January 28, 2008

“Just because you didn’t find every Easter egg doesn’t mean that it wasn’t planted.”  So said Mike Huckabee about the lack of WMDs in Iraq at the Thursday night Republican debate in Florida.  He then later suggested in an interview that the missing weapons had been secreted into Jordan. That would probably come as a shock to King Abdullah. Huckabee distinguished himself from the remaining four Republican candidates in the race by being the only one to recycle this particular piece of jingoist fiction, and he was also alone in explicitly defending preventive war as such. The four pro-war candidates all agreed that the war was “worth” the lives lost and the hundreds of billions spent, but none was so specific in giving credit to the President: “I think we owe him not a lot of scorn, we owe him our thanks, that he had the courage to recognize that there was a potential of weapons of mass destruction.”

Huckabee’s foreign policy is a study in contradictions, largely because Huckabee has never made a study of foreign policy. Sane, non-alarmist observations about the significant role of the military in Pakistani affairs exist side by side with bizarre exhortations to send Americans into Waziristan. One moment he, the “Christian leader,” will speak about the faith that “defines” him, and then will call for the expulsion of the Palestinians into Egypt, a sort of reverse Exodus that would relocate the Palestinian Christian inhabitants of the Holy Land and largely obliterate the native Christian presence in the places where Christ walked.  He consorts with John Hagee (founder of Christians United for Israel), who gloried in the IAF’s bombardment of Lebanon, but at the same time Huckabee has somehow been mistaken for someone who wants to “be nice” to everyone around the world.  Lost in a sea of bad analogies and hokey references is the occasional piece of wisdom: “We have an unfortunate tendency to confuse leaders with their countries and their citizens and to back them for too long, with too few questions asked and too few strings attached.”  If only Huckabee had as much insight when it came to countries being targeted for invasion as he had with allied states, he might not be so resolutely pro-war. 


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