Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Carson Believes Otherwise

Host George Stephanopoulos interviewed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on ABC's This Week Sunday morning news program. You can, of course, find references to this interview from bewildered commentators and observers all over the web. You can watch the video here.

The interview is yet another example of Carson being Carson. I suppose by now we shouldn't be surprised by anything Dr. Carson says, except for the fact that this guy is polling near the top of the Republican presidential field. Below is my transcription of the very strange part wherein Carson explains how we could have gotten Osama bin Laden, with the train of thought then abruptly jumping the tracks from Afghanistan to Iraq.

The transcript stands on its own. I see no need for any comments by me.

From ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos:

George Stephanopoulos: "You are the only Republican, the only major candidate, who opposed President Bush's decision to invade Afghanistan after 911, and I want to show what you said at the debate."

Dr. Ben Carson at Republican debate: "Declare that within five to ten years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks."

Stephanopoulos: "That's what you said he [Bush] should have done, but how would that have worked ... how would you have gotten the moderate Arab governments to turn over Osama bin Laden in two weeks? He'd already been expelled by Saudia Arabia. He was already an enemy of those moderate governments."

Carson: "Well I think they would have been extremely concerned if we had declared, and we were serious about it, that we were going to become petroleum independent, because it would have had a major impact on their finances, and I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty they had to people like Osama bin Laden."

Stephanopoulos: "But they didn't have any loyalty to Osama bin Laden ... the Saudis kicked him out ... he was their enemy. "

Carson: "Uh, well you may not think that they had any loyalty to him, but I believe otherwise."

Stephanopoulos: "So you believe that had President Bush simply declared energy independence they would have turned over Osama bin Laden. How would they have gotten him out of the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan?"

Carson: "I think they would have known where he was. You know, there were indications, for instance during the Clinton administration, that they knew exactly where he was, but didn't necessarily pull the trigger. If we could tell where he was, I'm certain that they knew where he was."

Stephanopoulos: "But at that point we had some idea but we didn't know for sure ... I simply don't understand how you think this would have worked."

Carson: "Well here's the point. Here's my point. My point is, we had other ways that we could have done things. I personally don't believe that invading Iraq was an existential threat to us. I don't think Saddam Hussein was an existential threat to us. That's a very different situation right now. Now we have global jihadists who want to destroy us and our way of life..."

Stephanopoulos (interrupting): "But Sir I wasn't ..."

Carson: "That is a completely different situation."

Stephanopoulos: "I wasn't asking about invading Iraq, I was asking about invading Afghanistan, which had been harboring Osama bin Laden."

Carson: "Well I was primarily talking about Iraq ... you know I wasn't particularly interested in going into Afghanistan, but I do think that we should have taken agressive action, and I think, you know, creating a base that did not require tens of thousands of our troops, that required a group, and I think that we probably have that number pretty close to right now, about ten thousand or so, uh, and being able to use our drones and being able to use our intelligence and things of that nature, I think that's probably all that was necessary in Afghanistan."