement in Iraq is a direct threat to our national security?

RUBIO: Without a doubt. I think this is an urgent counterterrorism matter. I know a lot has been talked about the future of Iraq as a country, and that is a very legitimate issue that needs to be looked at. But, for me, this is not about nation-building or imposing democracy. This is a counterterrorism risk that we need to nip in the bud. It is my view that we will either deal with ISIS now or we will deal with them later. And, later, they're going to be stronger and harder to reach.

Q: Given that this is a direct throat to U.S. national security, what should this administration be doing?

RUBIO: I certainly hope that the 300 additional special forces and trainers going in is not simply a symbolic measure. I hope it's the first step in a multistep process.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Peter King on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
ISIS creates a privileged sanctuary from which to attack US

Q: ISIS control now extends beyond Iraq into Syria. This is a breeding ground for terrorists, Al Qaeda and offshoots of Al Qaeda. How do you view it then in terms of what we ought to do?

REP. PETER KING: That is a very real concern. There's no doubt that ISIS looks upon itself as an Iraq/Syria power and it definitely has talked with the United States going back to 2011 when it was just Al Qaeda and Iraq before the Syrian component had even kicked in. We captured a number of their officers in the United States, attempting to carry out an attack on Fort Knox. So clearly, if they can get good sanctuary in their Northeastern Syria, in Iraq, this makes it, in effect, a privileged sanctuary to attack the United States apart from the destabilization they can do throughout the Middle East, especially the countries such as Jordan and to Israel. And that also of course increases the power of Iran as far as being an influence in that region.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
ISIS: bad things happen as a result of inaction

Q: What is worth fighting for in Iraq today?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, what we're fighting for is to preserve freedom in the region and to prevent the region from becoming a hotbed from which there could be attacks launched against us. But what has happened in Iraq and with ISIS is a good deal predictable by virtue of the president's failure to act appropriately and at the extraordinary time that was presented a couple of years ago in Syria. And also his failure to achieve a Status of Forces Agreement so that we could have an ongoing presence in Iraq. Bad things happen as a result of inaction. Consequences have obviously been very severe.

Q: So what would you do specifically?

ROMNEY: There's a propitious time to do things to prevent bad things from happening. to tell you precisely what's going to happen right now and what things we ought to do militarily o stop this ISIS movement from creating a terrorist state--that would require me to get the kind of intelligence briefings I no longer get.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2014
Leave 20,000 US troops in Iraq as an ongoing presence

Q: You have called for a Status of Forces Agreement, in other words, US troops staying behind in Iraq. But the Maliki government wanted US forces to leave. And back in 2007 you said, "I think we would hope to turn Iraq security over to their own military, to their own security forces. And if presence in the region is important for us, then we have other options that are nearby." Back then, you said it was up to the Iraqis to take care of this. Now you're saying it's President Obama's fault for not committing US forces.

ROMNEY: In 2012 I made it very clear that I thought we should've signed a Status of Forces Agreement, consistent with what President Bush said a long time ago, that we should have an ongoing presence. Not a massive military presence, but 10,000 or 20,000 troops to provide the training and the intelligence resources that Iraq would need to keep things like [ISIS] from happening. We have the strength to be able to get Maliki to sign a Status of Forces Agreement.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Hillary Clinton on Foreign Policy : Jun 10, 2014
Push Russia on press freedom; they've killed 20 journalists

Among the most egregious developments in the new Russia were the attacks on the press. Newspapers, TV stations, and bloggers faced intense pressure to toe the Kremlin line. Since 2000, Russia has been the 4th most dangerous place in the world to be a journalist--not as bad as Iraq but worse than Somalia or Pakistan. Between 2000 and 2009 nearly 20 journalists were killed in Russia, and in only one case was the killer convicted.

When I visited Moscow in 2009, I thought it important to speak out in support of press freedoms and against the official campaign of intimidation. I met with journalists, lawyers, and other civil society leaders, including one activist who told me that he had been badly beaten by unidentified thugs. These Russians had seen friends and colleagues harassed, intimidated, even killed, yet they went on working, writing, and speaking, refusing to be silenced. I assured them that the US would publicly and privately raise human rights concerns with the Russian government.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, p.229

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jun 6, 2014
I got it wrong on 2002 Iraq War vote

Many Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution [authorizing the Iraq War in 2002]. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake became more painful.

I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Hard Choices, by Hillary Clinton, CBS pre-release excerpts

Rand Paul on Homeland Security : Apr 13, 2014
Don't let people who make money off weapons define policy

Q: Some tapes of you have emerged recently. You were very critical of Dick Cheney. You suggested that he was opposed to going into Baghdad in 1991:

(VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton, makes hundreds of millions of dollars as CEO. Next thing you know, he's back in government it's a good idea to go to Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP)

Q: Do you really think that Cheney was motivated by his financial ties to Halliburton?

PAUL: I'm not questioning his motives. I don't think Dick Cheney did it out of malevolence, I think he loves his country as much as I love the country.

Q: But you said we don't want our defense to be defined by people who make money off the weapons.

PAUL: There's a chance for a conflict of interest. At one point in time, he was opposed going into Baghdad. Then he was out of office and involved in the defense industry and then he became for going into Baghdad.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mitt Romney on Foreign Policy : Mar 23, 2014
World has been losing respect for America for last 5 years

Q: How would you judge America's place in the world right now?

ROMNEY: Well, you look over the past five years and good things have not been bursting out all over. The Middle East is in turmoil. Iraq is fragile and may fall back into a devastating setting. We're not making the kind of progress in Afghanistan that had been promised. And our esteem around the world has fallen. I can't think of a single major country that has greater respect and admiration for America today than it did five years ago when Barack Obama became President. And that's a very sad, unfortunate state of affairs.

