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Ron Paul on War & Peace

Republican Representative (TX-14); previously Libertarian for President


Terrorism is just like any other murder: you look for motive

People were bound to start wondering eventually, why we were attacked? Not because they sought to excuse the attackers, but out of natural curiosity regarding what made these men tick. Looking for motive is not the same thing as making excuses; detectives always look for motive behind crime, but no one thinks they are looking to excuse murder.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 15 Apr 1, 2008

War in Iraq was senseless invasion of sovereign state

The war in Iraq was one of the most ill considered, poorly planned and just plain unnecessary military conflicts in American history.and I opposed it from the beginning.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 21 Apr 1, 2008

Mandate declaration of war before military aggression

In 2002, as war with Iraq loomed, I proposed that Congress officially declare war against Iraq, making it clear that I intended to oppose my own measure. The point was to underscore our constitutional responsibility to declare war before commencing major military operations, rather than leaving the decision to the President or passing resolutions that delegate to the president the decision making power over war.
Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 52-53 Apr 1, 2008

The Iraq war was not worth the price in blood and treasure

Q: Was the war a good idea and worth the price in blood and treasure?

A: It was a very bad idea, and it wasn’t worth it. The al Qaeda wasn’t there then; they’re there now. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Had nothing to do with 9/11. There was no aggression. This decision on policy was made in 1998 because they called for the removal of Saddam Hussein. It wasn’t worth it, and it’s a sad story because we started that war and we should never be a country that starts war needlessly.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

If Iran invaded Israel, it’s up to Congress to declare war

Q: If Iran invaded Israel, what do we do?

A: Well, they’re not going to. That is like saying “Iran is about to invade Mars.” They don’t have an army or navy or air force. And the Israelis have 300 nuclear weapons. Nobody would touch them. But if it were in our national security interests, Congress could say, “This is very, very important; we have to declare war.” Presidents don’t have the authority to go to war. You go to the Congress and find out if they want a war, and do the people want the war.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Dec 23, 2007

Israeli government & the neocons want US to bomb Iran

Q: This is what you said about Israel. “Israel’s dependent on us for economic means. We send them billions of dollars. They say, ‘We don’t like Iran. You go fight our battles. You bomb Iran for us.’ And they become dependent on us.” Who in Israel is saying “Go bomb Iran for us”?

A: Well, I don’t know the individuals, but we know that their leadership--you read it in the papers on a daily basis--about the government of Israel encouraging Americans to go into Iran. I don’t think that’s top secret.

Q: That the government of Israel wants us to bomb Iran?

A: I don’t think there’s a doubt about that, that they’ve encouraged us to do that. And of course the neoconservatives have been anxious to do that for a long time.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Dec 23, 2007

Every country ended slavery without civil war; US could have

Q: I was intrigued by your comments about Abe Lincoln. “According to Paul, Abe Lincoln should never have gone to war; there were better ways of getting rid of slavery.”

A: Absolutely. Six hundred thousand Americans died in a senseless civil war. No, he shouldn’t have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original intent of the republic. I mean, it was that iron fist..

Q: We’d still have slavery.

A: Oh, come on. Slavery was phased out in every other country of the world. And the way I’m advising that it should have been done is do like the British empire did. You buy the slaves and release them. How much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans and where the hatred lingered for 100 years? Every other major country in the world got rid of slavery without a civil war. I mean, that doesn’t sound too radical to me. That sounds like a pretty reasonable approach.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Dec 23, 2007

No presidential authority to bomb Iran without Congress

Q: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites that does not involve stopping an imminent threat?)

A: None.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power Dec 20, 2007

Non-intervention means Congress declares war when threatened

Q: Sen. McCain criticized you for an “attitude of isolationism and appeasement,” concerning Iraq in the YouTube debate.

A: McCain was awfully confused about isolationism versus non-intervention. There is a big difference. Isolationism isn’t what I advocate. I advocate non-intervention, not getting involved in the internal affairs of other nations.

Q: Under what circumstances, if you were president, would you intervene outside the borders of the US in some sort of crisis around the world?

A: When Congress directed me to in the act of war. If our national security was threatened and we went through the proper procedures, Congress would say, “Our national security is involved, it is threatened and we have to act.” And Congress has that responsibility. The president is the commander in chief, and then he acts.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Dec 2, 2007

Congressional authorization needed to attack Iran’s nukes

Q: If you were president, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities?

