Sunday, June 24, 2007

5. Ron Paul on 'preemptive' war

(Originally distributed via e-mail on June 9, 2007)

"(A) war against Iraq initiated by the United States cannot be morally justified. The argument that someday
in the future Saddam Hussein might pose a threat to us means that any nation, any
place in the world, is subject to an American invasion without cause."
– Dr. Ron Paul, March 2002

A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang as when single;
and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang."
– Benjamin Franklin, 1785

In Tuesday's Republican debate on CNN, the candidates were asked "What's the most pressing moral issue in the United States right now?" Ron Paul responded by saying:
"I think it is the acceptance just recently that we now promote preemptive war. I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition. We, in the past, have always declared war in the defense of our liberties or to aid somebody, but now we have accepted the principle of preemptive war. We have rejected the just-war theory of Christianity. And now, tonight, we hear that we’re not even willing to remove from the table a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly and is no threat to our national security! I mean, we have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption ..."
These are not the carefully parsed words of a calculating politician maneuvering for position in tomorrow's polls. On the contrary, these are the words of an honest and conscientious man.

While most presidential candidates openly endorse the doctrine of 'preemptive' war, Ron Paul has been a principled and vocal opponent of aggressive violence throughout his tenure in Congress.
In this 2002 interview with Bill Moyers (11-minute video), Dr. Paul discusses preemptive war and just-war theory, along with the false rationales for invading Iraq. For those of you who remain ambivalent about the bi-partisan acceptance of preemptive war, I urge you to consider the following points:
  1. By practicing preemptive war, the US government has squandered whatever moral authority it had in the eyes of the world. It's pure hypocrisy to commit aggressive violence while condemning the aggression of others.

  2. A world that accepts the doctrine of 'preemptive' war is a world destined for endless, open-ended conflict.

  3. If the American people condone such deadly power in the hands of the US government, what evidence is there that the political class can be relied upon to wield that power judiciously? In the months before the invasion of Iraq, many congressmen willingly repeated the administration's propaganda for war, while making no effort to include contrarian authorities in congressional committee deliberations. As for those who knew better or harbored doubts, only a few raised their voices while others remained silent. No one should be trusted with the power to wage aggressive war, and such common sense was only validated by the craven, dishonest performance of Congress prior to the invasion of Iraq.

  4. In a nuclear age preceded by a century of heretofore unimagined carnage wrought by unscrupulous politicians, I, for one, am aghast that such an evil doctrine is even considered debatable by many of my countrymen.
Stop the madness. Support Ron Paul.