State of Pennsylvania Archives: on War & Peace


Marc Scaringi: Proceed with caution with Iran; they have no nukes

With regard to the U.S. policy with Iran, Welch said everything needs to be put on the table.

Scaringi said he does not want Iran to have nuclear capabilities but said the U.S. has to proceed with caution. Reports indicate, he said, that Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear capabilities. "What we don't want is a U.S. strike on Iran without the facts that Iran is trying to get a weapon," he said.

Rohrer said he didn't think any threats by Iran should be taken lightly.

Source: Williamsport Sun-Gazette on 2012 PA Senate debate Mar 23, 2012

Sam Rohrer: Threats by Iran should not be taken lightly

With regard to the U.S. policy with Iran, Welch said everything needs to be put on the table. Scaringi said he does not want Iran to have nuclear capabilities but said the U.S. has to proceed with caution. Reports indicate, he said, that Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear capabilities.

Rohrer said he didn't think any threats by Iran should be taken lightly. He noted the rising militarization of the Middle East. "Israel should be encouraged to stand tall," he said.

Source: Williamsport Sun-Gazette on 2012 PA Senate debate Mar 23, 2012

Steve Welch: Everything needs to on the table with Iran, but not publicly

With regard to the U.S. policy with Iran, Welch said everything needs to be put on the table. "Our allies need to know we stand with them," he said. "Obama telegraphs everything he's going to do. That's bad negotiating tactics."

Scaringi said he does not want Iran to have nuclear capabilities but said the U.S. has to proceed with caution. Reports indicate, he said, that Iran is not trying to obtain nuclear capabilities.

Source: Williamsport Sun-Gazette on 2012 PA Senate debate Mar 23, 2012

Arlen Specter: Unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President

They clashed over Obama's decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan--Specter said it is unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President Hamid Karzai while Sestak said is important to put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

Joe Sestak: Put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan

They clashed over Obama's decision last year to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan--Specter said it is unwise to ally with an untrustworthy Afghan President Hamid Karzai while Sestak said is important to put pressure on al-Qaida safe havens in neighboring Pakistan.
Source: Lehigh Valley Live coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate May 1, 2010

Barack Obama: President sets Iraq mission; give generals a new mission

Q: You have said “we will be out of Iraq in 16 months at the most.” No matter what the military commanders say?

A: The commander in chief sets the mission. That’s not the role of the generals. The president’s approach lately has been to say, well, I’m just taking cues from General Petraeus. Well, the president sets the mission. The general and our troops carry out that mission. And unfortunately we have had a bad mission. Once I’ve given them a new mission, that we are going to proceed deliberatel in an orderly fashion out of Iraq, if they come to me and want to adjust tactics, then I will certainly take their recommendations into consideration. And I have to look at not just the situation in Iraq, but the fact that we continue to see al Qaeda getting stronger in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, we continue to see anti-American sentiment fanned all cross the Middle East, and we are overstretched in a way that we do not have a strategic reserve at this point.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Barack Obama: Take no options off the table if Iran attacks Israel

Q: Iran continues to pursue a nuclear option that poses a threat to Israel. Should it be US policy to treat an Iranian attack on Israel as if it were an attack on the US?

OBAMA: Our first step should be to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the Iranians. I will take no options off the table when it comes to preventing them from using nuclear weapons, &that would include any threats directed at Israel or any of our allies in the region.

Q: So you would extend our deterrent to Israel?

OBAMA: It is very important that Iran understands that an attack on Israel is an attack on our strongest ally in the region, one that we would consider unacceptable, and the US would take appropriate action.

Q: Sen. Clinton, would you?

CLINTON: We should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the US, but I would do the same with other countries in the region.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Remove a brigade from Iraq every month, no matter what

Q: Your spokesperson was asked, “Is Sen. Clinton going to stick to her plan of bringing one or two brigades out of Iraq every month whatever the realities on the ground?” And he responded, “A one-word answer: Yes.” Are you?

A: Yes, I am. We have a system in our country of civilian control of the military. And I am convinced that it is in America’s best interest to immediately begin to withdraw within 60 days.

