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.

  • Kyle

    well to listen we don’t have to negotiate. But this government insisted on negotiating with them for years. Blowback is a real thing. What would this have to do with converting Americans to Islam? If you actually looked up something about him hes stated that its our whole entire presence in the middle east. We gave Sadam weapons. This is garbage.

  • You are either a partisan hack or maybe, just maybe, you are about as bright as northern Alaska in December.

    Ron Paul never said we should negotiate with terrorists. Never. I’d like to see you find someplace where he said we should. He went so far along the Constitutional route after 9-11 that he submitted a bill to declare war on al Qaeda and Usama bin Laden–an individual person and a non-state entity!–but the vast majority of his party would not obey the Constitution they all solemnly swore to support and defend; they would not declare war.

    His stance has always been to hunt down UBL and al Qaeda and make them pay for their crimes, but never to do it with military forces, as they would be seen as invaders and occupiers, like our armed forces are seen now by most Iraqis. Listening does not equate negotiating.

    Your attempt to prove Dr Paul wrong is laughable in itself due to the fact that three former members of the CIA who worked in counter-terrorism say that Dr Paul is correct. I guess your prefered news sources didn’t report that fact, did they?

    Here’s some interesting documents for you to read:
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1996.html
    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/terrorism/international/fatwa_1998.html

    In those two documents, you will find Iraq mentioned several times while freedom and liberty are not mentioned once.

    Seems you need to be educated as badly as Rudy does.

  • Andrew Wellar

    Nice try on your Ron Paul hit job. Since when did listening to the enemy equal negotiating with terrorists? Also, Ron Paul is claiming that foreign policy is at fault – not one particular party. I predict we are going to see more and more articles like yours in the future. All you are doing is fanning the flames for support of Dr. Ron Paul.

  • Zack

    I really think your missing the point here, and badly. When someone is tried for murder, we ALWAYS search for motive. Understanding WHY (by listening to your enemy) is paramount for success. Is understanding the motive of a killer bad practice?

    I think Sun Tzu said it best:
    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    Paul has no desire to “negotiate” with Bin Laden. One of his primary complaints about invading Iraq was that it would distract us from hunting down Bin Laden and those truly responsible for the attacks.

    If you want a deeper understanding of Paul’s philosophy (beyond 30 sec debate clips) check out http://www.ronpaullibrary.com – it’s got over 600 essays and speeches by the congressman.

  • Anonymous

    So you don’t like Ron Paul’s explanation, what was the reason for the attacks then? Was the lame excuse that they are “enemies of freedom”? Our foreign policy has caused more problems then it has helped. It is time we face up to the fact that we act as bullies around the world and people don’t like that much.

  • Bruce Voris

    I don’t think that Ron Paul is necessarily interested, as you imply, in negotiating with the terrorists. His goal is to try to understand why the terrorists have such hatred for the U.S. I don’t see anything naive or simplistic about this. If you have an enemy, isn’t it important to try to understand how your enemy thinks?

    As far as your analysis of blowback, the U.S. has been stirring things up in the Middle East for a long time. It’s hard to see why there wouldn’t be some deeply held animosity against the U.S. (and others), given the actions of our government over the last couple generations.

    From where I sit, the establish media, as well as the establishment political parties (Republicans and Democrats) are having a hissy fit when someone like Ron Paul gets a chance to point out the obvious.

    One of the reasons that Paul’s campaign is beginning to gain traction is that people have finally found a political leader who has deeply held beliefs, does not pander to the press, and whose answers make a lot of sense. All of the other candidates (in both parties, with the possible exception of Obama) are just plastic creations of professional PR machines. Voters can tell the difference.

  • C Bowen

    While true that serious policy debate cannot be done with 60 second canned, poll tested answers, you at least began to turn back the clock and consider US policy in the Middle East (with bizarre repetitive mentions of the United Nations.) But you forgot the best parts about the US of A funding through proxies Osama’s predecessors to fight the Soviet in Afghanistan, and the Clinton Adminstration informal alliance with AQ/Osama in Kosovo.

