Sarah Palin on War & Peace

Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President


Yes, we can kill our way to victory in the Mideast

One barb [in Palin's CPAC speech] got a lot of attention--her riposte to an Obama spokesperson who said the U.S. couldn't kill its way to victory in the Mideast. "Oh, the naive Obama State Department. They say we can't kill our way out of war. Really? Tell that to the Nazis. Oh wait, you can't. They're dead. We killed 'em," Palin said.

She also pointedly noted: "Did we actually win in Iraq and Afghanistan before we waved the white flag? The jury is still out."

Of course, Palin is still Palin. At one point she said, "The Middle East is a tinderbox, and it is coming apart at the seams," which isn't wrong but is a slightly convoluted way of thinking about how those Old Tyme boxes actually worked.

Source: Newsweek on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 27, 2015

No military intervention in Syria: 'Let Allah sort it out'

Former GOP vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin told a Washington audience Saturday that the U.S. should not get involved in the Syrian civil war. Palin argued that the U.S. should not intervene in any Middle East conflict as long as President Obama remains in office.

"Until we have a commander in chief who knows what he is doing....let Allah sort it out!" she told the Faith and Freedom Coalition. The statement shows how far Palin has drifted from former running mate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is the chief Senate proponent of U.S. military action to help the Syrian rebels.

This week, the White House announced it had concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, thereby crossing a "red line." Obama has now decided to arm select elements of the Syrian rebellion.

Source: Erik Wasson on TheHill.com , Jun 15, 2013

War on Iran would end lackadaisical approach to terrorism

Cheney quickly accused Obama of failing to realize that the nation was at war--a charge at variance with the reality that Obama had widened the frequency and scope of "targeted killing" [which included, for legal reasons which otherwise prohibited assassinations, considering the US to be at war with al-Qaeda]. Other Republican charges followed along similar lines. Sarah Palin claimed in an interview on Fox News that Obama had a "lackadaisical approach" to dealing with terrorists. The situation would improve only if Obama would toughen up, she said: "Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do."
Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.220 , Jun 14, 2012

It's a "war", not an "overseas contingency operation"

In recent weeks, many of us have grown even more uneasy about our administration's approach to national security, the most important role ascribed to our federal government. It's not politicizing our security to discuss our concerns because Americans deserve to know the truth about the threats that we face and what the administration is or isn't doing about them. So let's talk about them. New terms used like "overseas contingency operation" instead of the word "war." That reflects a world view that is out of touch with the enemy that we face. We can't spin our way out of this threat. It is one thing to call a pay raise a job created or saved. It is quite another to call the devastation that a homicide bomber can inflict a "manmade disaster." I just say, come on, Washington, if no where else, national security, that is one place where you've got to call it like it is.
Source: 2010 Tea Party Convention speeches , Feb 6, 2010

Tough sanctions on Iran

It's time for some tough actions, like sanctions on Iran. And in places in the world where people are struggling and oppressed and they're fighting for freedom, America must stand with them. We need a clear foreign policy that stands with the people and for democracy, one that reflects both our values and our interests. And it is in our best interest because democracies, they don't go to war with each other. They can settle their differences peacefully.
Source: 2010 Tea Party Convention speeches , Feb 6, 2010

Palin Plan on terrorism: We win, they lose

Q: We know the Obama plan; what's the Palin plan when it comes to the war on terror?

A: When it comes to national security, as I ratchet down the message on national security, it's easy to just kind of sum it up by repeating Ronald Reagan when he talked about the Cold War. And we can apply this now to our war on terrorism, you know. Bottom line, we win, they lose. We do all that we can to win.

