The PJ Tatler

Back to Iraq? Walker Won't Rule it Out

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker told This Week that if he were elected president, he wouldn’t rule out a reinvasion of Iraq.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he wouldn’t rule out a full-blown re-invasion of Iraq if he were to become the next commander-in-chief.

The likely Republican presidential candidate and early frontrunner in several polls said he would consider a re-invasion if it were deemed necessary to protect American national security at home and abroad.

“It would not be limited to anything out there,” Walker told ABC’s Jonathan Karl in an exclusive interview with for “This Week.” “Once we start saying how far we’re willing to go or how many troops we’re willing to invest, we send a horrible message, particularly to foes in the Middle East who are willing to wait us out.”

Walker has been critical of President Obama’s handling of Iraq and Syria for its limited scope but also qualified that he does not believe in “open-ended, limitless engagements.” Though he has been sparse in offering specific changes to U.S. policy in the fight against ISIS, the likely presidential candidate said he has been deepening his understanding of international affairs in recent months.

“My belief is if I’m gonna, I’m even thinking about running for president of the United States, it’s not about preparing for debates,” he said. “It’s about being prepared to be the president of the United States.”

Walker stumbled out of the gate on foreign policy, making the bizarre claim that his experience fighting the unions in Wisconsin had helped prepare him to take on Islamic State.

But he got in a good zinger against Obama when he responded to the president’s pithy observation that he needed to “bone up” on foreign policy after he said that he would abrogate any agreement with Iran on their nuclear program his first day in office.

“I thought it was interesting for the president to say that — the guy who called ISIS the JV squad and Yemen a success story somehow suggesting someone else should bone up on foreign policy,” Walker said.

Heh.

There is nothing controversial about Walker’s Iraq statement — it’s standard political boilerplate not to rule any military action out or in. But for some Republicans, it might be a problem. Iraq is a tar baby for both the Republicans and Hillary Clinton, and avoiding any discussion that suggests escalating US involvement is probably the smart play. There just isn’t much upside to it.

On the other hand, events may overtake both party’s reluctance to discuss Iraq. The Iraqi army still hasn’t been able to stop IS from advancing, and now they appear to have Baghdad in their sights. Needless to say, the total collapse of the Iraqi army and government would change a lot of minds about re-invading Iraq very quickly.