Q: But aren’t you essentially saying, “I know better than the military commanders here“?

A: No, what I’m saying is that no one can predict what will happen. But one thing I am sure of is that our staying in Iraq--continuing to have many [troops killed or] injured as well as Iraqi casualties--is no way for us to maintain a strong position in the world. We don’t know what will happen as we withdraw. We do know what will happen if we stay mired in Iraq. Our military will continue to be stretched thin. The Iraqi government will not accept responsibility for its own future.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Massive retaliation from US if Iran attacks Israel

Q: Iran continues to pursue a nuclear option that poses a threat to Israel. Should it be US policy to treat an Iranian attack on Israel as if it were an attack on the US?

OBAMA: I will take no options off the table. It is very important that Iran understands that an attack on Israel is an attack on our strongest ally in the region, and the US would take appropriate action.

CLINTON: I think that we should be looking to create an umbrella of deterrence that goes much further than just Israel. Of course I would make it clear to the Iranians that an attack on Israel would incur massive retaliation from the US, but I would do the same with other countries in the region. We are at a very dangerous point with Iran. The Bush policy has failed. Iran has not been deterred. #1, we’ve got to begin diplomatic engagement with Iran. #2, we’ve got to deter other countries from feeling that they have to acquire nuclear weapons. And finally, we cannot permit Iran to become a nuclear weapons power.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Bob Casey: Iraq: No deadline, no timeline, but replace Rumsfeld

Q: 18 Democrats have called for the End the War in Iraq Act of 2005 to cut off funding for the war. Would you vote to cut off funding?

CASEY: I don’t think we can. I’m not ready to abandon this mission; I think a lot of Americans are not, either. What has to happen in Iraq is what you’ve not seen. We need new leadership. We don’t need a deadline or a timeline; we need new leadership. That means replacing Donald Rumsfeld and finding out how and whether we were lied to with regard to intelligence.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Bob Casey: Would have voted for Iraq War, but based on false evidence

Q: You told The Philadelphia Inquirer August 2005 that you “would have voted for the war considering the evidence at the time, and supported the spending bills that funded the effort.” Knowing what you know today, would you still have voted for the war?

CASEY: If a lot of Americans knew then what they know now, they would have thought that this war shouldn’t have been fought based upon the misleading of this administration.

Q: But in ‘05 you said you’d vote for it. Would you today in ‘06 vote for it?

CASEY: Based upon the evidence that was presented then, which I think was misleading, and I think it was faulty. The intelligence was faulty. Today, I think there wouldn’t have been a vote and I think people would have changed.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Bob Casey: No withdrawal deadline in Iraq; but we must change course

CASEY: Sen. Santorum basically says, “Stay the course in Iraq.” I think we’ve go got to change the course.

Q: Is your stance evolving? In April ‘05, you said, “The key thing now is to finish the job.” In October ‘05, you said, “Some people think that pulling out is a good idea and a timeline is a good idea - I don’t agree with that. We’ve got more work to do to make sure that we get it right.” Then in June ‘06, you said, “U.S. troops should be removed from Iraq. by the end of the year.” Should we finish the job? Or should we remove the troops by the end of the year?

CASEY: I’ve never favored a deadline in this whole campaign. Because we have to do everything we can to hold the administration accountable. This thing is headed toward civil war. When you have it heading in the wrong direction, you’ve got to have a new course.

Q: So for legislation which says, “All troops out by July of 2007,” Bob Casey votes no.

CASEY: Absolutely.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Bob Casey: We need more Special Forces and better body armor

Q: Would you put more troops in Iraq?

CASEY: What we need in Iraq is a plan. One of the things that we could be doing with the global war on terror, is to have more Special Forces out there. Doubling the number of Special Forces, having counterproliferation units run by the Special Forces that intercept nuclear, biological, chemical, potential weapons around the world.

Q: Do we need more troops?

CASEY: What we need in Iraq right now is some accountability. [US troops] can still be there, but the Iraqis can take the lead and get the Americans out of the front line.

