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Can Ron Paul Seize the Moment and Reframe his Foreign Policy Message?

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy, but there’s everything wrong with the way he has been presenting them in his public appearances and in the debates.

Paul basically believes that national defense should focus on defense and that overcommitting our resources in foreign wars and foreign aid missions weakens our ability to defend our own nation and undermines our credibility and effectiveness in foreign policy. Secondarily, the huge cost of our foreign wars has helped put us into a vast pit of deficit spending and weakened our economy, and that economic vulnerability is as big a threat to national security as all the missiles in China. This is a reality-based and absolutely reasonable foreign policy position to take.

However, because of the way he presents his positions, detractors have been able to paint Paul as an isolationist, as anti-American and even as a Muslim sympathizer – largely unfairly – but nonetheless pretty effectively.

Paul’s downfall comes in his apparent fascination with the theory of “blowback,” a not very insightful foreign policy meme derived from the CIA’s use of the term as presented in the book Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. Johnson’s development of the idea is naive and simplistic and basically comes down to the unsurprising notion that sometimes when people are angry with the United States it’s precipitated by something we did to them. Our foreign policy hasn’t always been terribly gentle and not surprisingly we’ve made some enemies. Blowback is more like payback, when people or nations try to get revenge for wrongs we’ve done them in the past.

As part of a comprehensive view of foreign policy the idea of “blowback” certainly has a valid role. But if you lead with it, as Ron Paul has an unfortunate habit of doing, it creates the impression that it is the entire basis of your understanding of foreign affairs and that you are essentially saying that whatever happens to America, from the events of 9/11 to the latest bombing in Afghanistan, is not the fault of the terrorists, but has to be blamed on the United States because we wronged them first.

This is a view which is both logically fallacious and offensive to a lot of people. If it’s the only part of your foreign policy which registers with an audience, then it’s not surprising that some of them conclude that you’re sympathetic to the terrorists. Even Neoconservatives can see the fallacy in concluding that primary responsibility for any action lies with someone other than the actor himself. While motivations are worth considering, no matter what they are, the person who consciously chooses to commit a new and original act of violence still gets most of the blame. No matter how he was provoked he could have chosen not to do wrong.

The problem for Ron Paul as a candidate is that you cannot explain the nuances of an idea like this or put it in the larger foreign policy context in a sound byte or a 30 second debate response. So the result of bringing it up without enough time to explain it is that all that gets through is that you’re blaming the United States for provoking whatever attacks it has received. Paul is not wrong to raise this issue, but if that’s all you’re going to be able to communicate about your foreign policy it’s not going to play well with a lot of people.

That being the case, it would be far wiser to express a simple and positive position on foreign policy and leave issues like “blowback” on the back burner to be explained in a position paper in the proper context. Leading with a controversial issue like this is a bad idea, no matter how much some of your followers cheer when you stick it to the neocons by bringing it up. Ron Paul doesn’t need to win over the folks at Antiwar.com. He needs to win over the borderline War Hawks who are far more numerous and influential in the Republican Party.

More recently Paul has faced a similar problem to the controversy he created over “blowback” with his apparent defense of the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons. On this issue he’s largely correct. Iran is a sovereign nation and we really don’t have any more right to tell it what to do than China does to tell us. And if someone is going to try to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons it should be those who are most threatened by them and the international community, not the United States acting unilaterally. But all of that doesn’t make a good sound byte, so he ends up being portrayed as wanting Iran to have nukes.

Tonight’s debate on CNN is specifically focused on foreign policy and it would be a wonderful opportunity for Paul to counter some of the negative impressions he has created in the past and offer a simple and positive foreign policy statement which would win supporters he needs instead of being misinterpreted and taken out of context and used to fuel attacks against him.

He should avoid bringing up ideas like “blowback” which he won’t have time to explain and focus on short, clear and positive statements about how the role he would have America play in the world. Here are some simple statements which would fit with his beliefs and serve him much better than the things he has said in the past.

For a general statement on our role in foreign affairs he could say:

“I believe that America should lead by example and pursue peace through strength. A great nation does not need to meddle in the affairs of its neighbors.” (throwing int he right buzzword here could win a lot of points with GOP primary voters)

If asked specifically about “blowback” and 9/11 he could say:

“Our past foreign policy cannot be used to justify the actions of terrorists and murderers. One wrong does not excuse another and those who commit acts of terror should be held directly responsible.” (doesn’t rule out the possibility of holding the US responsible, but doesn’t push it either)

If asked about Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons he could say:

“Iran is already a threat to its neighbors and some of them have their own nuclear arsenals. Our primary concern should be the safety of our nation, our citizens and our property and so long as Iran does not directly threaten us we should respect Itheir sovereignty as much as we do that of other nuclear nations.”

