If there's one thing you can count on from a Republican primary debate when the subject is foreign policy, it's that there will be lots of drum beating for the United States to go to war with Iran. This Saturday night's debate on CBS was no exception with Newt Gingrich going so far as to say we should be assassinating their scientists if that's what it would take to prevent their nuclear program from moving forward.
Gingrich wasn't the first Republican to call for assassinating scientists, since we heard the same sort of rhetoric from his fellow GOP primary challenger, Rick Santorum last month as Dave wrote about here -- Santorum: Dead Foreign Scientists a 'Wonderful Thing'.
GARRETT: Mr. Speaker, is this the right way to look at this question, war or not war? Or do you see other options diplomatically, or other non-war means that the United States has at its possession to deal with Iran that it has not employed?
GINGRICH: Well, let me start and say that both the answers you just got are superior to the current administration. You know, there are a number of ways to be smart about Iran and there are also a few ways to be dumb, and the administration has skipped all the ways to be smart.
GARRETT: Could you tell us the smart ways?
GINGRICH: Sure. First of all, maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian program, including taking out their scientists, including breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable. Second, maximum coordination with the Israelis in a way which allows them to maximize their impact in Iran. Third, absolute strategic program comparable to what President Reagan, Pope John Paul II and a Margaret Thatcher did to the Soviet Union of every possible aspect short of war of breaking the regime and bringing it down.
And I agree entirely with Gov. Romney, if in the end despite all of those things, if the dictatorship persists, you have to take whatever steps are necessary to break its capacity to have a nuclear weapon.
Compare and contrast Newt's statements to a segment that aired that same morning on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC, where former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman talked about the fact that the recent report coming from the U.N. which stated that Iran is moving forward with its nuclear program smells of the same sort of false statements and highly questionable intelligence that we were being fed in the run up to the invasion of Iraq.
HAYES: Elizabeth Holtzman, what do you now know that you didn't know at the end of last week?
HOLTZMAN: Well, that some of the same problems that arose with regard to false statements leading us into the Iraq war are still with us. The U.N. report on... recent report on Iran and its possible making of nuclear weapons relies on some information that's highly questionable.
Now the Christian Science Monitor reported that the so-called Russian scientist...
HAYES: Who's the source for some of the...
HOLTZMAN: Right, he was teaching the Iranians how to build nuclear weapons, apparently is in the business of nanodiamond making, which is itty bitty diamonds, you make them with explosives too and so this van, mysterious van for making nanodiamonds...
HAYES: So it's possible the work he was doing with the Iranians was not related to nuclear weaponry.
HOLTZMAN: It's possible and this is now in several important journals, newspapers and so.
Here are a couple of the articles I came across that it appears Holtzman was talking about in the segment above: