May 30, 2007

So Who Is Ron Paul, Part 1

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So what’s the deal with this Ron Paul character? When I wrote my blog entry on why Mitt Romney won the first Republican presidential debate, a lot of people contested my analysis, claiming instead that Ron Paul won. That was only the tip of the iceberg. Numerous Internet polls seem to indicate he’s doing well, and searching “Ron Paul debate” on Google gave me this article on how the media apparently hid Ron Paul’s success in the debate. His publicity really took off, though, after the debate in South Carolina. After Ron Paul described how U.S. foreign policy played a role in causing the 9/11 attacks, Giuliani shot back at him, drawing thunderous applause from the crowd. However, that has not stopped Ron Paul. He’s still making his way around the media, and he also got some commentary on CNN defending his stance on 9/11. So after seeing someone write a note on Facebook about Ron Paul, I had enough. I’m writing this blog to finally take on this Ron Paul character everyone’s been talking about.

Video of Ron Paul’s 9/11 stance and Rudy Giuliani’s reaction

Let’s start with Ron Paul’s stance on 9/11. He said many things that did not make sense to me. Here’s one of them: “I’m suggesting we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it.”

However, I have decided to give Ron Paul’s strategy, “listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it,” and try to negotiate with the terrorists. OK, Mr. bin Laden, what can we do to avoid future attacks, or “blowback” as Ron Paul calls it? The answer in three parts, according to The 9/11 Commission Report, a book which Ron Paul included on his reading list for Rudy Giuliani, is “that America should abandon the Middle East, convert to Islam, and end the immorality and godlessness of its society and culture.” Wait, not just withdraw troops from Iraq? The entire Middle East, including Afghanistan, which definitely has connections to terrorism? And even if we do that, we have only fulfilled the first part of bin Laden’s request, and thus bin Laden would still have reason to target us. Good luck trying to convert America to Islam. Maybe that’s why the United States does not negotiate with terrorists…

Ron Paul also claims the reason behind the attack is Iraq: “Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.” At this point, I’m starting to think that Paul, not Giuliani, should read The 9/11 Commission Report. It offers a more accurate rationale: “…they say that, America had attacked Islam; America is responsible for all conflicts involving Muslims. Thus Americans are blamed when Israelis fight with Palestinians, when Russians fight with Chechens, when Indians fight with Kashmiri Muslims, and when the Phillipine government fights ethnic Muslims in its southern islands. America is also held responsible for the governments of Muslim countries, derided by al Qaeda as ‘your agents.’” Somehow, I think blaming this on Iraq might not fully capture the essence of the reason terrorists attacked us on 9/11.

Furthermore, Ron Paul dated this issue of Iraq back to 10 years ago. That takes use back to the days of the Clinton administration. Clinton and Iraq is not as easy to target as Bush and Iraq. Also, Saddam actually did pose a much more legitimate threat back then, and he did not cooperate with the U.N. very well either. Going back even further, by Paul’s “non-interventionist” logic, the first war in Iraq also probably could have been classified as a mistake. After all, it was the first Gulf War and the American presence in the Middle East, especially the troops hosted by Saudi Arabia, that really angered bin Laden, much more than Clinton bombing Iraq did. So instead, I propose that to avoid provoking bin Laden, we should have ignored the fact that we had the backing of the United Nations (including France) and also the support of countries in the Middle East, instead opting to do nothing and let Saddam take over Kuwait with his arsenal of WMDs. Just appease him and let him have the country like Europe let Hitler have Czechoslavakia.

I still have more I want to say about Ron Paul, but this entry is getting long enough as it is. So I’ve opted to continue this in another blog which I’ll write later, where I’ll give Ron Paul a reality check and see how much standing and influence he actually has.