If asked about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he could say:

“We should only go to war to protect our nation, its people and its immediate interests. Long wars for vague purposes are too costly and harm national security by weakening our economy. We should focus on retasking the military to be a more modern and effective force for defending our borders and protecting our citizens as its first priority.” (shows an interest in making the military better and more useful, not irrelevant)

If asked about how to deal with terrorists he should say:

“Terrorism should be treated as the most serious kind of crime. We should go after terrorists with every resource at our disposal, but our focus should always be on bringing the terrorists to justice with some due process of law. In fighting terror the military should act as an arm of law enforcement and with Congressional authorization, to apprehend terrorists wherever they are and bring them to trial and punishment.”

All of these statements are in keeping with Paul’s positions as I have been able to work them out from his more developed statements on these subjects. None of them is so long or complex that it could not be produced as a short answer in a debate.

How hard would it be for him to avoid his past mistakes and present his ideas in a more positive way? Why haven’t his advisors and debate prep team not tried to equip him with a better arsenal of responses? Or is it possible that he has been given this sort of advice and is too set in his ways and sees changing his presentation of these ideas as a concession he’s not willing to make?

I can’t answer these questions, but I sure would like to see him sell his ideas better to a broader audience in tonight’s debate.  He’s polling surprisingly well and if he could lay some of these criticisms to rest who knows how well he could do in the primary.

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About Dave Nalle

  • SQ

    great sound bytes. you should pass them on to the RP campaign. i get frustrated that RP is not a slick wizard like romney, and he tries to discuss nuanced policy to a crowd of idiots.

  • sovereign

    There’s a University of Chicago professor who’s studied terrorism extensively. His name is Robert Pape and from his research he concluded that over 95% of all suicide terrorism since 1980 was chiefly motivated by FOREIGN OCCUPATION. So, when you have a foreign policy that completely ignores over 95% of the problem, yes, you’re going to need the patriot act. You’re going to need a camera in every house, a wire tap on every phone and a police state, the kind that only George Orwell could have thought up.

  • dhendrix

    Excellent article! I’ve been following Ron Paul closely since 2007 and while I certainly agree with much of what he says, I too have felt that he needs to work on his rhetoric. What little media coverage and debate time he gets must be used wisely; he cannot pack an entire history lesson into 30 second sound bytes.

    I hope you get in touch with Paul’s campaign and can help him put together some knock-out key phrases — He’ll need ‘em against Obama!

  • wharfrat

    Your article showed great wisdom concerning our political process and how it limits candidates to speak their minds in these debates. Kudos, sir!

    I’m a Paulistinian, Paulite, Paulbot or whatever we’re being called this week, and just wanted to show appreciation for a well thought-out piece of writing. Take care.

  • Kevin

    How beautifully said, Sir! You’ve really hit at the root of what’s keeping Ron Paul from breaking this ceiling and surging big.

    It’s his context and failing to appreciate his listeners’ context that’s holding the message back, not his ideas. You should DEFINITELY forward this along to Paul’s campaign. In fact, such insight could really help him out through next year.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Fortunately for America and the world, Paul stands little chance of getting elected. He has some wonderful ideas – no argument there. But for every great idea he has, he’s got one that’s terrible. The last thing we need in the White House is an ideologue of any political leaning. Every great president we’ve had (Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Reagan) stood for principle…but knew when to cut a deal even if it made him look like a rank hypocrite. Most of our worst presidents were ideologues, like Dubya, Hoover, and worst of all (since 1900), Wilson.

    Remember, our government was designed by the Founding Fathers to work as a collective effort wherein legislators would have to make deals with each other to pass legislation. That’s why it’s referred to as ‘sausage-making’…ugly as hell in the making, but usually pretty doggone good when one takes a bite of the end result.

    Paul, on the other hand, is an ideologue from the word ‘go’. He does not make such deals and apparently believes that pragmatism – deal-making – is for fools and weaklings.

    Show me a libertarian who chooses pragmatism over rigid ideology, and I’ll show you a possible winner…if he can win the GOP nomination first.

  • edward

    Great suggestions.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/traitorsusa/ Paul Sheldon Foote

    You are correct in the sense that any candidate who appears before an audience of neo-conservatives (neo-Trotskyites), CNN political analysts and fact checkers will be subjected to lies and distortions about anything they say in 30 seconds. Surprisingly, the strongest praise for Ron Paul came from the Democratic Party strategist following the debate.

