October 23, 2012
In last night’s presidential debate, both candidates claimed to run on a promise of peace and against the policies of George W. Bush. Obama criticized the Republicans for going to war in Iraq and took Romney to task for his bellicose rhetoric. A bit more surprisingly, Romney congratulated Obama on executing bin Laden but then said, “we can’t kill our way out of this mess.” The ultimate goal, said Romney, is peace: “We want a peaceful planet. We want people to be able to enjoy their lives and know they’re going to have a bright and prosperous future, not be at war.” Most brazenly of all, Romney declared, “We don’t want another Iraq, we don’t want another Afghanistan. That’s not the right course for us.”
Yet throughout the night, while both candidates tried to appeal to those who wanted peace, they both promised nothing but more belligerence and war. The two were on almost total agreement on every major foreign policy issue. Romney praised Obama’s escalation of drone attacks in Pakistan—attacks that have killed hundreds of totally innocent people, including over a hundred children. Romney correctly chided Obama for waffling on the Iraq time table—both of them, in truth, had wanted to extend the U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond the deadline set by President Bush in 2008. The centerpiece of Obama’s foreign policy, the escalation of the Afghanistan war, met with Romney’s wholehearted approval. The candidates competed with one another to sound more pro-Israel than the other, committing American blood and treasure to Israel’s side in any future conflict.