Like Father, Like Son?

How Ron Paul's foreign policy views are shaping Rand Paul's Senate race.

If former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has anything to say about it, the political sins of the father will be visited on the son. On Patriots Day, Giuliani endorsed Trey Grayson in the Republican primary race for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. But the endorsement had as much to do with GOP frontrunner Rand Paul—and his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)—as it did Grayson.

"Trey Grayson is the candidate in this race who will make the right decisions necessary to keep America safe and prevent more attacks on our homeland," Giuliani said in a statement. "He is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11." Other prominent hawks have since joined Giuliani in this line of attack.

It was during a 2007 Republican presidential candidates' debate that Giuliani sparred with the elder Paul over 9/11 and blowback from American foreign policy. After Ron Paul argued that U.S. interventionism in the Middle East motivated the terrorist attacks, Giuliani shot back, "That's really an extraordinary statement… as someone who lived through the attack of September 11 that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq." Offered an opportunity to "withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that," Paul stood his ground. "They don't come here to attack us because we are rich and we're free," Paul said. "They come and they attack us because we're over there."

That exchange turned out to be the high point of Giuliani's failed campaign for the White House. Rand Paul, on the other hand, is getting closer to capturing the GOP senatorial nomination than either Giuliani or Ron Paul ever got to the Republican presidential nod. The younger Paul has led Grayson, Kentucky's current secretary of state, by double digits in the public polls since December. He has picked up endorsements from Sarah Palin, Steve Forbes, and retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), without seeing much "blowback" from critics of the Paul family's preferred foreign policy.

Until recently, that is. In March, Politico reported that Cesar Conda, a former aide to Dick Cheney, fired off a worried email to leading national security hawks. "On foreign policy, [global war on terror], Gitmo, Afghanistan, Rand Paul is NOT one of us," Conda wrote. His recipient list included such neoconservative luminaries as Liz Cheney, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor, and Marc Thiessen.

Then the former vice president weighed in himself. "I'm a lifelong conservative, and I can tell the real thing when I see it," Cheney said in his endorsement of Grayson, pronouncing the candidate "right on the issues that matter." As with Giuliani, it was clear that the issue that mattered was Rand Paul and his father.

"The challenges posed by radical Islam and Al Qaeda are real and will be an on-going threat to our domestic security for years to come," Cheney continued. "We need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game." Former Sen. Rick "Long War" Santorum (R-Penn.) also endorsed Grayson over Paul.

The Grayson campaign did its part by playing the 9/11 card. They released an ad replaying Ron Paul's comments from the South Carolina debate and interspersing them with foreign policy statements Rand Paul made while campaigning for his father in 2008. Clips of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivering his infamous "chickens have come home to roost" sermon were thrown in to keep the two Pauls company

Yet during his Senate campaign, Rand Paul has actually positioned himself closer to the conservative mainstream on the war on terror (he favors military trials for terrorism suspects), Gitmo (he is against shutting it down), and Afghanistan (he still supports the war) than his father—much to the consternation of libertarian hardliners. Paul has hit back hard against Grayson on these issues, running ads touting his commitment to a "strong national defense" and saying that "fighting back was the right thing to do" after 9/11.

And while Rand Paul has said he would have voted against the Iraq war, he has otherwise been cautious on foreign policy issues since his Senate campaign began. He has been criticized for saying Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons because its government feels "threatened," but he also says he favors divestment of public investments from Iran and that he would not vote to condemn any Israeli military action to take out Iranian nukes. As for his thoughts on American military action, Paul has kept those views close to the vest.

But he has made clear he doesn't like to be characterized as a run-of-the-mill dove. "Trey Grayson," Paul says in one ad, looking straight into the camera, "Your shameful TV ad is a lie and it dishonors you." He then makes sly use of his father's veteran status and proximity to the Pentagon. Paul has also benefited from mainstream conservative support on domestic policy, most notably with Sarah Palin praising him as a defender of limited government. Grayson hopes to force Paul to choose between his antiwar donors and his Republican supporters, but so far the attacks haven't moved the polls.

On this front at least, Rand Paul seems to be better on defense than his dad.

