Sarah Palin on Iraq

What is Sarah Palin’s stance on the Iraq War? My impression is that it’s rather complex.

In her speech to the Republican National Convention, she was for it–or at least she supported McCain’s way of handling it:

“[McCain]’s a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years, and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight…[Obama] is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word ‘victory’ except when he’s talking about his own campaign” (see here).

And we know about her June 8, 2008 speech to the Wasilla Assemblies of God, in which she exhorted her brothers and sisters in Christ:

“Pray our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country — that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God…That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan” (see here).

But here’s something that she said during the 2008 primaries:

“I’m a mom, and my son is going to get deployed in September, and we better have a real clear plan for this war. And it better not have to do with oil and dependence on foreign energy” (see here).

I know that Chuck Baldwin, the Presidential candidate for the right-wing Constitution Party, affirmed that Palin called the conflict in Iraq a “war for oil” (see here). The quote he may have in mind is something she told Business Week in a recent interview (before she became the VP candidate): “We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go.” And she told Glenn Beck in June: “The average Alaskan says again we recognize these reserves being ready to be tapped…We’re ready to contribute more to the U.S. in terms of resources that can lead to a safer nation; and I say this while our nation is at war, while we’re fighting, in some sense, over energy supplies” (see here for links to both quotes).

And here’s something else that’s piqued my interest: Sarah Palin likes the guy I voted for in the primaries, the anti-war libertarian Republican candidate Ron Paul. (I wonder if she stopped by the Ron Paul convention last week!) In a February interview with MTV, she said regarding Ron Paul: “He’s a good guy…He’s so independent. He’s independent of the party machine. I’m like, ‘Right on, so am I.'” She did not endorse Paul, mind you, but she didn’t exactly regard him as a kook, unlike most of the other Republicans who ran in those primaries.

Is Sarah Palin a flip-flopper, or is her position nuanced? Is she conflicted? I can say that I myself have been conflicted about this war. I don’t buy into the “Bush lied, people died” spiel, for I believe that Bush went into Iraq with the right intentions: he thought that Saddam Hussein was a genuine threat to the world (see my post, Bush Lied?). Did oil have anything to do with our intervention? Sure. I don’t think it was the only factor, since WMD’s, Saddam’s links with Al-Qaeda, and human rights abuses also motivated us to go to war. But there is a lot of oil in the Middle East, and an explosive dictator like Saddam can seriously impact that.

I don’t think Palin said in her Wasilla speech that the Iraq War is God’s will. She said she hopes that we do what God wants. And I hope so too. I have a friend who is gun-ho for Bush. He has family and friends who are serving in Iraq, and he says that we are doing works of righteousness while we are there. What sort of nation would drop food on a country it’s supposedly trying to occupy? And we must remember that Iraq is now a democracy, not a repressive dictatorship.

And yet, I could not be unmoved when I saw Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, in which an Iraqi woman whose family had died in a bombing plead to God for justice against the United States. No, we’re not responsible for all the Iraqi deaths there, since there has been a lot of fighting among the Iraqis themselves. But are we only accomplishing good while we’re there? We should pray that we might do God’s will in Iraq, remembering that God values all people.

And Palin’s concern about a “clear plan” is also something I’ve thought about. I always heard conservatives criticize how the Johnson Administration ran the Vietnam War: LBJ didn’t let the generals fight it as they saw fit, but he instead tried to micro-manage it from the Oval Office. The same is true of the Bush Administration. He trusted a bunch of pointy-headed intellectual neo-cons instead of the advice of his own generals–people who actually knew a thing or two about war. There were times when the generals were afraid because of the atmosphere of intimidation within the Bush Administration. So many lives got lost because we didn’t have a clear strategy, other than “stay the course.” Bush’s refusal to heed his generals reminds me of Truman firing MacArthur, someone who actually knew how to fight the enemy.

But I hope that we win. A free Iraq can lead to freedom and stability in the Middle East and the world. I would like for all of those Americans and Iraqis to have died for something positive, rather than for their deaths to have been in vain.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to Sarah Palin on Iraq

  1. steph says:

    Only a western occupation free and western meddling free Middle East will lead to peace and stability in the Middle East and the rest of the world. But that will never happen because whether McCain or Obama gets in, they both still meddle. Unless they don’t at all nothing will ever change. And there is no “victory” in sight in Iraq. You should read some of Robert Fisk’s stuff for a bit of balance. He’s easily googlable. Nobody knows better what’s going on in Iraq and the Middle East – and elsewhere – than Fisk.

    If Bush genuinely thought Hussein was a threat, why is it that nobody outside America with a nous did? Even the British Government (and Australian) didn’t believe it – they both lied.


  2. James Pate says:

    Hi Steph,

    I read some of Fisk’s stuff on my Christian dating site, since someone was posting it there. I don’t remember everything I responded to those posts, though.

    I’m also not convinced that Britain lied. In the Downing Street memo, it expresses fear that Iraq will use WMD’s. You can find the Downing Street Memo online.

    I won’t have time to have a long engaged discussion over the next few days, since I have a test. But thanks for commenting.


  3. steph says:

    It’s actually irrlevant whether the UK government lied. I think the did and if they didn’t Blair was incredibly thick and naive. The point is that the people didn’t want to invade and didn’t believe – the stats said well over 90%


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