Thursday, May 21, 2015

CONSERVATIVE HERO BEN CARSON DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO INVADE AFGHANISTAN

The Hill reports this today:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told The Hill on Wednesday that it was a mistake for the U.S. to invade Iraq, arguing that the nation should have found a different way to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

“I’ve said definitively that I was never in favor of going into Iraq,” Carson told The Hill in a phone interview, noting that he has previously addressed the matter in some of his books....
Though don't get the idea that he's a pacifist:
“I would have gotten rid of the problem of Saddam Hussein some other way,” he continued. “When you go into a situation with so many factions and such a complex history, unless you know what you’re doing or have a long-term strategy, it just creates more problems.”

When pressed on how the U.S. should have toppled Hussein without sending troops into the country, Carson said that “there are a lot of ways to get rid of people.”
Y'know, we have ... ways.

I don't know what he thinks we could have done. But it's true -- he's been saying this sort of thing for a while. In fact, as the Daily Caller noted in 2013, he was against invading Afghanistan after 9/11. He had a simple alternative to that war as well:
“I actually wrote President Bush a letter before the war started and I said, you know, what I would do is I would use the bully pulpit at this moment of great national unity and, very much in a Kennedy-esque type fashion, say within 10 years we’re going to become petroleum independent,” Carson told TheDC.

“And that would’ve been much more effective than going to war because, first of all, the moderate Arab states would’ve been terrified. And they would’ve handed over Osama Bin Laden and anybody else we wanted on a silver platter to keep us from doing that.”
Simple!

And yes, all this was spelled out in his 2012 book, America the Beautiful:
After the 9/11 crisis almost everyone united behind President George W. Bush for a reason. Whether America's ensuing steps into war in Afghanistan and Iraq will be seen as positive remains to be seen, but I can't help thinking there may have been a better way to react that would not have cost us so many lives and financial capital. I believe that if the president had seized the moment and declared that we would become petroleum independent within the next 10 years as part of our efforts to strip terrorism of its resources, that business, industry, academia, and everyone else would have been foursquare behind him, and we would have been much further ahead in the fight against terrorism than we are today.

Oil prices would have fallen dramatically in an attempt to soften our resolve, but good leadership would hopefully have recognized and compensated for such a ploy. The point, of course, is that in some cases, clever tactics can be employed outside of military action to respond to hostile actions
I don't know how this is going to go over when Carson is participating in the presidential debates. (And yes, right now it looks as if he's going to make the cut.) But it's going to be entertaining. I hope someone asks him about Vietnam, and he tries to tell a rock-ribbed Republican audience what he told us in America the Beautiful:
In the case of Vietnam, we were trying to stop the spread of communism, which seems like a noble cause to those who hate communism. However, many people love communism, and certainly everyone should have the right to live under the system of their choosing.
Yeah, that should go over well in front of an audience of Iowa Republicans.

Conservatives who made Carson a hero bought huge quantities of his books. Did they ever actually read them?

13 comments:

Victor said...

Doesn't Carson know that the base craves raw meat?

How does he expect to win by throwing the base some tofu?

aimai said...

I don't think this reads this way to Conservatives at all. Like liberals, they occasionally can decide that having someone who is "From their side" tell them a different perspective is ok, even welcomed. If they believe that Carson is a true conservative (whatever that means to them) he can say whatever he likes and they will say "shows how open minded and thoughtful conservatives are, how tolerant, how deep."

On the subject of Iraq and his anti fossil fuel talk I think plenty of republican voters might welcome his argument because it gets them off the hook for George Bush's war. They can say "there were conservative alternatives to the failed war so the shame of it isn't on us."

I think Carson can stay a conservative folk favorite as long as he doesn't repudiate conservative views on race and responsibility. That is: as long as he doesn't suddenly betray his identity as the "good" and successful black man who (like the old bill cosby!) could lecture bad black people on how their poverty or their abuse by police was their own fault.

The right wing needs its Ben Carsons, like they need their Phyllis Schlafleys, to undermine liberal narratives of racism and sexism. As long as he continues to do that he can softly challenge other orthodoxies all he wants.

Victor said...

aimai,
Billiant!
As usual. :-)

Joey_Blau said...

Uh.. those were not such bad ideas. Leaving other countries alone to decide their own forms of government and economy is a good thing.

Professor Chaos said...

I had no idea Ben Carson had ever been sane!

Yastreblyansky said...

Aimai is right. However another interesting question is whether Carson thinks Afghanistan is an oil power and populated by Arabs, as his statement suggests. (I'm betting yes.)

cityspiders said...

"Did they ever actually read them?"

These guys don't even read the Bible. That was a rhetorical question, of course. Also, I think Aimai is onto something - think of Carson as a weird political variant of the scapegoat. Just as you loaded up a scapegoat with all your sins and crimes so that you were excused, so Carson gets to hold those "crypto-Liberal" views so that Real Republicans get credit, but don't get tainted with them. It's not like they really care - the Republicans despise anyone like Carson, so he can hold whatever views he wants and it doesn't matter (as long as he hates the right sort of people, anyway). They can pretend those views somehow represent some sort of Republican belief just like they pretend that Carson is some sort of Republican human being. It's more efficient to combine all the make-believe things that way.

Aunt Snow said...

I would use the bully pulpit...and...say within 10 years we’re going to become petroleum independent,” Carson told TheDC....“And that would’ve been much more effective than going to war because, first of all, the moderate Arab states would’ve been terrified. And they would’ve handed over Osama Bin Laden and anybody else we wanted on a silver platter to keep us from doing that..."

So after 9/11, President Carson would have made a speech, and then a terrified Saudi Arabia would have handled over Osama Bin Laden?

Right.

Steve M. said...

However another interesting question is whether Carson thinks Afghanistan is an oil power and populated by Arabs, as his statement suggests. (I'm betting yes.)

Me too.

Joey_Blau said...

I woukdfv say no. The line he is drawing is from Saudi Arabia, to the Pakistani mosques/madrassas, to the support of ISI for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

If we somehow squeezed SA, who then pressured Mushariffe (? Military dicctator of P at the time) who then told.ISI to get binLaden, it would have happened.

Getting SA to do that might have been possible,espexially in the context of our support for.the Northern Alliance driving the Taliban from the North, and making a deal for them to keep Kandahar.

petrilli said...

Ben Carson can go against conservative orthodoxy only to a point. Just as Bernie Sanders is useful momentarily to neo-liberals. If either starts skewing the math unpredictably, their respective villages will stone them senseless.

Collin Reid said...

The only problem with this analysis is the price of oil was low in 2002 at ~$21.00- $27/barrel at the time. So the US gas prices would have skyrocketted.

And yes Afghanistan cares about oil prices?

Ken_L said...

There are few limits to what conservatives believe a president can accomplish if only he has the WILL. Carson's idiocy is no sillier than Christie swearing Putin would know better than to step out of line if he was in the White House, or McCain telling us he'd sort out Iraq by getting the warring factions together and telling them sternly to cut the crap. Most right wingers didn't laugh or ridicule; they nodded wisely and called it a refreshing display of Strong Leadership.