I posted these entries on livejournal earlier. I’m posting them here now. Enjoy.
12:30 am Ron Paul
So, I watched the Republican debates earlier tonight, but I missed what might have been the most important part (at least from my point of view). Luckily, the post-show talked about it over and over again, and then I found it on youtube. What I missed was Ron Paul, who is basically a libertarian, saying that our foreign policy and our actions in the middle east were partly responsible for 9/11. Giuliani immediately jumped on this and demanded a retraction, which the crowd cheered (and the crowd cheered only one or two other times during the debate). Here’s the clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk334TbliaY.
Right now I’m really, really frustrated. I’m partly frustrated because I wish Ron Paul had said something like, “Listen, there’s no excuse for terrorism, and 9/11 was obviously a terrible, terrible thing; all I’m saying is that our presence in the Arab world is something cited time and again by Al Quaeda as the reasons for attacks on Americans.” I think he meant that, but it did come across a little like he was saying we deserved it, and of course that was twisted and spun to make him sound like an anti-American demon.
And that’s what really bothers me. That someone cannot even speak the truth about this issue without being implicity accused of hating America and loving terrorists. I’ve read the Al Qaeda manifestos, I’ve asked Greg Rose what they object to about America, I’ve studied it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Ron Paul is right: Islamist terrorists attacked us and continue to target Americans because they occupy Arab lands and support governments that they hate. Now, whether we should support those governments is another issue; but the very clear facts are that all the calls for “jihad” against Americans list their involvement in Arab affairs as the primary reason.
Ron Paul had some really good things to say in his post-debate interview; I’ll put up a link to it as soon as I can find it on youtube. I don’t agree with him on everything, but Ron Paul seems to be the only candidate in the race whose understanding of foreign affairs is remotely based on reality. He’ll get my vote in the primary.
1:24 am Ron Paul: Post-Debate Interview
Here’s the interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEZO7MPxJIs. I think he expresses his position more clearly here.
Like I said in the last post, I do disagree with him about some things. For example, his comment about us being in “their” holy land is partly true and partly not: the Saudi government allowed the U.S. to build bases there, and so the U.S. wasn’t forcing itself on Saudi Arabia any more than the Saudi government does. As much as Islamists would like Saudi Arabia to be under their control, it isn’t, and that’s a good thing.
But we still shouldn’t be building bases and trying to prop up regimes that we think may be friendly to us. Maybe in extreme circumstances when it was obvious that international law had been broken – when one country is attacking another, for example, as with Iraq and Kuwait – it’s ok for us to send troops; but beyond these cases I don’t think we have any right to try to run the governments of other nations. Again, I think I disagree with Ron Paul on this – I think he might say we should NEVER get in any war other than to defend ourselves – but his position is much, much closer to mine than any of the other candidates.