Santorum Slams Rohrabacher’s Call For Iraq To Repay The U.S., Says It ‘Would Send Every Possible Wrong Signal’

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"Santorum Slams Rohrabacher’s Call For Iraq To Repay The U.S., Says It ‘Would Send Every Possible Wrong Signal’"

ThinkProgress filed this report from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum scoffed at Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)’s proposal that Iraq repay the United States following the first New Hampshire presidential debate Monday.

During a visit to Iraq last week, Rohrabacher, a leading conservative voice on foreign affairs, called on the Iraqi government to repay the United States for the “mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years.” After a backlash ensued and the Iraqi government asked Rohrabacher to leave the country, the California Republican still refused to back down, saying, “There’s nothing wrong with suggesting that the people who have benefited from our benevolence should consider repaying us for what we have given them.”

Following Monday’s presidential debate, ThinkProgress asked Santorum whether he agreed with Rohrabacher’s idea that Iraq ought to repay the United States for the war. Santorum, who is positioning himself as a foreign affairs expert in the GOP presidential primary, adamantly disagreed with the Congressman’s proposal, saying that it “would send every possible wrong signal that America went to war for oil”:

KEYES: Senator, Dana Rohrabacher, a leading conservative on the House Armed Services Committee* came out this week and said that Iraq ought to repay the United States for the Iraq War. Do you think that’s something you would…?

SANTORUM: I disagree with that. I think that would send every possible wrong signal that America went to war for oil and we didn’t go to war for oil. We went to war because it was in the national security interests of our country and that is a good expenditure of resources. If Iraq wants to continue, going forward, have some sort of security arrangements going forward, that’s another story. But as far as paying for what was in our interest, no.

Watch it:

Santorum is certainly no dove when it comes to foreign affairs. He strongly advocated invading Iraq and Afghanistan during his time in the U.S. Senate, and recently found himself embroiled in controversy after accusing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), an ardent opponent of torture who was himself tortured for years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, of not understanding how torture works.

When an idea is too far to the right for even Rick Santorum, it’s time for Rohrabacher to reevaluate the wisdom of his comments.

*- Editor’s note: Rohrabacher sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, not the House Armed Services Committee.

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