Huckabee starts off with a dud: even if you think Bush has run the most arrogant bunker foreign policy in the world, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a reason why deploying fewer occupying soldiers counts as more arrogance. Fred pounces — yes, pounces.
Rudy on Bush: “mistakes were made.” Answer: “increase the size of our military.” Rudy on winning the Cold War: “devastating.” We need a three hundred ship navy? Huh?
McCain gives Bush the “little bit” of credit that’s due, supports preemption, burnishes his for-pol bona fides as a proto-Petraeus.
Paul endorses the policy Bush ran on. [Editorial note: preemption must not mean ‘attack when we feel threatened.’ There’s nothing necessarily contradictory in agreeing with McCain and Paul. But certainly on the merits I see no countries meriting preemptive attack, much less invasion.]
And Romney falls into the President’s arms. “People now realize you attack America and there is a response.” Romney’s right that fighting jihadism isn’t primarily a military job. But he’s wrong that the Muslim world isn’t already in modernity. Religious literalism, for example, is modernist. And certainly oil capitalism is modern. Also modern is recognizing the problems inherent in trying for security by demonstrating naked aggression. But only Paul’s playing this tune.