November 25th, 2007
07:03 AM ET
10 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. Bryan, CA

    The Huck Just made his death bed. Huck's surge in popularity is a result of his obscene evangelicalism. He claimed that he his a compassionate conservative. Ring a bell? The only difference is that Huck is coming right out in the open that he is willing to be a trigger happy president like the one we have in office. I am glad he spoke honestly so that America is reminded that we do not need another Bush presidency.

    November 25, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Bryan, CA

    Mike, the picture you seem to be conjuring mirros that of Rummy's and the rest of the Bush administration. To think that "surgical" attacks are going to seriously cause minimal effects and damage is dead wrong. What doesn't make any sense is that what you are saying is that if Pakistan is unable to defend the stock of Nuclear weapons from the terror cells, then we must step in and defend them with surgical attacks. As we have learned from two previous wars, (Iraq and Afghanistan), surgical attacks don't work in the war on terror. Why must we continue going down this road of utter failures. These terrorist are spread out, hidden, and excellent at recruitment. If we take out some, more will join. We need to come at Pakistan with a different stance, with different language and a different attitude, one that is 180 degrees from the one that Huckabee is proposing. It is imperative that we work alongside Pakistan in dealing with the terrorists rather than use language that mirrors our past mistakes.

    November 25, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. wale azeez boca raton fl

    most of the comments on this post are's really simple...what we call self defense in legal know something is threatening your existence and you just sit and wait till it eats you up? Huckabee is not trigger happy, but rational, the only problem is he plagarized obama. I was hoping to read comments on his definition of "actionable intelligence" cause that's where they realy throw us off.

    November 25, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  4. Filipe

    Phill Dacosta: Huckabee is best choice in the presidential field
    | | Story updated at 10:22 PM on Saturday, October 6, 2007
    I'm tired of hearing both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates using each other as scapegoats for everything that is wrong. Scapegoating is the last thing this nation needs. It polarizes a society, preventing those involved in wrongdoing from realizing and admitting their wrongs. It does nothing to solve the problems at hand, but only leaves them to worsen.

    Republican Mike Huckabee is the only presidential candidate who is seeking solutions to problems, not scapegoats on which to place the blame. He is the only candidate with a proven track record in working with both parties to get things done without compromising his core values. Now more than ever, America needs a leader like Mike Huckabee, with proven leadership skills and commonsense vision to move our great country forward again.

    Phill Dacosta

    Ball Ground

    November 25, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Jim, Austin, TX


    Who Would Jesus Bomb?

    November 25, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Diane Davis, Chilhowie, VA

    I hope that we, the American people, have a chance to decide which candidate to put into office and not leave it up to the press to decide for us. I have liked what I have heard from Huckabee since I first heard him on tv. Lets really listen to what he has to say. I believe that he stated it correctly, the first and foremost job of the President of the United States is to do whatever he has to in order to protect the American people, as long as it is done based on the best possible information and not a personal agenda.

    November 25, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Sara Daniels, Atlanta, GA

    We should be grateful that Huckabee has shown his position. I had no idea he was so stupid about the oil business, history and the ME.

    He's just another George Bush. Shame.

    November 25, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. Dan, TX

    Huckabee is right here. Of course Pakistan will work with us against terrorists now that they know where Huckabee stands. President Huckabee won't be surprising Pakistan with anything. Pakistan may or may not be able to help us – but if we know for sure where Bin Laden is, we should attack. Now, you can say we'll never be sure enough, well that's a judgement call, and I want someone who's judgement I trust.

    November 25, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  9. David - Portland, Oregon

    Jim – Austin, TX

    Jesus just helps us to makes the Bombs!

    November 25, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. Z, St. Louis, MO

    We don't need another leader who thinks that whatever he does, even if it's a total screwup, is ok as long as the magical ghost in the sky forgives him. We have that now..It would be nice to have someone rational in office that doesnt need a contrived
    fairy story as a crutch or to make

    November 25, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |

    Heck, I'd bomb them dirty bums just cuzz they're untrustworthy and deceitful. But that won't fly with the public, will it?

    That's just my personal opinion, and I bet this one will get censored!

    Either way, I'm not voting for anyone who talks about bombing anyone during a campaign. Let Hillary wait until she gets in office! Oooops, I meant whoever gets to buy the Presidency this time.

    November 25, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  12. RGeorgeDunn Alger, MI

    Mike Huckabee has spoken as a clear rational President would. There is a real threat out there and if it pops up to kill us, we will not beat it back with words. About the character of Mike Huckabee, he would not hurt anyone who was not bent on hurting us. His sanctity of life is from conception to the grave adn lists this as our greatest American quality. He is of the mindset of living life by living, whereas they , the Islamofascists, are for living life by killing.

    You who wish to invoke the name of Jesus so calusly, be taking care for your soul.

