SELECTED QUOTES ON IRAN:
President Obama during a news conference: “You know, those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities. They’re not commander in chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war. I’m reminded that the decision that I have to make in terms of sending our young men and women into battle and the impact that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy. This is not a game. And there’s nothing casual about it. And, you know, when I see some of these folks who have a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we’ve been doing over the last three years, it indicates to me that that’s more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem.”
President Obama, when asked to clarify ‘all options on the table’ in an interview: “It means a political component that involves isolating Iran; it means an economic component that involves unprecedented and crippling sanctions; it means a diplomatic component in which we have been able to strengthen the coalition that presents Iran with various options through the P-5 plus 1 and ensures that the IAEA is robust in evaluating Iran’s military program; and it includes a military component. And I think people understand that.”
Mitt Romney in a Washington Post op-ed: “If the Iranians are permitted to get the bomb, the consequences will be as uncontrollable as they are horrendous. My foreign policy plan to avert this catastrophe is plain: Either the ayatollahs will get the message, or they will learn some very painful lessons about the meaning of American resolve.”
Mitt Romney during a Republican primary debate in Washington, D.C.: “Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you elect me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.”
Rick Santorum in an address to AIPAC: “If Iran doesn’t get rid of nuclear facilities, we will tear down them ourselves.”
Rick Santorum in an address to AIPAC: “[Obama] has turned his back on the people of Israel. We now have an announcement today that the administration has agreed to open talks with the Iranian government, that is in spite of the UN resolutions that say they must stop the processing of their nuclear fuel in order to get those negotiations… another appeasement, another delay, another opportunity for them to go forward while we talk.”
Newt Gingrich during a Republican primary debate in Mesa: “I do believe there are moments when you preempt. If you think a madman is about to have nuclear weapons and you think that madman is going to use those nuclear weapons, then you have an absolute moral obligation to defend the lives of your people by eliminating the capacity to get nuclear weapons.”
Newt Gingrich on bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities: “Only as a last recourse and only as a step towards replacing the regime. No bombing campaign which leaves the regime in charge is going to accomplish very much in the long run. You have to seriously talk about regime replacement, not just attacking them.”
What is it about the Republican candidates that they must be a “war party” rather than a “peace party”? The drum beat is incessant and mindless. They all might give lip service to some sanctions or diplomacy but their bent is towards talk of war with no conception of the costs or consequences for stability and progress in the region.
They have no analysis to go along with their declaration of force but they do have a narrow search of votes from those citizens who are also pushing for American military forces to fight Iran before any use of weapons even starts. For whom and for what goal? At what cost? And who will reap the consequences and the wrath of the actions?
The intelligence community has stated that Iran has not made a decision to build a bomb even as they push forward their overall nuclear capabilities. We know they must think about the consequences of using such a weapon for themselves. It would be their own deaths, the death of their regime, and large scale destruction of their society. And further, we have not given recently intensified sanctions, which will take months to fully impact on the regime, a fair try. But wining the election seems far more important to the GOP “crazies” than American security or building a secure and peaceful region.
The Iranian economy is already in decline. What would a bombing do to the hopes of the Arab Spring? Or to the long-term security of Israel and the other nations of the region? None of the GOP candidates think about the second or third order consequences. How does that speak of their qualifications for the commander-in-chief?
The first Santorum quote seems to imply that war is better than trying diplomacy. I wonder frankly how much Christian that is or how much that is it “reverence for life”? Thinking of the killing of masses of people and ask about placing it on a lower ethical order as being against contraception? The same goes for Gingrich, whose newly espoused Catholic Christianity seems along the same lines of a dual hypocrisy.
One especially interesting quote is the one that contemplates war with the replacement of the present regime. I assume that means, again, American boots on the ground and horrendous casualties to American troops that have already spent more than a decade in costly wars that seem to have no good end.
Iran, a large and strong nation, would be least likely to be a push over. Also, a strategic strike or major war against Iran would mean tens of thousands and more likely hundreds of thousands of innocent lives of old men, women, and children killed by our efforts – the so called “collateral” damage. Would we gain the love of the Iranians who despise the present regime but see their family die at our hands needlessly? The same people asking to go to a major war against a nation that does not pose an imminent existential threat to the U.S. are the same people who decried the idea of “nation building” earlier but were happy with a mindless war in Iraq. Would they send their children to this war they wish to start?
From the quotes above it is clear that President Obama is the only adult in the house. In his quote he raises the costs of a war and recognizes that the call to war only serves the cause of the Iranian regime to keep its authoritarian power. There is much to be said for a certain measure of caution and use of the least harmful tools of diplomacy first, before using the radical and dangerous war instrument that could set off uncontrolled consequences and costs.
By Harry C. Blaney III.
For more quotes by the 2012 presidential candidates, please visit our quotes page!