    Paul’s point is not “negotiating” with Osama, but removing his ability to recruit and fund his jihad. Coupled with Paul’s support for a well-armed citizenry, trade (rather than sanctions) as a means of building a Middle Class in Islamic nations, and his commitment to denying amnesty to real, actual invaders, and Paul presents a coherent conservative national defense policy.

  • Randy

    Wow. This is the first time I’ve seen someone twist a 30 second sound byte into an entire foreign policy. Next time do some research (On Dr. Paul, the Constitution and it’s framers) before posting and making a fool of yourself. Dr. Paul’s positions & the reasoning behind them will become clear. Whether you agree with them or not is another story.

  • Joey

    I think that Ron Paul makes sense. I think Gooliany is way out of line with his bull. Am I supposed to belive that Osama bombed the world trade center because he hates freedom? Come on man. We´re not a nation of six year olds.

  • Anonymous

    Respectfully,
    You are wrong. The CIA initiated terror attacks in Tehran in 1953 to blame on the democratically elected leader Mosadeg’s opponents. CIA made him look weak and effectively deposed him. In his place we installed the brutal Shah. Why? Because British Petroleum’s oil fields were partially nationalized and the British would rather the American military protect British interests than do the dirty work itself. In the 1970’s and 1980’s CIA supported Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. We gave terrorists money, arms, and training. Today we are giving more terrorists money and support to overthrow the current Iranian regime. Hopefully, when all is said and done these terrorists will be friendly with us, but don’t count on it. Yes its also true we subsidize corrupt regimes like Pakistan, military dictatorships essentially who threaten peaceful countries like India.

    Our naval presence and armies the world over are protecting really bad regimes because they trade with us and finance our empire with the slavery of their people. Obviously we are resented for it. What’s that you say? Slavery is too extreme a word. Think about it like this. We borrowed nearly a trillion dollars last year to fund our consumption. We do that every year. That money comes from poor people the world over. Poor people who could be using that money to invest in their own country. Yet it does not happen. The regimes that we protect with our military ensure that the money comes back to us.

    You call Ron Paul a simpleton for saying they hate us because we are over there. I think you are the simpleton. Your explanation is that we are good and they are evil. Well increasing numbers of Americans are starting to realize that is pure foolishness. Thank God.

  • Cliff S

    While you certainly succeed in your mission to make Ron Paul look like a kook in your article (along with most of mainstream media) you added your own take on every statement he made. Here is a good example; ““listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it,” a try and negotiate with the terrorists.”

    He is not saying to negotiate with the terrorists, but to try and understand their motive. If we have done something that is making the recruiting of young suicide bombers easier then we should attempt to fix it if we can.

    “Furthermore, Ron Paul dated this issue of Iraq back to 10 years ago. That takes use back the days to the Clinton administration. Clinton and Iraq is not as easy to target as Bush and Iraq.”

    During the time of Clinton the UN had sanctions on them which many Iraqi’s believed caused the deaths of over 500,000 children. We get targetted for the UN’s actions whether or not we like it.

    “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.”

    How about we go back before that and not support Hussein or Bin Laden? Don’t forget that we helped to create these two terrible people that we are now so worried about.

    The UN violates the sanctity of sovereign nations first off. Second, Ron Paul hasn’t said that we shouldn’t have done it, though he probably would. He’s saying that when we go do these kind of social missions for the good of the world we need to realize that there are probably going to be some unintended consequences.

    And by the way, Hussein is not Hitler. I know you neocons looking for a war love to compare the two, but a two bit dictator in a country we could blow up with the push of a button is not the threat Hitler was.

    I realize you are very very smart and that the US is completely innocent on all matters, but Ron Paul does have the backing of 4 retired CIA officers so far. Maybe they know something you don’t?

  • Dwight

    The problem is, you don’t listen. Ron Paul never said we should negotiate. It is a matter of understanding your enemy, not negotiating with them. If we are satisfied with the “they hate us for our freedoms” excuse, we are missing the reality of the situation, which leads to mistakes. Also, we have an in-your-face foreign policy that goes back many decades (he mentioned our installing the Shah of Iran but it goes back much farther than that). Consider Ron’s example: how would you feel if China invaded some country in our hemisphere, installed a government modelled on their own, and established a permanent military presence there? And finally, Ron Paul is not a pacifist. He just wants the Congress to stand up and take responsibility by actually following the Constitution, declaring war when it is justified, and not illegally passing the responsibility off to the new monarch, George.

