It's one thing to be clearly ignorant of foreign policy - like when a candidate has no earthly idea of the political movement that pushed for war with Iraq. When he acts as if his knowledge of the Libya war to overthrow Gadhafi is just another note on an index card, something to be retrieved from a pile of such cards, all lodged sloppily in his staff-induced memory, that's one thing.
Add those two together - the ignorance as to the most prominent advocates for one U.S. war and an embarrassing display of confusion over another - and it's clear this guy is never going to get the okay from the American people to be its leader in the world.
But let me put to you a more dangerous case, if you can imagine it.
Suppose we had a candidate who threatened a new war even before he's elected, a candidate so randy to be elected that he's willing to threaten an act of war merely to pick up votes? Someone who thinks upon war and the lives it takes, no matter how much human carnage is threatened, merely to obtain what he figures might be a slightly better chance of getting the office on which he has since youth set his heart.
Imagine such a person who offers war between nations as a bid for political success, a success he cannot imagine living life without.
I give you Mitt Romney who now says that if you "elect me" - to use his self-indulgent phrase - he proposes an act of war against Iran, presumably an attack on its alleged nuclear facilities.
Okay, you may like that proposition. It may well come to the day when Israel takes such a step. But here's a candidate for leader of this country, committing himself to promising that through whatever means at his disposal, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. He, Mitt Romney, is promising this, not Bibi Netanyahu, Mitt Romney.
I have to wonder at this. Has Romney told us the possible reaction to such a step? Has he calculated the fall-out to a U.S. supported attack on Iran?
We know this. It would be an act of war. It would put in the hands of those leading Iran - the clerics - the option of how to respond, how to take moral advantage of such a step by a major power against them. Would they cut off the oil lanes? Would they attack American interests in the region? Would they rally the Muslim world against us?
These are no small things to consider. You can bet the Israeli people are considering them because they, the people most exposed to an Iranian nuclear weapon and most threatened by one, are evenly divided on whether to support an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. They, the people most exposed, are in a quandary as to whether to commit an act of war.
Not Newt. He, speaking even before getting to the Presidency, is out there telling Israel, its right-wing government, Iran and its clerics, the Arab world and the larger Muslim world what he is now personally committed to.
This is dangerous stuff, more ignorant in its implications than even the clown show Mr. Cain has offered us.