ROMNEY: You sit down with your attorneys and tell you what you have to do.

HUNTER: It depends on one thing: the president does not need that if the target is fleeting.

PAUL: Absolutely. This idea of going & talking to attorneys totally baffles me. Why don’t we just open up the Constitution & read it? You’re not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war. Now, as far as fleeting enemies go, yes, if there’s an imminent attack on us, we’d never had that happen in 220 years. The thought that the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the US is preposterous. There’s no way.

HUNTER: Not an imminent attack a fleeting target.

PAUL: This is just continual war propaganda, preparing this nation to go to war and spread this war, not only in Iraq but into Iran, unconstitutionally. It’s a road to disaster if we don’t read the Constitution once in a while.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

Radicals come to kill us because we occupy their lands

Q: What’s your strategy to protect our American way of life from the designs of radical Islam?

A: We indeed do have a problem, but if we go at this incorrectly, we are going to do more damage to ourselves than we are to our enemies. We have to understand the motives of those who come here & kill us. If we don’t understand that, we are not going to win this fight. They come here & kill us because we occupy their lands, and they rationally reason [that] we have to do something about it.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Talk to Iran like we talked to Soviets during Cold War

Q: Would you go to war with Iran if they developed nuclear weapons and threatened Israel?

A: Well, one thing I would remember very clearly is the president doesn’t have the authority to go to war. He goes to the Congress.

Q: So what do you do?

A: He goes to the Congress and finds out if there’s any threat to our national security. And thinking back to the 1960s, when I was in the Air Force for five years, and there was a Cold War going on, and the Soviets had 40,000, and we stood them down, & we didn’t have to have a nuclear confrontation, I would say that we should go very cautiously. We should be talking to Iran right now. We shouldn’t be looking for the opportunity to attack them. They are at the present time, according to the IAEA, cooperating. I think that we ought to be talking about how to get along with some people that are deadly, like the Soviets and the Chinese and the many others. We don’t have to resort to war every single time there is a confrontation.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

US has fought 70 engagements since 1945

It should be harder to promote war, especially when there are so many regrets in the end. In the last 60 years, the American people have had little to say over decisions to wage war. We have allowed a succession of presidents and the U.N. to decide when and if we go to war, without an express congressional declaration as the Constitution mandates.

Since 1945, our country has been involved in over 70 active or covert foreign engagements. On numerous occasions we have provided weapons and funds to both sides in a conflict. It is not unusual for our so-called allies to turn on us and use these weapons against American troops. In recent decades we have been both allies and enemies of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and the Islamists in Iran. And where has it gotten us?

The endless costs resulting from our foolish policies, in human lives, injuries, tax dollars, inflation, and deficits, will burden generations to come. For civilization to advance, we must reduce the number of wars fought.

Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.363 Jun 15, 2007

Limit wars debunking glorification of war

For civilization to advance, we must reduce the number of wars fought. Two conditions must be met if we hope to achieve this.

First, all military (and covert paramilitary) personnel worldwide must refuse to initiate offensive wars beyond their borders This must become a matter of personal honor for every individual.

Second, the true nature of war must be laid bare, and the glorification must end. Instead of promoting war heroes with parades and medals for wars not fought in the true defense of our country, we should more honestly contemplate the real results of war: death, destruction, horrible wounds, civilian casualties, economic costs, and the loss of liberty at home.

The neoconservative belief that war is inherently patriotic, beneficial, manly, and necessary for human progress must be debunked. These war promoters never send themselves or their own children off to fight. Their hero, Machiavelli, must be buried once and for all.

Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.363-364 Jun 15, 2007

Terrorists attack us for our actions abroad, not our freedom

The notion that terrorists attack us because of our freedom & prosperity, and not for our actions abroad, is grossly wrong. If Americans accept the argument that we are threatened because of our freedoms, rather than because American troops are stationed in many places where they are deeply resented, our problems can only get worse. This point is of profound importance, because the philosophy of foreign intervention must be challenged at its core if we are truly interested in peace & prosperity.
Source: A Foreign Policy of Freedom, by Ron Paul, p.362 Jun 15, 2007

Ronald Reagan had the courage to turn tail & run in Lebanon

Ronald Reagan in 1983 sent Marines into Lebanon, and he said he would never turn tail and run. A few months later, the Marines were killed, 241 were killed, and the Marines were taken out. And Reagan addressed this subject in his memoirs. And he says, “I said I would never turn tail and run.” He says, “But I never realized the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics,” and he changed his policy there. We need the courage of a Ronald Reagan.
Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

Intervention abroad incites hatred & attacks like 9/11

Q [to Paul]: Should the 9/11 attacks have changed our non-interventionist policies?