    Yes, you and Rudy need to listen more closely.

  • Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Pakistan, China, Russia… where do you suggest drawing the line, Mike? Surely you are aware of the human rights abuses and terrorist activity that takes place in those countries.

    How has either Iraq war helped our national security? We didn’t secure the oil. Islam is more radicalized than it was before. Our resources that were meant to defend the country are now spread out across the globe. We are further in debt, a lot of it to some countries mentioned above.

    We have a larger target on our backs now than ever before. That is due entirely to a ‘world police’ foreign policy, which you seem to be all for. Gee, thanks Mike.

  • BH Day

    In my studying these same critical issues, I have never heard Ron Paul suggest that we negotiate with terrorists such as Bin Laden. Instead, he rationally proposes that we evaluate the current situation much a homicide investigator studies a gruesome crime: Recognize that a terrible crime has occurred, identify and prosecute the perpetrator, and as part of prosecuting the perpetrator, look for a *motive*.

    Looking for a motive is fundamental to any prosecution, and is *not* equivalent to “blaming the victim”. The motive does not justify nor excuse the crime, but may be helpful in preventing future acts of violence.

    I’d caution you not to take Ron Paul’s suggestion to read the 9/11 report out of context. He’s not suggesting that we submit to the irrational demands of the perpetrator. He is suggesting that we evaluate the consequences of our interventionist foreign policy that inflames internal conflicts and creates cycles of arming and training those who subsequently turn against us.

    As you note, the 9/11 report places us in the crossfire of world opinion with respect to numerous global conflicts. How can we advance democracy, tolerance, and individual freedom when we are widely (correctly or not) blamed for these wars and atrocities?

    Non-interventionism is not pacifism, and it is not isolationism. Rather, it is respecting countries’ sovreignity and engaging in constructive dialogue and consensual trade. Our nation can only be a beacon for liberty and freedom when individual citizens of foreign countries — not just the moneyed elite, or despotic rulers installed by our foreign policies — view the United States as a valued trading partner that treats them as we ourselves wish to be treated.

    Ron Paul recognizes that our attempts to coerce through sanctions and military action harm those average citizens, and pushes them intellectually closer to extremists such as Bin Laden. As a nation, we shouldn’t fear the wrath of a single psychopath. But if our policies make that psychopath a hero instead of a pariah, we owe it to ourselves to seriously question those policies.

  • William Stegmeier

    Jeese, I can’t believe I let Mr. Wacker get me this emotional. Usually I take the time to dissect stupid arguments in order to show a dullard the error of his ways.

    Well, I gave it my best, but was only able to read a little over half way through Mr. Wacker’s rant before barfing.

    Mr. Wacker talks about bin Ladin doing this, Saddam doing that, and we need to listen to the U.N. and even France, and then how dumb Dr. Paul is, and how smart Mr. Wacker is. Enough already.

    If Mr. Wacker is so smart, and Dr. Paul is so dumb, then I suggest Mr. Wacker challenge Dr. Paul to a debate. I’m sure Cornell would be just fine with Dr. Paul. Go for it Mr. Wacker.

    Oh, I see Mr. Wacker will have “more to say” about Dr. Paul once he catches his breath. I can’t wait. But in the meantime, I suggest he read the Constitution whilst catching his breath. If he does so, chances are he won’t have quite as much left to say when he readdresses Dr. Paul.

