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War With Iran? School Prayer? Just More Republican Campaign Promises

Posted on Dec 9, 2011
AP / Jae C. Hong

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry share a laugh during a break at a Republican debate.

By Bill Boyarsky

Newt Gingrich might drag us into a war with Iran on the side of Israel. Rick Perry seems to envision the United States as a conservative Christian theocracy. No pledge is too extreme in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,” Perry says in a commercial aimed at the ultra-conservative Christians likely to dominate the Republican Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. “But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

With desperate politicians elevating religion to a place it never held when the country was born, it’s likelier faith will weaken America, or at least her founding principles.

Although Perry is far back in polling for the caucuses and Gingrich has moved into first place, the Texas governor shouldn’t be dismissed as a loser. Nor should his words be ignored. Unlikely as it seems now, this tongue-tied debater might do a Gingrich and rise from the politically dead before Iowa Republicans find their way to the caucuses.

Far more alarming—because of his present front-runner position—is what Gingrich said Wednesday when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked what he would do as president if Israel attacked Iran without giving him advanced warning.


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“I think if I were president, the Israelis would have told us,” the former House speaker replied. When Blitzer asked why, Gingrich answered,

Because I’m a clear ally of Israel. I am very close to [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. ... I would rather plan a joint operation conventionally than push the Israelis to a point where they go nuclear. The Israelis are not going to tolerate an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Blitzer: If the Israelis told you in advance, would you say go ahead and do it?

Gingrich: If they told me in advance, I would say how can we help you?

Blitzer: You would actually participate?

Gingrich: I would provide them intelligence. I’d provide them logistic support. Look, this is a line we have to draw. An Iranian nuclear weapon is potentially a second Holocaust. Israel is a very urban country. Two or three nuclear weapons wipes out most of the Jews who live in Israel. I believe [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad would do it. ... When you have people put on body suits to walk into a crowded mall to blow themselves up, you better believe they [would] put on a nuclear weapon. So, I think the world needs to understand, Iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon. All the world can decide is whether they help us peacefully stop it or they force us to use violence, but Iran is not going to get a nuclear weapon.

In other words, if Gingrich were president, the Israeli prime minister and his hawkish right-wing government would be calling the shots on whether the United States should get involved with a war against Iran.

At Gingrich’s side in this endeavor would be his choice for secretary of state, Iraq war backer John Bolton, who wrote in the Oct. 21 edition of the Guardian newspaper: “The unpleasant reality is that the only alternative to a nuclear Iran is to break Tehran’s program through the targeted use of military force, either by Israel, the United States or both.”

Gingrich was interviewed on CNN after he appeared with other Republican presidential candidates before the Republican Jewish Coalition, a conservative group that supports Netanyahu’s policies. Ron Paul wasn’t invited, not being deemed sufficiently pro-Israel. The rest of the candidates echoed the Netanyahu line, although Gingrich didn’t go as far as he did in his CNN interview.

As Scott Clement wrote in the Washington Post polling blog, “The issue may play a more important role in the Republican primary than the general election. Two key groups — conservative Republicans and white evangelical Protestants — see Israel as especially important.”

Obama, too, wants Iran to halt nuclear weapon development. But he believes we must continue to act with other nations.

“If they [Iran] are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly, that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States,” the president said Thursday at a White House news conference. “It’s contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel; and we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.”

This is not a country governed by religious values. Belief in God is not a prerequisite for citizenship. Children shouldn’t be forced to pray in schools. The president and members of Congress—several of them Republicans—should be praised for finally permitting men and women to serve in the military regardless of their sexual orientation.

And this is not a country that should be governed by a politician whose reply to an Israeli attack on Iran would be, “How can we help you?”

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By felicity, December 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Newt the historian?  Palestinians are not a ‘people’
because they were once part of the Ottoman Empire?  If
that is the criterion for being a ‘people’ about half
of the known world today would be inhabited by ‘non-
people’ as about half the known world was at one time
part of the Ottoman Empire. 

Freddie Mac, eat your heart out.  You wasted a million
plus bucks on a guy who’s no historian - but he
certainly is a fool.

