Hugh Hewitt interviewed Governor Romney on his show yesterday. Hugh focused mostly on foreign affairs (What? The ’08 race ins’t only about abortion and Mormonism?) and provides some good insights into the Governor’s thinking about the profound challenges we face in the Middle East and elsewhere. I particularly liked his response to the Iraq Study Group report:
HH: . . . You were abroad when the Iraq Study Group issued its report. What was your reaction to it?
MR: I was not pleased with the Study Group. It struck me that they tried to touch every possible base without narrowly defining a role for success. First of all, by beginning to suggest that we would withdraw without a victory, and without success, I think, was a mistake. Secondly, pinning the problem, to any degree, on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I think, was misguided. Shia are killing Sunni, Sunni are killing Shia, and that’s not because of Israelis and Palestinians. I also thought that the suggestion that’s implied by negotiating with the Syrians and the Iranians was misdirected, in part because we know what they want. And what they want we’re not prepared to give. We’re not going to give the Syrians access to Lebanon, or the Golan Heights from our friends, the Israelis. And we’re certainly not going to go soft on the Iranians, as they develop nuclear technology. So negotiating with them is really not in the cards. No harm, I guess, in talking to learn from people, but there’s no real reason to have a real negotiation, and in a formal setting, they’re not going to be our friends there.
It is vitally important that we define our goal in Iraq as victory, and I was pleased to see that the Governor immediately focused on the ISG’s decision to relegate actual victory or success to secondary status. I think Americans are less weary of the war in general than we are weary of fighting a war without any seeming progress to victory. As we demonstrated during the Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and even for many years in Vietnam, as a people we are willing to bear profound burdens so long as there is a hope and expectation that the war can and will be won.