    Jesus came for saving the individual, not on being submissive to evil in a Nation's spirit. Blessed is he who lays down one's life for his fellow man. Thank you veterans and soldiers, for your Love. May you who follow the far left, wake to find your riding on the train whose next stop is full communism.

    "A heavy or progressive or graduated income tax is necessary for the proper development of Communism.", Karl Marx

    What have we done?
    It is time for the Fair Tax!

    November 25, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. John Morris, Grain Valley, MO

    Check out Mike Huckabee's brand new TV ad at:

    Tell me what you think. Thanks.

    November 25, 2007 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  14. Ron Nebraska

    I'm sorry folks to burst your bubble but this country is just not going to have a President HUCKABEE. Just like we will never have a President LIPSCHITZ. If Mikes' surname was say, ARMSTRONG he would have some chance. But HUCKABEE?, no way.

    November 25, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  15. Barnabas Park Stanton, CA

    Though you may not agree with or like him, let's be honest to ourselves. The question was "if there were an "imminent" terrorist threat within the country."

    His awnsewer was he would take military action "if that helps save and preserve American people"

    Under such circumstance, you may still prefer being attacked and die rather than taking military action. But, don't blame your president if he tries to save your life. I won't.

    November 25, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. Chris, Chicago, IL

    Strike Pakistan!!! WOOHOO!!! That's gonna get my vote. I got to clear it with the Pope. Oh, wait. The Pope says: "That is two fish five loaves all the way!!!"

    Lets cut the out of the deal...

    November 25, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  17. Maeve

    Oh great. Just what this country needs: another yutz in the White House with an itch to be "a war president."

    Bomb them. Invade them. "Surgical strike" them. It's all the same: an invitation for a full-scale WWIII.

    Way to talk thinking folks out of voting for you, Mike!!!

    November 26, 2007 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  18. Petra, Alexandria, VA

    Who the hell does this Huck think he is? Has he lost his mind? How can he decide to just go and bomb a country just because he thinks they are an imminent terrorist threat? What if Pakistanis think America is an imminent terrorist threat, are they allowed to come bomb us here?

    But on a second note, yeah, go to war with Pakistan, under one condition, if this Huck is on the ground in Tora Bora with his family as well as George W, his two girls, wife, dad and mom, Condi Rice, and Dick Cheney fighting their enemy their.

    It is sad that an insane person like the Huck (who believes in biblical inerrancy!!!) is even a runner for presidency! Have we run out of sane, sensible, and humane people to lead this country?

    November 26, 2007 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  19. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    Read between the lines here folks and see what Mile H. is really saying.
    He will use anything as an excuse to attack another soverign nation.

    November 26, 2007 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Heck, I'd bomb them dirty bums just cuzz they're untrustworthy and deceitful. But that won't fly with the public, will it?

    That's just my personal opinion, and I bet this one will get censored!

    Either way, I'm not voting for anyone who talks about bombing anyone during a campaign. Let Hillary wait until she gets in office! Oooops, I meant whoever gets to buy the Presidency this time.

    Posted By KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT : November 25, 2007 9:12 pm

    How about we bomb your family and kill your loved ones? How would you like it if your children and brothers were scattered across the ground; an arm here, a leg there. Do you have children?

    November 26, 2007 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Mike, U.S. Air Force, New Braunfels, TX

    It really blows my mind how blind so many of you are here! If credible intelligence shows us that terrorists either have taken possession of Pakistan's nukes or are preparing a major terrorist attack from Pakistan, you guys are saying that we should do nothing? Of course we would get the most support possible from Congress and Pakistan's government before taking action. But we are talking about an EM-IN-ENT threat people! That means that it's on the verge of happening! So many of you people really need to come back to reality. Any president, Democrat, or Republican....any AMERICAN should realize what the responsibility of the President is in such a case. This is NOT rocket's common sense. Try providing a good suggestion about what the President should do in such a case, rather than simply writing the idea off as ridiculous. I challenge anyone to provide a better solution for a response to an EMINENT ATTACK from within Pakistan's borders than what Mike Huckabee has suggested. And if it helps, try reading what he said again...but this time, be objective rather than blinded by political leanings.

    November 26, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    We have had 7 1/2 years of irresponsible saber rattling, we do not need another four.

    November 26, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Independent in IA

    Mike as much an idiot as Bush, with all his talk of preemptive strikes in between his with Norris on his team, I'm really beginning to wonder about his sanity

    November 26, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. demwit

    Huckalberry is mearly saying that he will send his boy Chuck over to Pakistan if they begin to act weird with their nuclear warheads. And we all know what Chuck can do...

    November 26, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    How can any man of God hold a Bible in one hand and talk about killing on the other hand. Huckabee's religious morals are questionable to me. If he is a man of God why isn't he talking about peace. Does political aspirations cause a man to lose his soul to the devil. Remember Bush talked about God on one hand and look at the American blood he has on his hands. All these words of threat need to stop and all these old men need to stop sending our young troops to war while their ivy league children are enjoying life.

    November 26, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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