Click for Mitt Romney on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : Mar 1, 2014
An internationalist as Foreign Relations Committee chair

After the collapse of Biden's 1988 presidential campaign, Biden reinvented himself again, this time as the Foreign Relations Committee chairman, an internationalist who voiced skepticism about, but didn't oppose, the Iraq invasion. He was on everybody's short list for secretary of state and even re-entered the presidential ring in 2008. The race rebranded him as an avuncular liberal with an incongruous skill set: a blue-collar populist and jet-setting foreign policy wise man rolled into one gabby package. But he hadn't been a serious contender for the presidency since '88, and he tallied less than 1% of the Iowa Caucus vote in '08 before calling it quits on Jan. 3.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Politico Mag profile, "Joe Biden in Winter"

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : Mar 1, 2014
OpEd: called Cheney "dangerous" but Biden followed his model

Biden played an activist role on foreign affairs, taking on the Iraq portfolio and waging a series of pitched--though ultimately losing--battles with Clinton and Gates, Obama's Republican holdover defense secretary, over the war in Afghanistan and other uses of force. Biden had publicly described Cheney's strong hand in national security decisions as "dangerous," but he embraced his predecessor's activist role by insisting on attending most top-level war planning meetings. In his Biden-flaying memoir, "Duty," Gates advised Biden to follow the example of George H.W. Bush, who as Reagan's V.P. had shared his opinions mostly in private with his boss. That approach "more befitted the dignity of the office," Gates writes, but Biden "listened closely, thanked me, then did the opposite of what I recommended, following the Cheney model to a T."

Biden says, "the president encouraged me to challenge assumptions. I have as much experience as Gates, and that's one reason [Obama] asked me to do this job."

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Politico Mag profile, "Joe Biden in Winter"

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 28, 2014
Support rebels in Syria who oppose terrorism

While we have put al Qaeda's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks.

American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve--a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2014 State of the Union address

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jan 12, 2014
Lack of long-term US status in Iraq opens it for al Qaeda

Q: It look like Iraq may fall back in the hands of the rebels. Has this war going to turn out to be a tragic waste?

RUBIO: Much of what has happened in Iraq lately has been the result of poor leadership within Iraq. Contributing to that is the fact that the US does not have long-term status in Iraq. As a result, air space [can be] used by Iranians and others to do all sorts of things. Ultimately whether it's Afghanistan or Iraq, future of those countries is in the hands of their own people. And the US can't rescue them from themselves. But I do think we have a strategic interest in what happens there. And it poses a real challenge, because if you start adding it up now, Bob, you have an ungoverned space in Iraq, ungoverned spaces in Syria, potentially ungoverned spaces if Afghanistan begins to fall back, ungoverned spaces in Africa. This is all fertile territory for al Qaeda and other radical elements to set up training camps and plot attacks against the homeland and our interests.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Jan 12, 2014
Assist Iraqi government in fighting ISIL

Q: Is there anything we can do now in Iraq?

RUBIO: I'd be open-minded to providing assistance to the Iraqi government in terms of training and equipment to allow them to deal with the challenges. I would not underestimate the impact that these rebels al Qaeda-linked forces in in Syria are now having cross border in Iraq. I think's going to be a growing factor. Some have asked me this week if I would support another invasion of Iraq, of course not. I don't think that's a solution at this point. But I think we're going to be dealing with this for some time. But ultimately, the only way to solve this problem is for the Iraqi government to be able to solve it. They need the military and security resources in the short-term. But in the long-term, they need a stable political process, otherwise this is going to be an ongoing problem forever.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: Face the Nation 2014 interview: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Brian Schweitzer on War & Peace : Jan 11, 2014
Attacking Iraq was a mistake that empowered al Qaeda

Q: Do you think al Qaeda would be weaker if we get out of Afghanistan?

SCHWEITZER: I lived in Saudi Arabia during the '80s when we were supporting Saddam Hussein, who was fighting Iran, the people that we know are the most dangerous actors in the neighborhood. When we went into Iraq, al Qaeda didn't function there. We destabilized Iraq. We threw Saddam Hussein out, who was a bad guy, like a lot of other people in the Middle East, and now we have al Qaeda. It's our problem. We broke the china. Most people in Washington DC did not live in the Middle East. I lived in Libya & Saudi Arabia. I watched Iraq fight that war with Iran. I knew that we were supporting Iraq during that war. And now we've created a vacuum in Iraq. Those people who supported that Iraqi war didn't understand the politics of the Mideast. Al Qaeda wasn't there. Iraq hadn't attacked us. We made a very big mistake there. It cost us a lot of blood and a lot of treasure. And we ought not make those mistakes in the future.

Click for Brian Schweitzer on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Peter King on War & Peace : Sep 9, 2013
We should keep 20,000 troops in Iraq to deter Iran

Having been to Iraq on several occasions, I knew -even during the dark days of 2006--that the media were not accurately reporting the progress that had been made. I also believed, however, that it was important to revise our military strategy going forward. That is why in 2007 I supported the "surge" policy of General David Petraeus and voted against the misguided attempt to reduce funding to our troops (H.R. 1591).

It is in America's national interest to have Iraq be a sovereign and stable nation because the future of Iraq is closely linked to the future of the Middle East--which is now facing massive civil unrest. That is why I opposed President Obama's decision to withdraw all our troops from Iraq, particularly without a Status of Forces agreement. At least 20,000 troops should have remained to maintain stability and deter Iranian influence. The President's policy runs the real risk of undoing many of the gains our troops fought so hard to achieve.

Click for Peter King on other issues.   Source: Congressional website, peteking.house.gov, "Issues"

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : May 9, 2013
Iraq's lesson: Be cautious on declaring Syrian WMDs

Q: Sen. John McCain has criticized the administration's foreign policy for not being tough enough, for issuing veiled threats, at best, and being overly cautious. Now that we know Syria is using chemical weapons on its own people, how does that change the administration's approach?

A: I disagree with the basic premise. When we came into office, there were two wars raging: one without any sense of how to end it and the other without any sense of how to manage it; Al Qaeda was on the ascendancy; all of that has changed. But with regard to Syria: we don't want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying "weapons of mass destruction." We know that there have been traces found of what are probably chemical weapons. The president is likely to use a proportional response in terms of meaningful action [inclusive internationally and within Syria]. The one lesson we learned from Iraq and the last administration is, in managing the affairs in Iraq, they destroyed every institution.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Douglas Brinkley in Rolling Stone Magazine

John Bolton on War & Peace : Mar 19, 2013
Iraq is better off now than under Saddam

Click for John Bolton on other issues.   Source: AEI Scholars column: Was the Iraq War worth fighting?

