Iowa Debate: No Guts, No Glory
I missed the debate Saturday night. Monday night I found it on the web, and share the link with you. The program, which began with some introductory speeches and ceremony, runs 178 minutes of which the “debate” takes two hours.
This debate differs from the others because the questioners expressed and exercised respect for the candidates and avoided “gotcha” questions. Civility prevailed.
There was plenty of emotion in this debate, and a great deal of deliberateness. While issues of morality, marriage, abortion, education and health care took up most of the time, I am most interested in the final subject of the night, which begins at 158:36.
What follows is strictly an amateurish attempt at transcription. I type very slowly, and my memory is not the best. I take in a few words, pause the video and type what I have heard before restarting the video. Due to system lag, I lose some audio in the process. My transcription is not perfect, but it should be good enough to give you a good idea of what transpired in the last round of answers.
The final question: “Every one of you talked about the importance of preserving life. Nothing takes life more than the declaration of war. I would like to hear from you, because nothing frightens a mother more, than watching her son or daughter go off …Their pride in their country and their fear for their child…what is–can you define the moral justification for war? …Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria –what is the moral justification? ”
- Rep. Paul: The early church struggled with this, I mean, Christ came and Christ taught about peace and Christ was to be the prince of peace and we were to defend that. But early on in the church, struggled with this and St. Augustine came up with the principles of the just war. I believe in and I think we should follow, from the religious viewpoint, that we have a Constitution that is very clear to guide us to try to prevent these wars and that is that we don’t go to war without a declaration . The wars that we have fought since World War2 were all . illegal, unconstitutional and all were un-winnable and it was tragic– it was tragic, we did it by failing the rule of law and the tragedy let out of these wars the last ten years, that we have been so … added ten billion dollars to our national debt, …Americans have been killed in these wars, 44 thousand have come home wounded and crippled, hundreds of thousands are looking for help and we went to blind ourselves to this. It is not in our national defense, it is mischief, it is getting involved where we don’t need to be involved. I think it is an utter tragedy in what is happening. You wanna talk about a family life –there has to have been somebody in this audience who has been the bearer of news, either a loved one lost or a loved one crippled. It is on and on I had one soldier come to me the other day and he was so against the wars, he spent three or four tours over there, that he says “I lost too many buddies and I don’d know why we were there. ” And theres no signs of progress over there. He says “now I’m losing my buddies to suicide.” The wars destroy the family, I’m the …as does the economic climate– the bad economics — war is the most destructive things to the family and we oughtta concentrate on it and you can’t concentrate on the economics unless we look at the business cycle, why we have inflation busts and booms otherwise we will continue on a downhill path.
- Rep. Bachmann I am a mother and I have made the most difficult calls of my live which has been when servicemen and women have lost their lives in my congressional district and I have picked up that phone and I’ve called mothers and I’ve called fathers and I have wept with them over the phone because nothing is more difficult to lose than a child. [Luntz: “So what is the definition–the moral justification for war?”] The moral justification for war is if the United States is attacked or we are threatened with attack, then we have a decision that we have to make because the number one duty of the commander in chief is to secure the safety of the American people, that is the duty, and in order to do that, I have to be convinced as commander in chief that we have a clearly defined American vital interest in that area and I need to know that we have a clear mission to go forward. … have a plan and an exit strategy and we go in, I will commit overwhelming force and then we get out. Now some situations are ones where you can have special operations forces and then you have to have the tools to be able to deal with interrogation, which we don’t have now under Obama. You have to have the capacity for detention, which we don’t have now under President Obama. But we have to have a clearly defined interest and I think we also have to take advice from George Washington, who told us, rightly so, I’m not an isolationist, but he said very carefully be very fearful of unnecessary foreign entanglements and if there is anything we have learned from the last twelve years, once you get in, its very difficult to get out. So you go in wisely.
- Cain: In the declaration where it says “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights”, and then it delineates three of them: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It says that among these are those three, I happen to think that there is another that is implied: the right to protect yourself, your family and to protect your property. So the defense of freedom and the defense of liberty I believe, is the moral justification for going to war. Secondly, as commander in chief, I will not send our young men and women into war unless it is clear why –the mission and the definition of victory… And thirdly, I would not send them into war unless I would send my own and daughter.