    The American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation are not the only sources of disinformation and of misinformation. There are more than 1.7 million 501 (c) (3) public charities and other organizations to which Americans can make contributions. Such organizations are not required to disclose their Schedule B contributors to the public. By contrast, when I was a Republican candidate for the California State Assembly, I had to disclose all contributors who contributed $100 or more to my campaign. America’s political corruption will continue until public charities must disclose their contributors.

    Neo-conservative (Neo-Trotskyite) success would not be possible also without the support of Christian Zionist ministers. With your knowledge of the Russian language, you might be aware of the tens of millions of Russian Christians murdered by communists in the Soviet Union. The KGB executed all real Christian priests and substituted fake Christian priests who duped Russian Christians and international Christian church organizations.

    Iran is not a military threat to Arab countries. I have lived and worked in Iran and in some Arab countries. To the contrary, the Shah of Iran sent the Iranian military to Oman to keep the sultan in power. In my travels in the Arab world, I was surprised to find photographs of Ayatollah Khomeini in shops owned by persons who were not Shiite Muslims. When I was a professor at Sultan Qaboos University, some of my students called one of my students Ayatollah because his views on politics were closer to those of Ayatollah Khomeini than to Sultan Qaboos. The recent Arab Spring has demonstrated the real reasons for the fears of Arab leaders.

    America is the worst terrorist in the world today. In 2008, Hillary Clinton threatened to obliterate Iran if she became the president. The American government has forced the Iraqi government to keep open Camp Ashraf, Iraq so that the American government can use the Iranian Communist MEK (MKO, PMOI, NCRI, Rajavi Cult, or Pol Pot of Iran) terrorists to perform terrorist activities in Iran and in the region. The MEK communists have helped Jundallah and other terrorists in the Middle East at th request of the American government.

    Millions of Americans do not have passports, have not lived in foreign countries, attend Christian Zionist churches, and trust as news sources CNN, the Fox News Channel, ABC, CBS, and NBC.

    Given the massive network of liars in the major American media and in Christian Zionist churches, it is difficult for anyone to explain the truth in 30 seconds.

  • Matt

    As a Paul supporter from 2007, I agree whole-heatedly with your sentiments. I think Paul is so used to being on the outside and needing to shock people into paying attention, he doesn’t know how to draw it back (like his son does). My big question is: how on earth are his campaign people unable to prep him with answers like these … you should forward this to his campaign, pointing out the widespread approval you have gotten from Paul supporters.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    @ #8:

    Ah, there you are.

    Where did you get to on this thread?

  • USS Constitution

    While ultimately such may at times manifest into actual attacks, or what could be seen as “payback”, it doesn’t really start there.

    It starts with the minds of the people in the area. Which is why during times of war in history, great effort has been put into the manipulation of the people in order to gain support for the efforts. In Japan, they were told they would be treated horribly and that would make them fight until death, or in many cases commit suicide. And that goes around everywhere to an extent.

    So what happens is our actions cause contempt among the people. It is from that contempt that more extreme elements appear and gain control of the region. Without that contempt, the extreme elements wouldn’t gain power.

    This is easy to demonstrate in our own country. Lets say China attacks us, or takes over the US government. This action will in itself cause contempt among the American people.

    At which point, the American people are going to start to support basically any groups that opposed China. Oh yeah, you know that group is somewhat extreme – but you will not care. You will support them because they are fighting that which you oppose. After it’s done, then the country will deal with their extremism.

    Those same extreme elements would have never sniffed such power otherwise.

    So in the end, our actions actually go towards strengthening the extremists in those countries and undermining our own influence in the region.

    The more you fight, the more you create.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Yes, Paul is an ideologue, but he’s not an irredeemable one. He has made some effort in this campaign to present his views in a more palatble form and he’s done things like distancing himself from the truthers. That suggests that he has some common sense to balance out the idealism.

    Dave

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    To Paul Sheldon Foote (and anyone else)–

    I was keeping up with you until the third paragraph. I don’t get the Trotsky reference – please elaborate.

    In the fourth paragraph, you’re just crazy. Iran is absolutely a threat to the whole world. Do you recall the “sharia law world-wide” statements? I for one do not want to live in that world. Fortunately, it will never happen – too many rednecks with guns here.

    Fifth paragraph is back to crazy. Threatening is not terrorism. The US has never high-jacked planes and destroyed buildings in any other country. The US has never sent suicide bombers into foreign cities. So, I say we’re NOT terrorists – we do stick our noses into other countries business, but about half of the world expects that we will come to the rescue when called.