PAUL: No. [Abandoning our tradition of] non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years.

Q: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attack?

PAUL: I’m suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it.

GIULIANI: That’s an extraordinary statement, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I’ve heard that before, and I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th. And I would ask the congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that.

PAUL: If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don’t come here to attack us because we’re rich and we’re free. They come and they attack us because we’re over there.

Source: [X-ref Giuliani] 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

When we go to war carelessly, the wars don’t end

Q [to Paul]: You are the only man on the stage who opposes the war in Iraq. Are you out of step with your party? Or is your party out of step with the rest of the world?

PAUL: I think the party has lost its way, because the conservative wing of the Republican Party always advocated a noninterventionist foreign policy. There’s a strong tradition of being anti-war in the Republican party. It is the constitutional position. It is the advice of the Founders to follow a non-interventionist foreign policy, and stay out of entangling alliances, be friends with countries, negotiate and talk with them and trade with them. Just think of the tremendous improvement in relationships with Vietnam. We lost 60,000 men [during the Vietnam war]. We came home in defeat. Now we go over there and invest in Vietnam. So there’s a lot of merit to the advice of the Founders and following the Constitution. And my argument is that we shouldn’t go to war so carelessly. When we do, the wars don’t end.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

Iran not in violation of NPT--so talk without preconditions

I am concerned about the pre-conditions set by the administration before it will agree to begin talks with Iran. The pre-condition is that the Iranians abandon their uranium enrichment program. But this is exactly what the negotiations are meant to discuss.

By demanding that Iran give up its uranium enrichment program, the US is unilaterally changing the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. UN inspectors have been in Iran for years, and International Atomic Energy Agency Director El Baradei has repeatedly reported that he can find no indication of diversion of nuclear materials to a military purpose.

As a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the “inalienable right” to the “development, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination.” Yet the US is demanding that Iran give up that right en though, after years of monitoring, Iran has never been found to have diverted nuclear material from peaceful to military use.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.359-360 Jun 20, 2006

Same false arguments for invading Iraq now applied to Iran

It’s been three years since the US launched its war against Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. Of course now almost everybody knows there were no WMDs, and Saddam posed no threat to the US.

What have we learned from three years in Iraq? With plans now being laid for regime change in Iran, it appears we have learned nothing.

Congress is abuzz with plans to change the Iranian government. There is little resistance to the rising clamor for “democratizing” Iran, even though their current president is an elected leader. Although Iran is hardly a perfect democracy, its system is far superior to most of our Arab allies about which we never complain. It’s amazing how soon after being discredited over the charges levied against Saddam the neo-cons are willing to use the same arguments against Iran. It’s frightening to see how easily Congress, the media, and the people accept many of the same arguments against Iran that were used to justify invading Iraq.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.345-346 Apr 5, 2006

1991 Gulf War was a UN war, not a US war

President Bush, Sr., proudly spoke of “The New World Order,” a term used by those who promote one-world government under the UN. In going to war in 1991, he sought and received UN authority to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. He forcefully stated that this UN authority was adequate, and that although a congressional resolution was acceptable, it was entirely unnecessary and he would proceed regardless. At that time, there was no discussion regarding a congressional declaration of war. The first Persian Gulf War, therefore, was clearly a UN political war fought within UN guidelines, not for US security. And it was not fought through to victory. The bombings, sanctions, and harassment of the Iraqi people have never stopped. We are not about to resume the active fighting.
Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.248 Feb 26, 2003

We believe Osama’s threats, so why not believe his reasons?

We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, & we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanations of why he & his allies are at war with us.

Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward The US defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking are doing it.

To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we’re free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetuated. Because the media and government have restated it so many times, the majority now accept it at face value. And the administration gets the political cover it needs to pursue a holy war for democracy against the infidels who hate us for our goodness.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.246 Jan 29, 2003

Congress is abdicating its responsibility to declare war

The process by which we’ve entered wars over the past 57 years, and the inconclusive results of each war since that time are obviously related to Congress’ abdication of its responsibility regarding war, given to it by Article I Section 8 of the Constitution. Congress has ignored its responsibility entirely over these years, or transferred the war power to the executive branch.
Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.232 Oct 3, 2002

2002: No evidence of Iraqi nukes nor al Qaeda ties

The only talk here in the capital is about when, not if, we must initiate a war that even the administration admits could cost $200 billion. Some are not even embarrassed to gloat about the political benefits for those who preach war over those who preach negotiations, diplomacy, and containment. The fact that the Arab nations are overwhelmingly opposed to an attack on Iraq and are joined by the European Community is of no concern to those who demand war regardless of circumstance.