Source: 2010 Tea Party Convention Q&A , Feb 6, 2010

Responsibility to complete mission until we win

Today our sons and daughters are fighting in distant countries to protect our freedom and to nurture freedom for others. I understand that many Americans are war-weary, but we do have a responsibility to complete our missions in those countries so that we can keep our homeland safe. America must remain the strongest nation in the world I order to remain free. And our goal in the War on Terror must be the same as Reagan's: "We won. They lost."
Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.393 , Nov 17, 2009

Pray that we're on God's side in war; not that He is on ours

Another one of those stories that surfaced early on was that I had been invited to visit Wasilla Assembly of God church to speak to graduates of a missionary program. I asked the congregation to "pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our national leaders are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God." The Huffington Post ludicrously described this as: "Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord." In reality, I was invoking Abraham Lincoln's admonition that we should pray that we are on God's side--not that He is on ours.
Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.238 , Nov 17, 2009

Our troops are out on a task that is from God

In Palin's first interview after being chosen as McCain's running mate, ABC's Charlie Gibson had this exchange with her:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending US soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

What Gibson claimed were Palin's "exact words" were nothing of the sort. Here are Palin's actual "exact words"--as quoted by NPR, no less: "Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country--that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

On Gibson's theory of an "exact quote" ABC's Charlie Gibson said "you're old" and "God, are we fighting a Holy War!" With some selective editing, those are "exact quotes," too.

Source: Guilty, by Ann Coulter, p.240-241 , Nov 10, 2009

FactCheck: Disputed that Obama tried to delay Iraq deal

The Statement:Palin said, “Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government” to delay an agreement that would spell out the US troop presence in Iraq, & that Obama “tried to influence negotiations with Iraqi leaders in a way that would set back America’s cause there.”

The Facts:The US & Iraq are negotiating a status of forces agreement, which would spell out the details of US troop presence in Iraq after the UN mandate establishing their status expires at the end of the year.

A Washington Times article said Obama “tried to convince Iraqi leaders that the president shouldn’t be allowed to enact the deal without congressional approval.” It said Obama “urged Baghdad to delay an agreement until next year when a new president will be in office--a charge the Democratic campaign denies.”

The Verdict:In dispute. Both Obama and the Iraqi official with whom he had the conversation, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, deny Obama ever pushed for a delay.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2008 presidential race , Oct 10, 2008

No white flag of surrender on Iraq

Q: What is your plan for an exit strategy?

PALIN: I am very thankful that we do have a good plan and the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that has proven to work, I know that the other ticket opposed this surge,

BIDEN: With all due respect, I didn’t hear a plan. Barack Obama offered a clear plan. Shift responsibility to Iraqis over the next 16 months. Draw down our combat troops. We’ll end this war. For John McCain, there’s no end in sight.

PALIN: Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that’s for sure. You guys opposed the surge. The surge worked. Barack Obama still can’t admit the surge works. We’ll know when we’re finished in Iraq when the Iraqi government can govern its people and when the Iraqi security forces can secure its people. And our commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions have been met. We are getting closer and closer to that point, that victory that’s within sight.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Sen. Joe Biden , Oct 2, 2008

Divest from Sudan; enforce no-fly zone in Darfur

BIDEN: I don’t have the stomach for genocide when it comes to Darfur. We can now impose a no-fly zone. It’s within our capacity. We can lead NATO if we’re willing to take a hard stand.

PALIN: We can agree on that also, the support of the no-fly zone, making sure that all options are on the table there also. America is in a position to help. What I’ve done in my position as governor, when I and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in Sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren’t doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in Darfur. That legislation hasn’t passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Sen. Joe Biden , Oct 2, 2008

FactCheck: No, we’re not back to pre-surge troop levels

Palin got her numbers wrong on troop levels when she said “and with the surge that has worked, we’re now down to pre-surge numbers in Iraq.”

The surge was announced in January 2007, at which point there were 132,000 troops in Iraq. As of September 2008, that number was 146,000. President Bush recently announced that another 8,000 would be coming home by February of next year. But even then, there still would be 6,000 more troops in Iraq than there were when the surge began.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 2, 2008

FactCheck: No, Afghan general did not say a surge would work

Biden and Palin got into a tussle about military recommendations in Afghanistan. Biden said, “Our commanding general in Afghanistan said today that the surge principles used in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan.” Palin responded, “First, [Gen. McKiernan] did not say definitively the surge principles would not work in Afghanistan. Conditions are certainly different. Even the geographic differences are huge but the counterinsurgency principles could work in Afghanistan. [Gen. McKiernan] didn’t say anything opposite of that.“