    Last comment, using the word Zionist sets off my kook alarm. Unless you are talking about a hill in Israel, in which case I don’t get it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “One American” –

    So when our president knowingly decides that we need to invade a sovereign nation and even resorts to using false premises to do so…and in the resulting invasion we cause the deaths over over 100,000 innocent men, women, and children, exactly how does that make us “not terrorists”?

    Actually, it doesn’t. What it DOES do is make us the aggressor nation, just as much as were the Soviet Union (Afghanistan), North Vietnam (South Vietnam), North Korea (South Korea)…and so on.

    And before your head finishes exploding, remember that Bush Jr. discussed invading Iraq TEN DAYS after he took the oath of office in January of 2001…over EIGHT MONTHS before 9/11.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    I’m not saying we were in the right to invade, and I hated and still hate Bush the Younger with a passion. That said, we can’t let dictators run their people into the ground – Saddam had to go. I don’t agree with the methods and I was always suspicious of the WMD evidence, but still he had to go.

    I want our troops out of the middle east as much as anybody, and I would say just let them destroy each other, but with the Nuke option , Iran in particular bothers me, means that someone has to do something. Maybe it’s not the US but who else will keep “Sharia Law” away from our shores?

  • Jordan Richardson

    One American, why didn’t the dictator “have to go” when America, West Germany and France were helping him bomb civilian targets in Iran in 1986?

    And what makes you think “Sharia Law,” another scare term with little practical meaning, is going to take hold in any meaningful way in Western society? If the scary fundamentalist Muslims are priming to invade us and take us under their rule, they’re sure taking their sweet ass time with it.

  • JD Jackson

    I don’t think I would feel comfortable with him not directly saying that American actions cause attacks against America. Why should it be hidden away? It is a fact that American actions are causing people to initiate terrorist acts against us. Yes, terrorists have responsibility for their actions, anyone blowing up a building or crashing a plane full of people should be punished. So when is America going to take responsibility for our actions? We are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani citizens, we are responsible for causing hate, creating terrorists, and inciting terrorism. We need to acknowledge our role, take responsibility for our actions, and then STOP. Any politician who feeds the American public’s desire to hear that we can’t possibly have anything to do with terrorist attacks and that they only attack because they hate our way of life is a politician doing an incredible disservice to us all. This is the hard truth that all Americans need to hear.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “One American” –

    Answer Jordan’s question – WHY did Saddam “have to go”? What threat did he pose to America that the Soviet Union and Communist China not pose to an infinitely greater degree?

    He had no concrete ties with al-Qaeda – we know that now. He had no WMD’s – even Bush has admitted it! And Saddam – for all the monstrous evil he DID do, provided a counterbalance to Iran…

    …a counterbalance that Bush never understood since he didn’t know the significance of the Shi’a/Sunni schism. America didn’t win the Iraq war, and neither did Iraq. The clear winner? Iran. And Iran’s only worry now is a nuclear-armed Sunni state not too far to its east: Pakistan. THAT, sir, is why Iran really wants nukes. Israel’s the EXCUSE, but Pakistan is the REASON. Iran will have nukes – it’s only a matter of time.

    But back to the subject at hand, do you really, truly think that preemptive war should be a national policy? And again, answer Jordan’s question.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    He was completely insane. I don’t think there was any doubt that if we had not stopped Saddam when he invaded Kuwait, that he would have stopped there. Let’s also not forget the largest environmental disaster (hundreds of wells set on fire)in history. Does anyone think that he would have stopped there? What would world oil prices have gone to if Saddam owned 1/3 of the world’s reserves. We KNOW that he had chemical weapons, and probably biologicals, that he used on his own people, and Scud missiles with 1000 miles of range. Do you think he wouldn’t eventually attacked somewhere else?

    Glenn, I would love it if we could all live in peace, but I don’t expect it to happen. If our choice is to wait to be attacked or to attack first, then there is not really any option. Isolationism has not worked well in the past, and even if we were to pull all troops back into the US and just be prepared for an attack, we would absolutely be attacked, probably by every other country at the same time. So, national policy – no. But until most of the other western countries stop expecting the US to carry the weight in every bush-war, we will have to be prepared to take the fight to wherever it happens to be.

  • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/traitorsusa/ Paul Sheldon Foote

    The original neo-conservatives were Trotskyite communists.

    The term neo-conservative started as a derogatory term created by those in the left wing who understood how Trotskyites were infiltrating the Democratic and Republican parties.

    The neo-conservatives simply changed the label of their bottle of Trotskyite wine: endless wars to impose communism (democracy).