No credible evidence has been produced that Iraq has or is close to having nuclear weapons. No evidence exists to show that Iraq harbors al Qaeda terrorists. Quite to the contrary, experts on this region recognize Hussein as an enemy of al Qaeda and a foe to Islamic fundamentalism. Many other nations pose much greater threats to world peace. Yet no one is clamoring for war against them.

Source: House speech, in Foreign Policy of Freedom, p.224 Sep 24, 2002

Internationalists favor perpetual war by fear-mongering

Today the proposals of the Council of Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission have much more impact on policy than the Constitution.

Many American arms manufacturers, as well as other “Rambo” Americans, have an insatiable hunger to perpetually have a fearsome enemy. Therefore, on the surface, it always looks like we are about to go to war with the Soviets while, behind the scenes, we continue to fund the very enemy who “threatens” to invade our hemisphere.

Internationalism is enhanced by this war-monger policy, and individual liberty is diminished. The Constitution is forgotten, as is the traditional American foreign policy practiced for more than a hundred years of minding our own business and providing security for Americans.

It is bad enough to see the loss of liberty for which the Founding Fathers fought so valiantly, but to watch a foreign policy that has led to perpetual war for America presents a great danger to us all.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 45 Dec 31, 1987

1980s Libya bombing was an unauthorized act of war

US policy toward Libya confirms our irrational foreign policy. Under Reagan we have been determined to pick a fight with Khadafi, defying him with naval and air maneuvers in the Gulf of Sidra. As we try to emphasize our right to navigate in international waters near Libya, we totally reject the territorial waters of Nicaragua by mining their harbors. The World Court rulings against the US were ignored by the Reagan administration, yet the President insists that international law is legitimate in the Gulf of Sidra. The most important point, however, is that the Gulf of Sidra has nothing to do with US security.

The bombing of Libya while sending arms to Iran--who has been much more involved in international terrorism--reveals the schizophrenic nature of our foreign policy.

Bombing a foreign capital, and killing innocent civilians is an act of war, not authorized by our Constitution.

The bombing can hardly be considered a success. Of the 18 F-111’s deployed, only 11 completed the mission.

Source: Freedom Under Siege, by Ron Paul, p. 51-52 Dec 31, 1987


Ron Paul on Iraq War

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; Al Qaeda was not in Iraq

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. There were no WMDs, no Al Qaeda there. It is the policy of intervention that I object to so strongly. One time they’re our friends, the next time they’re our enemy. Bin Laden was a freedom fighter when we gave him weapon and equipment to fight the Russians and the Soviets. Saddam Hussein, we propped him up & got him into power & he was our friend & we encouraged him to invade Iran. But it’s this on-again-off-again stuff that continues to haunt us and keep coming back. But you know what? The truth of the matter is that bin Laden likes our foreign policy. He likes our foreign policy because it’s a tremendous incentive for him to raise, his group of Al Qaeda to join. He says: We are going to do to the US, exactly what you and us, together, did to the Soviets. We are going to drain you; we are going to humiliate you. Therefore we don’t even need to come over here. We have fallen into the trap; we have victimized ourselves; we have encouraged him.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference Feb 7, 2008

How many men are you willing to let die in Iraq?

How many men are you willing to let die for this, for something that has nothing to do with our national security? There were no al Qaeda there. It had nothing do with 9/11. There was no threat to our national security. They never committed aggression. It’s unconstitutional. It’s an undeclared war. We have these silly arguments going on about who said what when. It’s time to debate foreign policy and why we don’t follow the Constitution and only go to war with a declaration of war.
Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley Jan 30, 2008

The Iraq war is driving the US into bankruptcy

Q: Do you agree with McCain’s statement that the US might need to have US troops in Iraq for as long as even 100 years?