Q: And what if you left behind a haven for terrorists?

CASEY: The objective here is to make sure we’re doing everything possible to give the American people the information they need and to protect our troops. And I think it’s an abomination that Rick Santorum did not call for or insist upon the best body armor when those troops needed it.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Bob Casey: Sanctions against Iran, but in a tough and skilled way

Q: Should we launch a military attack against Iran?

SANTORUM: No, we have an opportunity to go after them by using pro-democracy forces outside and within Iran, and to crack down with additional sanctions. That’s the one-two punch [outlined in my proposed bill]. The administration so far has opposed me on that.

Q: No military option?

SANTORUM: That’s part of the 2% that President Bush doesn’t agree with me on.

CASEY: There’s no question that the policy of our government has to be to do everything possible to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And we’ve got to use sanctions in a very skilled way. We agree that sanctions have got to be very tough.

SANTORUM: You would have voted for my bill?

CASEY: Absolutely. I have to ask about the most prominent critic of Iran’s sanctions, Dick Cheney. Are you going to denounce him for continually opposing sanctions?

SANTORUM: I disagree with him on sanctions, but I don’t denounce people because I disagree with them.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Iraq: We have a great game plan, and Rumsfeld does fine job

CASEY [to Santorum]: I’ve called for Donald Rumsfeld to be replaced. Where do you stand on that?

SANTORUM: I think Secretary Rumsfeld has done a fine job as the defense secretary, and the problems that we are confronting are problems of an enemy that’s much more potent than I think anybody ever anticipated. You know, we have a great game plan. We need to go out there and continue to fight this war on Islamic fascism.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: War in Iraq is one front in war on Islamic fascism

We need to go out there and continue to fight this war on Islamic fascism. Not just the war in Iraq. That’s a front of a multi-front war in which we’re fighting against an enemy that’s a very dangerous enemy. This is an enemy that uses a tactic that is a very effective tactic against us, called terror, because they don’t care about life, and we do. We have an enemy that now is trying to get nuclear weapons. The real tough questions is how do you win this war? And I’ve laid out a very clear vision on that
Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Iran is at the heart of the Iraq war

Q: Our ambassador to Iraq has said the principal problem is not foreign terrorists, it’s sectarian violence, Sunni vs. Shiite. This is Shiite vs. Sunni, Iraqi vs. Iraqi. What do you do about that, stay the course?

SANTORUM: That makes it more complex. The radical Sunni terrorist groups, as well as Shia nation-states like Iran, want to defeat the United States.

Q: But stay on Iraq, Senator.

SANTORUM: I’m coming back to it. But you can’t ignore the fact that Iraq is simply a front. And Iran, the principal stoker of this Shia/Sunni sectarian violence, would love nothing more to see than the Iraqi democracy fail. Iran is the one that’s causing most of the problems in Iraq, and, obviously, with Israel today. Iran is the country that we need to focus on in this war against Islamic fascism.

Q: So Iran now has more influence in Iraq than they did before Saddam Hussein?

SANTORUM: I would say that they have more influence in a free country than they would within a totalitarian regime.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Saddam had no new WMDs, but did have old WMDs

Q: In Oct. 2002, you said, “Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious and grave danger to the safety of the American people. Given the threat posed by his weapons of mass destruction.” Would you now acknowledge that that was not correct?

SANTORUM: We have found weapons of mass destruction, they were older weapons, but we have found chemical weapons.

Q:The president has accepted the report of his two task forces which said, “Iraq did not have the weapons our intelligence believed were there.”

SANTORUM: There were all sorts of weapons that our intelligence believed were there. So far we have not found any new weapons. But we have found over 500 old chemical weapons.

Q: Was Saddam a serious and grave danger to America?

SANTORUM: I believe that Iraq was a serious and grave danger to America.

Q: Based on what?

SANTORUM: Based on the fact that they were working with other terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, and that they had camps that they were training Baathists and terrorists.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, but still a necessary war

Q: President Bush said that Iraq had “nothing to do with Sept. 11th.” Do you agree with that?