Point Biden. Gen. McKiernan clearly did say that surge principles would not work in Afghanistan, stating, ”The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge.’ “ McKiernan stressed instead a ”sustained commitment“ to a counterinsurgency effort that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution. However, it is worth noting that McKiernan also said that Afghanistan would need an infusion of American troops ”as quickly as possible.“

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 Vice Presidential debate , Oct 2, 2008

Surge needed in Afghanistan; we cannot afford to lose

Q: Why support a surge in Afghanistan?

A: Because we can’t afford to lose in Afghanistan, as we cannot afford to lose in Iraq, either, these central fronts on the war on terror. And I asked President Karzai, “Is that what you are seeking, also? That strategy that has worked in Iraq that John McCain had pushed for, more troops? A counterinsurgency strategy?” And he said, “yes.” And he also showed great appreciation for what America and American troops are providing in his country.

Source: 2008 CBS News presidential interview with Katie Couric , Sep 24, 2008

Retreat is defeat in Iraq

Q: Why do we need to win in Iraq? Why is losing not an option?

A: Retreat is not an option. Retreat is defeat in Iraq. Al Qaeda, they’re acknowledging even that Iraq is the central front on the War on Terror and the violent Islamic extremists who hate America would love that stronghold to be built in Iraq. If we were to lose there, we’re not going to be any better off when we fight in Afghanistan either, nor the other areas where terrorist cells are growing across our world.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview on “Hannity & Colmes” , Sep 17, 2008

Nuclear Iran is dangerous to whole world

Q: Do you consider a nuclear Iran to be an existential threat to Israel?

A: I believe that under the leadership of Ahmadinejad, nuclear weapons in the hands of his government are extremely dangerous to everyone on this globe.

Q: So what should we do about a nuclear Iran?

A: We have got to make sure that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

Russia’s invading Georgia, unprovoked, is unacceptable

Q: Let me ask you about some specific national security situations The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the US should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

Q: You believe it was unprovoked?

A: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

No new Cold War with Russia

Q: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

A: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska. We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

Don’t go to war over Georgia, but pressure Russia

Q: Do you think Georgia would be worth it to the US to go to war if Russia were to invade?

A: Smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We’ve got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries. And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is wha it leads to. It doesn’t have to lead to war and it doesn’t have to lead to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries. His mission, if it is to control energy supplies coming from and through Russia, that’s a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

Don’t second-guess Israel if they act against nukes in Iran

Q: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

A: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

Q: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that?

A: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

Q: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right?

A: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

Keep option to go into Pakistan to go after terrorists

Q: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?

A: We’re going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new ones also, in order to get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.

Q: But do we have the right to go across the border without the approval of the Pakistan?

A: In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America & our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.

Q: Is that a yes? That we have the right to go across the border?

A: I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table.

Source: ABC News: 2008 election interview with Charlie Gibson , Sep 11, 2008

McCain: She has right judgment on Iran and the surge

Q: You have criticized Obama as being “dangerously unprepared to be president.” In the sense of national security and foreign policy specifically, isn’t Sarah Palin even more dangerously unprepared?

McCAIN: Oh, no. Look, she has got the right judgment. She has got the right judgment. She doesn’t think, like Sen. Obama does, that Iran is a minor irritant. She knows that the surge worked and succeeded, and she supported that. Sen. Obama still refuses to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded. She has been commander-in-chief of the Alaska Guard. She has had the judgment on these issues while Sen. Obama has had all the wrong judgments. Gov. Palin understands these issues, and she understands the challenges that we face. She has the experience and judgment as an executive. She has run a huge economy up there in the state of Alaska. Twenty percent of our energy comes from the state of Alaska, and energy is obviously one of the key issues for our nation’s security.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series , Aug 31, 2008

Visited Alaska National Guard troops in Kuwait

Q: You talked about Palin’s years of experience. Ten of those years were as a city councilwoman and mayor of a town of 9,800 people. And in terms of foreign policy, in March of 2007, after, two months after the surge had started, she was asked about it, and she said: “I’ve been focused on state government. I haven’t focused on the war in Iraq.” Understandable for a governor; not understandable for a vice president.