Report this

By omop, December 11, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

There are over 43 million Americans on food
stamps; the Israeli promoted war on Iraq and the
invasion of Afghanistan in addition to the
millions killed has cost US 4.3 trillion dollars; the
US economy is in a quagmire; number of
unemployed Americans is estimated to be
around 38 million.

The US’s standing as “the major power” on earth
is declining. The OWS demonstrations speak to a
increasing need to address domestic issues.

Interesting that the GOP candidates stress their
subservience to Israel; abortion, Ponzi schemes;
increasing the number of children in the work
force and nuking Iran.

All of which means that these socalled
candidates are in it just to make money and get
press coverage for inane pronouncements.

What no one mentions is that “what needs to be
put on the table is the helalth and welfare of ALL
Americans first and foremost.

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By Marian Griffith, December 11, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

—-From what I understand, we can’t even get our banking institutions and our corporations to participate in sanctions against Iran,—-

The politicians are no longer the ones in charge of the country. It is the big financial firms who are, so of course they pay as much attention to what politicians say as they do to a yapping poodle.
The banks know that thanks to the permanent elections representatives will never do anything that might actually inconvenience the ones who pay for their campaigns.

—-and we continue to buy oil from them to enrich their coffers. Yet, we’re ready to go to war?—-

Sadly, some companies earn billions from a war, and with the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down they need a new cash cow.
Politicians also like wars because it allows them to whip up a patriotic frenzy in their constituents and it allows them to ship young men abroad who otherwise might make trouble at home by demanding something as unreasonable as a paying and dignified job. (Tossing all those soldiers in jail to be used as slave labour might raise an eyebrow from even the staunchest ally, who might overlook the fact the USA has one the largest percentages of its population locked up of all countries in the world. Rushing to the top spot by a wide margin might be a bit harder to ignore politely (plus it might cause complaints about unfair business practices)).

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By kimsarah, December 10, 2011 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

From what I understand, we can’t even get our banking institutions and our corporations to participate in sanctions against Iran, and we continue to buy oil from them to enrich their coffers. Yet, we’re ready to go to war?

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, December 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

BTW, Jon Stewart had segment about the “candidates” (or as I like to call them the crazies) when they addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum. It’s funnier than shit. Enjoy.

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By Outraged, December 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

Quote: “we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.”

Ahhhh…. a SANE position, how reliving it is to have a SANE person as president.

Remember Bush, “the smoking gun” in the form of a “mushroom cloud”....what a nightmare.

And some folks want to relive the nightmare, how’d the Grinch put it….“you have people put on body suits to walk into a crowded mall to blow themselves up, you better believe they [would] put on a nuclear weapon.”

And Bolton (the supposed choice for sec. of state)...“targeted use of military force,”

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By berniem, December 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Two more heads to be dropped into the basket when the New American Revolution is declared! FREE BRADLEY MANNING AND TIM DECHRISTOPHER(from their confinement in the Amerikan Bastille)!!!!!

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By Michael Shaw, December 9, 2011 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

I would point out that if Israel launched a nuclear strike on Iran it could very well mean an all out nuclear war. Not only that, but a complete Shiite uprising throughout the Arab world. Even that numb nuts Gingrich ought to know that! Meanwhile Obama and big oil work diligently to start another cold war with China. This nation is ruled by idiots! Party affiliation matters not!

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By Michael Shaw, December 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Let’s not forget Santorum either who says food stamps are contributing to the nation’s obesity. Obviously he’s never had to live off food stamps for a month, where the food runs out about a week and a half before the end of the month. Then comes that homophobic cross-eyed ditz of a redhead, Bachmann. In my view, all of the republican candidates are so close in values(or the lack there of) it matters not which one of them might win the nomination. Anyone of them will only enhance the speed of travel on America’s road(if not the entire world’s road) to complete disaster.

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By ardee, December 9, 2011 at 1:36 pm Link to this comment

Oceanna, December 9 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

Would foreign policy really change with a Republican president?  I believe it would be more
blustery in rhetoric, but the adherence to hegemony would be about the same.

I am heartened to read that there are folks who recognise the silliness of these scare tactics as well as the very small differences between voting democrat or republican.

