GTN 16 Candidate Statement
On August 27, I recorded a candidate statement for the Ramsey / Washington Counties Suburban Cable Commission, through its Government Television Network (GTN).
The statement will be cablecast multiple times on GTN TV-16 prior to the Sept. 9 primary.
Following is the full text of the statement.
My name is Aubrey Immelman and I’m challenging the party-endorsed candidate for the Republican nomination in the Sixth Congressional District.
My main reason for running is U.S. national security – specifically, the unintended consequences of the Iraq war.
Plain and simple, the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
More than just exacting a huge cost in American blood, treasure, and loss of international stature, our military intervention in Iraq has created complex security challenges for the United States.
Before the invasion, we had in place a very successful containment policy against Iraqi aggression – preserving a delicate balance of power between Iran and Iraq in one of the world’s most volatile regions, the Middle East.
The removal of Saddam has empowered Iran, with its nuclear ambitions, and placed Iraq under the control of Islamist Shiite leaders closely aligned with Iran – thereby creating an infinitely more serious threat to U.S. national security in the region than existed before the invasion.
I’m the only candidate in the Sixth District congressional race with military experience, trained as an airborne soldier in counterinsurgency and anti-terrorist operations and with professional credentials as a military consultant on nuclear counterproliferation, threat assessment, deterrence, and psychological operations.
I offer my specialized training and expertise to help secure the vital national security interests of the United States in the wake of the attacks of 9/11 and emerging security threats triggered by the ill-conceived, short-sighted Iraq war.
I have not taken any money to run for office, am not beholden to special interests, and come with no strings attached. My first responsibility will be to ordinary Minnesotans in the Sixth District.
In my campaign, I have walked the length of the District, 100 miles from Freeport in the north to Stillwater in the south, and across the District, 50 miles from Foley in the east to Paynesville in the west. With my feet firmly on the ground, my loyalties are clear.
I disdain the deplorable level of partisanship in Washington. I will reach across the aisle, where possible, to get things done and will strive to work productively with all reasonable people. Despite ideological differences, we’re all American.
There are some things worth dying for. But invading countries that pose no imminent threat to the United States is not one of them.
I’m Aubrey Immelman, and I’m asking for your vote September 9.
By Dashiell Bennett
June 12, 2014
Iran, of all places, has reportedly dispatched two units of its elite Revolutionary Guards to Iraq to help stem the tide of terrorist gains and defend Baghdad from assault.
The two nations were bitter rivals for decades when Saddam Hussein’s Sunni dominated regime was at war with Tehran’s Shiite-led government. After the U.S. invasion, the Iraqi government came to be dominated by Shiite leaders, who now find themselves under assault from the Sunni militants of ISIS. Now Iran sees Baghdad as a strategic partner, and the ISIS militias as unacceptable neighbors. …
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Photo credit: The Associated Press)
By Dashiell Bennett
June 14, 2014
As a radical Sunni insurgency imperils Iraq, the United States and Iran have finally stumbled into a common enemy. So what?
Despite 35 years of hostility, enmity, proxy war, etc., the swift takeover of wide swaths of Iraq by the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has suddenly endowed the United States and Iran with a shared interest.
The Iranian government sees the advances made by the al Qaeda-inspired Sunni group ISIS as a threat to Iraqi Prime Minister (and fellow Shiite) Nouri al-Maliki.
The United States, which spilled blood and untold treasure upending Iraq and then working to stabilize it as well as training the Iraqi army, doesn’t want to see its work entirely undone by marauding extremists. …
By Wesley Lowery
June 20, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) responded Friday to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week in which former Vice President Dick Cheney leveled sharp criticism of President Obama’s handling of Iraq.
In an interview with NBC’s David Gregory, Paul suggested the same questions raised by Cheney in the op-ed should be asked of people like Cheney himself and others who supported the Iraq War, saying he “blame[s] those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran.”
The full interview will air Sunday [June 22, 2014] on Meet the Press. Below is an excerpt of the interview provided by NBC:
DAVID GREGORY: Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been quite critical of this president and he wrote an op-ed this week in which he said in part, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is ‘ending’ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – as though wishing [makes] it so.” Do you think Dick Cheney is a credible critic of this president?
SEN. RAND PAUL: I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War. You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out. And what’s going on now — I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry.
DAVID GREGORY: You’re not a “Dick Cheney Republican” when it comes to American power in the Middle East?
SEN. RAND PAUL: What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran. Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before — before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.
By Sam Stein and Michael Calderone
The Huffington Post
June 27, 2014
WASHINGTON — Kent Conrad’s phone hasn’t been ringing very much over the past few weeks, as Iraq, and the debate over America’s future in the country, has once again dominated the news.
The architects of the Iraq war are back in TV studios and on op-ed pages, as are journalists and pundits who promoted the Bush administration’s ultimately bogus case for invading. But Conrad, a former senator who was one of only 23 to vote against authorizing the war in October 2002, hasn’t heard from CNN, MSNBC or any other TV outlet. “Not once,” he said, when asked if anyone in the press had reached out regarding the current crisis in Iraq. …
Despite catastrophic misjudgments — that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that U.S. forces would be greeted as liberators, that the war would pay for itself with oil revenues — the Iraq war boosters keep getting booked, while those politicians and journalists who were skeptical of the Bush administration’s “slam dunk” case for war remain largely on the sidelines. …
According to liberal watchdog Media Matters, [Dick] Cheney, [Paul] Wolfowitz, former presidential envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol have made 16 TV appearances in less than two weeks. …
TV bookers, of course, tend to gravitate toward higher-profile guests. And herein lies another media challenge for the community of Iraq war skeptics. There simply aren’t that many high-profile lawmakers who got the vote right last time around.
Of the 23 senators who voted against the war, only eight remain in Congress. Three passionate critics of the Iraq invasion, Sens. Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd and Paul Wellstone, have died. Another major skeptic, former Sen. Russ Feingold, now serves in the Obama administration as a special envoy to an African region. And former Vice President Al Gore, who, unlike his successor, was right about Iraq, remains focused on climate change and hasn’t spoken out about the current mess.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and presumed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton were all senators in 2002 and all voted for the Iraq resolution. (The latter two have apologized for their votes in recent interviews.)
That leaves a small group of Democratic senators with both the political clout and moral standing to represent the anti-war faction on television, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Pat Leahy (D-Vt.). Boxer is the only one who has gone on TV to discuss the current crisis, saying on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday that her 2002 vote against the war was one of her “proudest moments.” …
Not all critics of the war have been denied airtime. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, has been a prolific talking head on Iraq in recent weeks. By his count, he has been on NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, ITV4, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, CTV in Canada, CCTV in China, and others. …
But he is a bit of an anomaly, as he actually helped make the case for the war in 2002 and 2003, only to sour on it shortly thereafter and become a vocal opponent. He has several theories for why Bush administration officials, as well as the more hawkish senators, are dominating the current conversation, “some of which border on the sublimely ridiculous and even absurd,” he said. …
“It’s a mess, to be sure, a mess we largely created — ‘we’ being George Bush and Dick Cheney and all their minions, myself and Powell included, however reluctantly. I’m fairly certain that no one knows now how to extricate us from that mess. So, most do not want to have that ignorance exposed.”
“The last 11 years have been filled with hard learning. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history [emphasis added], coincided with mission creep (‘nation building’) in Afghanistan. Both strengthened what can be called the Republicans’ John Quincy Adams faction: America ‘goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.’”
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