McCAIN: Well, by the way, also she was a member of the PTA. I think it’s wonderful. But the point is she has been to Kuwait. She has been over there. She has been with her troops, the National Guard that she commands, who had been over there and had the experience. I’m proud of her knowledge of these challenges and issues.

Q: Why shouldn’t we think that this is really about politics, about reaching out to women, especially to Hillary Clinton supporters?

McCAIN: Well, I think that I had to do what I think is best for the future of the country. That’s the point here.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series , Aug 31, 2008

We don’t know what the plan is to ever end the war

Ramping up domestic supplies of energy is the only way to become energy independent, the only way that we are going to become a more secure nation. And I say this, of course, knowing the situation we are in right now--at war, not knowing what the plan is to ever end the war we are engaged in, understanding that Americans are seeking solutions and are seeking resolution in this war effort. So energy supplies and being able to produce and supply domestically is going to be a big part of that.
Source: Q&A with Time Magazine’s Jay Newton Small , Aug 14, 2008

Wants exit plan; also assurances to keep our troops safe

Q: We’ve lost a lot of Alaska’s military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?

A: I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.

Source: Q&A with Alaska Business Monthly , Mar 1, 2007

We have not been attacked since 2001; so support our troops

Q: If the Secretary of Defense calls on the Alaska Guard to extend its tour of duty, what would be your response?

KNOWLES: I will challenge that on behalf of the Alaska National Guard. They’ve served their time. They don’t need to be extended. They should understand at the top of the Pentagon, that they need a different strategy for this war.

PALIN: I would certainly have to encourage Don Rumsfeld to please look elsewhere when you consider the sacrifices already made. However, I do support our troops and I thank god that we have a voluntary military right now. Bottom line, I do support our troops and I do support our president, and we know that since Sept. 2001, we have not had an attack on American soil and for that we should be ever thankful, grateful, praying for our troops for the safety that they are providing us.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: moderated by John Tracy , Oct 30, 2006

I support the mission of our troops in Iraq

Q: From a philosophical standpoint, in hindsight, do you believe the US was justified in invading Iraq, and if we are continuing on the proper course.

KNOWLES: I think the record books are fairly clear, that there’s a lot of concerns on the basis, the reasons that were given for going to war, were not justified. We’re not going to second guess and say yes I know what we should do. All I know is that we should pray for a strategy that brings our troops home at the earliest possible time.

PALIN: I think that all Americans agree that every life lost there in Iraq and Afghanistan, it profoundly touches us all. And again, as I said in my previous answer, I do support our troops, I support the mission there, that the idea of keeping the enemy outside of our borders.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: moderated by John Tracy , Oct 30, 2006

Our troops in Iraq keep us safe at home

Q: Are we continuing on the proper course in Iraq?

PALIN: In the past five years, there hasn’t been a successful terrorist strike on United States soil and that’s no accident. It is our gratitude that we need to show to our military, to our troops for keeping us safe.

I support them being over there. I support our president. I support our military. But of course, I want to see that exit strategy being developed and being revealed to our public.

This hits me near and dear to my heart as I’m raising teenagers. A 17-year-old son who is interested in the military. Of course, you know I think about it every day, if that were my son or my daughter over there. I want our troops to come home safely.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: moderated by John Tracy , Oct 30, 2006

I support President Bush’s efforts to stop terrorism

Q: This year saw the biggest wartime call-up of Alaska National Guard troops ever. Combined with deployments of active-duty forces, thousands of Alaskans are now serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere overseas. What’s your view of the Iraq war, and do you support Pres. Bush’s “war on terror”?

A: I support President Bush’s efforts to stop terrorism by taking the fight to the terrorists. In the Iraq war, I would like to see the president develop an exit strategy to get our troops home

Source: Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile , Oct 22, 2006

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