This was one of the questions posed to the Republican presidential candidates Tuesday night:
Weve lost 3,400 troops; civilian casualties are even higher, and the Iraqi government does not appear ready to provide for the security of its own country. Knowing everything you know right now, was it a mistake for us to invade Iraq?
(That’s not a loaded question is it?)
Well, I answered the question by saying its a its a non sequitur, its a null set kind of question, because you can go back and say, if we knew then what we know now, by virtue of inspectors having been let in and giving us that information, by virtue of if Saddam Hussein had followed the U.N. resolutions, we wouldnt be having this this discussion. So its a hypothetical that I think is an unreasonable hypothetical. And the answer is, we did what we did; we did the right thing based on what we knew at that time. I think we made mistakes following the conduct or the collapse of Saddams government.
Absolutely the right thing to do. Its unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror. And the problem is that we see Iraq in a vacuum. Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States.
The problem the Democrats make is theyre in denial. Thats why you hear things like you heard in the debate the other night, that, you know, Iran really isnt dangerous; its 10 years away from nuclear weapons. Iran is not 10 years away from nuclear weapons, and the danger to us is not just missiles, the danger to us is a state like Iran handing nuclear weapons over to terrorists, so it has to be seen in that light, and we have to be successful in Iraq.
Just for fun…let’s look at what FRED! said about that question when Hannity interviewed him post-debate. His question was slightly different (whether we did the right thing invading Iraq).
Yes. Sean, what people don’t think enough about is what — if we had not gone into Iraq. You know, after defying the United Nations 17 times, after corrupting the oil-for-food program and the United Nations itself, Saddam would have been there — and defying the United States, of course — Saddam would have been there, the new king of the hill in that part of the world, with his murderous sons still putting people in human shredders, still a threat to his neighbors, still developing his plans for a nuclear capability.I mean, he had those plans. He had the technical expertise. Whether he had them on one particular day or not is almost irrelevant. Especially today, looking at what Iran is doing, he certainly would have had his hands or been working assiduously toward getting the capability of nuclear weapons. And that’s what we would have been faced with had we not done that. Going in there and deposing him was a good thing.
In some ways, it’s unfair to compare CEO Mitt to “America’s Mayor” or to Fred Thompson. They all know the right answer to the question, and all three have demonstrated that they get the war on terror. But in this one answer at least, Rudy and Fred get to the point faster. Romney may have all the right answers and he may be dynamite with a PowerPoint presentation, but that’s only a small part of what we are looking for in a nominee. Both Rudy and McCain personally connected with the audience Tuesday, and that’s the element Romney seems to be missing. As others have said, Romney was off his game in this third debate. Rudy won this third debate because he showed command of all the topics he was asked about, and in every debate performance, he keeps looking stronger and stronger (as long as the questions are not focused on those troublesome social issues)
McCain had some good moments too, but he will continue to be dogged by his support of this immigration bill. There are still too many “debaters” for more than one candidate to get significant airtime. Tancredo, Thompson (the candidate, not the actor), Brownback, and Paul need to be voted off of the island. I want to see more of Huckabee and Duncan Hunter. I think they would make excellent VP candidates for our nominee, whoever that is. Huckabee would add SoCon cred to any ticket, and Duncan Hunter has that going for him, plus he is strong on domestic/national security issues (especially border security). It’s a shame that Hunter is so far behind the leaders as far as fundraising, because he would be a strong presidential candidate without that crippling limitation.
Anyway, I would score this Giuliani first, McCain second, and Romney third. Rudy is still in a strong position, even though both he and McCain are surrendering the Iowa Straw Poll to Romney. Fred might decide to jump in in Iowa, or he might not. If Fred finally makes the decision to OFFICIALLY become a candidate, then it will shake up the current field, and it might just bump McCain from the top three. It’s still a toss-up between the guys in front of the pack, even with any other potential Republican candidates jumping in.
Here’s what is driving me crazy about Fred Thompson, Newt Gingrich, or any other potential insurgent candidates on the other side of the aisle — they are trying to short-circuit the process by entering the race late. Yes, we have a flawed process to pick our nominees, but as long as that process is in place, all the candidates should have to participate in it. I hope that we will have enough time to evaluate Fred and Newt, and to see how they stack up against the other contenders in a debate.