A: I don’t even think they should have gone, so keeping them for 100 years, where’s the money going to come from? The country is in bankruptcy. When I listen to this argument, I find it rather silly, because they’re arguing technicalities of a policy. They agreed with going in; they agreed for staying, agreed for staying how many years? These are technicalities. We should be debating foreign policy, whether we should have interventionism or non-interventionism, whether we should be defending this country or whether we should be the policemen of the world, whether we should be running our empire or not, and how are going to have guns and butter? The ‘70s were horrible because we paid for the guns and butters of the ‘60s. Now we’re doing the same thing. Nobody even seems to care. The dollar is crashing, and you’re talking about these technicalities about who said what when?

Source: 2008 Republican debate at Reagan Library in Simi Valley Jan 30, 2008

Bush in 2000 had same humble policy that I propose in Iraq

Q: Does the US have itself to blame for its policies in the Muslim world, for some of the terrorist attacks?

A: I don’t blame the American people, but you have to understand what’s going on. I was defending my position [against GOP opponents] with George Bush’s position in the year 2000, when he didn’t want to get into nation-building, he didn’t want to police the world, he wanted a more humble foreign policy. In those two statements, you just heard it wasn’t really very humble. It was really a vicious attack on Muslims. And they say that, oh, no, it’s only the radicals, but they paint a picture where you have to attack the Muslim world and you blame the Muslim religion. And I don’t think that’s true whatsoever. And if we have a [military] presence in the Arab world and in the Muslim world, there are consequences. And I point it out to them, and they don’t listen to this, is how would we react if somebody did the same thing to us? The American people would be outraged.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Jan 6, 2008

Terrorists do not attack us because we’re free or prosperous

Q: You were attacked yesterday over your contention that the US has itself to blame for its policies in the Muslim world, for some of the terrorist attacks. Some clips:

ROMNEY: Ron, you need a thorough understanding of what radical jihad is, what the movement is, what its intent is, where it flows from.

GIULIANI: Ron’s analysis is really seriously flawed [about] the idea that the attack took place because of American foreign policy.

Q: What do you say to the criticism that you’re blaming the victim, the US, for the policies?

PAUL: Well, that’s not correct. Because I don’t blame the American people, and I don’t blame somebody who gets murdered for the murder. You have to look for the cause and the incentive and the motive. And the motive is that our foreign policy does aggravate a lot of people. I know there are radicals, and I know they will attack us, but if we don’t understand the motive, if we continue to believe they attack us because we’re free and prosperous, we can’t win this fight.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Jan 6, 2008

Congress can defund war, but not micromanage it

Q: Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops--either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments?

A: I have not voted to [restrict] the president on troop movements. So my thinking is if the president has some type of authority or he assumes it, I don’t want the solution to be by capping the number of troops or setting any type of troop movement. The solution there for me would be to remove the authority and defund it, not to micromanage troop movement. At least the thing that I follow on some of these votes in the Congress, when the Democrats come up with restricting troop movements or saying you have to move so many out by so many months, unless the bill is complex that is a basic premise I try to follow. I do not like to vote for, and have voted against, micromanaging troop movements.

Source: Boston Globe questionnaire on Executive Power Dec 20, 2007

Different view on war because I adhere to the Constitution

Q: You have a different point of view on the war than your GOP colleagues, don’t you?

A: I do. I definitely have a different point of view, because we weren’t justified in going over there. We did not declare the war. You might ask the question, why is it that I have a different view point on foreign policy? Because I adhere to the Constitution and the advice of the founders to stay out of the entangling alliances, the internal affairs of other nations.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007

Iraq is not Nazi Germany; WWII opposition did not cause WWII

Q: John McCain said in the YouTube debate that you “talk about the war in Iraq and how it has failed. And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. You allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement.” You were shaking your head as you heard the final words. I want you to elaborate this morning.

A: Well, first off, Iraq is not Nazi Germany. And besides, I thought it was Hitler that caused World War II, not the American people who opposed going in. So it didn’t make any sense. And then he was awfully confused about isolationism versus non-intervention. There is a big difference. Isolationism isn’t what I advocate. I advocate non-intervention, not getting involved in the internal affairs of other nations, and not pretending a country like Iraq is equivalent to Nazi Germany. Iraq had no army, no navy, no WMD, had nothing to do with 9/11, so the comparison makes no sense.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Dec 2, 2007

Anger abroad at US for planning 14 permanent bases in Iraq

Q: John McCain said after the YouTube debate, “I tried to point out to Rep. Paul that the soldiers in Iraq believe that they are winning & they don’t agree with his description of the motives for which we went to war in Iraq.” You want to respond to him?

