Dennis Kucinich Vs Rick Santorum On Afghanistan

Dennis Kucinich takes on man-on-dog Rick Santorum on what America should be doing in Afghanistan. Par for the course Santorum has nothing but tough ta
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Dennis Kucinich takes on man-on-dog Rick Santorum on what America should be doing in Afghanistan. Par for the course Santorum has nothing but tough talk and meaningless slogans to offer. Always lots of money to drop bombs on poor people's heads, but heaven forbid don't ask anyone to pay for it by taxing the wealthy, or take care of anyone here at home instead. I think these "Christians", and I use the term loosely for Santorum, forgot about the part of the Bible that includes Christ.

QUESTION: Will the president be ready to roll out a decision in the week after Thanksgiving, or will it take longer?

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are a series of decisions that have to be made, and the president is working through many of those decisions in order to come to what he believes is the best way forward for our national security. And I think the American people want the president to take the time to get this decision right, rather than to make a hasty decision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREAM: Next Tuesday, President Obama is set to address the nation on his proposed policy for the Afghanistan war, a proposal that may come with a $50 billion price tag. Still with us now, former senator and FOX News analyst Rick Santorum and Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich.

Congressman, I'd love to start with you. You have great concern, I understand it, about how this Afghanistan situation could possibly affect our national security.

KUCINICH: Well, it will have an effect on our national security, and I would suggest that the fight isn't in Afghanistan, it's here in our own country. We're mired deeply in debt. We'll go deeper into debt for this war. Our gross domestic product is down. Savings are down. Bankruptcies are up. Home foreclosures are up. We're doing more foreign borrowing. This war is undermining our nation, and we need to address this issue head on and ask what do we gain from this because I don't see any up side at all.

BREAM: Senator, what do we gain?

SANTORUM: Yes, this is sort of the typical argument of the left, which is we need to just withdraw from all of our engagements overseas and we need to spend an enormous amount of money on bigger government here at home, and we need to raise taxes on rich people to pay for it. I mean, that's -- that's sort of the mantra of the folks on the left, from David Obey to Dennis Kucinich.

And you know, he said this isn't the war we're supposed to fight. Iraq wasn't the war we're supposed to fight. There is no war we're supposed to fight. We're supposed to let the Chinese and the Russians and everybody else sort of run the world and we're supposed to just sort of retreat and build the ever, ever, ever-growing government here in Washington, D.C., and tax people for it.

I don't know that's the vision for America. I think we want to have an activist America to keep our country safe by being a leader in the free world, and that means to go after to the enemy who has attacked us. They were in Afghanistan. They continue to be in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. And we need to continue to go after them, keep them on the defensive, instead of giving them the opportunity to regroup and then project force back here into this country.

BREAM: But Congressman, obviously, you cited -- there is an immense price tag for continuing with this war. Some of your colleagues have mentioned a possible war tax. Are you behind that idea or against any further investment in Afghanistan whatsoever?

KUCINICH: I'm against any further taxes to pay for this war. But I think it has to be pointed out this isn't a left-right issue. I mean, here's the Cato Institute, hardly a left-wing organization, wrote a piece called "Escaping the Graveyard of Empires." And they have a plan -- and I've met with them -- that gets us out of Afghanistan with advisers and a new approach to intelligence and also a new drug policy.

This isn't a left-right issue, and trying to make it that is just the old, stale argument. Our country is on the line here. We've got the middle class getting destroyed. And the bureaucracy we're building up isn't a government generically, it's the Defense Department. And we can't keep paying for these wars. We're going to break the bank here. And it's already being broken. Then we subsidize it.

Look, forget the left-right. That's not what it's about. It's about whether we're right to stay there and whether we're going to leave our troops there and whether we're going to be one of those empires that finds a graveyard in Afghanistan. Let's start thinking about things here at home. That's what I'm concerned about.

BREAM: So Congressman, is it your opinion that we should not follow or the president shouldn't follow the requests of the military leaders there on the ground? Do you think it's time to just completely cut and run?

KUCINICH: Well, here we go again, "cut and run." You know, that's what they were saying about Iraq, when you still haven't found the weapons of mass destruction. We've got to get out of Afghanistan before we destroy our capacity to take care of things here at home.

I mean, what are they thinking about in the White House? You know, they promised a new direction and that direction isn't deeper into Afghanistan with perhaps 35,000 new troops that's going to cost $35 billion more a year. Where are we going to find that money? Who's going to finance this? You're going to tell the taxpayers we're going to borrow more money from China so we can fight a war in Afghanistan? Come on!

BREAM: Well, Senator, the congressman says we can't we afford to stay. Can we afford to leave?

SANTORUM: Well, let me just say the congressmen can afford close to a trillion-stimulus package, about a trillion dollars in health care, another trillion dollars in cap-and-trade. So he can afford all those things at home, but when it comes to protecting the United States of America, somehow or another, we can't find, you know, a couple hundred billion dollars.

And by the way, if you look at defense spending over the course of the last 50 years, about 60 percent of the America's budget, 60 percent of our budget in 1960, JFK's last budget, was defense spending. It's now about 12 percent. So don't tell the American public that somehow or another the defense is soaking up all this money, that this war is putting us into the deficit. That's just simply not true.

KUCINICH: Really?

SANTORUM: Entitlements, the things that Dennis Kucinich and the left have supported and have grown in this country to exorbitant cost is what put -- is putting us in debt, and they want to give us more entitlements, which will put us even deeper in debt.

BREAM: All right, Congressman, let me...

KUCINICH: Well, Dana Rohrabacher...

BREAM: ... give you a chance to respond.

KUCINICH: ... is hardly -- Dana Rohrabacher is hardly a flaming liberal, and he gave a brilliant speech against staying in Afghanistan, as did Jim Duncan, a Republican. You know, again, to try to make this left- right is to lock us into old thinking that keeps us in wars that we shouldn't have fought in the first place, that undermines our national security, that makes it less likely that we'll be able to have our economy rebound. I mean, this is something...

SANTORUM: Are you suggesting...

KUCINICH: ... we should be thinking...

SANTORUM: ... we shouldn't have fought the war in Afghanistan?

(CROSSTALK)

KUCINICH: ... taking care of things here at home. I'm saying that we should have left there after we routed the al Qaeda and their training camps, which I voted for, by the way. And I voted against that environmental legislation you just cited. And I voted against the bail- outs for Wall Street. Don't do a liberal-and-conservative thing here, Rick. You're way off base.

Are we right to stay in Afghanistan? What benefits do we get? And are the American people going to be able to pay the price not only in taxes but pay the price in the blood of our soldiers? I mean, this is something -- we've got to have a real debate on this...

BREAM: Not to mention...

KUCINICH: ... not the phony left-right stuff that means nothing.

BREAM: All right, gentlemen...

KUCINICH: It means zero.

BREAM: ... we got to wrap it up there. I thank you both very much for a spirited debate and giving us your time on this holiday weekend. We wish you and your families the best.

SANTORUM: Thank you, Shannon.

BREAM: Senator Santorum, Congressman Kucinich, thank you very much.

KUCINICH: Thank you.

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