SANTORUM: As far as we know, that’s the case. But that doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a working relationship with a variety of different terrorist organizations. In fact, the Saddam Hussein government was giving terrorists bounties for killing Israelis.

Q: But knowing what you know now about the weapons of mass destruction, the primary rationale for the war, would you believe that the Iraq war was a choice or a necessity?

SANTORUM: I believe that it was a war of necessity because they were a threat. It is important that we are in the Middle East right now and confronting this broad war against Islamic fascism. The bottom line is that we are now almost 5 years from Sept. 11th. We have not had any kind of terrorist attack in this country, because we’ve taken it to them. We’ve disrupted their networks, not just in Afghanistan. Iraq was a state sponsor of terror, and we went after them.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: My Iraq plan, and my opponent’s plan, is same as Bush’s

Q: In ‘04, after the war, you said, “the Bush administration deserves a lot of credit for getting it right in Iraq.” Do you believe the Bush administration is still “getting it right”? In Iraq, what would you do differently?

SANTORUM: The plans that my opponent has laid out in some of his speeches and I’ve laid out in mine are basically the same thing the administration is trying to do. You’re trying to get the Iraqis to take control of the security situation. We are trying to get international cooperation to get money in there. We’re trying to improve their quality of life. We’re trying to stabilize their democracy and make sure their constitution is defended.

Q: Would you put more troops in Iraq?

SANTORUM: I don’t know if it’s a question of more troops or less troops. I think the focus should not be Iraq, but should be Iran.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Needed exit strategy & objective in Kosovo, but not in Iraq

Q: Have the American people have turned against the war in Iraq?

SANTORUM: Yes, they have.

Q: Why?

SANTORUM: Because the Bush administration hasn’t laid out the complexity of dealing with this war and, and how it fits into a broader picture.

Q: When President Clinton took troops into Kosovo, you said, “President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He is yet to tell Congress how much this operation will cost. And, he has not informed our nation’s Armed Forces about how long they will be away from home.“ Do you believe you should have the same standard for President Bush? He should give a defined objective, he should give an exit strategy, he should give a cost, and he should give a timeline for Iraq, just as you were demanding President Clinton give for Kosovo?

SANTORUM: No. Because Kosovo and Slobodan Milosevic were never a security threat to the US. It wasn’t even close.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Rick Santorum: Sanctions against Iran, despite Administration disagreement

Q: Should we launch a military attack against Iran?

SANTORUM: No, we have an opportunity to go after them by using pro-democracy forces outside and within Iran, and to crack down with additional sanctions. That’s the one-two punch [outlined in my proposed bill]. The administration so far has opposed me on that.

Q: No military option?

SANTORUM: That’s part of the 2% that President Bush doesn’t agree with me on.

CASEY: There’s no question that the policy of our government has to be to do everything possible to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. And we’ve got to use sanctions in a very skilled way. We agree that sanctions have got to be very tough.

SANTORUM: You would have voted for my bill?

CASEY: Absolutely. I have to ask about the most prominent critic of Iran’s sanctions, Dick Cheney. Are you going to denounce him for continually opposing sanctions?

SANTORUM: I disagree with him on sanctions, but I don’t denounce people because I disagree with them.

Source: Meet the Press: PA 2006 Senate Debate, Tim Russert moderator Sep 3, 2006

Betsy Summers: Get soldiers out of Iraq as quickly as possible

I will urge Bush to get soldiers out of Iraq as quickly as possible.
Source: 2004 PA Senate debate, in Philadelphia Inquirer Oct 10, 2004

Joseph Hoeffel: There was plenty of money for the troops in the pipeline

Q: How can you send troops into battle without proper equipment?

A: We were misled into the war on false pretenses and without a plan to win the peace. There was plenty of money for the troops in the pipeline. Had Congress voted a year ago to stop that appropriation and make Bush sit down with Congressional leaders and work out a more unilateral and sensible approach in Iraq, the situation would not be as bad as it is today.

Source: 2004 PA Senate debate, in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Oct 3, 2004

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on War & Peace.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on War & Peace:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014