Monday, October 08, 2007

Ron Paul Believes Terrorists Are Real

The following is a response I posted to some of the responses to this article.

For those of you who think Ron Paul is among those who don't believe in terrorism, I suggest you examine his rhetoric more closely. He has repeatedly stated that those who committed the crime of 9/11 should pay for their crimes. He acknowledges that whatever we do from here on, we will still have enemies as a result of previous bad foreign policy.

What he is saying is that it just doesn't make any sense to make thousands-if not millions-of new enemies while in the process of defeating our existing enemies, which the usual policy of indiscriminate violence does. Remember, he voted in favor of the Afghanistan operation, even though he disagreed with the notion of using a military invasion for what he thought ought to be treated as a crime. His preference was to use not war, but the fully legal and constitutional principles of the letter of marque and reprisal, which means rather than authorizing the president to kill and destroy whatever he feels like within a given area, instead means giving various individuals the authority and incentive to go after specific targets.

And that's how it should have been done. Instead of spending billions of taxpayer (and newly printed inflationary) dollars, killing hundreds of thousands of innocents, and making hundreds of thousands of new enemies in the process, we should have simply conducted an investigation to nail down our prime suspects, sent a few good men over there to apprehend the suspects quietly (preferably with, but possibly without the complicity of the area's government), and otherwise focused our efforts on our individual enemies, rather than provoking the enmity of entire nations.

I do not believe the hard-core terrorists would have anywhere near the influence and resources they do were it not for our foolish, arrogant and murderous foreign policy. I also don't believe their power would suddenly go away if we withdrew, paid some reparations, and issued an apology, but at least we would stop making new enemies. It might even take a couple generations for the anger our government has stirred against us to die out, but if we couple a refusal to get involved in dispute external to the United States, a broad policy of free trade (of the laissez-faire variety, not the false free trade that involves the creation of supergovernments), and extreme care to minimize harm to non-targets on the occasion we must exert force abroad with a firm resistance of any who would attack us directly, I believe the world would be a much more peaceful place.

By refusing to involve ourselves in internal disputes, we provoke no enmity. Free trade ties the economic interests of foreigners with those of our own citizens, making them dread war every bit as much as we should. Firm resistance of anyone who would attack us without provocation puts a high cost on doing so, and I believe a nation that serves as the nexus of world trade and the neutral ground in all disputes would have both the wealth and the power to put a very fierce resistence. But in doing so, we must be very careful to avoid harming bystanders, lest they mature into future enemies.

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