In the foreign policy section of the Republican debate, Michele Bachmann once again acted as spokeswoman for the Dominionists worldwide as she castigated Ron Paul for saying we should withdraw aid from Israel. She then went on to say that Libya and
Afghanistan Iraq should reimburse us for "liberating them", and finally declared flatly that the US never, ever negotiates with terrorists for hostages or anything else.
The Bachmann doctrine: We're gonna come in and strafe your country, kill tens of thousands of your people, and you will be so grateful you'll offer to reimburse us for that!
In between this and the next segue, Herman Cain calls the Guantanamo Bay detainees hostages, and declares he would never release them. Um, ok. They'd be our hostages, then.
To which Ron Paul asked all of them whether or not they denied that Ronald Reagan negotiated arms for hostages in the 80s.
You could have heard a pin drop in that Republican audience. I don't think anyone was prepared for it. And then Rick Santorum began to hem and haw and admit that there were indeed such negotiations because Iran is a sovereign state.
Indeed, Iran is (and was) a sovereign state. A sovereign state who took diplomats hostage. Even in war, it's accepted that diplomats are untouchable. Send them home, make them persona non grata, but taking them hostage is just not done. Until Iran did it.
Newt then made some lame comment to rehab Ronnie, saying it was really just all part of a plot that he didn't know about at the time, but when he discovered it, he was appalled. Alzheimer's excuse, Newtie?
I think it's remarkable to hear the audience react with stunned silence when Ron Paul speaks the truth about what Saint Ronnie did and did not do. Guess Michele ought to brush up on her Reaganalia before she opens her mouth at another debate.
Update: I replaced the clip so that the entire exchange is now there, including Herman Cain's declaration that Guantanamo Bay detainees are hostages, along with Ron Paul's pointed question about Reagan. Apologies for the confusion.
COOPER: Should we cut foreign aid to Israel?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, we should not be cutting foreign aid to Israel. Israel is our greatest ally. The biggest problem is the fact...
... that the president -- the biggest problem with this administration in foreign policy is that President Obama is the first president since Israel declared her sovereignty put daylight between the United States and Israel. That heavily contributed to the current hostilities that we see in the Middle East region.
Cutting back on foreign aid is one thing. Being reimbursed by nations that we have liberated is another. We should look to Iraq and Libya to reimburse us for part of what we have done to liberate these nations.
Now, I need to add something on this issue of negotiating for hostages. This is a very serious issue. For any candidate to say that they would release the prisoners at Guantanamo in exchange for a hostage would be absolutely contrary to the historical nature of the United States and what we do in our policy. That's naive; we cannot do that. The United States has done well because we have an absolute policy: We don't negotiate.
COOPER: Herman Cain, I've got to give you 30 seconds, because she was referring to -- basically saying you were naive or if -- if that's what you were suggesting.
CAIN: No, I -- I said that I believe in the philosophy of we don't negotiate with terrorists. I think -- I didn't say -- I would never agree to letting hostages in Guantanamo Bay go. No, that wasn't -- that wasn't the intent at all.
But let me go back to this, if I could, very quickly in the time that I have left, the question that you asked about, foreign aid. My approach is an extension of the Reagan approach: Peace through strength, which is peace through strength and clarity. If we clarify who our friends are, clarify who our enemies are, and stop giving money to our enemies, then we ought to continue to give money to our friends, like Israel.
COOPER: You have 30 seconds, Congressman Paul, and then we've got to go.
PAUL: Oh, yes. As a matter of fact, I don't want to make a statement. I want to ask a question. Are you all willing to condemn Ronald Reagan for exchanging weapons for hostages out of Iran? We all know that was done.
SANTORUM: That's not -- Iran was a sovereign country. It was not a terrorist organization, number one.
PAUL: Oh, they were our good friends back then, huh?
SANTORUM: They're not our good friends. They're -- they're -- they're a sovereign country, just like the -- the Palestinian Authority is not the good friends of Israel.
PAUL: He negotiated for hostages.
SANTORUM: There's -- there's a role -- we negotiated with hostages (inaudible) the Soviet Union. We've negotiated with hostages, depending on the scale. But there's a difference between releasing terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in response to a terrorist demand...
PAUL: But they're all suspects. They're not terrorists. You haven't convicted them of anything.
SANTORUM: Then -- then -- then negotiating with other countries, where we may have an interest, and that is certainly a proper role for the United States, too.