I haven't watched the Charlie Gibson interview with Sarah Palin, but I have read some of the transcripts and some of the critiques of the interview, including some distortions of her responses. Take this one from Ian Welsh at Firedoglake:
Palin just suggested, that the US would go to war with Russia over Georgia or the Ukraine.
Did she "suggest" that? Not exactly.
GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?
PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.
But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.
We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.
GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.
PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.
And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to.
It doesn't have to lead to war and it doesn't have to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries.
His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that's a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.
Welsh gives the standard liberal line that the Russians will go nuclear if we use air power against them and that we need to be against Ukraine and Georgia becoming part of NATO for this reason. In other words, we should not support democracies in tenuous places because the Russians won't like it. This is precisely the same thinking libs had during the Cold War; that we needed to let them do whatever the hell they wanted without doing anything because they might nuke us. I find it to be a decidedly dishonorable position for us to take, but not a surprising one for many liberals.
The truth is, if we don't stand up for the vulnerable, there is no one else to do it. It sounds simplistic to put it that way, but Democrats work from the more naive notion that if we smile and make nice-nice with our enemies, they will respect us and not do bad things.
It seems Palin did the best she could with the questions she was given, but Charlie Gibson did a poor job asking questions.
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words.
But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.
That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”
But that's not exactly what she said. In other words, Gibson misquoted her. Here's what Palin said:
“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she exhorted the congregants. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”
Palin's prayer is a standard Christian prayer: we pray for our leaders that God would help them make good decisions and that we would be doing the things God wants us to do. This isn't some uber-fundie position; it's a basic tenet of mainstream Christianity that we believe God is personally involved in our lives.
The attempt is to paint Palin as an extremist, so that she can be compared to Muslim extremists. Think I'm exaggerating? Spend some time reading liberal blogs and you'll discover that this theory is already part of the storyline.
No matter how AP--which chopped up Palin's quote originally to make her look extreme--or Charlie Gibson try to portray Sarah Palin's religious views as whacko, ordinary Americans know that praying that our plan will be God's plan isn't the same thing as screaming "Allahu Akbar!" while flying airplanes into buildings.
RedState thinks some remedial reading lessons are in order. Liberals need to go back and look at the NATO charter and figure out what being a NATO member actually means.
Matt Lewis points out the double standard the Left will hold Palin to. How should she have answered the question on NATO obligations and Russia? Give Russia the green light to do whatever it wants?