November 25th, 2007
07:03 AM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee would strike Pakistan in case of "imminent threat"

Mike Huckabee said he would strike Pakistan in the case of an 'imminent threat'.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Saturday he would take military action inside Pakistan's borders if there were an "imminent" terrorist threat within the country.

"We need to make sure we are clear that if we have an actionable target in Pakistan, that we will take action on that target because if that helps save and preserve American people, that's the foremost thing we need to be worried about," Huckabee said at a campaign event in Columbia.

"We need to remember that the next terrorist attack will most likely be postmarked Pakistan," he said. "I mean, that's where we will likely see the origins of a terrorist attack, given Osama bin Laden's whereabouts."

Huckabee's comments are similar to those of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who came under fire in August for saying at a speech, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."

Several of Obama's Democratic rivals, as well as Republican candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, criticized Obama's Pakistan comments at the time, suggesting that using force within Pakistan could jeopardize the United States' relationship with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who remains a key U.S. ally in the Middle East despite the recent turmoil in the country.

Asked by CNN if such actions might violate Pakistan's sovereignty under international law, Huckabee said U.S. national security would take precedent.

"The sovereignty of the United States is the single most important sovereignty the American president has to deal with, and the safety of the American people," Huckabee said. "And certainly we would like to have the cooperation of Pakistan, and I think we should have it and will have it."

"But if there is an imminent threat to the American people, then I think it is the responsibility of a president of this country to do whatever he has to do to protect you me and the rest of us standing here today."

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. john k. riggs Eagle Pass Texas

    Make up a threat,rattle sabers,diminish US domestic freedoms. Lather,rinse,repeat.

    November 25, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  2. Mark, Dallas, TX

    Oh give it a break with "imminent threat". These guys assume that they get accurate information – just like the weapons of mass destruction. How about the stance of human rights, economic development and opportunity for repressive societies... that's the approach being used in China – why aren't we bombing China if we are going to use the "imminent threat" policy... it is so wrought with ego and misinformation. If our country continues with this policy – we'll end up like all of the other supposed "great" civilizations in history – Greece, Rome, Spain, England... struggling to be important because no one wanted anything to do with them – look where those civilizations ended up... think about it.

    November 25, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  3. Tim, Minneapolis,MN

    Ut Oh!!! Another trigger-happy chickenhawk. How about getting a resolution for war from congress? I'm glad the media is pretending he has more support than he does, he's getting "cocky". So much for conservative..........or God.

    November 25, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  4. Hassan, Houston, TX

    Hmm, this is weird. What would Pakistan's president do if he knows there is imminent threat from Huckabee administration to the sovereignty of Pakistan.

    November 25, 2007 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  5. jw, canadian,ok

    Strike Pakistan? Are you freaking nuts? Is this moron a disciple of 'Dubya' or what? We'll take to the streets like we did in 1968. I figure with a few thousand more body bags it will happen, get ready you old peaceniks.

    November 25, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Jon S, Arlington Texas

    Clinton and Edwards agreed with Obama at the time. Please correct the inaccurate information in this post.

    From First Read:

    Interestingly, one candidate who seemed to find agreement with Obama was Clinton. "Clinton said in a radio interview later in the day that she also would not hesitate to attack Al Qaeda targets on Pakistani territory. ‘If we had actionable intelligence that Osama bin Laden or other high-value targets were in Pakistan I would ensure that they were targeted and killed or captured. And that will be my highest priority because they pose the highest threat to America,’ Clinton told American Urban Radio Networks."

    Edwards seemed to agree with him, too. “‘We have a responsibility to go find al Qaeda and (Osama) bin Laden wherever they operate,’ Edwards said after a fundraiser in San Francisco, appearing to agree with Obama's call during a major foreign policy speech in Washington for possible U.S. military action in Pakistan against terrorists hiding there. Edwards said that if Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf can't control such operatives, ‘we have to do it.’”

    November 25, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. MS Johnson City, TN

    Gov. Huckabee,
    Thank you for your trigger-happy stand that helps splitting the votes of “stay the course” crowd five ways instead of four. That makes the nomination of Ron Paul a certainty.

    Did you know that he is winning in the 1st District TN?

    November 25, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    I wonder how many Republicans will call him irresponsible.

    The majority of the hijackers that were on those planes on 9/11 were Saudi Arabians, as were the people that masterminded the attacks. We should have invaded Saudi Arabia and converted them to Democracy. Then we wouldn't be reading about their socially retarded views on how woman should be treated.

    November 25, 2007 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. JD Rugby ND

    Here we go again... Scratch another Republican candidate from my short list of possibilities. I could even overlook his literal interpretation of the Bible, but this war-mongering posture will not do.

    November 25, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Mike, U.S. Air Force, New Braunfels, TX

    Are you guys losing your minds? So there was a mistake with intelligence regarding Iraq...everything looks crystal clear in hind-sight. We can't afford to second-guess ourselves IF WE HAVE STRONG CREDIBLE INTELLIGENCE FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES or some variation thereof that there is a terrorist threat within Pakistan's borders. Also, Huckabee isn't saying that we are going to attack the country of Pakistan...i.e. the government or military. He is only saying if there is a threat within Pakistan's borders, that we would have to take action....and with Pakistan's backing if possible. If Pakistan's government doesn't support us, we can't allow that to prevent us from taking the necessary action. We're talking about nukes here people! Pull your heads out! Don't forget back in '97 or '98 or whenever it was...Clinton ordered attacks on targets within Afghanistan in an attempt to take out Bin Laden.

    November 25, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Dean, New York

    Mike – your rationale can justify almost any military action and it quite honestly doesn't make sense. Soldier's lives are valuable too – they're not expendable as your post seems to suggest. They expect that if they are called up, that its absolutely necessary for the safety and security of this country.