    Bill Stegmeier

  • Robby Aultman

    Ron Paul is right. Our Middle East policies have gotten us where we are today. As a Vietnam era vet, I firmly believed the U.S. was always on the side of right and justice. I got out of the military and went to work in the Middle East as a contractor. I lived 50 miles from Mecca for seven years. One of the first things I asked the Muslims when I arrived was “why do you hate Isreal?”. In my ignorance, which I recognise in your blog because I thought exactly the same way as you, I had NO IDEA what actually has taken place in the Middle East due to our meddling. Because of my ultra republican upbringing and unwavering support of all things republican, it took me a year just to start understanding the way they think and why. I was so convinced that U.S. policies were always right and just, that I refused to accept the chaos and hatred our meddling causes. The thing that finally removed the blinders I had been wearing my whole life, was watching Isreali soldiers corner and beat Palestinian women and children with their gun butts until I was sick. It has been over 20 years since I saw that and I still can not get it out of my mind. This type of blind support of our Middle East policies has earned us the haterd of Muslims and non-Muslims around the world. We don’t show that on our television. We only show what will feed guys like you, (and the old me) to support everything our politicians do with unwavering faithfullness. I know this will not make a difference to you and I would not have believed it either until I saw it with my own eyes for so many years. But our policies are wrong and Ron Paul is the only one that sees through the smoke and mirrors that our government has put in place to fool the American people. I guess the reason I like Ron Paul is because, maybe, he can get us to the point where you think we already are.

  • Max Gag

    you said “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.”

    USA let hitler took France, Pologne, Czechoslavakia and some other countries… without doing anything, the president was elected with a promess to not get involved in WW2

    USA join WW2 only when japan attacked pearl harbour

    the sanction imposed on irak between 1991 and 1998 killed around 500 000 iraki…. and you still think that it did not angered muslims !??

    imagine if someone did to us what we did to them….

  • Garry

    “However, I have decided to give Ron Paul’s strategy, “listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it,” a try and negotiate with the terrorists.”

    Figuring out the motive of an attack is not “negotiating”. It is part of a sound policy. How are we to eliminate a terror threat without noting its causes? Answer: we can’t, and ignoring terror’s causes leads to counter-productve policies, such as what we see today.

    Numerous former CIA experts, the CIA itself, the 9/11 Commission, an even Paul Wolfowitz all agree that U.S. foreign policy is a main factor in fomenting the sentiment behind terror. All Ron Paul did was echo those sources. Does Rudy Giuliani have sources to back up his claim that we were attacked “because we are free”?

    Ron Paul’s policy of non-intervention simply requires that the U.S. government refrain from acts that don’t protect our lives and rights, but only put us in more danger. Our Middle East interventionism has done just that.

  • bhday1

    In my studying these same critical issues, I have never heard Ron Paul suggest that we negotiate with terrorists such as Bin Laden. Instead, he rationally proposes that we evaluate the current situation much a homicide investigator studies a gruesome crime: Recognize that a crime has occurred, identify and prosecute the perpetrator, and as part of prosecuting the perpetrator, look for a *motive*.

    Looking for a motive is fundamental to any prosecution, and is *not* equivalent to “blaming the victim”. The motive does not justify nor excuse the crime, but may be helpful in preventing future acts of violence.

    I’d caution you not to take Ron Paul’s suggestion to read the 9/11 report out of context. He’s not suggesting that we submit to the irrational demands of the perpetrator. He is suggesting that we evaluate the consequences of our interventionist foreign policy that inflames internal conflicts and creates cycles of arming and training those who subsequently turn against us.

    As you note, the 9/11 report places us in the crossfire of world opinion with respect to numerous global conflicts. How can we advance democracy, tolerance, and individual freedom when we are widely (correctly or not) blamed for these wars and atrocities?

    Non-interventionism is not pacifism, and it is not isolationism. Rather, it is respecting countries’ sovreignity and engaging in constructive dialogue and consensual trade. Our nation can only be a beacon for liberty and freedom when individual citizens of foreign countries — not just the moneyed elite, or despotic rulers installed by our foreign policies — view the United States as a valued trading partner that treats them as we ourselves wish to be treated.

    Ron Paul recognizes that our attempts to coerce through sanctions and military action harm those average citizens, and pushes them intellectually closer to extremists such as Bin Laden. As a nation, we shouldn’t fear the wrath of a single psychopath. But if our policies make that psychopath a hero instead of a pariah, we owe it to ourselves to seriously question those policies.

  • peper

    I didn’t know Sean Hannity wrote for the Daily Sun.