- Gov. Perry: As a former individual who has worn the uniform of his country, as the commander in chief of over twenty thousand troops that are my command today,in the state of Texas with our Guard, I’ve been dealing with this issue for ten years. And clearly, when America’s interests are in jeopardy, there is a time and a place for us to intervene and intervene militarily. But when we intervene militarily, we best make the decision of how we are going to win and how we are going to win convincingly and quickly. Send those young men and women with the equipment to win. Don’t let some congressman sitting in an air conditioned office in Washington DC decide what the rules of engagement are. Let those war fighters win the war. Let them come home victorious. That is what the American military man and woman is all about. And for us to micromanage them in a civilian way without their commanders truly being in charge, is absolutely irresponsible and as commander in chief of this country I will not let it happen.
- Santorum: Let me maybe try to drill it down to a more practical application. We are engaged in what many people call the long war. Americans are known to have a rather short attention span. As we are a young country, an antique for us is a hundred years old. In the Middle East its two thousand years old. They have a very different view of time and history. As a result, when we are engaged in this long war, long to us is not the same as long to them. What we are facing right now is a, again, read our history– is a thousand year conflict between radical Islam and the West that ended only because of the West’s great technical superiority that was able to defeat them and drive them back and eventually colonize the Middle East. But that changed with one three letter word: oil. . Oil allowed the radical elements within the Islamic world to be able to get access to technology, and now we have in the case of Iran, to drill it down even more, a radical theocracy that has been at war with us since 1979. It has done more to kill our troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan because they are the makers of the IEDs that are killing our troops. They’ve attacked this country on repeated occasions from the Khobar Towers to …their proxies in Beirut. They’ve attempted the assassination of an Ambassador. They have threatened openly and repeatedly our closest allies. They hold conventions in Tehran denyiug the Holocaust– in fact most of the aea of the Middle East now believes that the Holocaust didn’t really occur so there is no justification for the state of Israel. They are now developing a nuclear weapon. It is now apparent that they are doing so; international agencies, not necessarily the boldest group of folks have suggested that that is the case. We have a moral obligation to partner with the state of Israel to make … to assure their survival and to make sure that this radical regime that wants to spread its virulent form of radical Islam not just throughout the Middle East but throughout the world is stopped from having the ability to do so with impunity because that’s the thing a nuclear weapon does, it gives you a nuclear shield. It must be stopped. I laid out a plan the other day and I know we are short of time that lists four major things that we should be doing: covert activities, sanctions, overturning the regime but also working with Israel right now to plan a military option to strike and destroy these facilities. And let the Iranians know, that unless they open up their facilities [to inspection] and shut them down, that that is an option that will be used period.
- Gingrich: First of all In Christian theology, there is a clear development of a concept of just war. which people like Augustine developed because they were seeing the rise of pagans that wee actually threatening the very survival of the country. In fact, Augustine is buried in Italy because hes body was taken out of North Africa when the Christians lost North Africa. So these things become very real. My Dad spent twenty seven years in the Army, I watched my mother through that whole period in WW2, Korea and Vietnam. . I think what makes us different and what makes us in some ways… much more ruthless and much tougher … is we don’t send soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen to war, we send our children, we send our fathers, we send our brothers and sisters; we send our mothers and therefore there is a preciousness to this decision unlike any other country that I know. I think our position historically …the Declaration of Independence was signed by people who were going to fight an eight year war. It was a declaration of war in effect. Washington was in the field eight years with one week at Mount Vernon. These people who wrote those documents understood the grim reality. I believe we should not go to war if we can avoid it. And when we have to go to war we should do so decisively, with overwhelming power to seek the quickest possible victory and we should in fact be prepared to do whatever it takes to win when we begin an engagement. But I think that there is no question …this is the only place where I disagree with some of my friends– you come into our country and you kill 3100 people and we will do whatever it takes to eliminate your capacity to threaten us ever again and I would be tougher and more decisive and I agree entirely with Senator Santorum–I would say to the government of Iran today: we have a very short time to solve … and you should solve it on your own or we will solve it for you and frankly, we couldn’t care less what the rest of the world thinks ; we’re gonna get it done.
In my view, Frank Luntz probed the candidates for their views on the morality of our invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq and our intervention in Libya. The answers seem to center on just war theory in general and how to bring war to a good end.
Congressman Paul mixed just enough truth into his spiel to make it attractive to the middle range of Morons. Its a good thing that I was not in the audience, because I would have violated the decorum of the debate by booing. The fact that wars should be declared, for good cause and with clearly stated objectives should go without saying, it is simply too obvious. The jerk elevates my blood pressure too much.
As I was listening, Congresswoman Bachmann sounded good. As I review the transcript, I get a sense of disappointment. When America is threatened or attack, the vital national interest is clear on the face of the matter, no divination is required. Victory is the exit strategy. Commitment o overwhelming force is the part I liked, lacking in Afghanistan & Iraq, along with a sane definition of strategic objectives.