W. James Antle III is associate editor of The American Spectator.

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  • Mike T||

    They're just desperate now because Rand Paul is not only better than them on domestic issues, but he's a Jeffersonian on military (leave alone, then pound the shit out of them if they attack us).

  • Whitehall||

    Military isolationism is no longer welcome in the GOP. Never forget:

    During a speech by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the division was obvious.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c....._isra.html

    "Let the world know this if it knows nothing else," said Pence. "America stands with Israel!"

    As most of the crowd rose for a standing ovation, the cluster of Paul fans -- most gathered stage left -- started booing, turning heads in the media section and in the rest of the room. Other SLRC delegates angrily turned on them, chanting (with an irony that amused the Paul fans) "USA! USA!" until they piped down.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

  • BrianS||

    Dude I'm 40 and I've never known military isolationism to be welcome in either the R or D party. Belief in American Imperialism is a practically pre-requisite for membership.

  • CE||

    Yeah, Mike Pence is really lighting up the polls....

  • ||

    If Giuliani and Cheny endorsed my opponent I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Since Palin endorsed Paul, we'll call it a wash.

  • Sarah Palin||

    I like all of them!

  • Sarah Palin||

    Makeup and purses and Facebook!

  • ||

    "Paul has kept those views close to the vest."

    Which is another way of saying that he doesn't really know. I don't think Paul has any business being anywhere near US foreign policy. But, if the Republicans can't come with someone who is credible about the size of government, then they can't act surprised when it opens the door for someone like Paul.

  • ||

    Yes, John, he's no intellectual heavyweight like Dick Durbin.

  • ||

    Rand Paul is not Ron Paul and I think the Grayson campaign has had a hard time figuring that out. They want to run against Ron and Obama but instead they've encountered a new breed of politicians -- a constitutional conservative, who isn't pandering to the left.

  • mr simple||

    He is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11.

    Rand Paul is not a part of the "let's all eat babies" crowd that goes around saying we should eat babies. I don't know about his opponent.

  • MrGuy||

    I'll eat a baby for America!

  • Jonathan Swift||

    +1

  • Mr C||

    I'll see your +1 and raise you another +1. Brilliant!

  • ||

    "That's really an extraordinary statement… as someone who lived through the attack of September 11 that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq." Offered an opportunity to "withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that," Paul stood his ground. "They don't come here to attack us because we are rich and we're free," Paul said. "They come and they attack us because we're over there."

    The old man is full retard on that. Radical Islamists have attacked any number of countries that have very little contact or intervention in the middle east. It is just wishful thinking on his part.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    John, are you not getting enough attention at home that you have to whore for it here?

  • ||

    No I just have the irrational hope that people like you will one day pull your heads out of your asses. It is a vice granted. But there are worse ones I guess.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Like I said, you can whine all you want, John, but we are not playing round 1000 of "John makes shit up to justify his warmongering until TAO gets tired of playing".

  • ||

    You are going to just take your ball and go home. You do that AO. But I am the one whining here.

    You don't want to do your usual ignorant act on the war, by all means don't let me stop you from leaving.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Actually, you would be the one pretending to love limited government while supporting Democrat-style foreign policy, and using pants-wetting to justify it.

    Like I said, John, go be a needy puppy to someone else.

  • ||

    I thought you were taking your ball and going home? You really had my hopes up that I had run your out of here the way they ran off Joe. Were you lying?

    There is only so much stupid that can happen in one thread. And you have a bad habit of using it all. So, come on, take your ball and go home like you promised.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    "There is only so much stupid that can happen in one thread."

    I guess without Chony here, you are the source of the stupid this time John.

  • ||

    I thank Rep. Charlie Wilson, the Saudis and the CIA for creating Al Qaeda. And I thank George H.W. Bush for stationing US troops in Saudi Arabia thus provoking Al Qaeda to attack us.

  • ||

    That is horseshit. Bin Ladin didn't form Al Quada until 1988. That was long after the US had lost interest in Afghanistan.

  • Geotpf||

    His first statement should probably say "Taliban" instead of "Al Queda" but otherwise is accurate. His second statement is dead on.

