Santorum on Afghan shooting: Someone 'lost it'
March 12th, 2012
11:43 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum on Afghan shooting: Someone 'lost it'

Ocean Springs, Mississippi (CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum called Sunday's shooting rampage in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of 16 civilians "obviously horrific" and "very tragic."

"The person that was involved obviously has to be brought to justice and brought to justice quickly," Santorum said.

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The attacks were allegedly carried out by an American soldier who went on a house-to-house shooting rampage in two villages near his base.

"It's a very tragic situation but, you know, someone obviously lost it and you've got to obviously do the reviews to find out what happened … whether there was a pattern here," Santorum said. "All those things are going to have to be reviewed, and they should be."

He also took the opportunity to comment on the U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan in general, saying that President Barack Obama is responsible for making the war there more difficult.

"The president putting a timeline in place has made a very winnable operation very, very difficult," the White House hopeful said. "It continues to unravel because the president has given something to the enemy that we should have been able to deny them, which is hope."

Santorum is on a two state swing through Mississippi and Alabama, two places where voters head to the polls Tuesday.

He is scheduled to give an election night speech in Lafayette, Louisiana. That state's primary is March 24.


Filed under: 2012 • Afghanistan • Mississippi • Rick Santorum
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Guest

    Wait....so Santorum is suggesting that there should be NO timeline for troop withdrawal? I thought part of the GOP's platform now was that Obama hadn't yet brought the troops home.

    March 12, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Jill American

    The multiple deployments may have something to do with it and that is NOT Obama's fault. If all of our resources were put there to begin with it would be over by now and these service members wouldn't be suffering mentally the way they are. It is time to get the heck out of there and let the chips fall where they may. The after effects of mental instabililty are something we will be dealing with for a long time.

    March 12, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    "He [Santorum] also took the opportunity to comment on the U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan in general, saying that President Barack Obama is responsible for making the war there more difficult."
    --------------
    Never mind the fact that Santorum, like the other candidates, made inflammatory remarks a week ago that put our troops in Afghanistan in greater danger. Someone must have pulled those guys aside and pointed that out to them, because they have all simutaneously dropped that language just as quickly as they had started. It now appears that someone needs to pull Rick Santorum aside again and "explain the birds and the bees" to him again.

    March 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Wow, Santorum is calling for the prosecution of a member of the American Military who has apparently committed War Crimes. I am impressed by him potentially alienating the Chicken Hawks who probably want to give that murderer a medal! There really should be two things done. Once the US Military finds him guilty, they should turn him over to the families of the slain (because the Army hasn't executed anyone since WW2). The other is there really needs to be an investigation of what at Fort Lewis in Washington. There appears to be more violence committed by those stationed there than among those stationed at any other base.

    March 12, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. once upon a horse

    I was just waiting to see how he was going to blame the president for this. So possible troop withdrawing will add to the problem, eh? Well right now we have our men and women over there with an enemy even MORE angry about what this solider is accused of doing putting then in even more danger. You put one of the GOPers in office except for Ron Paul and the US will be at war with SOMEBODY for their entire term or beyond.

    March 12, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Ramjet

    Santorum needs a cranial enema, then he might speak some sense.

    March 12, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Mikey

    @Guest – Yes, these are the same people who claimed that a President Obama would "cut and run" and then changed to the exact opposite view when he did not. After he ended operations in Iraq on a timeline agreed to by the Bush Administration, he refocused our attention on Afghanistan, so we could get out of that mess, too. Of course, now getting out is an issue. It is hard to do without a timeline, since there needs to be an orderly transition to local control.'

    It seems that most of the criticism of the President from the right is purely political and not about real problems and real issues. Some is justified. But much of it is like this:

    Leave and you "cut and run"
    Stay and you are "not keeping your promise" to end the war
    Pull out fast and you are "not listening to the generals"
    Listen to the generals and set up a reasonable timeline and you are "giving hope to our enemies"

    Open the egg from the small end, and "everyone knows you should open it from the big end"
    Open the egg from the big end, and "everyone knows you should open it from the small end"

    It seems they will keep harping on these ridiculous talking points until re-election day and then wonder why they lost.

    March 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    The really difficult question has still not been addressed. Should the man be tried in a US military court, in an international court for war crimes, or in an Afghan court?

    March 12, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Stacey

    Wow! I'm shocked that the GOP clowns haven't blamed President Obama for this! Oh wait ... it's coming. Nevermind.

    March 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    is it ironic that these candidates like Santorum that claim to be so Christian and religious also like having wars and also little problem sending our young men and women into harm's way? Meanwhile he's sending his daughter over to Hawaii to campaign for him. The accused actions of this one soldier has put even MORE Americans in danger. Perhaps if we can get them home sooner the less of this tragic stuff would happen.