    America has murdered perhaps one million Iraqis and has destroyed the buildings of millions more. These homeless Iraqis live now in neighboring Arab countries. America has killed others and destroyed buildings in Afghanistan and in Libya.

    Christians learn that Jesus taught his followers to go into all the world to preach the gospel. Likewise, Islam is an evangelizing religion. If America can send missionaries even to occupied Afghanistan, Muslims should be able to seek converts. Both Christians and Muslims have been highly successful in Africa in gaining converts.

    Real Christians cannot be duped by Christian Zionists.

    Zionism is communism. Moses Hess, who proposed Zionism in his book Rome and Jerusalem, worked with Karl Marx in writing The Communist Manifesto.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Paul, thanks for the clarification. I get the Trotsky and Zionism references now – I retract the kook comment. As far as religious evangelism goes, I think we would be better off with no religions. Not a single one can even agree on their own guidelines much less see any benefit in other religions.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “One American” –

    Yeah, the guy was a monstrous tyrant. But what, then, are we to say about Stalin who coordinated the murder of 20 million of his people? Or Mao, whose Great Leap Forward killed 10 million of his people? Should we have attacked on the same grounds that you just listed for attacking Saddam?

    “One American”, Saddam posed ZERO threat to America. It does not matter that he might have been insane. It does not matter that he was so cruel to his people and had used chemical weapons on them. And it did not matter what threats he made and what inflammatory rhetoric he used.

    The ONLY thing that matters is this: did the nation of Iraq – not Saddam, but Iraq – pose a clear and present danger to the American people?

    No.

    He had not attacked us since he was kicked out of Kuwait. He had not done anything concrete against America. The ONLY threat that really concerned him before Bush and the Neo-Cons…was Iran – and that’s exactly what he said in his interviews after his capture. Again, the Shi’a/Sunni split.

    THAT, sir, is how to judge whether we should go to war. Have we been attacked? Does the attacker pose a clear and present danger to America?

    If there’s no clear and present danger, we should NOT attack.

  • Jordan Richardson

    He was completely insane

    Yes, he was. So why was the insane dictator such a useful pawn when the US financed and supplied his war with Iran and his stockpile of weapons?

    With regard to Kuwait, Iraq was suffering as a result of Kuwait’s oil pricing and couldn’t recover after the war with Iran. Add to the mix that Iraq believed Kuwait was slant-drilling into Rumaila field (a dispute over the territory dated back to the 60s) to the tune of over two billion dollars in lost revenue and you’ve got, at least in the minds of Iraq, a “cause” for war.

    Also, at the start of the Kuwait invasion the US remained “indifferent.” Hardly an attitude to take with an “insane dictator,” wouldn’t you say?

  • Jordan Richardson

    And by the way, One American, US support for dictators (whether by installing them themselves or supporting them ideologically) is well-documented.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    OK, all good comments, but going back in time is beyond my powers. I was not around to rant during WWII, and in high school during the Iran/Iraq war. I also think that we should have stayed out of Korea, Nam, Grenada, Bosnia, Somalia – for that matter if we had not supported the UK Japan might not have attacked Pearl Harbor. MY question stands, do we know Saddam would have stopped.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Jordan, granted we have done that. Were the people of those countries better off with our dictator? In some cases, probably – others probably not. I reiterate, no time travel.

    At this point I give. I did not mean to turn the discussion in this direction. I will retire and do some more reading, so that I can rant about what should happen in the future.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    MY question stands, do we know Saddam would have stopped.

    No, we don’t, any more than we know you’re not the Craigslist killer.

    But based on his track record (even during the Kuwait war he wasn’t capable of doing much more than lobbing the occasional Scud at us (and at Israel, for no readily apparent reason)), it hardly seems likely that he was going to develop a world domination fetish.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Were the people of those countries better off with our dictator?

    Does it matter?

    And I don’t understand the point of your “no time travel” remark. Sounds to me like you’re trying to give yourself an out.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “One American” –

    I’m retired Navy. I was around for the Cold War, the first Gulf War, and had my retirement ceremony the day before 9/11. And you should not have told us how young you are, for that tells us how very much you have yet to learn, to wit:

    I also think that we should have stayed out of Korea, Nam, Grenada, Bosnia, Somalia – for that matter if we had not supported the UK Japan might not have attacked Pearl Harbor.

    Korea was the right move. Vietnam, the wrong move – and El Bicho (another BC regular) pointed out that one month before he was assassinated, JFK had signed off on getting ALL our military advisers.

    Grenada and Bosnia were good, clean actions – and those nations are in relatively good shape now, thanks to us.

    Somalia was a charlie-fox from the word go.

