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Mike Huckabee on the war in Iraq, terrorism and homeland security

Huckabee views on the war on terror


Mike Huckabee (R-AK)
Updated September 25, 2007
For more 2008 candidates' views, see 2008 Presidential Candidates on Terrorism, Iraq War and Homeland Security

Campaign Status

Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, declared he would run for president on January 29, 2007.

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War on Terrorism

Huckabee's statements on the war on terror are spoken in a fervent tone that leaves no doubt about his commitment to a cause he believes in. Some of his claims appear to contradict each other. For example, Huckabee's rhetoric makes it sound as though terrorists have put most of us in an immediate state of grave danger and potential "annihilation." But he also argues that there aren't very many suicide bombers and political militants train in small, scattered groups that can be eliminated by surgical strike.

On Huckabee's campaign site, he says that:

I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life. They have sworn to annihilate each of us who believe in a free society, all in the name of a perversion of religion and an impersonal god. We go to great extremes to save lives, they go to great extremes to take them. This war is not a conventional war, and these terrorists are not a conventional enemy. I will fight the war on terror with the intensity and single-mindedness that it deserves….

When the sun rose on September 11, we were the only superpower in the world; when the sun set that day, we were still the only superpower, but how different the world looked. During the Cold War, you were a hawk or a dove, but this new world requires us to be a phoenix, to rise from the ashes of the twin towers with a whole new game plan for this very different enemy. Being a phoenix means constantly reinventing ourselves, dying to mistakes and miscalculations, changing tactics and strategies, rising reborn to meet each new challenge and seize each new opportunity.

As president, I will fight this war hard, but I will also fight it smart, using all our political, economic, diplomatic, and intelligence weapons as well as our military might. The terrorists unfortunately have a great many sympathizers all over the world, folks who are happy to show up and be filmed shouting "Death to America," but the actual number of those willing to blow themselves up is relatively few, and they train and plot in small, scattered groups.

Read more about: the Global War on Terror

War in Iraq

Huckabee supports the war in Iraq, and believes that it is part of the war on terror and a potential safe haven for Al Qaeda. While he has on occasion quibbled with some of the tactical decisions made by President Bush—for example, he has said he would have sent in more troops—Huckabee is committed to the broad strokes of the Administration's agenda, including the surge. Huckabee believes that the U.S. has an obligation to "fix" what it "broke" by invading Iraq: "When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me: If I picked something off the shelf at the store and I broke it, I bought it. I learned I don't pick something off the shelf I can't afford to buy. Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It's our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away."

Interestingly, Huckabee does appear to disagree in principle with Bush's justification for the war on the grounds that it would help 'spread democracy.' Although Iraq was not explicitly the topic in Huckabee's exchange with George Stephanopoulus at a September 5, 2007 Republican debate, it was implicitly:

Stephanopoulus: Pres. Bush said in his second inaugural address, "It is the policy of the US to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture." Has Pres. Bush's policy been a success?

Huckabee: Well, the problem is, sometimes when you get what you want, you don't want what you get. And this is a great case of that happening. I don't think it's the job of the US to export our form of government. It's the job of the US to protect our citizens, to make us free and us safe, and to create an enviable kind of government and system that everybody else will want.

Q: So it wouldn't be the core of your foreign policy?

A: Absolutely not, because I don't think we can force people to accept our way of life, our way of government. What we can to is to create the strongest America, freedom internally, secure borders, a safer nation. That makes a whole lot more sense to me than spending billions to try to prop up some government we don't even like when we get it.

Homeland Security

Huckabee has indicated that he is in favor of technological measures promoted in the name of homeland security such as "smart" ID's (which use RFID chips to identify their owners), and has defended Guantanamo Bay detention facility as a necessary aspect of homeland security.

Huckabee has been active as a state representative on federal committees dedicated to Homeland Security. In 2003, he was appointed a member of the State and Local Officials Senior Advisory Committee on Homeland Security in 2003 (on which he no longer serves). As chairman of the National Governors Association in 2006, he participated in creating a Governors Homeland Security Advisory Council. Huckabee said, "This council is a unique opportunity for states to have a unified voice in the ongoing dialogue about how best to prevent and address homeland security and disaster concerns."

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