    Here is the order of events as I see it:

    1. Saddam invades Kuwait and is seen as a threat to Saudi Arabia (whether or not he really was is debatable).
    2. Bin Laden offers to help the House of Saud protect the Sacred Kingdom of Islam blah blah blah.
    3. The Saudis tell him to play in traffic and get a real army (ours) to do so.
    4. Bin Laden gets his panties in a wad. (Infidels in the holy land! Women driving cars!)
    5. Wait a decade, stir well, 9/11.

    Basically, Bin Laden did 9/11 because he lost a military contract to the Americans.

    It also shows how utterly retarded invading Iraq was in response, considering Bin Laden was basically on our "side" in the initial Iraqi war until he was sidelined by the Saudis.

  • ||

    He hit us because of our support for the House of Saud. He thought we would go home and stop supporting them if we lost a few people in our own country. He never dreamed we would have come after him like we did.

    You are right in that we could have allied with him and let him whack the House of Saud. But I am not sure what that would have gotten us.

  • robc||

    One less House of Saud.

  • Liberty_Equality_Solidarity||

    No, he did think we would go after them. What he got wrong (maybe), was he though it would be just like the soviets - we would collapse after our defeat in Afghanistan.

  • ||

    have we really come after him that hard? he seems to be making as many videos as Britanny Spears.

  • ||

    His first statement should probably say "Taliban" instead of "Al Queda" but otherwise is accurate.

    No, it's a tendentious reading of history. Pakistan and the ISI supported the Taliban and created them as a modern force. The US and CIA threw money at every single group that would fight the Soviets. Yes, some of of those people and groups became the Taliban, but all the other groups, including those that fought the Taliban later, received US funding as well.

    After the Soviets left, the US didn't care anymore, and all the groups that fought the Soviets starting fighting amongst each others. Since the US had poured money in Afghanistan funding everyone who would fight, it was inevitable that whatever winner emerged would have proof of links to US funding in the past.

    The rise of the Taliban is related to the US funding all anti-Soviet factions equally and refusing to set up our own puppets during or afterward. I don't think I'd support the sort of imperialism required to avoid it, but it was inevitable that Pakistan and Iran would take an interest in Afghanistan and support their own proxies later.

  • MrGuy||

    House of Saud... you guys know that Osama is part of the royal Saudi family, right?

  • Liberty_Equality_Solidarity||

    The US preferred religious fighter, they killed more soviets per dollar. Of course Iran had nothing to do with any of it (sure they are in there now, just to fuck with us, but fanatical Sunnis aren't a natural proxy ).

    " refusing to set up our own puppets during or afterward" is just laughable. The problem was we would have to continue to poor in money until one faction won, so we left the Saudis to bank roll the Taliban (the Pakistanis preferred a different faction).

    Or whatever the Ministry of Truth says.

  • ||

    I think you may be correct on all counts. Not too many have the cohones to state what you have.

  • Captain Kanuck||

    Just wish you Americans and Israelis would keep your shit to yourself and quit involving the rest of us who don't give a shit about any of you.

  • k-y||

    Then stop stepping forward every time some dip shit blue blood asks you for troops. I promise, those of us in the US who wish as you do would appreciate it if our northern neighbors would stop throwing their weight behind every misguided attempt at military adventurism.

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +5

  • ||

    Come to think of it you are right. They blew up the WTC in anger over us invading Iraq. Right?

  • ||

    Yes. Yes they did.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War

  • Ron Paul||

    C'mon John. Get back to the OT already. Bin Laden is innocent and nobody attacked us on 911 except our own government who plotted the attacks. Since we couldn't retaliate against ourselves, we had to make up some shit about camel jockeys hating us.

    Building 7! Chem trails! Illuminati!

  • ||

    When you stir up a hornet's nest people around you will still get stung even though they didn't do it. Islamists don't much care who did the poking, all they care is that they got poked.

  • ||

    So the rise of radical Islamism is the result of US intervention and not the result of causes within Islamic society? That is a novel theory.

    Look. The US makes a convenient scapegoat but we are not all powerful. Radical Islam has been about 100 years in the making and was going to happen with or without the US.

  • Cap'n NoStar||

    Radical Islam began with Mohammed, 1400 years ago. It was evident to John Adams, 200 years ago. Ain't nuthin new about Islam being radical.

