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January 28, 2008

Mitt Romney Interview

Earlier this afternoon, I played an interview with Governor Mitt Romney on my Heading Right Radio show. The Governor squeezed about 15 minutes into his Saturday morning schedule to chat with me about conservative principles, the war on terror, entitlement reform, and a number of other subjects. One answer in particular I found intriguing for its nuance. Rather than just issue a "I'll chase the terrorists to the gates of Hell" response, Mitt gave both a broader and more focused answer:

EM: Now, regarding global Jihad, are you in favor of pursuing the same type of forward of strategy as the Bush administration has used? I’m not necessarily speaking about Iraq, but in terms of making sure that Americans forces are deployed in areas where the Jihadis have to address America through its military rather than attacking its civilians. That’s been sort of a concept that the Bush Administration has been trying to use since 2001. Do you plan to use a similar strategy or do you plan to adjust this in a different direction?

GR: Well, we face a wide array of nations that are under the threat of global Jihadist, and some like the Philippines or Indonesia the threat is of a very different nature of that, which is being experienced in a place like Iraq and so our involvement and the nature of our involvement is going to be different. So let me describe the kind of options we have. First, I would bring together other nations along with ourselves to make sure collectively that we are fighting global Jihad and that we are fighting it with our military as well as our non-military resources. In terms of our military force, in some cases it will require the kind of actions that you see in a place like Afghanistan, a full military attack. In others, a different kind of military effort would be called for. As an example, in the Philippines, an Army Special Forces team was able to help those people reject an offshoot of Al Qaeda. This was not, you know, men with rifles and tanks but instead a Special Forces unit that helped build bridges, build water projects, move the civilian population to support the Filipino government and democracy and ultimately that has virtually eliminated the threat of global Jihad there. And I have called for what I have described as a special partnership force; meaning the creation of small units of intelligence plus army special forces personnel which are able to drawn into a nation which ask for help, to support that nation in its effort to reject the violent and the extreme. In many cases, the Muslim nation itself will be able to do the best job in eliminating the threat of radical Jihad and we can support that effort through a special partnership force of the type I have described.

Governor Romney had more to say on Pakistan in particular. He also discussed the Second Amendment and entitlement reform. The transcript has been posted at Heading Right, and of course the show can be played through the Heading Right Radio link above or through the player on my sidebar. You'll also catch a great conversation between Rep Jack Kingston (R-GA), Rob "NZ Bear" Nepell, and myself about pork and the House Republican strategy on it.

UPDATE: CapQ commenter Unclsmrgl provides the backup for the joint mission in the Philippines.


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