Friday, July 13, 2007

8. The principled anti-war candidate

"When weaker nations are intimidated by more powerful ones, striking back very often can be done only through terrorism, a problem that will continue to threaten all Americans as our leaders incite those who oppose our aggressive stands throughout the world. But when a foreign war comes to our shores in the form of terrorism, we can be sure that our government will explain the need for further sacrifice of personal liberties to win this war against terrorism as well."
Dr. Ron Paul, April 21, 1999

As a conscientious and consistent critic of American militarism, Dr. Ron Paul has no peer in the 2008 presidential race. From the habitual warring of the Clinton administration to contemporary belligerence towards Iran, Ron Paul has stood fast and often alone against the martial zeitgeist of our time.

In the 1990s, Dr. Paul:
  • Opposed the widespread deployment of American troops in non-defensive, unconstitutional wars.

  • Challenged the false and flawed rationales for such deployments as those in Kosovo and Bosnia.

  • Voted against the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which made 'regime change' the official policy of the US government — a measure that Dr. Paul correctly predicted would lead to open war.

  • Opposed the brutal embargo and repeated bombings of Iraq.

  • Advised Congress that US policies needlessly anger many people around the world, while repeatedly forewarning of terrorist 'blowback.'

In the years prior to the invasion of Iraq, Paul:
  • Opposed the pending conflict on moral, practical, and political grounds.

  • Refuted the 'evidence' that served as the Bush administration's casus belli.

  • Voted against the 2002 Iraq War Resolution, which Dr. Paul accurately described as giving the president "the authority to determine when, where, why, and how war will be declared."

  • Apprised Congress and his constituents of the ugly, expected consequences.

And since the invasion, he has:
  • Voted against all bills for further funding of the war — a minimum requirement for any candidate in Congress who claims to be 'anti-war.'

  • Advocated US withdrawal, while pointing out that continuing American involvement in an unjustified, unwinnable war is no way to 'support the troops.'

  • Explained the pernicious influence of neo-conservatives on US foreign policy.

  • Called for a thorough investigation of the Bush administration's fraudulent campaign for war.

Some presidential candidates protest select instances of militarism if the opposition party occupies the White House
but dutifully support such actions when a member of 'their' party calls the shots.

Some candidates criticize the Bush Administration's 'mis-management' of the US occupation
despite their role as advocates and enablers of this elective war and others.

Some candidates now chastise the administration for its Iraq propaganda campaign
despite their active participation in spreading alarmist falsehoods during the march to war.

And some candidates carefully calibrate their rhetoric on foreign policy to suit the particular views of each audience.

But not Ron Paul the principled anti-war candidate.

!!! NEW PAGE Ron Paul on foreign policy during the Clinton years NEW PAGE !!!

"An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels ... This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of the herd nature, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in formation to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; a backbone was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism by order, senseless violence, and all the pestilent nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how I hate them! War seems to me a mean, contemptible thing: I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. And yet so high, in spite of everything, is my opinion of the human race that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the nations not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press."

— Albert Einstein, The World as I See It (1931)