Huckabee on Iran and Iraq

31 10 2007

Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee’s sudden surge in the Iowa and national polls has fittingly led to heightened scrutiny of his views and policy positions. But as the veneer begins to peel off voters may see some neocon leanings hiding behind that campionate conservative guise.

Take for instance his recent interview with Wolf Blitzer on Late Edition this past Sunday where he fielded questions on Iran and Iraq. When Blitzer asked Huckabee to describe his strategic approach toward preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons, Huckabee’s response was flip, ill-considered and uninformed.

Whatever it takes. We cannot allow Iran to have nuclear capacity. It’s as simple as that. We can’t allow it for a couple of reasons. One, they’ve already made clear their intentions to destroy Israel. (Secondly,) they have not shown a level of responsibility or restraint.

This response sounds as if Huckabee’s briefing book on Iran was simply filled with doomsday scenarios that some campaign consultant on the Weekly Standard payroll told him to spout at will. Interestingly enough, few people especially in the Republican or Democratic camp, have mentioned anything about the slow hard slog of diplomacy taking place currently taking place between the Pyongyang and Washington, who are presently much further along in their weapons program than the Iranians. As evidenced by the North Korean example, diplomatic negotiations are a far better option in dealing with Iran.

In recent weeks, Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed ElBaradei has made this point much more forcefully as the administration’s rhetoric on Iran has become increasingly hawkish. During separate interview with Wolf Blizter on CNN, ElBaradie had this to say about the administration posture toward Iran.

Well, this is the U.S. policy. I can’t really pass judgment on it. All I can say, Wolf, the earlier we go into negotiation, the earlier we follow the North Korean model, the better for everybody. Negotiation stopped with North Korea from five years. They ended up with nuclear weapons. They ended up with a nuclear test.

You resume negotiation, now we see a positive result. I always compare between the Korean model and the Iraq model. And I believe that these security or insecurity issues can best — can only be resolved through negotiation.

ElBaradie was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his work in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. After conducting inspections of Iraq in 2003, he also warned reported it had no weapons of mass destruction. But at the time ElBaradie was summarily dismissed by the Bushies.

Oddly enough, Mike Huckabee did not get the memo on that one. When Blitzer asked Huckabee if the Iraq war should not have been launched given the fact that no WMD have been found. Huckabee’s response was dangerously revisionist.

You know, sometimes people say we’ve never found the weapons. Just because we haven’t found them doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. We haven’t found Jimmy Hoffa either but we know he exists.

That’s always the way that we’re going to try to frame this sometimes is that well, we didn’t find them. But he was the one who said that he had them. He has used them in the past.

It’s easy to second-guess what we should have done. Frankly, that’s no longer a good option for us other than for us to try to make sure that in the future we have the very best intelligence before we ever commit boots on the ground.

But what we have to always remember is that if he failed to take action, weapons of mass destruction had been deployed, killing thousands if not millions of people, then the other question would have been why didn’t we do something?

So, second-guessing, that’s the easiest job in the world. People run for president so they make tough decisions. Sometimes they’re not the best ones, but hopefully, they are decisions that are always going to put the protection and the safety of the American people first.

Sigh. Its amazing how someone could get something so wrong about something so important and run for president. First of all, the IAEA already performed inspections and found no evidence of an ongoing nuclear weapons program before being rushed out of the country by the Bush administration. Secondly, the Pentagon’s own intel outfit, the Defense Intelligence Agency, in 2002 doubted Saddam had any WMD program or ties to Al Qaeda.

Thirdly, the United States continued its failed search for weapons of mass destruction two years before declaring there were none. Surely, if any nuclear weapons program existed, they would have turned up something. Hiding a weapons program is pretty darn hard to do. Its not like say keeping that stash of chocolate in that drawer no one ever thinks of looking in. So Huckabee cannot honestly say “Just because we haven’t found them doesn’t mean they didn’t exist.”

And finally, even if Saddam did say he had nuclear chemical or biological weapons, that’s not a reason launch a war. That claim was apart of how he projected power in a region where he fought a decade long war with one neighbor and had his nuclear weapons program destroyed by a nearby country; Iran and Israel respectively.

Mike Huckabee’s comments on foreign affairs makes him sound like an unreconstructed neo-con rather than the “different kind” of Republican as he is often found of describing himself. But I do give him points for creativity for trying to comparing the mystery of Hoffa’s death to the nonexistent a WMD program in Iraq. It does put it all in perspective for the rest of us.

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