A: Well, yes, we do disagree on this. I don’t believe we went to the war for the right reason. There were no weapons of mass destruction. It had nothing to do with 9/11. So we were there for the wrong reason and he doesn’t understand the motivations for why they want to come here. It’s not because we are wealthy and prosperous and free. They come here because we are in their country. And even if there is an improvement, which we all hope there is, we plan to keep 14 bases over there, a huge Naval base, and we have this huge embassy. We have a permanent plan to stay there and take over these $30 trillion worth of oil in that region. And the people in those countries know that and that’s why they are very angry. And to deny that is folly.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2007 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer Dec 2, 2007

Mercantilist oil dependency was reason for war

Q: Would we have gone to war in Iraq if we weren’t so dependent on Middle East oil?

A: Probably not, but that should not be a reason. That’s an old theory. It’s mercantilistic. It’s neocolonialism that you have to maintain your supply routes and your natural resources. But I think there’s still a lot of those kind of people around. You know, we were told it was about oil and jobs when it first started in 1990, and this is just a continuation of that war.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

We went into Iraq under false pretenses of WMD and 9/11

Q: Regarding declining minority enlistment, what do you say to minorities who are overwhelmingly opposed to the continuation of this war?

A: The most important promise we keep is the oath to obey the Constitution. We just shouldn’t be going to all these wars. We shouldn’t have so many injured and in our hospitals because we shouldn’t go to war unless it’s declared. If it’s declared, we should go win it and get it over with. We went in under false pretense. There were no weapons of mass destruction There are still people who believe that Iraq had something to do with 9/11, yet 15 of the people were from Saudi Arabia. We need to live up to our principles so there are less injured veterans, but when they come home we better jolly well take care of them, and we’re not doing a very good job right now, because all the money’s going overseas. We’re broke. We got to do something about it. And we can’t perpetuate a welfare state AND police an empire without going bankrupt.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

Preemptive war is against Christian doctrine of just war

Q: Tell us about your personal faith, and what it means to your life.

A: I get to my God through Christ. Christ, to me, is a Man of peace. He is for peace, He is not for war. He doesn’t justify preemptive war. I strongly believe that there is a Christian doctrine of just war. And I believe this nation has drifted from that. No matter what the rationales are, we have drifted from that, and it’s very, very dangerous, and I see in many ways being unchristian. Christ is for love, and forgiveness, and turning the other cheek for peace. And to justify what we do in the name of Christianity I think is very dangerous, and not part of what Christianity is all about. Christ came here for spiritual reasons, not secular war and boundaries and geography. And yet, we are now dedicating so much of our aggressive activity in the name of God, but God, he is the Prince of Peace. That is what I see from my God and through Christ. I vote for peace.

Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

No US role in autonomy for Christians in Iraq Nineveh region

Q: US policy has thus far failed Christians & other non-Muslim minorities in Iraq; their very existence is threatened. This would be a tragic and ironic outcome of Iraq’s liberation. Do you support their political goals by endorsing the creation of an autonomous administrative area in their ancestral homeland of the Nineveh plains, as permitted by Article 125 of the Iraqi Constitution?
Source: 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

People saying “bloodbath” said “cakewalk”: listen to dissent

Q: Your position on the war is pretty simple: Get out. What about trying to minimize the bloodbath that would certainly occur if we pull out in a hurry?

A: The people who say there will be a bloodbath are the ones who said it will be a cakewalk or it will be a slam dunk, and that it will be paid for by oil. Why believe them? They’ve been wrong on everything they’ve said. So why not ask the people who advised not to go into the region and into the war? The war has not gone well one bit.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Take marching orders from Constitution; not from al Qaeda

Q: [to Paul]: Your position on the war is pretty simple: Get out.

PAUL: Yes, I would leave. I would leave completely. Why leave the troops in the region? The fact that we had troops in Saudi Arabia was one of the three reasons given for the attack on 9/11. So why leave them in the region? They don’t want our troops on the Arabian Peninsula. We have no need for our national security to have troops on the Arabian Peninsula.

Q: You’re basically saying that we should take our marching orders from Al Qaida? If they want us off the Arabian Peninsula, we should leave?

PAUL: No! I’m saying we should take our marching orders from our Constitution. We should not go to war without a declaration. We should not go to war when it’s an aggressive war. This is an aggressive invasion. We’ve committed the invasion of this war. And it’s illegal under international law. That’s where I take my marching orders, not from any enemy.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

How many more lives lost just to save face?

