The New York Times reports:
In discussing the volatile situation in Pakistan, Mike Huckabee has made several erroneous or misleading statements at a time when he has been under increasing scrutiny from fellow presidential candidates for a lack of fluency in foreign policy issues.
Explaining statements he made suggesting that the instability in Pakistan should remind Americans to tighten security on the southern border of the United States, Mr. Huckabee said Friday that “we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities, except those immediately south of the border.”
Asked to justify the statement, he later cited a March 2006 article in The Denver Post reporting that from 2002 to 2005, Pakistanis were the most numerous non-Latin Americans caught entering the United States illegally. According to The Post, 660 Pakistanis were detained in that period.
A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, however, concluded that, over all, illegal immigrants from the Philippines, India, Korea, China and Vietnam were all far more numerous than those from Pakistan.
In a separate interview on Friday on MSNBC, Mr. Huckabee, a Republican, said that the Pakistani government “does not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan to be able go after the terrorists.” Those borders are on the western side of Pakistan, not the eastern side.When do those who gave us Bush and Cheney realize that the most important decision they should be ever be trusted with again is what to wear when they get out of bed every day? And when are we going to say this out loud to them?
Further, he offered an Orlando crowd his “apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.” His aides said later that he meant to say “sympathies.”
He also said he was worried about martial law “continuing” in Pakistan, although Mr. Musharraf lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 15. Mr. Huckabee later said that he was referring to a renewal of full martial law and said that some elements, including restrictions on judges and the news media, had continued.
Mr. Huckabee’s comments on the situation in Pakistan were not the first time he has been caught unprepared on foreign policy matters. Early this month, after the release of a National Intelligence Estimate concluding that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Mr. Huckabee said that he was not familiar with the report, even though it had been widely reported in the news for more than 30 hours.