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Rick Santorum Wants 'Victory' in Iraq

11:59 PM, Sep 22, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Rick Santorum tried to distinguish himself from the rest of the Republican field in tonight's Fox News/Google debate by continuing to take a strong stand on national security issues. Instead of supporting a hasty withdrawal from Iraq, Santorum called for "victory."

"I'm not for taking them out of the region," the former senator from Pennsylvania said in response to a question about whether he'd support drawing down in Iraq. "Our generals are being clear we need to continue to stabilize Iraq. ... I'm hearing numbers of 20-- 30,000 troops potentially to remain in Iraq -- not indefinitely -- but to continue to make sure this is a stable transition. This is the difference between Congressman Paul, Gov. Huntsman, Gov. Perry and myself when it comes to the issue. I stand up and say when we engage in Iraq and Afghanistan, we engage because we want to be successful. We want victory. We want to have accomplished a national security objective for this country."

As Jen Rubin notes, Santorum also gave a strong answer on Afghanistan:

On Afghanistan, he hit a home run, telling off Jon Huntsman Jr. over the latter’s suggestion to bug out of a war short of victory. He barked, “Just because our economy is sick doesn’t mean America is sick.” 

For his part, Jon Huntsman, President Obama's former ambassador to China, called for immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan:

"I believe that after 10 years of fighting the war on terror, people are ready to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. ... This country has given its all," Huntsman said.

The debate mainly focused on economic questions, social issues, and immigration, with only a couple questions devoted to foreign policy and national security. 

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