I Cheer Ron Paul
Posted by Bruce Ramsey
Once again I cheer Rep. Ron Paul. I don’t agree with him about everything, but as the candidate who confronts the Republican blowhards about "national security" he is irreplacably delicious. In the Republican debate Aug. 11, here is his exchange with Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who opens by criticizing the good doctor from Texas:
SANTORUM: [Paul] sees the world exactly as Barack Obama sees it, that we have to go around and apologize for the fact that we’ve gone out and exerted an influence to create freedom around the world. I don’t apologize for that. I don’t apologize for the Iranian people being free for a long time and now they’re under a mullah-ocracy
The Republicans are our nationalist party. One way to stir them up is to accuse an opponent of wanting to apologize for America. I've never heard Paul suggest that America apologize. I’m not big on apologies, either. I thought it was silly for Bill Clinton to go to Africa and apologize for slavery, which was the responsibility of men who were dead decades before he was born.
When somebody says American foreign policy is wrong and ought to be changed, to accuse him of wanting America to apologize is not an argument. It is a taunt. It is flag-waving as a substitute for reason. Santorum is trying to intimidate Paul by accusing him of disloyalty. It is a stinking tactic. If accepted, it shuts down debate.
Second point: Iran was not “free for a long time.” It was under the Shah. Sometimes Americans think their government is creating freedom when it isn’t. To continue:
SANTORUM: Iran is the greatest supporter of terrorism in the Middle East and around the world, and is setting up training camps and is working with Venezuela and other countries south of the border to threaten us. Iran is a country that must be confronted I can tell you, if Rick Santorum is president and when Rick Santorum is president, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon
And how would President Santorum guarantee that? He’d have to commit an act of war on Iran. (And also on Venezuela?)
I don’t like the idea of Iran having a nuclear weapon any more than I like the idea of Pakistan having one. But Pakistan does have one. India has one. China has one. Russia has one. Israel has one. If Iran has one, maybe it won’t feel so threatened, and it will have a good effect on its government’s behavior. Maybe not. Anyway, if the leaders of Iran want a nuclear weapon the president of the United States is not in a position to guarantee they won’t get one, short of starting a war.
Santorum is saying he’ll start a war with Iran.
Paul begins by allowing that Iran has militants, but says lots of countries have militants, and the Iranian ones are not much different. Then he says:
PAUL: “Iran does not have an air force that can come here. They can’t even make enough gasoline for themselves
People like Santorum, he said, are
“building up the case just like we did with Iraq. Build up the war propaganda! There was no al Qaida in Iraq. And they had nuclear weapons, and we had to go in! I’m sure you supported that war as well. It’s time we quit this. It’s trillions of dollars we’re spending on these wars.”
Republicans are the nationalist party, the support-our-troops party, the don’t-ever-apologize-to-nobody party. To stir them up against foreingers is pretty easy. Bush stirred them up against Saddam Hussein and against the Taliban. The neocons keep themselves in heat over “islamofascists,” ‘jihadists,” and Muslims generally as if world Islam were the new Soviet Union. But the U.S.S.R. had the Red Army. The Commies had nuclear missiles and MiGs and satellites and a state with control over more than 350 million people and hegemony over a third of Europe. Islam is a religion, not a state. Most Muslims simply want to be left alone. A handful of “jihadists” make home-made bombs—and they don’t even make them here. They make them halfway around the world, and most of them would stop making them if our forces quit occupying their countries. And if they wanted to keep making backyard bombs after we left, fine. Go ahead.
Paul is right. It’s time we quit this. American taxpayers can’t afford all these wars, and we don't get anything out of them.
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