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Mar 15, 2013
Take $1.5T in oil from Iraq to pay for US victims

Mr. Trump said that the United States should "take" $1.5 trillion worth of oil from Iraq to pay for the cost of the war and give $1 million to each of the families that lost someone in the effort-- sparking applause from the thousands gathered for the American Conservative Union's 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: 2013 Conservative Political Action Conf. in Washington Times

Jeb Bush on War & Peace : Mar 10, 2013
Over time, people will respect our resolve in Iraq

Q: We're coming up on the ten-year anniversary of the war in Iraq which is widely seen in public opinion polls as a mistake. Do you think that will ever change?

BUSH: Yes. You know, a lot of things in history change over time. I think people will respect the resolve that my brother showed, both in defending the country and the war in Iraq. But history will judge that in a more objective way than today. The war has wound down now and it's still way too early to judge what success it had in providing some degree of stability in the region.

Click for Jeb Bush on other issues.   Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Newt Gingrich on Homeland Security : Jan 27, 2013
Train women for combat, even if not formally in combat

Q: Some years ago, you said there might be some problems with women in the military:

GINGRICH (videotape): If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections.

Q: Have you evolved on that?

GINGRICH: Well, I don't know that I've evolved. I think we've all learned a lot more. Women have been in combat for at least the last 20 years: If you're serving in the American military and you're in Iraq or you're in Afghanistan, you're in combat, [even if in] Intelligence. You do have to make different arrangements under different circumstances. But the fact is that anyone who is going to serve the country is going to be at risk, and it is a lot better to have them combat- trained when they're at risk than it is to have them be helpless.

Q: So you would now favor women in combat? GINGRICH: We've had 20 years of experience, and, objectively, they are in combat already. This is simply recognizing a reality that exists.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
Supported "Iron Dome" defense shield for Israel

ROMNEY: The reason I call it an "apology tour" is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations, and they noticed that you skipped Israel.

OBAMA: When I went to Israel as a candidate, I went to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum there, to remind myself the nature of evil and why our bond with Israel will be unbreakable. And then I went down to the border towns of Sderot, which had experienced missiles raining down from Hamas. And I saw families there who showed me where missiles had come down near their children's bedrooms, and I was reminded of what that would mean if those were my kids, which is why, as president, we funded an Iron Dome program to stop those missiles. So that's how I've used my travels when I travel to Israel and when I travel to the region.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Oct 22, 2012
We had forgotten why we went into Afghanistan

OBAMA: When I came into office, we were still bogged down in Iraq, and Afghanistan had been drifting for a decade. We ended the war in Iraq, refocused our attention on Afghanistan. And we are now in a position where we have met many of the objectives that got us there in the first place. Part of what had happened is we'd forgotten why we'd gone. We went because there were people who were responsible for 3,000 American deaths. And so we decimated al-Qaida's core leadership in the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We then started to build up Afghan forces. And we're now in a position where we can transition out, because there's no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country.

ROMNEY: Inside Pakistan you have a large group of Pashtuns that are Taliban, that they're going to come rushing back into Afghanistan when we go.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 11, 2012
Out of Iraq as promised; out of Afghanistan soon

On Iraq, the president said he would end the war. Governor Romney said that was a tragic mistake--that he ended it--Governor Romney said we should have left 30,000 troops there.

With regard to Afghanistan, he said he will end the war in 2014. Governor Romney said, #1, we should not set a date, and #2, with regard to 2014, it depends.

When it came to Osama bin Laden, the president, the first day in office, he called in the CIA and signed an order saying, 'my highest priority is to get bin Laden.' Prior to Pres. Obama being sworn in, Governor Romney was asked a question about how he would proceed. He said, 'I wouldn't move heaven and earth to get bin Laden.' He didn't understand it was more than about taking a murderer off the battlefield; it was about restoring America's heart.

And lastly, the president has led with a steady hand and clear vision. Governor Romney, the opposite. The last thing we need now is another war.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: 2012 Vice Presidential debate

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Sep 19, 2012
Remain vigilant & focus forcefully on groups like al Qaeda

Q: The White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Was Iran, or al Qaeda behind organizing the protests [which led to the American embassy attacks]?

A: Well, we're still doing an investigation. The natural protests that arose were used as an excuse by extremists to harm US interests. We have to remain vigilant. Look, when I came into office I said I would end the war in Iraq--and I did. I said that we would begin transitioning in Afghanistan. But what I also said was we're going to have to focus narrowly and forcefully on groups like al Qaeda. Those forces have not gone away. We've decimated al Qaeda's top leadership in the border regions around Pakistan, but in Yemen, in Libya--increasingly in places like Syria-- what you see is these elements that don't have the same capacity that a bin Laden or core al Qaeda had, but can still cause a lot of damage, and we've got to make sure that we remain vigilant and are focused on preventing them from doing us any harm.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Obama-Romney interviews by Univision Noticias (Spanish News)

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Sep 6, 2012
End our longest war: out of Afghanistan in 2014

Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have. We've blunted the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over.

A new tower rises above the New York skyline, Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 Democratic National Convention speech

Condoleezza Rice on War & Peace : Aug 29, 2012
We should support free people, including Syria

We have seen that the desire for liberty and freedom is, indeed, universal, as men and women in the Middle East rise up to seize it. Yet, the promise of the Arab Spring is engulfed in uncertainty, internal strife, and hostile neighbors our challenging the young, fragile democracy of Iraq. Dictators in Iran and Syria butcher their people and threat to regional security. Russia and China prevent a response, and everyone asks, where does America stand?

Indeed, that is the question of the hour. Where does America stand? You see when the friends or foes alike don't know the answer to that question, unambiguously and clearly, the world is likely to be a more dangerous and chaotic place. Since world war II, the US has had an answer to that question. We stand for free peoples and free markets. We will defend and support them.

Click for Condoleezza Rice on other issues.   Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2012
Supported the Iraqi Surge; opposed call for sudden retreat

While critical of past mistakes and current political difficulties in Iraq, I have been a strong supporter of new strategies and the accompanying surge in troops that have dramatically reduced violence and causalities in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Surge has shown dramatic signs of success in enhancing Iraq's security, turning the tide against al-Qaeda terrorist attacks, breaking apart Shi'a death squads, and reducing the need for local militias. Attacks across Iraq have declined.

