#CPAC2013: Too Many American Wars?

The first panel discussion of CPAC 2013 took on “Too Many American Wars? And Can We Afford it?” Below are the members of the panel and moderator with brief bios and the stances they took on such a difficult topic for many members of the GOP.

Panelist - Dr. Angelo Codevilla

A professor of International Relations at Boston University, Dr. Codevilla first emigrated to the United States in 1955, where he began is career in international politics. As a member of President Reagan’s transition team for the Department of State and CIA, Dr. Codevilla helped develop technology programs that eventually became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Dr. Codevilla stated, “All human action, wars included are to be judged by what it achieves, not what goes into it” and that the “proper natural end to war is your peace, victory is that achievement.” He stressed the importance of remembering that “the nature of wars is not winning or losing but to be concluded.”

Panelist - The Honorable Tom Cotton (AR-4) 

A former U.S. Army Captain and now newly elected Congressman from Arkansas’ 4th district. Mr. Cotton completed two combat tours, one in Iraq and another in Afghanistan, where we was awarded with the Bronze Star. Cotton first gained fame after he wrote an open letter to the New York Times accusing three journalist, including editor Bill Keller of espionage.

Mr. Cotton said strongly, “Are we fighting to many wars? No, one war, against radical Islamic jihad.” He emphasized that “Yes, we should fight anywhere, not we we should not fight everywhere. We fight where our national interests are at stake.” He profoundly stated that “we are fighting a war, we are not engaged in a law enforcement campaign,” and stated he feared Obama thinks we are doing the latter.  Mr. Cotton concluded by stating “we are the heirs to Ronald Reagan, who believed in peace through strength.”

Panelist - Dr. Ivan Eland 

A senior fellow at the Independent Institute and former Director of Defense Policy for the CATO Institute, Dr. Ivan Eland is an expert in National Security Issues.  Dr. Eland opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and has authored several books pertaining to U.S. policy with respect to Iraq and Iran including, Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq.

Dr. Eland said he had a slightly different perspective from Mr. Cotton. “I don’t think we should be fighting radical Islam. Radical Islam has existed for centuries. We should be attacking radical Islamists who are attacking us.”

Panelist - The Honorable Louie Gohmert (TX-1)

Representing Texas’ 1st congressional district since 2005, Rep. Louie Gohmert is also a former U.S. Army Captain who served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps from 1978 to 1982. In June of 2012, Gohmert was one of 5 members of Congress to call for an investigation into U.S. government relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, specifically mentioning the Department of State’s Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin.

Gohmert emphatically stated, “when you send men and women to war, you don’t send them without what they need to bring them home” and that there “is a time for war and a time for peace, but if you go to war, you better mean it.”

Moderator - The Honorable Steve King (IA-4)

Mr. King was first elected to Congress in 2002 in Iowa’s 5th district. Known as a strong social and fiscal conservative, Mr. King now represents Iowa’s 4th district. During the 2012 election, former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney endorsed Mr. King as he faced the former First Lady of Iowa, Christie Vilsack. Mr. King defeated Vilsack 53%-45%, overcoming a significant challenger, and over $7 million in spending from the opposition.

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