    But what REALLY got my attention was your crack about Japan’s motive for Pearl Harbor. I’ve been studying WWII since before puberty…and our support of the UK had SQUAT to do with Japan’s decision. What had far more to do with the decision was the fact that we essentially controlled most of the access to oil in Southeast Asia at the time…and FDR wanted Japan to stop their years-long invasion of China, so he told them that he was cutting off their access to the oil we controlled. Without that oil, Japan’s war machine in China would have ground to an immediate halt. At the time, Japan was for all intents and purposes ruled by a military junta – the emperor had very little real power until the day of the surrender in August 1945. The military leaders decided that instead of bowing to FDR’s demand that they either get out of China or lose their access to our oil, they would simply attack us and take the oil for themselves.

    And lest you think this was a bad move on FDR’s part, Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and invasion of most of Southeast Asia enabled Stalin to free up the troops he’d had stationed in Siberia against a possible Japanese invasion (they’d invaded once, back before WWI) and send those troops to fight against Nazi Germany on the Eastern Front at the crucial battles of Stalingrad and Moscow (the latter was a bigger battle, but little was known about it in the West until a few years ago).

    “One American”, it is said that the more one knows, the more one realizes just how much there is left to learn. For all my knowledge, there’s so very much more I don’t know. I say that to encourage you to refrain from making assumptions. Make very sure that what you are stating is factual, and make sure that what you believe is also factual. I try to as well – and that’s why I used to be a strong conservative Republican even into the early 1990’s…but now I’m a strong liberal. The truth shall indeed set you free.

  • m0nk3y

    Ron Paul needs to keep it up. I’m surprised to see many other Paul supporters on here push for milquetoast. Watering down the message to fit in with a world of ignorants does nothing. People need to be shocked and woken up. America is bankrupt and falling apart. Socialism and fascism are destroying this country. The general public is brain dead to the concepts of freedom in the land of the free. We need stronger words not weaker ones. Time for revolution not the same old watered down passive BS that’s been the norm for too long. Ron Paul 2012!!!

  • Brad

    I think Ron would disagree on the use of military forces in apprehending terror suspects. He would prefer the civilian police take care of that task on domestic soil in keeping with the posse comitatus act prohibiting the use of military forces on American soil. This act was gutted by the Military Commissions Act, but I think Ron, as Chief Executive would not enforce Military Commissions as unconstitutional law.

    The rest of the article had a lot of good suggestions. I think Ron is doing much better of late in condensing his message. Im just thankful someone is sticking his neck out there to tell the truth. You can always count on Ron for that.

  • Brad

    Glen Contrarian is right in comment #29. FDR and the Navy brass knew Pearl Harbor was about to be attacked. FDR deliberate provoked the attack as a pretext for entering the War. This is one of the great untold -and rightly horrific – stories in American history… A day which will live in infamy indeed!

  • Brad

    Actually, after reading Glens comment more closely, I see he probably does not know about Navy commanders’ later insistence that FDR knew the attack on PH was coming but did nothing.

    I also see we would disagree on the necessity of fighting in Korea. Whatever the reasoning, the decision not to properly and constitutionally declare war was a mistake. Also, the continued presence of troops on that peninsula is unnecessary and likely provocative.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Glenn, Jordan, and anyone else interested in this thread,

    I want to continue this but I think that eventually this post is going to close the commenting. I put up a forum linked from my blog today (I had no idea that it was so easy to start one). I don’t think that this is the last extended discussion that I will get into and I thought it would be useful to have my own place. Here is a direct link.

    Hope to see you there.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Brad –

    There is no real indication that FDR had any clue that Pearl was about to be attacked. That’s conspiracy-theory territory, right up there with the 9/11 ‘truthers’ and the Obama ‘birthers’.

    I recommend that you stay away from such tripe.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    “El Bicho (another BC regular) pointed out that one month before he was assassinated, JFK had signed off on getting ALL our military advisers.”

    I did what?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    One American’s Rant, I hope very much that you will continue to participate in many discussions here. Just so you know, comments threads at Blogcritics are never closed. As you say, having your own blog is a great idea if you have the time and energy to keep it up; you might also want to consider writing for Blogcritics as well.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    El B –

    I thought it was you – maybe it wasn’t – sorry. But it was one of the BC sort-of-regulars who posted a memo wherein JFK had signed off on getting out of Vietnam one month before he was shot.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Dr D, thanks for the info. I had seen several blog comments (not here) that closed just days after the post and thought it was the blog settings doing it. I will continue to post here, but thought that a forum would give a little better structure for discussion.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    That’s the funny thing about this place, OAR. Some articles attract few comments or none at all while other discussions keep going for years: we have several threads with comments numbering in the thousands. But you can post a comment on any of the 100,000-odd pieces that have been published here since the site started in 2003.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Dr D I will probably keep posting here, it just seems hard to keep track of who is commenting about what, where.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Glenn, in #29 you shared your views about which conflicts seems “right” and which ones “wrong” and I would like some clarification on the differences. To me, I see little difference between Korea and Viet Nam – both look like proxy wars between east and west. I have started reading more about Iraq and trying to develop my thoughts about why we went there, so more on that later. I also need to spend some more time on WWII.