An even more encouraging sign of the Surge's success can be seen in the stand Iraqi citizens are taking against the terrorists and insurgents. As Iraqi Security Forces take an increasing role in defeating terrorist extremists, American troops will be in a better position to return home with honor and in victory. I oppose calls for sudden retreat, without regard for the conditions on the ground or the ability of the Iraqis to defend themselves, which we would forfeit the progress our troops have already achieved.

Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues"

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2012
Green Party OpEd: We are not out of Iraq

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President, says of Pres. Obama's withdrawal from Iraq, "We are not out of Iraq--we should be out of Iraq and we are not," referring to the US Armed Forces move into nearby Kuwait as Obama's promised exit from Iraq. Dr. Stein disagrees with many of Obama's international policies; our OnTheIssues book details both their stances, side-by-side, on issues like: This book details the issue stances of the presidential nominees from the four leading parties: Democratic, Republican, Green, and Libertarian.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Paperback: Obama-Romney-Stein-Johnson On The Issues

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2012
No artificial surrender dates in Iraq and Afghanistan

I will continue to support our troops on ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, without restricting our commanders on the ground with artificial surrender dates as the House Majority had previously sought to do. Rather than playing politics with the troops, I will continue working to provide our troops with the tools, equipment, and supplies they need to complete their mission and return home as soon as possible.
Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues"

Paul Ryan on War & Peace : Aug 11, 2012
Remain vigilant in global War on Terrorism

Although we have been successful in warding off another terrorist attack for nearly 10 years since September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda and its allies remain intent on killing innocent people and spreading an ideology of violence and hatred around the world. We must never lose sight of this grave threat to our American ideals, and I believe that we must remain vigilant in our defense of freedom and democracy, even as we face difficult challenges in Iraq, Afghanistan, and on other fronts in the War on Terrorism.
Click for Paul Ryan on other issues.   Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues"

Gary Johnson on Homeland Security : Aug 1, 2012
Should we have 100,000 troops on the ground in Europe?

Focus spending cuts on "the Big 4" government programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense.

On Defense: We shouldn't have gone into Iraq and Afghanistan. But should we have 100,000 troops on the ground in Europe? Because America has been willing to be the world's policeman, other nations can afford infrastructure projects that the US cannot. That doesn't make sense. The alternative is for the US economy to slide to 3rd-world status. And the danger of a fundamental collapse is real.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p.105-106

Gary Johnson on Homeland Security : Aug 1, 2012
Torture has created millions of enemies we wouldn't have had

The attacks on September 11, 2001, were horrific. And we should be at war with al Qaeda--the transnational terrorist group which seeks to destabilize and destroy the US.

I don't believe our national security is being threatened in either Iraq or Afghanistan. I believe the torturing of individuals has created tens of millions of enemies for our country that we might not otherwise have had.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Seven Principles, by Gary Johnson, p. 32

Ted Cruz on War & Peace : Jun 22, 2012
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan went on too long

Both candidates agreed that the U.S. should not commit to military action in Syria, and said that while the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began for noble reasons, they went on too long. Only a bit of disagreement came when Dewhurst said the Obama administration pulled combat troops out of Iraq too soon and should have left some behind.
Click for Ted Cruz on other issues.   Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2012 Texas Senate debates

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
1990 Gulf War: reason enough to send generation to war?

Most of the congressional Democrats determinedly opposed the Persian Gulf War. When Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi troops into Kuwait in August 1990, the Bush administration sought authorization from Congress for the use of force to reverse the invasion. The debate on Capitol Hill made clear that most Democrats still held to the core beliefs that had dominated the thinking of the liberal wing of the party since Vietnam. The Democrats exhibited a deep aversion to the use of force, even for the purpose of repelling one country's invasion of another.

"The president says he's angry and impatient, but God bless him, so are all of us. But is that a reason to send a whole generation to war?" asked Biden.

"The price is in body bags, in babies killed," said Barbara Boxer, then a member of the House of Representatives.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 28-29

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
OpEd: Iraq war follows tradition of active US leadership

The administration was clearly and openly moving toward war with Iraq. The Democrats did little to slow down Bush's momentum. In the fall of 2002, their acquiescence in this hurried process had been a huge blunder. Most of the prominent Democrats in Congress, including Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Joe Biden, decided to support the Iraq resolution, casting votes that they would all find themselves obligated to justify for years afterwards.

At the grass roots, the Democratic Party included millions of liberals who, since Vietnam, had been instinctively skeptical about the use of force or other assertions of American power abroad. By contrast, many of the party's foreign policy hands, particularly the alumni of the Clinton administration, had a different outlook. They viewed themselves as heirs to the foreign policy traditions of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy, all proponents of national strength and an active leadership role for the US.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 47

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
OpEd: Iraq war follows tradition of active US leadership

Most of the prominent Democrats in Congress, including Senator Hillary Clinton, decided to support the 2002 Iraq resolution, casting votes that they would all find themselves obligated to justify for years afterwards.

For the Democratic foreign policy elite, the Iraq War was a disaster both politically and for the ideas they had come to hold. The war reopened old divisions between the Democratic Party's leaders and the party's base. At the grass roots, since Vietnam, liberals had been instinctively skeptical about the use of force. By contrast, many of the party's foreign policy hands, particularly the alumni of the Clinton administration, had a different outlook. They viewed themselves as heirs to the foreign policy traditions of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy, all proponents of national strength and an active leadership role for the US. The Clinton administration had put its imprint on the general idea of regime change in Iraq, though not by American military invasion.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 47

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
OpEd: Calling Iraq "a dumb war" left open "smarter war"

In 2002, Obama spoke at a demonstration in Chicago against the war. Congress was preparing to vote on whether to authorize the use of force. Obama went out of his way to emphasize that he was not a pacifist. His characterization of Iraq as a "dumb war" clearly left open the possibility of a "smarter" war. In this sense, he was not giving the demonstrators what they expected to hear. "I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances," Obama declared. He mentioned the Civil War, WWII and finally, the Bush administration's action against al-Qaeda after 9/11. "I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again," Obama said.

Obama's speech set him apart from the elite Democrats. To be sure, there had been a series of caveats about other wars, but these would be either overlooked or dismissed as necessary hedging. Obama had actually taken a clear, forthright and unequivocal position against the war in Iraq--before it occurred, not afterward.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 63-64

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
Iraq was a rash war, based on politics, not on reason

Even the prominent Democrats lagged well behind the party's rank and file. Party activists & peace groups had been strongly against the Iraq War much earlier, and so had some local politicians. One of them was a state senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.