  • ||

    John, How do you feel about the US foreign policy choice of still supporting, militarily/financially and strategically, the House of Saud(a radicalizing agent in the mid-east), while invading the more secular Iraq?

  • ||

    and how do you feel about key memebrs of the US foreign policy making circle (Kissinger)being so financially interlinked with the Sauds?

  • ||

    I think we should tell the SAudis to go get bent. And there was nothing secular about Saddam Husain after 1990. He, albeit very cynically, embraced radical Islam after the first Gulf War. He was building the largest Mosque in the world in Bahgdad. He was sheltering any number of radical Islamist terrorists. He wasn't the threat the Saudis are. But he was hardly secular.

    And if you think we should have invaded Saudi rather than Iraq in 2003, I am not sure I could give you much an argument.

  • robc||

    And if you think we should have invaded Saudi rather than Iraq in 2003, I am not sure I could give you much an argument.

    If you are going to go around invading countries (which I oppose, but IF), then start at the top of the list and work down. After 9/11 Afghanistan was the top of the list. Saudi was above Iraq. Cuba and Venezuela were above Iraq. Hell, we still owe Britain a nukin' for burning down the White House. They are above Iraq on the list.

    I think Cuba, do to proximity, was #2 after Afghanistan. But the invade yes/no line was between Afghanistan and Cuba. In 2003, I think we should have been more concerned with finishing the fucking job in Afghanistan than thinking about Iraq or Saudi or Cuba.

  • ||

    Iraq invaded one of our allies. They signed a ceasefire and proceeded to ignore it for years. They tried to kill a former President. They had invaded two different countries and had repeatedly used poison gas on both their own people and their enemies. I would put them a little higher on the threat list than England.

  • nolino||

    trade with all nations, entangling alliances with none - thomas jefferson

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Worked great in 1776.

  • MrGuy||

    Finnaly, someone knows their history.

  • ||

    Saudi was above Iraq.

    How was Saudi Arabia above Iraq, from any sort of isolationist or realist perspective? The only way that Saudi Arabia is above Iraq is if you support interventions on liberal liberalism/ neo-con principles of "those guys are generally evil."

  • ||

    Their worldwide support of Wahabism is a real problem. The Saudis and their money cause a lot of problems. They seem to take peaceful Muslims and radicalize them.

  • ||

    Well, I think that they're jerks. But I can't see how our relations with them are any different from what "realists" advocate in foreign policy.

  • Mr C||

    Telling the Saudi's to "get bent" would be great, but invading? Are you aware the two most holy sites in Islam are in Saudi Arabia? That would result is a massive shitstorm.

  • ||

    How do you feel about the US foreign policy choice of still supporting, militarily/financially and strategically, the House of Saud(a radicalizing agent in the mid-east)

    The sort of "alliance" that we have with Saudi Arabia is exactly the same sort of relations as we'd have with them with military isolationism. We trade with them, without caring about human rights abuses.

  • ||

    "Radical Islamists have attacked any number of countries that have very little contact or intervention in the middle east. It is just wishful thinking on his part."

    Name one. Phillipines? Well, they're oppressing MILF. Bali? The target was a nightclub frequented by australians.

    Terrorism comes about when groups of individuals feel like they have no political recourse against an extremely powerful agent that either has or is perceived to have control over their lives, especially when that agent is guilty of committing crimes with impunity. That's something that Bush got right - but his solution, democracy at the barrel of the gun, was horribly wrong.

    FWIW, this theory of terrorism also accounts for terror in Sri Lanka, where the Tamils definitely participate in terror attacks.

  • ||

    The Islamists conduct all kinds of terror across Africa. None of those countries are engaged in interventionism. And the Scandanavian countries have been the subject of any number of terror plots in the last few years. And none of those countries are involved in the Middle East or participated in the Iraq war.

  • ||

    "The Islamists conduct all kinds of terror across Africa."

    right in that case it's the state that's doing it.

    As for scandinavia, I can't answer that except that it's probably just imams lashing out against "the west" as the entity that's oppressing them.

  • ||

    How are they being oppressed? Should the Swedes require every woman to wear a burka and ban apostasy against Islam so the Imams don't feel "oppressed"?

