For anyone who sat through the Republican presidential debate Wed. night, one would think Mitt Romney saw himself as General Patton himself. The candidate talked tough on Middle East policy, and derided President Obama for nearly everything he's done (or hasn't done) thus far. What sort of experience does Romney have with foreign affairs and/or the military? Except for bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, practically nil.
The discussion during the debate focused on Iran, as that country publicly pursues a nuclear reactor (and privately is likely pursuing a nuclear weapon). Romney (as well as Santorum and Gingrich) are supporting military action against Iran, with Romney making the omminous prediction that if President Obama is re-elected, a nuclear weapon WILL be used
. Of course, N. Korea has a nuclear weapon, and they haven't used it. Iran knows they couldn't use it either, but it might give them some leverage. Israel does NOT want them to have that leverage.
Ron Paul was the only voice of reason in the debate, pointing out that we didn't bomb Cuba, and we talked to Russia (and China) and that situation was defused (and eventually led to disarmament talks). The same could happen with Iran, but not in the amped up "bomb, bomb Iran" political environment we have now.
Iran is not the only hot spot in the Middle East. Syria is quickly approaching the same situation that existed in Libya last year. Genocide and other war crimes
are pushing the UN into a situation that could be described as deja vu
. The question is: what to do about it? Do we follow the same path as Libya, using a unified NATO front to bomb military targets and provide logistical support for the rebels?
Mitt Romney supports arming the rebels, but for the plan to work, it might require boots on the ground to secure chemical weapons from looters. How many? 75k, or roughly the same number we have in Afghanistan
. Apparently, that's okay with Romney. It's likely NOT okay with most Americans. This again is a case where a UN resolution should be used to provide NATO with justification, and let each country provide as they can.
This is what we did in Libya. Romney also supported the military action taken by President Obama in Libya, but criticized him for getting there via the UN process
. Apparently he thinks we should gone in there Dubya-style, chest puffed and guns a-blazin'.
With all this bravado and bluster, one would think that Romney was quite the military leader in his younger days. Army?... Navy?... Nope. Romney got a college deferrment first, then a religious deferrment
Like Giuliani and millions of other young American men at the time, Romney started out with student deferments. But he left Stanford after only two semesters in 1966 and would have become eligible for the draft — except that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Michigan, his home state, provided him with a fresh deferment as a missionary. According to an excellent investigative series that appeared last month in the Boston Globe, that deferment, which described Romney as a “minister of religion or divinity student,” protected him from the draft between July 1966 and February 1969, when he enrolled in Brigham Young University to complete his undergraduate degree. Mormons in each state could select a limited number of young men upon whom to confer missionary status during the Vietnam years, and Romney was fortunate enough to be chosen. (Coincidentally, or possibly not, Mitt’s father, George W. Romney, was governor of Michigan at the time.)
At the same time he was getting the deferrment, he was also publicly supporting the war and the draft
To be fair, President Obama didn't serve in the military either. The draft was no longer in place when he turned 18, and he chose to go to college. President Obama does not, however, thump his chest and proclaim that he'll be a Stormin' Norman military leader. President Obama uses diplomacy first, and follows protocol for using the military when necessary.
Santorum and Gingrich are no better than Romney, but neither are likely going to be the Republican presidential nominee. Mitt Romney proves himself once again to be a hypocritic chicken-hawk who actively avoided military service while supporting the draft for others, and now wants to command that same military with all the soul-searching sobriety of closing a bankruptcy deal.
Our soldiers deserve better. Our country deserves better.