In the fall of 2002, Obama was beginning to lay the groundwork for a campaign for the US Senate. Obama's speech [to an anti-war demonstration] proved to be a critical step in launching him to the Senate & then to the presidency. What he said would be recalled and recited again and again during his battle for the Democratic nomination in 2008. He called Bush's intervention in Iraq "a dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason, but on passions, not on principle, but on politics. I know that an invasion of Iraq, without a clear rationale and without strong international support, will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than the best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment of al-Qaeda."

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 63-64

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 14, 2012
2008 trump card: opposition to Iraq War showed experience

When early in the campaign Obama began advocating a more aggressive stance toward Pakistan, Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd chided Obama for his inexperience in foreign policy.

In response, Obama pulled out his trump card: his early opposition to the Iraq War that his opponents had voted to authorize. He recited: "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism." Obama said. The audience cheered.

Years later, an Obama aide said he felt this was a turning point in winning the Democratic nomination. Obama not only deflected the attacks on his inexperience in foreign policy, but turned that inexperience into a virtue. His words reinforced the campaign's larger message that Obama was a young, energetic outsider who was not tied to the Democrats of the past.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p. 87

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 24, 2012
For first time in 9 years, no Americans are fighting in Iraq

For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda's top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban's momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.

These achievements are a testament to the courage and teamwork of America's Armed Forces. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 State of the Union speech

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jan 24, 2012
Make sure Afghanistan is never again a source of attack

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From this position of strength, we've begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. 10,000 of our troops have come home. 23,000 more will leave by the end of this summer. This transition to Afghan lead will continue, and we will build an enduring partnership with Afghanistan, so that it is never again a source of attacks against America.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 State of the Union speech

Ben Carson on War & Peace : Jan 24, 2012
Morality of war in Iraq was highly debatable

Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the enthusiasm for military intervention was tremendous. A war with well-defined & widely accepted goals that ends in victory will virtually always be seen as virtuous. The subsequent war with Iraq years later was much more controversial, especially after WMDs were not found. Whether the war in Iraq was moral or not is highly debatable. If you think stopping a brutal dictator from continuing to kill hundreds of thousands of his own people is worthwhile, then you are more likely to believe that we acted in a morally justifiable manner. If you are more concerned about the over 4,000 American lives that were lost and the hundreds of billions of dollars that were added to our national debt to be passed along to our children, then you're more likely to feel that our efforts were immoral.

The point here is that it is very difficult to determine our nation's morality based on its military conflicts. Then too one can legitimately ask the question, is any war moral?

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.104

Ben Carson on War & Peace : Jan 24, 2012
Better response than post-9-11 invasions: oil independence

After the 9/11 crisis almost everyone united behind President George W. Bush for a reason. Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital. I believe that if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years as part of our efforts to strip terrorism of its resources, that business, industry, academia, & everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.

Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy. The point, of course, is that in some cases, clever tactics can be employed outside of military action to respond to hostile actions

Click for Ben Carson on other issues.   Source: America the Beautiful, by Ben Carson, p.134

Barack Obama on Homeland Security : Jan 11, 2012
Reduce defense spending 1% in 2013; add 2% per year after

According to the first details of the Obama administration's fiscal 2013 defense budget, defense spending in 2013 would be reduced 1% from this year's initial $525 billion request before growing annually 1.8% in 2014, 2.3% in 2015, 1.9% in 2016, and 2.2% in 2017.

The administration plans $82 billion in funding for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars for 2013, according to OMB. The basic defense-only "topline" numbers are currently projected at: $524 billion in 2013; and $533 billion in 2014; $546 billion in 2015; $556 billion in 2016; and $568 billion in 2017. The percentage increases are expressed in "nominal growth," not adjusted for inflation.

The 2012-2021 defense plan calls for $5.652 trillion in spending. OMB calculated that the total Budget Control Act- mandated defense cut over those years is $488 billion--or about an 8.5% total decrease.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Tony Capaccio in Bloomberg News, "First Budget Numbers"

Rick Perry on War & Peace : Jan 7, 2012
I would send troops back into Iraq, to exclude Iran

Q: [to Santorum]; Would you send troops back into Iraq right now?

SANTORUM: Well, I wouldn't right now.

PERRY: I would send troops back into Iraq.

Q: Now?

PERRY: I think we start talking with the Iraqi individuals there. The idea that we allow the Iranians to come back into Iraq and take over that country, with all of the treasure, both in blood and money, that we have spent in Iraq, because this president wants to kowtow to his liberal, leftist base and move out those men and women. He could have renegotiated that timeframe. I think it is a huge error for us. We're going to see Iran, in my opinion, move back in at literally the speed of light. They're going to move back in, and all of the work that we've done, every young man that has lost his life in that country will have been for nothing because we've got a president that does not understand what's going on in that region.

Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : Jan 7, 2012
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.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
Proud of involvement in winding down Iraq war

Q: The end of the Iraq war was tasked to you in terms of winding this down. Your son served there. You were involved intimately in all of these decisions. How do you feel about the end of the war?

BIDEN: I feel like I participated in something that I can be proud of the rest of my life. Had I stayed as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, no matter how engaged I was, I don`t think I would have been in a position to be able to affect events on a day to day basis.

Q: In 2002, you voted for the authorization of use of force to go to Iraq. Is there a lesson learned about how we debate the use of force, how we debate whether or not to go to war?

BIDEN: I hope to God there is, because when that original debate took place, those of us like myself who voted to authorize to use force were based on the president`s commitment not to use force. He had no intention of using force. It was to demonstrate to the United Nations and to the world that we were united in wanting to stop Saddam Hussein.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Interview in MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
We shared responsibility to bring democracy to Libya

The Iraq War really spiraled out of control pretty quickly. One of the lessons we`ve learned is that you can go into any dictatorship and try to impose democracy, but it`s going to take you $1 trillion, a decade, and you`re going to have to make a judgment whether or not you`d better spend your time and effort doing something else to make the world safer.

I would give Libya as an example. It was clear that Moammar Gadhafi was really not a good guy at all. But what did the president do? We spent several billion dollars, but we didn`t lose one American life. We didn`t put one boot on the ground. And we had a shared responsibility with the rest of the world, including Arab nations as well as NATO to deal with that issue.

