Rick Santorum has deep thoughts on the occupied territories:

SANTORUM: How did we get New Mexico and Texas?

QUESTIONER: Through war.

SANTORUM: How did they get the West Bank? [inaudible] Through a war. Should we give Texas back to Mexico?

QUESTIONER: Well I don’t think you should recognize recent annexations.

SANTORUM: Oh, so it depends whether it’s recent or not? So we should have given New Mexico and Texas back 150 years go?

No one comes off looking very clever in this exchange. The United States peacefully annexed Texas after Texas had previously seceded from Mexico. This is not an obscure or little-known fact. The pretext for the Mexican War was a dispute over where the new U.S.-Mexican border was after the annexation took place. The dispute allowed Polk to precipitate the border crisis that led to the 1846-48 war, which advanced the expansionism favored by his party.

It’s true that New Mexico, Arizona*, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and California were captured during the Mexican War, but these territories were only legally American after the ratification of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. There has never been a negotiated settlement similar to this treaty that recognizes Israeli possession of any of the territories seized during the 1967 war. The comparison is utterly and totally flawed. Besides, it probably isn’t helping Santorum’s case that he is comparing the 1967 war to a gigantic expansionist land-grab, and it says something about him that he thinks that this makes the occupation more defensible.

* Some of what is now Arizona and New Mexico was not acquired under the treaty, but was later purchased as part of the Gadsden Purchase.