How Many GOP Candidates Have Military Experience?

Friday, 01 Jul 2011 10:43 AM

By Doug Wead

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As you approach July Fourth, stop and consider the presidential race in the Republican Party.
ron,paul,michele,bachmann,mitt,romney,war,world,next ginrich
Recognize him?


All of the 2012 contenders talk big about wars and our continued role in the world except for the only one who has actually served in uniform and is a veteran of our armed forces.

Apparently a little experience goes a long way.

Mitt Romney:
"A second defense mission is to be prepared to fight and win land wars and counter-insurgencies, including the wars we are now fighting . . . Those who shout 'no more Iraqs' should remember that we are still in a counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan."

"It is not hard to imagine future scenarios that would require America to put boots on the ground, particularly given the developments in Pakistan, or even Russia’s apparent designs on its former satellites." (6/1/2009 — Heritage Foundation)

Michele Bachmann:
"Iran is at a point right now where America has to be very aggressive in our response. We can't remove any option off the table and we should not remove the nuclear response." (5/3/2006 Interview on Minnesota Public Radio)

Rick Santorum:
"We're going to need more of a presence because we've created such a vacuum . . . We need basing around the world." (6/13/2011 — New Hampshire Debate)

Newt Gingrich:
On Libya: "Exercise a no-fly zone this evening . . . All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening." (3/23/2011 — "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren")

Tim Pawlenty:
"In his speech Tuesday, Pawlenty struck an aggressive tone about the U.S. role in the international community. He suggested that the United States should push for regime change in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya and Syria." (6/29/2011 — Washington Post)

Herman Cain:
"We're going to be in this war forever." (1/8/2011 — Slate)

But the only candidate who is actually a veteran and who served in uniform for five years in the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard (did you guess it was him in the photo?) says this about American foreign policy:

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms.
— Ron Paul

And since we are approaching July 4, 2011, maybe these words, from another president long ago, are appropriate today.


The less we use our power the greater it will be.
— Thomas Jefferson


Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and presidential historian. He has served as an adviser to two American presidents and now serves as a senior adviser on the Ron Paul presidential campaign.



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