And now, there`s a shared responsibility to the world to help them establish a democracy. That`s very different than going it alone. I hope we`ve learned the lesson that, unless our immediate vital national interest is at stake, going it alone should be the last option.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Interview in MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Dec 13, 2011
Iran is isolated, and will be more so when Syria falls

Q: After the Iraq war, is Iran in a stronger position than it would have been without the Iraq war? Because Saddam Hussein was Iran`s sworn enemy, and now, a new Iraq is in some ways a de facto ally of Iran.

BIDEN: Well, the argument was made early on that we removed two of Iran`s most greatest concerns, Saddam in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the result now, in part because of some really outrageous moves that Iran has made, it actually has lost power in the entire region. The fact of the matter is its only ally left in the region is about to be toppled. That is in Syria with Bashar Assad. But the biggest thing that`s happened is the president has been able to unite the world, including Russia and China, in continuing to ostracize and to isolate Iran. So, the truth is, the capacity of Iran to project power in the Gulf is actually diminished. They are less feared. They have less influence than they have had any time, I would argue, in the last 20 years.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Interview in MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"

Donald Trump on War & Peace : Dec 5, 2011
Iraq should pick up the tab for their own liberation

When you do someone a favor, they say thank you. When you give someone a loan, they pay you back. And when a nation like the US sacrifices thousands of lives of its own young servicemen and women and more than a trillion dollars to bring freedom to the people of Iraq, the least the Iraqis should do is pick up the tab for their own liberation.

How much is it worth to them to be rid of the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and to have gained a democracy? In reality, that's a priceless gift. When I say they should pay us back, I'm not even talking about cash out of their pockets. All I'm asking is that they give us, temporarily, a few flows of oil--enough to help pay us back and help take care of the tens of thousands of families and children whose brave loved ones died or were injured while securing Iraqi freedom.

But does Iraq do that? No. In fact, they've made it clear they have no intention of ever doing so. Ever. The ingratitude of Iraq's leadership is breathtaking.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 9-10

Jon Huntsman on Foreign Policy : Sep 22, 2011
We need diplomatic corps to exhibit democracy abroad

Q: [to Santorum]: If the security situation were to fall apart in Iraq in 2012 would you support sending US troops back to the region?

SANTORUM: I'm not for taking them out of the region. I believe we need to listen to our generals, and our generals ar being very, very clear that we need 20,000 to 30,000 troops. We want victory.

HUNTSMAN: We do have a difference of opinion here in terms of overall foreign policy. We're at a critical juncture in our country. We don't project the goodness of this country in terms of liberty, democracy, open markets, and human rights, with a weak core. And right now in this country, our core, our economy, is broken. And we don't shine that light today. We're 25% of the world's GDP. The world is a better place when the US is strong. So guiding anything that we talk about from a foreign policy standpoint needs to be fixing our core. But after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL

Rick Santorum on War & Peace : Sep 22, 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.

Click for Rick Santorum on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL

Jon Huntsman on War & Peace : Sep 22, 2011
After 10 years, Americans are ready to exit Afghanistan

Q: [to Santorum]: If the security situation were to fall apart in Iraq in 2012 would you support sending US troops back to the region?

SANTORUM: I'm not for taking them out of the region. We want victory.

HUNTSMAN: The world is a better place when th US is strong. So guiding anything that we talk about from a foreign policy standpoint needs to be fixing our core. But, second of all, I believe that, you know, after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. This country has given its all. What remains behind, some element to collect intelligence, special forces capability, and we're going to have to do that in every corner of the world. But we need to fix this core and get serious about what the rest of the 21st century holds for this country.

Click for Jon Huntsman on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Aug 30, 2011
1998: only way to remove Saddam is massive military effort

In 1998 Saddam Hussein insisted that international weapons inspectors stop work and leave Iraq. In response, Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Iraq Liberation Act, making regime change in Iraq the policy of the United States government and approving nearly $100 million to fund Iraqi opposition groups working for Saddam's ouster.

There was bipartisan support for the operation. Sen. Joe Biden, writing in The Washington Post two months before the strikes, noted the limitation of any policy that left Saddam in power. "Ultimately, as long as Saddam Hussein is at the helm, no inspectors can guarantee that they have rooted out the entirety of Saddam Hussein's weapons program," he wrote, and he observed that "the only way to remove Saddam is a massive military effort, led by the United States."

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: In My Time, by V.P. Dick Cheney, p.365-366

Gary Johnson on Foreign Policy : Aug 21, 2011
Act in US self-interest, but wary of unintended consequences

Q: What is your criteria for foreign policy?

A: I think we should act in our self-interest. As I understand it, I think Eisenhower was a pretty good role model for that. Morally, you can justify almost anything we do by saying that we're doing it for the sake of others. I would point to past realities that have unintended consequences. For example, by taking out [the secular regime in] Iraq, we removed a threat to [the religious totalitarian regime] Iran.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Aug 21, 2011
No military threat from Iraq, Afghanistan, nor Libya

Q: You write that "maintaining a strong national defense is the most basic of the federal government's responsibilities. However, building schools, roads, and hospitals in other countries are not among those basic obligations. Yet that is exactly what we have been doing for much of the past 10 years." Do you oppose current US military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya and, if so, on what moral grounds?

A: I do. In all three cases, I don't see a military threat. I initially thought the intervention in Afghanistan was warranted--we were attacked and we attacked back--but we've wiped out Al Qaeda and here we are; we're still there.

Q: Isn't there evidence that we merely drove Al Qaeda from Afghanistan into Pakistan?

A: Sure.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Aug 21, 2011
Iran is not currently a military threat

Q: What about Iran?

A: I would point to past realities that have unintended consequences. For example, by taking out [the secular regime in] Iraq, we removed a threat to [the religious totalitarian regime] Iran. I don't think Iran's a military threat, though it might prove to be, but we [have the military capacity to] deal with that threat.

Q: Iran in several instances has stated its intention to destroy the US, which Iran calls "the Great Satan." If you had information that Iran was preparing an attack--either through sponsorship of terrorism or by nuclear strike against one of our military bases or cities--how would you respond?

A: I'd meet with the military experts and ask a lot of questions. We have airborne lasers that can knock out incoming missiles in the launch phase.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Interview by Scott Holleran on scottholleran.com blog

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Jul 21, 2011
Absolutely would not have gone into Libya; get out now

Q: Would any of you have gone into Libya?