    March 12, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. dave

    Giving hope to your enemies is wrong. I know Christianity teaches us to love our enemies, but Rick knows better and we should all be ashamed if anyone here is trying to give them hope. It's much better to be engaged in a conflict with people who have no hope. More kool-aid, please.

    March 12, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Skeptical

    Obama's war...Obama's blame...he has decided to keep troops over there...you can't blame Bush for this type of thing when it happens on his watch and let Obama off for this and the oil spill and the gas prices and the unemployment and, and, and

    March 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  13. Moppi

    Bring home the troops. The soldier who went on a shooting rampage has been deployed three times to Iraq and it is his first tour to Afghanistan, a father of two. Santorum doesn't know anything about being a soldier and the sacrifices one makes to be a soldier. He cannot be a "Commander in Chief." Idiots should not be allowed to run.

    March 12, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. Margaret

    Unfortunately there is no way to convince the Afghan people that this happens in our country too. We have lone gunmen who go shooting in schools, universities, from towers, on bases, at the white house, in the congress, in court, over the years lone gunmen have picked up weapons and randomly shoot strangers. Occasionally they are not random like Gabby Giffords. It happens all too frequently and the ages of the gunmen can be early teens to over 60.

    March 12, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Malory Archer

    Rudy NYC

    The really difficult question has still not been addressed. Should the man be tried in a US military court, in an international court for war crimes, or in an Afghan court?

    -------------------------------------------------

    If he was stationed any other foreign country and committed a crime against the locals, he would first be tried by a local court, and after serving his sentence, tried again by a military court (kinda messed up IMO to be tried and convicted twice, but servicemembers should be well aware of the UCMJ prior to signing their name on the dotted line). If he committed a crime against Americans in America he would be tried first by a civilian court, and then possibly by a military trial. Afghanistan should be no different, but that would depend on whether the U.S. even has a SOFA with their government. If not, he may just walk away free as a bird.

    March 12, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    Santorum speaking once again about something he knows absolutely nothing about. These republican pigs are absolutely the worst unAmerican traitors I have ever seen. They take every opportunity (no matter what the risk) to our military to TRY and bring down the president. They are truly disgraceful in every sense of the word.

    March 12, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. rob

    Santorum is right. We have given our enemies and friends the timeline for our withdrawl, regardless of the facts on the ground. Couple this with not giving the military the resources they requested for the surge. They did not have enough troops to finish the fight in the north. If we leave the place too soon it will jepordize the progress that has been made with the blood and sacrifice of the troops who served there.

    March 12, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Canuck

    "The president putting a timeline in place has made a very winnable operation very, very difficult"

    No one fighting the Afghans thoughout history has entered into "a very winnable operation". What is he talking about??

    March 12, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. PM Ohio

    The GOP will take any opportunity to blame Obama, but it was Busg who started both unfunded, ill-conceived wars, with no plan on when or how to withdraw. We should not be there, period. The Taliban will bomb it's own people, but all it takes is one stupid act by an American to undo everything we have done for those people and unite them against us. We should pull out now and tell Karzi no more billions from us and see how they like going back to being one of the poorest countries on the planet. One of the costs that the neo-cons never add into their projections, is the mental toll of modern war on the troops, not to mention this region is the poppy growing capital of the world and many of our boys are coming home as drug addicts. Get our boys out of there, now.

    March 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Deathstalker

    I think we should bring most of them home but never let the Taliban run the country again ever. If they get to a point where it looks like they are or can take over the government we go in kick them out again and leave again.

    March 12, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. JoeT

    I confess to being pleasantly surprised that Santorum didn't just dodge the question with some sort of "we don't really know what happened so we can't blame the soldier" type of argument. Maybe Gingrich will go there. As for timelines, whether we adhere to them or not, they are likely less a recruiting tool for the Taliban and al-Qaeda than a rogue US soldier murdering two houses of people.

    March 12, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Canuck

    @Rob
    "If we leave the place too soon it will jepordize the progress that has been made with the blood and sacrifice of the troops who served there."

    The old 'lets kill more because we've killed lots already' adage. I'm assuming you're ready to sign up to fight, Rob?

    March 12, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Loretta Nall

    Winnable? No force in the history of human warfare has EVER WON in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is supposedly dead. We have no business there. Why are we still there?

    Ron Paul 2012!

    March 12, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. mactsr

    Tell me Mr. Santorum how many years did you serve your country in uniform. How many of many of your family buried at
    Arlington. Mr. Santrorum you are a chicken hawk. ( A person that what ours to die for YOUR freedoms) The reason this
    conservative will not vote for you is because I am tried of the endless wars that you support.

    I know that Ron Paul can't be elected president. Better for me to waste my vote on him than vote for you and your crazy ideas.

    March 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. PM Ohio

    @rob...more war and more women and children dead as well as our finnest young men is NOT the answer. We were lied to about the reason for going, have committed many atroctities, and violated the Geneva Convention. More war is not the answer.

    March 12, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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