Ahead Of Foreign Policy Speech, Past Romney Weakness Becomes An Issue
Mitt Romney plans to give a foreign policy address on Monday at Virginia Military Institute. Early reports indicate that Romney will attack President Obama on the issue, attempting to make the argument that the death of Bin Laden and other key Al Qaeda members is insufficient for American security.
In recent history, Romney was a strong supporter of President George W. Bush’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq. The lack of a connection between Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden and the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq did not deter Romney.
By comparison, then-Senator Barack Obama supported the Afghanistan-based fight against Al Qaeda, but opposed invading Iraq as a “dumb war.”
Romney’s ability to assess the basic facts of the Iraq War came into question in 2007 when he claimed that Hussein did not allow international inspectors into the country, which helped lead to war. In fact, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency were allowed in and found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.
Even as late as 2011, when President Obama kept his campaign promise to remove troops from Iraq, Romney attacked the President. He described the announcement as “simply sheer ineptitude.”
On the issue of terrorism and Al Qaeda, statements from Romney have called into question his resolve to fight the organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
In 2007, Romney said that “it’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch [Bin Laden].”
Around the same time, Obama said, “if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out.” Romney attacked Obama at the time for his aggressive stance on pursuing Bin Laden, noting, “I do not concur” and added, “I don’t think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort.”
The scenario under which Seal Team 6 killed Bin Laden unfolded much as Obama had indicated. Bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan, and an executive decision was made by the President to eliminate the world’s most wanted man.
It is possible that the Romney foreign policy was best expressed in 2007 when he was asked what he woud do in order to curtail Iran’s nuclear capabilities: “You sit down with your attorneys.” Retired Admiral Robert J. Natter responded to Romney’s comments by noting that “we need leadership, not litigation.”
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