Johnson: Absolutely not.

McCotter: The Administration shouldn't have commenced its ill-defined Libya mission; however once committed, we can't abruptly withdraw & further harm our diminishing credibility in the world. Now, in solely a support role to prevent further involvement--no US boots on ground.

Johnson: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya--Get out now!

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: 2011 Republican primary debate on Twitter.com

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : Jun 15, 2011
We wiped out al Qaeda 10 years ago; leave Afghanistan

Q: Why are you running for president?

A: I would get out of both Iraq and Afghanistan tomorrow. Six months after we engaged in Afghanistan we'd wiped out al-Qaeda effectively--that was 10 years ago. Now we're building roads, schools, bridges, highways and hospitals--we have those needs here in this country.

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone Magazine

Newt Gingrich on War & Peace : Jun 13, 2011
Get out of Arab region rapidly; make new strategy

Q: Should the president have supported the NATO operation in Libya? Should the price tag be a factor when you're the commander in chief?

GINGRICH: Sure. The price tag is always a factor, because that's part of the decision. But ten years after 9/11, our intelligence is so inadequate that we have no idea what percent of the Libyan rebels are, in fact, al Qaeda. Libya was the second largest producer of people who wanted to kill Americans in Iraq. I think that we need to think fundamentally about reassessing our entire strategy in the region. I think that we should say to the generals we would like to figure out to get out as rapid as possible with the safety of the troops involved. And we had better find new and very different strategies because this is too big a problem for us to deal with the American ground forces in direct combat. We have got to have a totally new strategy for the region, because we don't today have the kind of intelligence we need to know even what we're doing.

Click for Newt Gingrich on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in Manchester NH

Barack Obama on War & Peace : Jun 8, 2011
Intervene in Libya for humanitarian reasons

Obama does have some political cover for Afghanistan and Iraq because the US was already involved in those countries when he became President. But Libya is entirely Obama's war.

Michele Bachmann's position on Libya distinctly contrasts with Obama's position. Bachmann is against American involvement in the civil war in Libya. Her view is that no one really knows who the rebels in Libya are, nor how they intend to change Libya. She further explains that there are terrorist groups assisting the rebels. Obama's position is that the US must be involved in Libya for "humanitarian" reasons. As the Libya situation drags on, people will realize that if NATO and the U.S. had never intervened in Libya, the civil war would have been over in a few weeks. The rebels would have been driven out long ago, and thousands of deaths would have been prevented. Americans will demand that Obama answer "Why Libya?" just like they demanded that Bush answer "Why Iraq?"

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Why She Will Win, by Ron Paul Jones, p. 24

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : May 27, 2011
Military surveillance should discover WMD before invasion

Q: You don't think we belong in Iraq, despite all the incidents?

A: What we don't argue about is the need for a strong national defense. We don't argue that at all. What we might argue about is the actual threat to our national security. When it came to Iraq, I would have argued at that time this isn't a threat to our national security. But if they do have weapons of mass destruction, we have the military surveillance capability to see that happen and we could go in and strike at that point.

Q: We knew he used weapons of mass destruction. We had images of dead children, Kurds in the north because chemical weapons were used. The way he was acting made everybody, including most Democrats, conclude that he had them.

A: Well, and under the umbrella of a no-fly zone, did this occur?

Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Sean Hannity 2012 presidential interviews "Hannity Primary"

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : May 5, 2011
I opposed the Iraq War from the beginning

I was opposed to us going into Iraq from the beginning, I really thought that there was no threat to our national security, I really thought that if we went into Iraq we would find ourselves in a civil war to which there would be no end and I thought we had the military surveillance capability to see Iraq rollout any weapons of mass destruction and if they would have done that, we could have gone in and dealt with that. Afghanistan originally, I was completely supportive of that.
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: 2011 GOP primary debate in South Carolina

Gary Johnson on War & Peace : May 2, 2011
Eliminate ineffective interventions in Iraq & Afghanistan

This recession has forced families and businesses across America to make hard choices and limit their expenditures. We must now expect our elected officials to make the tough calls that will keep our government on a sustainable path moving forward. We must restrain spending across the board:
Click for Gary Johnson on other issues.   Source: Presidential campaign website, garyjohnson2012.com, "Issues"

Jesse Ventura on Technology : Apr 4, 2011
WikiLeaks exposes how our government lies when waging war

WikiLeaks is exposing our government officials for the frauds that they are. They also show us how governments work together to lie to their citizens when they are waging war.

Here are a few things we've learned from WikiLeaks' document releases that we didn't know before: The CIA has a secret army of 3,000 in Afghanistan.In Iraq, there are another 15,000 civilian casualties that haven't been brought into the light, and our troops were instructed not to look into torture tactics that our Iraqi allies were using. US Special Operations forces are in Pakistan without any public knowledge, and our Pakistani "allies" are the main protectors if the Taliban in Afghanistan.

I mean: Let's face it: WikiLeaks exists because the mainstream media haven't done their job. Instead of holding government accountable as the "fourth branch" the founders intended, I guess corporate media's role today is to protect the government from embassassment.

Click for Jesse Ventura on other issues.   Source: 63 Documents, by Gov. Jesse Ventura, p. 7

Rand Paul on War & Peace : Feb 22, 2011
Opposed to Iraq War; no direct threat & no declared war

Unlike Afghanistan, I would not have voted to go to war with Iraq, not only because there was no link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, but because that country did not pose a threat to the United States.

I will not vote to go to war without a formal declaration of war, as our soldiers deserve and the Constitution demands.