PAUL: [to Hunter]: We have lost over 5,000 Americans killed in Afghanistan & Iraq, plus the civilians killed. How many more you want to lose? How long are you going to be there? What do we have to pay to save face? That’s all we’re doing, is saving face. It’s time we came home.

HUNTER: Let me just tell you what they’ve done. In Anbar Province, we were having 1,350 attacks a month last October. By the blood, sweat and tears of the US Marines out there, we pulled it down 80%. They’ve pulled down civilian casualties 74%. We’ve got 129 battalions in the Iraqi army that we’re training up. That’s the right way to win. It’s called victory. That’s how we leave Iraq.

Q: No matter how long it takes?

HUNTER: If you think we’re going to be there for a long time, you don’t understand the determination of the US Marines and the US Army. We’re going to turn it over.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Neocons hijacked our foreign policy to invade Iraq

Q: [to Huckabee]: Should we continue the troop surge?

HUCKABEE: We have to continue the surge, and let me explain why. When I was a little kid, if I went into a store with my mother, she had a simple rule for me: If I picked something off the shelf at the store and I broke it, I bought it. Well, what we did in Iraq, we essentially broke it. It’s our responsibility to do the best we can to try to fix it before we just turn away. whether or not we should have gone to Iraq is a discussion the historians can have, but we’re there. We bought it because we broke it.

PAUL: The American people didn’t go in. A few people advising this administration, a small number of people called the neoconservatives hijacked our foreign policy. They’re responsible, not the American people. They’re not responsible. We shouldn’t punish them.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at UNH, sponsored by Fox News Sep 5, 2007

Iraq war is illegal; undeclared wars never end & we lose

Q: What would be your strategy for ending the war in Iraq?

PAUL: Just come home. We just marched in. We can just come back. We went in there illegally. We did not declare war. It’s lasting way too long. We didn’t declare war in Korea or Vietnam. The wars were never really ended. We lose those wars. We’re losing this one. We shouldn’t be there. We ought to just come home. The #1 reason it’s in our national self-interest & for our national security, think of our defenses now, how rundown they are. What is the morale of our military today when they’re sent over there for 12 months and then they’re kept for another three months? They come home and, with less than a year’s rest, they’re sent back again. Congress is currently trying to change the rules so we give these men an adequate rest. This war is not going well because the foreign policy is defective.

HUNTER: I’m tired of the Democrats and my colleague saying, “Come home.” It’s a race to see who could stampede for the exit the quickest.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

Neocons promoted Iraq war for years; not about Al Qaida

I opposed the war a long time before it started. The neoconservatives promoted this war many, many years before it was started. It had nothing to do with Al Qaida. There was no Al Qaida in Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Just think of the weapons the Soviets had in the ‘60s. We did not have to go to nuclear war with them. There’s no reason to go to war against these Third World nations.

At the same time, those individuals who predicted these disastrous things to happen if we leave Iraq are the same ones who said, “As soon as we go in, it will just be duck soup, it’ll be over in three months and it won’t cost us anything because the oil will pay for it.”

The individuals who predict [an Iraq] disaster, predicted the domino theory, in Vietnam. I served five years in the military in the ‘60s. When we left there, it was tough, yes. But now we trade with Vietnam. We can achieve much more in peace than we can ever achieve in these needless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars.

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate Aug 5, 2007

We’re more threatened now by staying in Iraq

Q: If General Petraeus’ strategy is not working so far in September, what do you do then?

A: The sooner we come home, the better. If they declare there’s no progress in September, we should come home. It was a mistake to go, so it’s a mistake to stay. If we made the wrong diagnosis, we should change the treatment. The weapons weren’t there, and we went in under U.N. resolutions. And our national security was not threatened. We’re more threatened now by staying.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 5, 2007

Stop policing Iraq’s streets; have Iraqis take over

Q: Considering the Iraqi people have lived under a dictatorship for the last 30 years or so, what are we going to do to make sure they have a government in place before we pull our troops out and they’re able to help themselves? Otherwise we’re just putting them in a position to accept another terrorist leader.

