U.S. Representative Ron Paul drew cheers from the largely Republican audience of the presidential candidates’ debate in South Carolina last week. His calls for an end to the big military spending that has come along with a decade of consistently expanding war were among the lines that earned applause.
It is as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, however, that Ron Paul has the most political power. Congressman Paul spoke on Capitol Hill last week as well, with a message that matched his support for an end to America’s wars. Paul said:
” The elimination of Osama bin Laden should now prompt us to bring our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaeda was never in Iraq, and we were supposedly in Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden. With bin Laden gone, there is no reason for our presence in this region, unless indeed it was all about oil, nation-building and remaking the Middle East and Central Asia.
Hopefully, bin Laden does not get the last laugh. He claimed the 9/11 attacks were designed to, number one, get America to spread its military dangerously and excessively throughout the Middle East; two, to cause political dissension within the United States. Seventy percent of the American people now believe we should leave Afghanistan, yet both parties seem destined to stay; and number three, to bankrupt America through excessive military spending, as he did to the Soviets. The best thing we can do is prove bin Laden to be a false prophet.”
It is worth noting, however, that though Ron Paul now seeks an end to war in Afghanistan, he was among those who originally granted President Bush the power to start the decade of war. Paul admitted to that last week, even as he criticized to execution of the war in Afghanistan, saying, “I supported giving the President authority to punish those responsible for the vicious 9/11 attacks. Using this authority and opportunity to pursue nation-building and remaking the Middle East was cynical and dangerous, as the past 10 years have proven. The sad tragedy is that it took 10 years, trillions of dollars, tens of thousands of American casualties and many thousands of innocent lives to achieve our mission of killing one evil person.”