“In dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due,” the Republican presidential candidate said.
Romney added, “The president’s policies have ... exposed the military to cuts that no one can justify.” He was speaking of a bipartisan agreement between Obama and congressional Republicans stipulating that unless a deficit-reduction deal could be struck, automatic cuts, including from the Defense Department, would commence next year.
Never mind those bothersome details, however. Romney was engaging in a rite of presidential campaigning. The Los Angeles Times accurately described it as “a virtual command performance for presidential hopefuls.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars conventions are a familiar scene for presidents and would-be presidents. This year’s affair held to form. Obama touted the elimination of uber-terrorist Osama bin Laden. He also presented a list of accomplishments. “You don’t just have my words, you have my deeds. You have my track record,” Obama said on Monday. “You have the promises I’ve made and the promises that I’ve kept. I pledged to end the war in Iraq honorably, and that’s what we’ve done.”
The answer from Romney went like this, “I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of this country. I am not ashamed of American power. I take pride that throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair. I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced. I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever.”
Romney’s strong implication is that his opponent this fall may have his doubts about the United States of America and its greatness.
Of course, that’s just another example of the hot rhetoric that typifies our every-four-years contest to sit in the world’s most powerful chair.
The high-water mark for this sort of unsupported claim came 10 years ago, on Aug. 26, 2002. Before a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.”
Cheney was as wrong about that as he was about this boast, “With our help, a liberated Iraq can be a great nation once again. Iraq is rich in natural resources and human talent, and has unlimited potential for a peaceful, prosperous future.”
On Monday of this week, at least 119 people were killed in a wave of violent attacks on Iraqi security forces. Despite Cheney’s words, peace and security in Iraq has been a fragile matter since the U.S.’s pre-emptive invasion of that nation in 2003.