  • REMF(MCH)

    @ Glenn;

    LOL your “charlie-fox.” The first time I used that (actual expression, not the military alphabet) in front of my wife she hadn’t heard it before, but she loved it.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Dr D, some more thoughts on Saddam.

    I have found more reasons to revile Saddam, starting with the fact that he received law degrees (in my blogs lawyers are seen in a poor light), although some of the higher ones may have been honorary.

    More to the point, he had stated his desire to be “a powerful force in Arab affairs”, and his unofficial biographer, Faud Matar, concluded based on many interviews with Saddam that he was “seeking to play a major role in world affairs…bringing about a very strong Iraq, no matter what the dangers.” Book Review.

    It looks like he had a fairly steady rise through the ranks of Iraqi government until his take-over of the presidency in 1979. His gathering of power and oppression of dissidents continued throughout the 1980s. The Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had both been keeping track of his atrocities for years.

    You had commented that you didn’t understand his missile attacks on Israel, but prior to Gulf War I (GWI) Saddam had tried to deflect his occupation of Kuwait by promising to withdraw if Israel relinquished the occupied territories (West Bank, Golan Heights, & Gaza Strip). This aligned more of the Arab world into an East-versus-West mindset. I still think that even after GWI he was a threat to the world, planning on biding his time until he could gather more power and wealth.

    Here are a few quotes from him, all post-GWI:

    “We will chase [Americans] to every corner at all times. No high tower of steel will protect them against the fire of truth.”

    “Does [America] realize the meaning of every Iraqi becoming a missile that can cross to countries and cities?”

    “[W]hen peoples reach the verge of collective death, they will be able to spread death to all…”

    “[O]ur striking arm will reach [America, Britain and Saudi Arabia] before they know what hit them.”

    “One chemical weapon fired in a moment of despair could cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands.”

    “[The U.S.] should send more coffins to Saudi Arabia, because no one can guess what the future has in store.”

    “[I]t is possible to turn to biological attack, where a small can, not bigger than the size of a hand, can be used to release viruses that affect everything…”

    “If the attacks of September 11 cost the lives of 3,000 civilians, how much will the size of losses in 50 states within 100 cities if it were attacked in the same way in which New York and Washington were? What would happen if hundreds of planes attacked American cities?”

    Quotes and attributions

    I think that he had to go.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    And I think that was for the Iraqi people to decide, and perhaps also his neighbours such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran and Israel to whom he presented a clear and present danger. He didn’t present that to us.

    To be sure, he was an egomaniacal turdbucket, the worst sort of person to be in a position of power, and I don’t lament his passing at all. But the same can be said of many other prominent world figures. If that were a legitimate criterion, we would have invaded Italy at some point in the last few years.

  • http://www.RosesSpanishBoots.com Christopher Rose

    One American, enjoying seeing your comments here but please follow BC comments convention and post properly formatted active links, not raw urls.

    Thanks!

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Glenn Contrarian

    “One American”

    And Nikita Khrushchev – you know, the Soviet Premier who had his finger on the nuclear button – claimed:

    “We will bury you!”

    Here’s a quick introduction to politics, OA – what a politician SAYS and what a politician DOES are two different things. Khrushchev used inflammatory rhetoric…but that didn’t mean that he was going to launch, did it? No, he knew better.

    Actions speak far louder than words.

    By your logic, given all the Saddam-like verbal attacks and claims that Iran’s President Ahmedinejad has used (in addition to denying the Holocaust ever happened), well, that means he really is going to attack Israel AND America and we’d better go in invade Iran before it’s too late! But in reality, Iran really wants nukes not because of America and Israel, but because Iran is Shi’a and nuclear-armed Pakistan is Sunni…and anyone with a real clue about the Middle East knows the Shi’a and Sunni hate and fear each other more than they hate and fear Jews and Americans.

