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Leaked video: Republican senator supported Iraq war so he could spread Mormonism to the Middle East

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It seems as though at least one Republican senator took Ann Coulter’s post-9/11 recommendation to invade Muslim countries, “kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity” seriously.

Via the Las Vegas Review Journal, a newly leaked video shows former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) telling Mormon church leaders that he had a higher purpose when he voted in favor of the war in Iraq back in 2002.

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“I know and have been a critic of the Iraq war, but I also admit to you that I voted for it because I felt the Lord’s hand in it,” Smith said. “I hope it works out, but I can promise you this: You’ll never send missionaries to the Arab street until the rule of law exists in Arabia, and it has taken root in Iraq. And ultimately, if that succeeds, there will be an opportunity to begin building the church in the Middle East, which is a deeply troubled place.”

To his credit, Smith was one of the few Republicans who harshly criticized the Bush administration’s conduct of the Iraq war early on, and he even voted for a resolution in 2007 whose aim was to withdraw combat troops from Iraq.

Nonetheless, his initial support for the war based on the rationale that it would spread Mormonism likely won’t help him revive any ambitions he has to hold political office in the future.

Check out the full video below — Smith starts talking about his support for the Iraq war at around 13:15.

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