The Iowa caucuses earlier this week held some surprises. Among them, Michele Bachmann’s dismal performance in her home state that led her to drop out of the race, and Rick Santorum’s sudden surge from non-factor to close second place finisher. Santorum came within just 8 votes of Mitt Romney. So, how did the former Pennsylvania senator pull out such a strong finish in Iowa?
Spanning the state of Iowa from end to end, Santorum visited every county in the state, sometimes on multiple occasions. On a shoestring campaign budget, he drove a borrowed F-150 pick-up truck from stop to stop. This folksy approach, in the minds of some, seemed to coincide with his message of “traditional family values.”
Touting his message of “Faith, Family, and Freedom,” Rick Santorum postures himself as a strongly pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-Israel, pro-family, pro-faith conservative. Unfortunately, too few are paying attention to the blatant contradictions of his positions. As a Christian myself, I do not disagree with many of Santorum’s statements on family, but I find his foreign policy disturbingly schizophrenic and inconsistent with such statements.
At a campaign stop in October, Santorum said, “On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing, candidly.” He echoed these sentiments in the CBS hosted GOP debate in November: “You know there have been scientists turning up dead in Russia and Iran, there have been computer viruses, there have been problems at their facility.” He added: “I hope that the U.S. has been involved.”
Reporting on the actual assassinations, Business Week wrote:
An Iranian scientist working in the nation’s nuclear program was assassinated in Tehran on July 23, the state-run Mehr news agency reported, citing local police.
Dariush Rezaei was killed and his wife was injured when assailants riding motorcycles opened fire in front of his home in the capital, the agency said. Rezaei, a university professor, had a degree in neutron physics and worked in Iran’s nuclear plant’s department, the Mehr agency reported.
But, Santorum goes further than that. He even happily reflects over the assassinations of American citizens and boasts that the rest of the world should take note that, if we are willing to kill our own citizens, surely they are not safe either. Speaking on October 25, 2011, he said:
I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, or from North Korea or from Iran, and you’re gonna work on a nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe.
And if people say, well you can’t go out and assassinate people, well tell that to al-Awlaki. Okay, we’ve done it. We’ve done it for American citizens. We can certainly do it for someone whose producing a nuclear bomb that can be dropped in the state of Israel or provides a nuclear shield for country that will spread terrorism with impunity and change the face of the world.”
More recently, in an interview on “Meet the Press,” Santorum claimed that he would bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities – “We will degrade those facilities through airstrikes, and make it very public that we are doing that.”
Santorum has claimed that life is “sacred” and must be protected, but he apparently refers only to unborn American babies. What about the lives of scientists who simply worked for nuclear facilities, who were secretly assassinated without legal process, any knowledge of whether their work was coerced, and without evidence that their work was for weaponry? What about the bystanders who were killed in drone attacks that killed Awlaki? What about the people who would be killed by such airstrikes who had nothing to do with the nuclear facilities? What about the birth defects and death that would come about by the aftermath of such bombings?
If Santorum is pro-traditional marriage and pro-family, why does he insist upon constant and ever-increasing war that separates families, strains marriages, and leads to thousands of children growing up without an intact two-parent family that he so values? American soldiers and foreign citizens are not action figures on a Risk board. They are real people with spouses, children, hometowns, memories, hopes, and people who love them and pray for their safety.
If, as his campaign slogan of “Faith, Family, Freedom” claims, Santorum believes so strongly in freedom, why has he sanctioned the murders of American citizens without charge, lawyer, or trial – Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and Abdel-Rahman Awlaki (Anwar’s 16-year-old son, killed while cooking out with friends)? After all, such actions plainly violate the Constitution (particularly Article III, Section 3) and the Bill of Rights (particularly the 5th and 6th Amendments).
If he believes in freedom and the dignity of life, why does he support the torture of prisoners even without charge or trial? If he believes in freedom, why does Santorum support the PATRIOT Act which clearly violates the 4th Amendment?
Because Rick Santorum is so willing to speak bluntly about his convictions and callously about murder, I will bluntly summarize my findings on his positions. Senator Santorum shrouds his love of death in “pro-life” language, shadows his love of tyranny in the promise of “freedom,” and disguises his bloodthirsty warmongering as “defense.” The true shame is that such a bloody-handed, murderous man has gained the support of Christians, so blinded by campaign phrases and empty words that they cannot see the horrors that such a man would unleash upon both American citizens and the world.