  • ||

    let me rephrase. I can't answer that except for imams lashing out against the west in general, and muslims being radicalised prior to immigration, winding up in sweden, where to them two palefaces might as well be the same person.

  • Contrarian P||

    I think there is a bit of a truth to both sides here, but the standard stuff coming from Dick Cheney, i.e. "The terrorists do it cause they're eeeeeeeviiiiil" is ludicrous. They engage in these attacks because they know they do not have the military resources to confront the West on the battlefield. As for why they choose to attack us, I do believe there is a component of hatred of the freedoms and philosophies of the West, but those feelings are certainly exacerbated by our long tradition (and before ours, the British tradition) of conquering/screwing around with the internal affairs of the Middle East. I frankly can't blame people for being just a bit pissed off.

  • ||

    Can't completely blame them either, but honestly we deserve to be attacked by American Indian, Central and South American, and arguably African terrorists more than we do Middle Eastern terrorists. So it's certainly not a sufficient explanation.

  • ||

    yes but those countries don't have sand riding up their asscrack and oppressive governments which prohibit them to have straight sex and force them to have gay sex on the sly.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/mag.....oset/5774/

    What with porn restrictions, and all this impending towards socialism, it's not surprising that domestic terrorism is on the rise in the US.

  • Kunt Obamaman||

    No, they attack us because tea-baggers draw cartoons of Mohammed!

  • robc||

    Switzerland hasnt attacked anyone in a couple of hundred years. No one has attacked Switzerland in a couple of hundred years. Coincidence?

  • ||

    Them paying of the Nazis and collaborating them has a lot to do with that. Yes, we can always surrender and have peace.

  • ||

    German panzers were rolling down Swiss streets? That is what your use of the word "surrender" would imply.

  • ||

    actually you'd be a fool to attack switzerland, since the land is worthless and everyone there owns a submachinegun.

  • ||

    Shows how little you know:

    http://www.peacefreedomprosperity.com/?p=2622

  • BrianS||

    John, you are a full on fucking retard. Have you ever read OBL's declaration of war? Have you ever listened to why most of those in the ME that pick up arms against America do so? There are over a billion muslims on this globe and a tiny fraction of them are bent on planting the flag of Islam around the world with even fewer still bent on planting that flag in America. The majority fight back because we occupy their countries without their consent or because we support a dictatorial government that abuses them and makes themselves rich at the peoples expense.

    Why do people like you have such a hard time leaving other people the fuck alone?

    After American bombs destroy a man's wife, children, home, and his only fucking cow is he supposed to be giddy because he can now vote for one of the two people the US government has deemed acceptable to run his country? If he picks up a weapon to defend what's left of his country and his people why do warmongering fucktards like you persist in calling him a terrorist? Should the US be attacked and your family killed do we call you a terrorist when you pick up a weapon to fight back shitbag?

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    Actually John, I think you make a lot of sense, and have been enjoying your posts. Thanks for participating.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    And to illustrate how Rand is is own man, we'll run this photo of him... doing a speech for his dad's presidential run.

  • alan||

    J sub D|4.29.10 @ 3:09PM|#

    If Giuliani and Cheny endorsed my opponent I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

    The only person more retarded than Giuliani is his son who sued Duke University for throwing him off the college golf team for refusing to abide by the policies every other student on the team had to abide by.

  • cynical||

    This election is just a referendum on traditional conservatism versus neoconservatism. Hopefully it's also the stake in that movement's heart -- the neocons can all go back to the left.

  • Cap'n NoStar||

    The most important factor in determining the USA's foreign and military policy is not what Rand Paul, Ron Paul, Trey Grayson, Rudy Ghouliani, Dick Cheney, or even Barak Obama wants to do. It's what policy is OK with the Chinese. The first time we try a military action that is against their interests, they won't loan us money. Without Chinese money, we can't play policeman and nation-builder to the world (or bailout Bush's and now Obama's friends.)

    Same thing will happen if we stop doing something the Chinese approve of. Our military and foreign policy and much of our domestic policy is determined by what pleases the Chinese.

  • ||

    Interesting point. Of course we have them by the balls to. We could always default or inflate away our debts. If they stopped lending us money, we would be a world of hurt, which means that we might not pay back our debts which would them in an even worse world.