    Dictators and politicians use inflammatory rhetoric as a matter of course…and leaders of nations whose people don’t really like America use such rhetoric to stay in power. BUT the use of such rhetoric and verbal attacks is NOT an actual aim or goal – it’s a TOOL to appease the America-haters among their political constituents.

    And it’s no different here in America – politicians of both parties will say more inflammatory stuff to their core constituents than they will to the supporters of their opponents.

    This is politics, OA. Listen to what politicians say, yes, but pay strict attention to what they actually do (or don’t do).

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Christopher, sorry about that. Some of my links appeared to be formatted and others not. I will embed HTML code from now on.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Glenn,

    I’m not convinced that it was just rhetoric. Who was Saddam trying to appease? He had almost total power over his government.

    I agree that in many, perhaps most, cases politicians are just saying things to get elected, or to get a bill passed, and we should take anything they say with a grain of salt. But, I think it is different with heads of state, especially of world powers. The US spent large percentages of the GDP preparing for a global war with the USSR. No, it was never likely to happen, but both sides prepared for it. Weren’t most of the proxy wars fought throughout the cold war really between the US and the USSR? Just so that neither side would “push the button”?

    But, back to Saddam, his actions throughout the 80s into GWI showed us what he wanted to do.

    I’m not ready to guess at what Iran is giong to do, and I agree that they are more likely worried about Pakistan than the US. If Iran invades a country other than Pakistan then I may change my mind.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    “Wanted to do” and “able to do” are two different things. Saddam had already been shown what he could not do when he was kicked out of Kuwait.

    Please stop assuming it was all about Saddam vs. America and/or Israel – it wasn’t. Study more. LEARN more. It was all about the Sunni/Shi’a schism.

    Another thing you should know, OA – there was a book called “The Shi’a Revival” by Vali Nasr. Nasr is a Shi’a…but at the time he was working for the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, and his book was on the recommended reading list for American Naval officers. He pointed out a quote by the al-Qaeda #2 guy (was it Zarqawi? – I can’t recall the exact name). Anyway, the quote went something like this:

    “Keep up the fight against America and the Jews, but never forget that the real enemy are the apostate Shi’a.”

    That’s not an exact quote, but the meaning is the same.

    Do you see what I mean, OA? In the Middle East (except for Palestine), hatred of America and Israel are the excuse, but the centuries-old religious feud between the Shi’a (Iran) and the Sunni (almost everyone else) is the reason. It’s very much like the old feuds between the Catholics and the Protestants that led to so many wars back in the 1500’s and 1600’s, only deeper and bloodier.

    Saddam hated us, yes – but he hated the Shi’a Iranians far more. And by the way – did you know that Saddam’s #2 guy was openly a (mainstream) Christian?

    Look deeper, OA, and learn your history. Without a deep understanding of history, you can never truly understand what’s going on today.

  • Igor

    Brad is wrong: “FDR deliberate provoked the attack as a pretext for entering the War. This is one of the great untold -and rightly horrific – stories in American history…”

    Nonsense. These rumors circulated constantly in the 40s and a number of popular books were written in the 50s and became bestsellers. We even read them in highschool, and I believe at least one was a Readers Digest condensed book.

    You have no idea of the hatred of FDR and the crap attributed to him.

  • http://oneamericansrant.blogspot.com/ One American’s Rant

    Glenn,

    I ordered the Nasr book tonight and will read it ASAP.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    I’m impressed – that takes guts. Please let me know what you think – I’ll be here.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/realist Realist

    Ron Paul is 75. He can barely stand up straight at the “debates”. His platform is no sturdier on its feet than he is on his. Besides, going back to 1900 isn’t very popular with the voters.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    But Realist, surely you should know by now that Ron Paul will have solved all the nation’s woes within a few weeks of taking office, whereupon he can safely spend the next 3 years and 11 months happily going gaga while the Vice President, his son Rand, takes care of his “Aaarrghh! Governing!! Get it away!!! Eeeek!!!!” duties.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    FDR wasn’t very steady on his feet, having suffered from polio as a child. Realist would consider it poor form, and rightly so, if I were to to suggest that FDR’s handicap made him unfit for the presidency.

    Incidentally, Ron Paul exercises every morning, watches his diet, and is very physically fit. Not that physical fitness is a requirement for the presidency, but this information exposes the ignorance of Realist’s comment, as well as its boorishness.

    For the record, there are 14 senators who are aged 75 or older. Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) is one of them.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena/ Irene Athena

    Dave Nalle, an additional approach would involve making more widely known the fact of Ron Paul’s great popularity with veterans.

    Dr. Paul has received half of all donations from military veterans to all candidates. Obama has received 28% and the other 22% goes to all other GOP candidates combined.