    November 25, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Tikara, Warsaw, Indiana

    Mike from TX, yes Clinton did order strikes against Bin Laden, but it was more like an assassination atempt with Special Ops. He didn't ask for Congress approval because he wasn't bombing a country, wouldn't affect the economic stability of a country. However useing nukes to bomb Pakastan to "get Bin Laden" not only is an act of war and would need Congressional approval but would set back any dealings with Pakastan which is an ally in dealing with terrorist groups. I appreciate the fact that you serve in our millitary, but you need to realize that America dosen't have the right to step on whoever we want to get whatever it is we're after.

    November 25, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Lorenz, Queens, Ny

    I don't see any Huckabee fans here, defending this insanity. I wonder why? Maybe because it's about an issue that is actually important and REAL unlike the recent news Huckabee has been riding on.

    November 25, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. Mike, U.S. Air Force, New Braunfels, TX

    Let me clarify once again...I in no way condone us taking military action directly against Pakistan. But instead against terror cells within Pakistan that could possibly get a hold of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Pakistan is a nuclear power, and if good, reliable, intelligence gave us extremely high certainty that terrorists posed a threat of obtaining those nuclear weapons, or of launching any other high threat attack against the U.S., then we would need to attempt to get Pakistan's support in eliminating that threat. If Pakistan did not support us for various reasons (i.e. their government became radicalized by a terrorist coup), then we would have to take action in order to save American lives. This is what Huckabee is saying. Don't forget the threat that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal poses...this is what separates Pakistan from a place like Saudi a previous blogger mentioned. Also, this is what seemingly separated Iraq...since we believed they had WMD. Can we afford to not take action in such a case if the threat seemed eminent? We have to make a decision at that moment based on available intelligence, and we have to be decisive or the cost could be dire. This is what I believe Huckabee is saying.

    Regarding your comment on soldier's...Yes..there lives are valuable. But the job of soldiers and all servicemen and women is to protect the lives of the people of the U.S. and to follow the orders of officers and the President. They are not expendible, but they answer the call when absolutely necessary for national security.

    Tikara, again...we aren't talking about nuke bombing would be surgical bombing or strikes minimizing damage to non-military targets and civilians...we would not be attacking Pakistan "proper", but at terrorist cells and infrastructure within the country. The minimum attack necessary to achieve security.

    Don't assume that just because Bush eventually had us perform a full invasion of Iraq, that this will be come standard operating procedure for future action. Again, I believe this is what Huckabee is saying.

    November 25, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Mike, U.S. Air Force, New Braunfels, TX

    Also, I checked back on Clintons strikes on Bin Laden...a single man.

    It happened in 1998, and it involved launching cruise missiles fired from navel ship into Afghanistan. It was a full out air strike against targets in Afghanistan, rather than Spec Ops assassination attempts.

    November 25, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. rsmith

    You won't see any Huckabee fans commenting here anymore than you would see someone straight in a gay bar. With insane liberals isn't where someone rational would waste his time. You people frenzy feed on hating anything sensible and aren't approachable. Now prove me right.

    November 25, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. TRM

    Darn right! Get 'em Mike!

    November 25, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. David - Portland, Oregon

    Mike, US Air Force:
    Well said!
    From the "free thinkers", thank you for your service!

    November 25, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Members from both parties have acknowledged that parts of Pakistan, especially in the north, are a mess over which Mushariff has little control. Bush has been criticized by many Dems for not being more aggressive with the American military in that region. And a couple Kool-Aid drinkers above now want to label Huckabee as "trigger happy". Most of you will be hiding anyway when the crap hits the fan it is destined to hit. Works for me, cause I do not want you in the way of those who must go into harms way.

    As we have ample proof, btw, lobbing a few cruise missiles a la Bill Clinton does not fix the problem. Knee pads are not the next option either. Wake up.

    November 25, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. H. Owen, Scranton, PA

    Yeh, and his wife would be out in front with her grenade launcher!

    November 25, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. V

    "But if there is an imminent threat to the American people, then I think it is the responsibility of a president of this country to do whatever he has to do to protect you me and the rest of us standing here today."

    1) Duh.

    2) Try publicly coercing American corporations not to enter foreign countries with the intent to take natural resources otherwise used to better living conditions, thereby reducing the native population to servitude. Poverty creates extremism.

    3) Try solving social and economic problems at home before using my tax money (statistically 46 cents of any given dollar) to bomb civilians in other countries. Actually, skip the actual bombing part and get with the rest of the progresive public.

    November 25, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Chris, Pensacola FL

    You know, I did have some hope, for a moment that you were rising up because you were Godly and different. But you're not different. I'm really sad now because, you are not a Christian and have fooled me. That doesn't happen much. I'm sorry for you. I'm hopeful, your false persona and wickedness reaches the masses before you take votes away from those who do live by their values.

    November 25, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Walt, Belton, TX

    The only real scary part of Huckabee's "Imminent Threat" is that if he was in the White House I would call that an imminent threat for us all!

    November 25, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Brad, the great state of Texas

    Mike, I understand what you're saying and I completely agree. I also agreed with this point when Obama made it.

    A word to the wise, though, you are wasting your breath trying to talk rationally to some of the left-wing nuts who post here. Every time they hear words like "military", "Republican", or "Bush", they go into a complete tirade (read some posts on the other stories if you don't believe me). Thanks for all you do Mike, our country needs more people like you!

    November 25, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. Jack, Fort Myers, Fl

    This is really scary. He is an idiot. This guy would even give cheney nightmares. Define "threat". What a kook. All the things he could say...and he has to say "this". Somebody–please wake me up.

    November 25, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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