A: Well, we’ve had four years to do this and it hasn’t worked. The biggest incentive for them to take upon themselves the responsibility is just for us to leave. We don’t need to lose 100 men and women every month, more than 1,000 per year. And so you want it done. You want them to take over. You’ve got to give them an incentive. So I think we should immediately stop patrolling the streets. That’s a policeman’s job. It’s not the work of the Army. We’re not fighting a military battle. We’re in a different type of warfare right now. So the sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can make sure that no more Americans will die.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

We should have declared war in Iraq, or not gone in at all

Q: You’re one of 6 House Republicans in 2002 who voted against authorizing Pres. Bush to use force in Iraq.

A: Right.

Q: Now you say we should pull our troops out?

A: In 2002, I offered an amendment to declare war, up or down. Nobody voted for the war. And my argument there was, if we want to go to war, the Congress should declare it. We don’t go to war like we did in Vietnam and Korea, because the wars never end. And I argued the case and made the point that it would be a quagmire if we go in.

Source: 2007 Republican Debate in South Carolina May 15, 2007

Opposes Iraq war and opposes path toward Iran war

Ron Paul strongly opposes the war in Iraq, and warns that President Bush is going down a dangerous path toward war with Iran.
Source: Jill Morrison on KUHF, Houston Public Radio Jan 17, 2007


Ron Paul on Voting Record

Voted for going after Al Qaeda, not invading Iraq

We are not threatened by a military operation. They’re incapable--we have more weapons--we probably have twice as many weapons as all the other countries put together. Nobody’s going to invade us. We are not weak, and we shouldn’t act like we are weak. But here we are, we are frightened by what might happen, and of course we have to deal with the issue of terrorism. When the terrorist attack occurred, I voted for the authority and the funding to go after the Al Qaeda. But bin Laden, who used to be our ally, is still free. We chased him over into Pakistan; we dropped the ball at Tora Bora... So what did we do?--we taxed the American people, or we borrowed the money from China, took another ten billion dollars, and hired a military dictatorship by the name of Musharraf to go after bin Laden, which he did not do, and now we still have a mess. We won in the year 2000 by campaigning for a humble foreign policy: no policing of the world, no intervening! And now we are doing the very same thing.
Source: Speeches to 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference Feb 7, 2008

Voted against war because Iraq was not a national threat

Q: You voted against the war. Why are all your fellow Republicans up here wrong?

A: You might ask the question, why are 70% of the American people now wanting us out of there? I tried very hard to solve this problem before we went to war by saying, “Declare war if you want to go to war. Go to war, fight it and win it, but don’t get into it for political reasons or to enforce U.N. resolutions or pretend the Iraqis were a national threat to us.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

Voted YES on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation:This vote is on referring the impeachment resolution to a Congressional Committee to decide further action (not on impeachment itself).Congressional Summary:Resolved, That President George W. Bush b Fourth Amendment
  • Article XXVI--Announcing the Intent To Violate Laws With Signing Statements, and Violating Those LawsProponents' arguments for voting YEA:Rep. Kucinich: Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that
    Reference: The Kucinich Privilege Resolution; Bill H.RES.1258 ; vote number 2008-401 on Jun 11, 2008

    Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days.

    To provide for the redeployment of US Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq. Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement. Prohibits the use of DOD funds to increase the number of US forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Authorizes retaining in Iraq US forces for providing security for diplomatic missions; for targeting al-Qaeda; and for training Iraqi Security Forces. Requires the President to transfer to the government of Iraq all interest held by the US in any military facility in Iraq.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq. This bill does not walk away from the Iraqi people. It specifically continues diplomatic, social, economic, and reconstruction aid. Finally, this bill leaves all the decisions on the locations outside of Iraq to which our troops will be redeployed wholly in the hands of our military commanders.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    This legislation embraces surrender and defeat. This legislation undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander in chief. Opponents express concern about the effects of an ill-conceived military withdrawal, and about any legislation that places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the military commanders in the field. The enemy we face in Iraq view this bill as a sign of weakness. Now is not the time to signal retreat and surrender. It is absolutely essential that America, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.

    Reference: Out of Iraq Caucus bill; Bill H R 2237 ; vote number 2007-330 on May 10, 2007

    Voted NO on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

    Reference: Resolution on Prevailing in the Global War on Terror; Bill HRES 861 ; vote number 2006-288 on Jun 12, 2006

    Voted NO on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

    States that the House of Representatives:
    1. affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
    2. commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
    3. commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
    4. commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
    Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

    Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq.

    Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

    Voted YES on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

    Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
    Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

    Other candidates on War & Peace: Ron Paul on other issues:
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