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Ben Carson Says Middle East Would Have Turned Bin Laden Over If We Threatened 'Oil Independence'

Ben Carson said so many oddball things on ABC's This Week, it was hard to single out just one.
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Dr. Ben Carson had a very weird interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week today. He's usually very laid back and sedate when being questioned on his policy positions, but he got confused about which countries he was discussing and made pretty freakishly oddball remarks on why he's a qualified negotiator and how we should have caught Osama Bin Laden.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ben is a doctor and he's -- that's what he's been doing, and the question is, he is capable of negotiating with China and Russia and Iran and all of the things you have to do?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you ever done anything like that?

CARSON: I've negotiated many things.

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- best example that would prepare you?

CARSON: Well, for instance, when I became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, pediatric neurosurgery was not even on the map at Hopkins at that point. I had to negotiate a number of things in order to -- to create the various different divisions. And by the time we got to 2008, "U.S. News & World Report" ranked us the number one pediatric neurosurgery unit in the United States.

So, you know, that requires the ability to do things. I had to negotiate with many people in different cities as we were putting The Carson Scholars Fund together. It's now active in all 50 states. As you know, nine out of 10 non-profits fell. Not only that, it has won major national awards that are only given to one philanthropic organization in the country out of tens of thousands. That's not done without having the ability to negotiate.

Carson believes he's an excellent negotiator because he was able to put together a non-profit called, "The Carson Scholars Fund?" That makes no sense at all. None. Zero. Nada.

But what really befuddled George most was his insistence that if George Bush, instead of attacking Afghanistan, told the middle east that America would become energy independent unless they handed over Bin Laden - that they would have immediately turned him over to us.

CARSON: Declare that within five to 10 years, we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what you said he should have done.

But how would that have worked?

How would you have gotten the moderate Arab governments to turn over Osama bin Laden in two weeks?

He'd already been expelled by Saudi Arabia. He was already an enemy of those moderate governments.

CARSON: Well, I think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared -- and we were serious about it -- that we were going to become petroleum independent, because it would have had a major impact on their finances.

And I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to -- to people like Osama bin Laden.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they didn't have any loyalty to Osama bin Laden. The Saudis kicked him out. He was their enemy.

CARSON: Well, you may not think that they had any loyalty to him, but I believe otherwise.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you believe that had President Bush simply declared energy independence, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden.

How would they have gotten him out of the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

CARSON: I think they would have known where he was. You know, there were indications, for instance, during the Clinton administration that -- that they knew exactly where he was but didn't necessarily pull the trigger.

If -- if we could tell where he was, I'm certain that they knew where he was.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But at that point, we had some idea, but we didn't know for sure. I simply don't understand how you think this would have worked.

CARSON: Well -- well, here's the point -- here -- here's my point. My point is, we have -- we had other ways that we could have done things. I personally don't believe that invading Iraq was an existential threat to us. I don't think Saddam Hussein was an existential threat to us.
It's a very different situation right now.

Now, we have global jihadists who want to destroy us and our way of life.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But sir, I wasn't...

CARSON: And that is a completely different situation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wasn't asking about invading Iraq, I was asking about invading Afghanistan, which had been harboring Osama bin Laden.

CARSON: Well, I was primarily talking about Iraq. You know, I wasn't particularly interested in going into Afghanistan but I do think that we should have taken aggressive action. And I think, you know, creating a base that did not require tens of thousands of our troops, that required a -- a group.

And I think we probably have that number pretty close to right now, about 10,000 or so, and being able to use our drones and being able to use our intelligence and things of that nature, I think that's probably all that was necessary in Afghanistan.

I almost forgot that Armstrong WIlliams is running his campaign and he's always been a shill for whatever cause paid him the most, but these answers should even confuse him. That is unless he's the one who wrote them up.

I imagine these weird responses might work with the xenophobic base of the GOP, but not in any other context. All I can say is, wow.

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