Republican nominee would restore a foreign policy informed by a commitment to American exceptionalism, albeit one that would not entail interventions abroad absent vital American interests nor any long-term occupations of foreign lands.
It wasn't necessary for Mitt Romney to play Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor to Barack Obama as Shakespeare's King Lear in the last presidential election debate, especially with Bob Scheiffer as an older Candy Crowley on hand as a more competent Hamilton Burger, with no Perry Mason cross-examination, confession-assured script. The American electorate as judge and jury has seen the Libyan (and economic) evidence and aren't withholding their vote from the Grand Old Party of Lincoln until Obama confesses to Romney's face. The facts had already convicted the non-Commander-in-Chief.
Neoconservatism, Warmongers, Iraq and the first 9/11
So, what to make of the reluctance of the nominee of the Daddy party to risk any utterance, not even one shooting the Obama failures in the Benghazi barrel, that could be characterized as warmongering? Harvard Law School graduate Mitt Romney understands that when the case is won, one should leave the courtroom before risking enraging the judge and jury anew; and that Americans are rightfully weary of long occupations.
Throughout the late 1990s, so-called "neocons" (mostly hawkish conservative Republicans) supported President Bill Clinton's interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. Likewise, they supported removing the Taliban from Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. They had supported removing Saddam Hussein's regime from power in Iraq since the first Gulf War in 1991, throughout the WMD-UN game in the 90s, and most certainly after 9/11.
Immediately before and after 9/11, Saddam Hussein played cat-and-mouse with United Nations inspectors intent on making sure he had no more of the WMD he had used against Iran and even his own people in Kurdistan, as part of the ceasefire provisions negotiated after his surrender to President George H.W. Bush. Moreover, he continued to fire at our No Fly Zone patrols and to publicly reward the parents of suicide bombers against Israel and the United States.
To have allowed the head Terrorist of a Terror Nation State to have so carried on while Lower Manhattan smoldered would have been unthinkable, as even a majority of Democrats in Congress agreed when they voted to go to war in Iraq at the bequest of President George W. Bush.
Neocons, of which I have been proud to be named a member in the past, need not apologize for the original intervention in Iraq nor the occupations, per se, in either Iraq and Afghanistan. But we do need to learn the proper lessons from the aftermath of them, both over there and here at home.
It would not have been prudent to merely bomb Baghdad to smithereens with Shock and Awe, only to quickly install another dictator to take over a nation in shambles that would be ripe for the establishment of safe havens for al Qaeda. It certainly was not prudent for Democrats not named Joe Lieberman to cry "Bush Lied" in 2004 and afterward because much of our intelligence concerning the status of Iraq's WMD program turned out to be inaccurate. Clearly, the terrorist enemy was emboldened to carry on and wait us out until Democrats gained power and surrendered. And clearly it was not prudent for President Barack Obama to throw away even access to a military base in Iraq after all of our sacrifices there and given the importance of the oil in the region. It is reported that al Qaeda is establishing new safe havens in Iraq since President Obama failed to secure an agreement for a permanent American base and withdrew U.S. troops.
What ifs and the Second 9/11
Would things have gone better in Iraq had Turkey not shut us out of a northern invasion route? What if we had not allowed Sharia to be a part of the new Iraqi Constitution? What if we had used the first U.N. resolution as pretext for the invasion rather than giving appeasers a second bite at the apple for months as Saddam prepared? We will never know, but the refusal of majorities of Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere to clearly distance themselves from Islamist extremism, including Sharia, suggests to this former neocon that unless we had gone all Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the region with a baseball loving Viceroy MacArthur ruling in the aftermath, there would never have been any hope for a non-Muslim Brotherhood dominated Arab Spring.
Before Iraq, we had data. Now, we have more, and much of that data suggests that even if medium to long term occupations would be appropriate, too many Americans that vote for Democrats, have no compunction about giving away the sacrifices of America's armed forces for their own political gains at the drop of a hat.
These facts about us, America and them, the Muslim World, concentrates the minds of Republicans including our next president, Mitt Romney. During the GOP presidential primaries, we preferred other potential nominees to the former Massachusetts governor based upon economic issues, but we always admired Romney's uncompromising opposition to Iran, both as a terrorist state and as a potential wielder of nuclear weapons. The man that saved the Salt Lake City Olympics has embodied Reaganesque "peace through strength" American exceptionalism that would never gut the U.S. Navy that keeps us and the world at relative peace through trade and deters enemies.
There is no conflict between a strong America and warmongering. President Ronald Reagan acted swiftly to liberate Grenada and to deter Moammar Gadaffy in Libya; and, even in Beirut after our Marines were bombed, to get the rest out. Gadaffy was never heard from again after the bombing in 1986 until he preemptively and unilaterally surrendered his WMD program to President Bush in 2003.
Gadaffy was giving intel to the U.S. in the war on terror when Commander-in-Chief Obama decided to lead from behind and turn over that country for safe al Qaeda haven building and the killing of U.S. Ambassadors. Americans are against warmongering, but when the enemy has already "monged", a President Romney would act to defend American interests and save American lives.
President Obama seems to think that, much as his efforts to revive the American economy were at an end after enacting the Stimulus and thus paving the way for a year of cramming Obamacare down our throats; that having killed Osama bin Laden (made possible, in part, by intel retrieved in Iraq), his hawkish bona fides were established so that he could move on to cramming the Muslim Brotherhood down them as a second course.
Let there be no doubt that we neocons have been humbled, and rightly so, but that does not mean that Americans prefer a Commander-in-Chief that apologetically bows to foreign potentates and blames Islamist terror on videos. Mitt Romney would leave the residence quarters of the White House for the Situation Room for the full seven hours of another 9/11 crisis during which executive action could save lives, rather than help his wife pack for a fund raising trip to Las Vegas. That wouldn't make him a "neocon warmonger". But no conservative should blame him for choosing not to use the last presidential debate to give a liberal on the way to a landslide loss a chance to paint him as one.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
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Co-Founder and Editor - Political Daily
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist – Examiner.com