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Rick Santorum’s Radical Views On Iran And Israel Motivate Anti-Hagel Campaign

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"Rick Santorum’s Radical Views On Iran And Israel Motivate Anti-Hagel Campaign"

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Former Republican senator Rick Santorum launched a campaign on Thursday to try to derail Chuck Hagel’s bid to become the next Secretary of Defense. Santorum — like many of his neocon allies — has problems with Hagel’s views on Iran and Israel. “[H]is confirmation would send a dangerous signal to Iran,” a fundraising letter from Santorum’s group Patriot Voices reads, adding that Hagel “disrespects” Israel.

The well-worn Hagel-hates-Israel-and-loves-Iran charges the neocons have been floating for a month now have been thoroughly discredited, so in the case of Santorum’s anti-Hagel campaign, it’s perhaps more beneficial to note the baseline point of view from where Santorum’s Hagel attacks are rooted. It’s Santorum who is out of the mainstream on these issues. Take a look:

IRAN

The bomb Iran “plan.” One year ago on NBC’s Meet the Press, Santorum said that if he became president, he’d demand that the Iranians open up all of their suspected nuclear program facilities or face “air strikes.” “You would order air strikes…?” host David Gregory asked. “Yes, that’s the plan,” Santorum replied.

Starting a war is preventing a war. This is how the Pennsylvania Republican justified his “plan” to attack Iran: “We’re trying to prevent a war.” He later said that bombing Iran won’t “start a war.”

Iran will use nuclear weapons. Santorum advanced the popular “martyr state myth” that Iran is incapable of engaging in diplomacy and hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons so it can actually use them. “They’re a theocracy that has deeply embedded beliefs that — that the afterlife is better than this life” he said. “It is, in fact, an encouragement for them to use their nuclear weapon.”

Kill Iranian nuclear scientists? “[N]uclear scientists who work on that program…are enemy combatants similar to the Taliban and al-Qaeda,” Santorum said on the campaign trail in November, 2011.

Obama wants Iran to get nukes? Santorum floated a conspiracy theory that President Obama wanted allow Iran to get nuclear weapons in exchange for access to Iran’s oil.

ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

One state solution? In November, 2011, Sanotrum said, “all the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians,” a position that effectively negates the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a plan that the mainstream in both the United States and Israel support.

Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Santorum attacked both Obama and Mitt Romney for refusing to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The U.S. does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital, a policy “that dates back to pre-1948, and has been followed by every U.S. Administration since, regardless of the President or party in the White House.” Officially doing so, as one top expert noted, “would be following Israel into abject isolation, and the United States into an weakened and marginal regional and global role.”

Americans don’t agree with Santorum’s positions on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinain conflict and as such, there’s no reason why they should give any credibility to his attacks on Hagel regarding these issues.

“Americans are broadly supportive of diplomacy as the most important tool in the U.S. national security toolbox, and exceedingly wary of more costly and unnecessary military interventions,” CAP’s Matt Duss wrote this week, adding, “The fact of the matter is, here in the future of 2013, it’s Hagel’s hawkish critics who are out of the mainstream.”

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