    What is your position here Mr. Hannity? Is it that middle eastern hatred of America and Americans is self-evident? Was it handed down by Yahweh that Americans can do no wrong in the world and was it handed down by Allah that Muslims are born hating Americans? Clearly that is the reason we are in this little pickle. There is no reason for any of it – it is destiny. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change our role in the world – we just have to keep killing and getting killed. We are just supposed to keep playing our part, right?

  • Cameron Davis

    Mr. Wacker, I’m going to start with the end of your blog and work backwards.

    Your Hitler/Czech comparison doesn’t fly for two reasons. Czechoslavakia did nothing to provoke Germany. Kuwait was drilling into Iraqi territory and stealing their most precious natural resource. What would we do if Mexico was mining gold in California and denying it? Secondly, I don’t recall Saddam Hussein signing an international non-aggression treaty.

    As far as invoking the UN,two points. The UN itself stated our sanctions against Iraq were killing hundreds of thousands of children. I hope you realize UN inspections were going on all over Iraq even into January and February of 2003. The inspectors were making great progress, and were delving into new sites, looking for WMD daily. Of course they were forced to leave by the U.S. decision to pulverize the country. All you have to do is research it on the UN website.

    America has indeed bombed Iraq for 10 years. Apparently you have some trouble with mathematics. Ten years ago would be at the most 1996. The first gulf war was 5 years prior to that. If you do your homework, you will see that the United States has bombed Iraq every year since 1995.

    When Dr. Paul said “they attacked us because we’re over there”, he meant the Middle East in general, not just Iraq. You imply he meant just Iraq.

    Listening to someone does not mean capitulating to their demands. There are only two ways to end a conflict, Mr. Wacker: total destruction or negotiation. Well, unless you’re prepared to kill several billion people, at some point you have to be willing to concede a few things to Muslims. We are fighting against ideas, and because we cannot defeat what they are fighting for, this anger and animosity towards America will continue as long as we insist on trying to run the Middle East by peppering it with bases and propping up Israel.

    I want to make sure you understand Bin Laden did list Iraq as one of the places where America’s policies and enraged him, even right after 9/11 occurred.

    How would you feel if there was a Chinese base right outside your neighborhood, and every morning you were searched by men with machine guns, and your friends or family had been accidentally killed by the occupying forces? Would you be angry at the Chinese?

    Most Americans do not realize we have 700+ military installations outside of our country. We have 370,000+ soldiers stationed outside of our states, territories, and possessions. We are trying to police the world, and we are going broke. Our national debt is 9 TRILLION dollars. Last year, we paid over 400 Billion dollars just in interest on the loans we have accepted from foreign banks.

    Dr. Paul is the only one addressing these problems, and the only one willing to fix them. You would do well to study a little more and pontificate a little less.

  • Andrew Link

    A sad day for the Cornell Daily Sun. Mike Wacker’s piece up above is one of the reasons folk are turning away from bought and paid for media and researching their own news on the internet. Mr Paul never claimed we negotiate with terrorists as Wacker is implying. This article borders on slander and the Cornell Daily Sun would be well advised to publish a retraction or clarification based on facts – if it knows what that means anymore. I am not a Ron Paul supporter; however, articles like these are getting me to investigate why this little known congressman from southern Texan is creating such a panic in the media.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who feels as though an end of the occupation in Iraq would have us wearing burkas and reciting the queran is just playing their role and doing their part in the fear mongering machine.

    Bin Laden called for Jihad against the USA after the USA launched missles from sacred ground against iraq 15 years ago. He did this for two reasons. The first and obvious being the murder of muslims by interventionist forces that have no respect or knowledge of the Islamic way of life. The second and much less publicised reason is because he knew if US forces were allowed to act on Iraq unmolested, they would never leave and colonize the entire Middle East, bringing the slave system of debt based economy of the western world and end the way of life the people of the middle east have chosen to live.

    Anyone familiar with American history knows that this is exactly the goal of coalition forces in Iraq. Al- Qaida is doing exactly what American citizens would do if Taliban forces came to Philadelphia with the permission of mildly retarded mayor John Street, bunked their soldiers in Idependance Hall,and started firing missles at New York from the top of St Peter and Pauls Cathedral.

    The greatest asset Radical Jihadist Islam has is American foreign policy. And by the way, again and again, steel structures can not fall from fire.