Click for Rand Paul on other issues.   Source: The Tea Party Goes to Washington, by Rand Paul, p.143&246

Rick Perry on Foreign Policy : Nov 15, 2010
Iraq: combat terror on their turf, not ours

Many establishment Republicans in Washington want to blame their losses on the war in Iraq. I simply do not believe that is true. While Americans rightly have a watchful eye on the commitment of our courageous soldiers to the Middle East, and while many American still want to hear a clear articulation of our mission there, most Americans realize the need to combat terror on their turf, not ours.
Click for Rick Perry on other issues.   Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p.146

Hillary Clinton on War & Peace : Nov 9, 2010
OpEd: 2003 Iraq vote unmistakably authorized war

Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid would later claim that they were not voting to authorize war but only to continue diplomacy. They must not have read the resolution. Its language was unmistakable: "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the US as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the US against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.240-241

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Nov 9, 2010
OpEd: 2003 Iraq vote unmistakably authorized war

Senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Harry Reid would later claim that they were not voting to authorize war but only to continue diplomacy. They must not have read the resolution. Its language was unmistakable: "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the US as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the US against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.240-241

Joe Biden on Foreign Policy : Oct 5, 2010
New World Order should not mean US fights for the UN

Kuwait, with a January 15 deadline. Biden expressed concern that the president had changed and broadened his foreign policy goals in the Middle East. "We talk about a New World Order," he said, "A Resolution 678 authorized member states "to use all necessary means" to force compliance with the UN demands for Iraq's withdrawal from You go get them; we give you the authority to do it.' That is the essence of that New World Order. That is not a New World Order I am prepared to sign on to." New World Order in the United Nations and collective security adds up to 'We will hold your coat, United States.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.249-250

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
2008: Afghanistan is forgotten war, & Pakistan is neglected

Biden, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in late February 2008, he flew to Afghanistan, India, Turkey and Pakistan on a fact-finding tour. Afterward, Biden labeled Afghanistan "the forgotten war" and Pakistan "the neglected frontier," calling for a fresh look at the former and more economic aid for the latter. Afghanistan, he said, was "slipping toward failure because it has never been given a priority" as the war in Iraq dragged on.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.405

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
Enemy is Al Qaeda, not Taliban; timetable for withdrawal ok

Biden and Gen. McChrystal, the Afghan Commander, disagreed over the troop surge and the prime enemy in the war. McChrystal insisted it was the Taliban; Biden said it was still al-Qaeda, and he never saw the defeat and destruction of the Taliban as essential, since the American mission was not nation-building as it was under Pres. Bush in Iraq--hence Biden's insistence on a timetable for troop withdrawal. Such sentiments were muted, however, by the time the Afghan strategy had been hammered out.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.475

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
Not necessary to defeat Taliban; it's part of Afghan society

    I wrote to the president, a long, 20-page handwritten memo focused on making the case:
  1. that this is a 3-dimensional problem--al Qaeda, Pakistan and Afghanistan;
  2. that there be a limit on the number of troops so that this wouldn't be a constant, creeping escalation whatever troop level was announced;
  3. that there be a date at which we would begin the drawdown of American forces with the aim of drawing down all combat forces out, a la Iraq;
  4. that it was not necessary to defeat the Taliban because the Taliban was and is part of the fabric of the Pashtun society--20% to 30% of it is incorrigible and must be defeated, and the remainder should be integrated into Afghan society;
  5. that the return of the ability of the Taliban to overthrow the Afghan government was simply not within their power;
  6. that the Taliban was not seeking to establish a new caliphate, they were not an existential threat to the USA,
  7. that al-Qaeda's return to Afghanistan was highly unlikely.
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.463

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
2002: Iraq pivots from unfinished business in Afghanistan

In 2002, Biden flew to Afghanistan, as mopping-up operations continued. What Biden heard from all quarters were pleas for more of everything--money, troops, security--and a commitment for the US presence to remain, at least until circumstances greatly improved.

Biden returned conveying a plea for urgent help, and Powell joined it, but while Bush "was agreeable and willing to listen, he was also noncommittal," Biden wrote later. Though Bush talked of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan, he had other ideas, and was already giving Cheney and Rumsfeld "the force and resources they requested for a new target"--Iraq.

By now it was becoming increasingly clear to Biden that a critical pivot was under way from the unfinished business in Afghanistan to the neoconservatives' vision of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, starting with deposing Saddam Hussein.

Biden and Republican Senator Chuck Hagel introduced a bill providing more money for Afghanistan, but the administration opposed it.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.340-342

Joe Biden on War & Peace : Oct 5, 2010
No vital interest in Kuwait in 1990; like Vietnam in 1972

playing into the hands of Ho Chi Minh where we disagreed [with administration policy]. Now I hear today we are unknowingly playing into the hands of Saddam Hussein. Boy, oh boy," Biden said in his folksy way, "Here we go again." In another apparent Biden questioned what American vital interest was involved in the [Iraq War] objective, noting that the same question had been raised in the Vietnam War. "I came to the Senate in 1972," he said, "because I was so tired of hearing that we were unknowingly resumed his argument for more time to allow the sanctions to break Saddam's will. "Before we ask Americans to die for the liberation of Kuwait, I would like to be sure we have tried every possible alternative. So far, this has not been the case." analogy to Vietnam, he added that no one had "laid out clearly what our vital interests are sufficient to have 10 thousand, 20 thousand, 30 thousand, 40 thousand Americans killed. I have not heard that one yet. A week before the UN deadline, Biden
Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: A Life of Trial & Redemption, by Jules Witcover, p.249-250

Mike Bloomberg on Foreign Policy : Sep 28, 2010
2008: I know foreign policy from negotiating deals worldwide

He had never articulated an Iraq policy, then the central issue in the campaign, and bristled when anyone questioned his foreign policy credentials: "I know more about foreign policy than any of the candidates. I've negotiated deals around the world, I've dealt with politicians in every one of these countries, we do business with their companies and with the governments."
Click for Mike Bloomberg on other issues.   Source: Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, by J.Purnick, p.167-168

Marco Rubio on War & Peace : Aug 31, 2010
2007 troop surge was the right thing to do

The withdrawal of American combat brigades from Iraq marks an important milestone in a struggle that has eliminated security threats and helped democracy take root there. Because of America's commitment and sacrifices in Iraq, the Iraqi people, the region and the world are all safer today.

Tonight, I join the American people in honoring, remembering and thanking the brave men and women who fulfilled their duty and have helped bring a truly responsible end to combat operations in Iraq, where the Iraqi people now govern and protect their sovereign nation.

We should thank our troops who, under the leadership of Generals David Petraeus and Ray Odierno, brought Iraq back from the brink. We should also acknowledge President Bush and Members of Congress from both parties who did what was right in 2007 by supporting the troop surge that has made Iraq a safer and more stable nation. Their wisdom, political courage and faith in our troops have helped make this important milestone possible.

Click for Marco Rubio on other issues.   Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.marcorubio.com

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