Ron Paul: For Defense, Against Defending

Dear Dr. Hurd: You wrote: “Ron Paul betrays these principles in his own way, at least if he really means it when he says he’s by and large against a strong U.S. defense. What good is restoring capitalism and individual rights in the USA if we’re not in a position to protect them?”

I’m sorry, but that is an amazingly inaccurate statement. Ron Paul isn’t against defending America, he’s against our nation-building, imperialistic, war-mongering military actions. I would love to see your proof/sources where Ron Paul advocates a weak defense of America. Your words betray you as nothing more than a garden variety neocon.


Dr. Hurd replies: I’m not sorry, but your statements against my position are totally unfounded and wrong.

Ron Paul is on record for taking principled positions. In some cases, such as opposition to the Federal Reserve and the expansion of socialism, he’s entirely right. In other cases, such as opposition to the legality of abortion and his stance on defense, he’s wrong. Regarding defense, his explicit position is that the purpose of American defense should be precisely that — defense of the nation. However, his interpretation of this principle is where he goes wrong. For example, he’s not just against Bush’s intervention in Iraq, or Obama’s ridiculous and dangerous phony non-wars in Afghanistan and Libya. He’s against the idea that the American military be involved anywhere it all. According to his positions, stated time and again, he says the United States should simply stay OUT of Iraq, OUT of Afghanistan, and in fact OUT of any nation at all that isn’t the United States. He also implies, like the liberals, that the governments of nations run by dictatorships enjoy the same moral legitimacy and sovereignty as free nations, which is completely false. No government which enslaves or oppresses its own people has rights, and the government of a free country is morally entitled (not obligated, but entitled) to attack the government run by violent thugs at any time. By Ron Paul’s narrow and literal definition of defense, America is powerless to defend itself except on its own shores, and only after being overtly attacked.

I recognize that Ron Paul, or his defenders such as yourself, might say, “That’s ridiculous.” And I recognize that once in office he might not take such a stance. But as a candidate, all we can go on are his statements. Like Barack Obama before him, Ron Paul repeatedly argued against the idea of the Iraq War, not because it was the wrong enemy or the war was (at least initially) executed incompetently by the Bush Administration. He was against the Iraq War because, according to him, Americans have no business being anywhere unless their own shores are attacked.

This position evades the fact that 9/11 was an act of war committed against the United States not just by rogue terrorist gangs, but by actual governments. The known enablers of these acts of war were the Taliban in Afghanistan and the # 1 sponsor of worldwide terrorism, the government of Iran. Bush went after one of these known enemies, but not the other. Bush, like Obama, even hoped to appease Iran, who laughs in our faces as they build nuclear weapons for the explicit purpose of using them against “infidels.” Bush’s appeasement and evasion of Iran is reason to criticize him; the fact that he took the war overseas after 9/11 is not.

The defense of America does not require waiting until it’s attacked to respond. When you’re certain that there’s an enemy who will attack you (or attack a key ally, such as Israel), or when you know there’s an enemy who has already initiated repeated attacks against you (as in 9/11), you cannot say, “Well, until that government’s soldiers actually set foot in New York City, or Kansas, there’s nothing we can do about it.” That’s Ron Paul’s position, according to his own statements.

Consider Paul’s own words in 2007: “I would leave [the Middle East, including Iraq] 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.”

Excuse me? Is he suggesting that 9/11 is America’s fault? That the Arabs and Moslems who support terrorism are the victims, not Americans? That sounds a lot like Barack Obama and other liberals to me — at their worst!

Note that Paul is not merely against the political or military policy for which the troops are utilized. He’s against the presence of troops in the Middle East at all, on principle. He maintains that the United States has no interests in the Middle East. Oh, really? Is oil not a life-or-death interest for the survival of Western civilization, including the United States? Would there be no consequence to the survival of civilization as we know it if oil from that region of the world went away tomorrow, as it surely would if the U.S. pulled out of the region completely and forever? A U.S. refusal to have any military presence in the Middle East means “bye-bye” to most of our current oil supply. How well would that work out for Mr. Paul, not to mention the rest of the world?

The person who wrote this letter and called me a “neocon” — whatever that is, and I gather it’s a very bad thing — illustrates why the non-left is getting nowhere in this country. Many of the people who oppose Obama do so for the wrong reasons, and their unsustainable positions make a mockery of any serious opposition to Obama.

I don’t want Obama as Commander-in-Chief. But I likewise don’t want a President as Commander-in-Chief who will act as if the U.S. is safe if we do nothing other than defend our shores against attacks, no different from a primitive Indian tribe in the fifteenth century. Such an unsophisticated, naive foreign policy will bring us down even faster than Obama’s reckless economic policies are already doing. Ron Paul can claim he’s for a “strong defense” all he wants, but this claim cannot rescue his bad foreign policy ideas from their inevitable consequences. When it comes to foreign policy, Ron Paul is Obama on speed.