GOP candidates blast Ron Paul over Iran policy. Is one side crazy?
After Thursday night's GOP candidate debate, a political analyst suggested the Ron Paul hands-off position toward Iran 'jumped the shark.' Mr. Paul says intervention is what's truly nuts. Here are their arguments.
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Regarding sanctions, he called them an "act of war" that could damage the European economy by diminishing the flow of oil.Skip to next paragraph
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Rick Santorum: The former senator from Pennsylvania got a chance to respond to Paul's view, and hit back hard. Iran has essentially been "at war with us since 1979," he argued, citing Iran as a factory for the IED bombs that killed many US soldiers in Iraq.
"They are a radical theocracy," Mr. Santorum said. "Mutual assured destruction, like the policy during the cold war with the Soviet Union," wouldn't work on Iran because "their principal virtue is martyrdom.... They believe that it is their mission to take on the West."
He called for covert actions leading toward potential strikes, so the US can "say to them that if you do not open up those facilities and close them down, we will close them down for you."
Mitt Romney: The former Massachusetts governor criticized Mr. Obama for being timid by asking for a US drone back after it fell into Iranian hands. "A foreign policy based on pretty please? You’ve gotta be kidding?" he said. Mr. Romney called for new buildup of the Navy fleet and for adding 100,000 soldiers to US ranks, saying a strong America must lead the free world.
Michele Bachmann: The congresswoman from Minnesota seized an opportunity to fire her own shot at Paul. "I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one we just heard from Ron Paul.... And the reason why I would say that is because we know without a shadow of a doubt Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map. And they've stated that they will use it against the United States of America."
She added, "Look no further than the Iranian constitution, which states unequivocally that their mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."
Paul: He offered a different take on the objectives of the Iranian regime and of the world's adherents of Islam in general. "To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk. Yeah, there are some radicals. But they don't come here to kill us because we're free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? I mean, that's absurd. If you think that is the reason, we have no chance of winning this. They come here and they explicitly explain it to us. The CIA has explained it to us. They said they come here and want to do us harm because we're bombing them."