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By balkas, December 9, 2011 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

i also think that syria wld be attacked much before iran. and, yes, there is
only one u.s, one costititution, one foreign and domestic policy and not
two, three…thus only one plan. even a prez’ act in u.s is mostly a
ceremonial/entertaining function.

u.s policy must be fed. it’s insatiable; not allowing american soldier an
hour of peace. the policy, to work on americans, must have enemies and
they can be easily manufactured.

and historical record shows that the euros from day one after coming to
buffalo lands had not enjoyed [or allowed, really] even one hour of peace.

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Oceanna's avatar

By Oceanna, December 9, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Would foreign policy really change with a Republican president?  I believe it would be more
blustery in rhetoric, but the adherence to hegemony would be about the same. 

I’d say Syria is next in line for a “humanitarian intervention” through the Sarkozy
government.  I think the approach to Iran would be a pragmatic incursion with
either party.  Taking down a major ally and neighbor like Syria could be part of
that strategy. The objectives for domination would be the same; it’s just that with
one it would be significantly less transparent and involve a more careful
consensus, internationally and domestically.

Pick your poison, either the longer or the shorter-acting.

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By Timbob, December 9, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hopefully this is just a lot of bluster but it is about time for these guys to gin up another Boogie man. Five Trillion wasted in the Middle east obviously isn’t enough for our conservative friends.

God help us all…

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By Roger Lafontaine, December 9, 2011 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You get the impression that some people would be thrilled to launch another war for the sake and pleasure of Israel and even Obama doesn’t dare take that ‘option’ off the table. Of course the war (otherwise known as the destruction of Iranian infrastructure and slaughter of the population) will be entirely carried out by airstrikes, long distance missiles and drones so that no American or Israeli casualties will result… if things go according to plan. But will they?

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By balkas, December 9, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

obama had abandoned the u.s’ structure of language used in order to attack iraq
‘03: war is the last option. at that time [late ‘92] i rewrote it thus: war is the only
the newest one, “we r not taking any options from the table is much clearer. it,
tho, may be a bluff or done to frighten americans.

i still say, u.s cannot at this time or even in decades attack iran openly. and from
obama’s statement, i educe, u.s thinks so, too [if otherwise, u.s wld have not said
what it said, then]
asides this, u.s needs iran very badly as it is now and not much destroyed via war.
and not just iran, but many other manufactured enemies: korea, cuba, venezuela,
pashtunstan, iraq, palestina, etc. tnx

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By rend it, December 9, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

God that picture is super scary!

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By balkas, December 9, 2011 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

to keep americans [or at least 95% of them] subdued/somber/frightened, the
system needs more wars, threats of war, demonization of other systems,
evocation of perils if ‘demonic’ systems are not prevented from doing ‘evil’ things
to u.s system.

a system, like the one in u.s, in which the society is ordered in two extremities:
homeless people and people with $billions; resulting in zero or next to zero
political power for, say, 10-30% of the pop, and 100% for billionaires, has to, to
survive and even thrive, keep on doing what had always worked for it to date.

waging wars had always been a great tool of the ruling classes to keep their serfs
obedient, faithful to the system, constitution, ‘laws’; in awe of judiciary, u.s
‘justice’, ‘education’, wmd, army, cia, fbi, etc. tnx

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By EmileZ, December 9, 2011 at 3:31 am Link to this comment

” International pressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear activities, citing “credible” evidence that “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” In his latest article for The New Yorker blog, titled “Iran and the IAEA,” Hersh argues the recent report is a “political document,” not a scientific study, in an interview with Democracy Now! Nov. 21. “They [JSOC] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization,” Hersh says. “In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities to build a bomb. This is simply a fact.”

“The sanctions have enormous bite and enormous scope, and we’re building off the platform that has already been established. The question is, are there additional measures that we can take? And we’re going to explore every avenue to see if we can solve this issue diplomatically. I have said repeatedly, and I will say today, we are not taking any options off the table.” - Obama

“we are not taking any options off the table”, similar rhetoric from the Obama administration, but I suppose that is unimportant as he is a corporate Democrat.

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