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.Though don't get the idea that he's a pacifist:
“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....
“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.”Y'know, we have ... ways.
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.”
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.Simple!
“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.”
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.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:
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
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?