Wednesday’s CNN/Arizona Republican Party debate dealt with a number of topics involving national security. The presidential hopefuls spoke about the role women play in the military, force modernization and Iran’s nuclear program.
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, went after President Obama on the president’s handling of national security issues:
Everybody needs to understand - and by the way, we live in an age when we have to genuinely worry about nuclear weapons going off in our own cities. So everybody who serves in the fire department, in the police department, not just the first responders, but our National Guard, whoever is going to respond, all of us are more at risk today, men and women, boys and girls, than at any time in the history of this country… I think this is a very sober period, and I believe this is the most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, spoke about increasing and modernizing the military due to an ever changing world:
The world is more dangerous. It is not safer. North Korea is going through transition. The Arab Spring has become the Arab Winter. Syria is in flux. And, of course, Pakistan, with 100 nuclear weapons or more, represents a potential threat. Northern Mexico is a real danger area. I mean, looking around the world, you have Hezbollah in Latin America and Mexico. I mean, we face a very dangerous world. The right course is to add ships to our Navy, to modernize and add aircraft to our Air Force, to add 100,000 troops to our active-duty personnel, and to strengthen America's military.
Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, defended comments he made about concerns he has with women serving in certain military roles:
I said I had concerns about certain roles with respect to - and particularly in infantry. I still have those concerns, but I would defer to at least hearing the recommendations of those involved. But I think we have civilian control of the military, and these are things that should be decided not just by the generals, but we should not have social engineering, as I think we've seen from this president. We should have sober minds looking at what is in fact the best proper – proper roles for everybody in combat.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul said he does not believe that Iran has or is close to having a nuclear weapon:
We don't know if they have a weapon. As a matter of fact, there's no evidence that they have it. There is no evidence. Israel claims they do not have it and our government doesn't. I don't want them to get a weapon. But I think what we're doing is encouraging them to have a weapon because they feel threatened. If you look at a map of - if you look at a map of Iran, we have 45 bases around their country, plus our submarines. The Iranians can't possibly attack anybody. And we're worrying about the possibility of one nuclear weapon.