Cain made the right points about cause, clarity and mission definition. I though his answer was brief and sensible, with just the right amount of emotion, somewhat overstated. I would have omitted the part about sending my own offspring, which would have fitted better if we still had an army of conscripts.
Gov. Perry spoke with passion and conviction, with slightly clumsy rhetoric initially. If he brought up the issue of defining victory, I overlooked it. Since Vietnam, the micromanagement seems to me to be Presidential, not Congressional. President Obama instituted the suicidal rules of engagement from which our troops are currently suffering.
I wish that Santorum would drop the R word; it does not belong in discussions of national security issues. As the wise man said “Its Islam, stupid!”. I think that he knows it, and is pandering to the politically correct crowd. Of course he is correct about the need to support Israel and prevent Iran’s nuclear ascension.
Like Santorum, Gingrich brought in the theological and emotional elements, adding his own historian’s perspective. The good part comes at the end when he said “whatever it takes”.
We got into this bind because, when I was too young to realize what was transpiring, we were terrified of the prospect of nuclear war with Russia & China. We therefore fought a half-assed war in Korea, unwilling either to suffer an outright loss or exert sufficient force to win.
In Vietnam, we got in, sank in the quagmire, and escalated, once again unwilling to risk all out conflict with Ho Chi Minh’s powerful patrons. In the end, we allowed the media to defeat us with propaganda.
President Carter began digging our grave when he gave Iran to Khomeini. His dithering while our Embassy staff sat in durance vile and his quarter-assed rescue attempt, which cost more lives, let the enemy smell blood.
I voted for President Reagan once at least, probably twice, but memory has faded and there is a strong chance that I wrote in Jesus Christ in ’84. The Beirut fiasco caused me to demand that my Congressman introduce articles of impeachment. In my opinion, nothing contributed more to our present situation than
Reagan’s suicidal blunder.
Sending the Marines to save Arafat’s bacon was a blunder of momentous proportions. Arafat was an enemy and his defeat was in our short and long term national interest. Allowing the Beirut Massacre to go unpunished signaled weakness to the enemy, a fatal error.
President Clinton dug the grave deeper and wider by affording impunity to Iran in the Khobar Towers bombing & other incidents, Mogadishu not being the least of them. Sending the Marines without the equipment they needed was a bad idea.
Shrub installed the vault and set up the straps to lower the coffin by failing to recognize and declare that which, with the benefit of hindsight, the debate participants hinted at but failed to openly express.
In view of the antagonistic media, which defeated us in Vietnam, world public opinion and the UN allied with the media and our own diminished patience for long wars, common sense dictated the use of such overwhelming force that the war would be over in a few days. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq & Pakistan should have disappeared from the globe in a flash of fire. Disproportionate, overwhelming, terrifying force, signifying exhausted patience and the will to win, immediately and finally was required.
Victory is defined, in this conflict, as the extinction of Islam in the nations where the plot was conceived, assisted, expedited & celebrated. So long as the populations of Afghanistan Iran & Pakistan are alive and Islamic, they will provoke, incite, promote and perpetuate terrorism. No other outcome is possible because of Allah’s promise and threat. Go to war; go to Paradise or go to Hell. For extra credit, injure or enrage the enemy and get more “virgins” & wine. If you doubt this, obtain a clue from Allah’s perfected, immutable word: 8:12, 39, 57, 60 , 65, 9:5,29, 38, 39, 111, 120, 123, 33:26, 27, 59:2, 13, 61:10-12 & Sahih Bukhari 4.52.220 from whence issue war & terror. If they believe, they will terrorize to avoid Hell and gain admission to Allah’s celestial bordello.
Truth is not hate speech. Advocacy of effective national defense is not warmongering neither is it inciting violence. Terrorism is not the enemy, it is a tactic. Al-Qaeda is not the enemy, it is a branch of al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen. Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen is not the enemy, it is a branch of Islam. Islam is the enemy. This is a fatal fact which the candidates for the Republican nomination seem to lack the courage to clearly state.
The strategic objective is permanently terminating Islamic terrorism against the U.S.A. Only exterminating Islam can achieve that objective. While there is Islam, there is war. If we eliminate Islam in those nations most directly involved, we can temporarily intimidate the remainder so that they will delay the resumption of attacks. That would buy us some time for the vital task of inducing mass apostasy among the remainder.
So long as Afghanistan & Pakistan are populated by Muslims, they will host terrorist training camps and export terrorism. Installing democracy does nothing to change that. Partially defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda does nothing to change that. Victory requires their apostasy from Islam or death. No other option exists. They are not liberated if they are still Muslims; they remain enslaved to the demon who demands “great slaughter”.