  • The Chinese||

    Ah, so!

  • ||

    That's Japanese, dumbass.

  • The Chinese||

    Racist!

  • ||

    I think you mean Lacist!

  • Ploglessive Cah Insurance||

    Lacist! You velly bad dlivah! No discount! - says FLO

  • ||

    Well technically speaking, they own more of our debt than the chinese.

  • Geotpf||

    US debt held by the public (IE, excluding intra-government obligations) is currently over seven trillion. China holds less than one trillion, only slightly more than Japan. If they sold it all (ridiculously unlikely), there would be other buyers.

    If China has such power with the American government, why can't they get us to do other things they want us to do, like stop supporting Taiwan? The answer is that they don't actually have such power.

  • ¢||

    I've never liked the "They come and they attack us because we're over there" line. If you're going to be all racist about it and hold up the West as the Cause of All Things, at least do it with some style.

    Say that "Islamism" is the degraded remnant of the Reich, bumblingly trying to get its Thousand Years on, and the whole Muslim shtick is just how politicians sell the cause to an audience of shit-colored savages. You can footnote that.

  • ||

    +1. It is racist as hell. The whole we kicked the hornet's nest thing is totally racist. If you think they are attacking us because of our actions, you either have to say their cause is justified or that they are just crazy savages who are not responsible for their actions. You can't have it both ways.

  • Vaccine||

    False dilemma. I can say they *think* their cause is justified, but they are wrong.

  • ||

    But if their cause is wrong, then our actions are not the cause. Their inhumanity is the cause.

  • robc||

    Their inhumanity is the cause. There choice of target is due to blowback.

  • Vaccine||

    It's almost like you don't understand the idea of a logical conjunction. (You know, "AND"). Does every effect have only one cause in your fantasy world? Were you therefore sprouted from a pimple on your mother's ass, with no need for a father?

  • ||

    It is almost as if you are a troll who can't make a rational argument and just spews invective. No check that. It is like you are such a troll.

  • Vaccine||

    Fine, just to make it easy on you I'll cut out the invective and stick to the logic. Isn't it possible that Al Queda attacked us because (1) the U.S. acted in the Middle East AND (2) Al Queda disliked those actions AND (3) Al Queda's value system has a predilection toward violence.

    If you agree, isn't it possible therefore that if (1) was not true, the attack may not have happened?

  • ||

    So do you think their reaction was justified? If it wasn't, then the fault for the violence lies with their overreaction not with the US. If it was justified, then their cause is just.

  • Vaccine||

    If you accept my conjunctive premise and conclusion, (1) AND (2) AND (3) = attack, the fact that Al Qaeda's reaction was unjustified does not in the least affect the fact that without (1), U.S. action in the Middle East, there would not have been an attack.

    Perhaps an example is appropriate. Let's say I am (1) walking around in a bad neighborhood at 3AM and (2)a nearby criminal desires my belongings -> I get mugged. Saying that my being in the neighborhood at 3AM was a "cause" of the mugging, in that I would not have been mugged had I been sitting on my couch, does not logically require believing that the mugger was justified. In the same way, saying that U.S. actions in the Middle East were a "cause" of the attack does not logically require believing that the attack was justified.

  • Moslem||

    I am going to kill you for saying that I am murderous.

  • ||

    I still don't understand why Ron Paul didn't hit back by saying you ought to fight fire with fire and have the US hire mercenaries to surgically rout out Al Qaeda. It's in the constitution. He sponsored a bill to do just that. It would be easy to say, "It's clear what we have been doing isn't working, if we don't learn to try something different in the face of failure, we will perish as a nation; I want Osama Bin Laden gone".

    Of course the truthers would have dropped him.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Shh! Clearly the only route to success is pissing away three trillion dollars on backwards ingrates who will go back to their tribalistic ways the second we leave.

  • ||

    Tribalistic ingrates. Nothing racist there or anything. Why don't you just add "we need to leave the animals in the zoo" to complete the effect?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Don't you usually get pissed when people throw out the "R" word to end debate? Ah, but hypocrisy when it suits you, and all that.

    In Afghanistan, John, tribe is everything. And Harmid Karzai threatened, a few weeks ago, to join the Taliban. If that is not ungracious, then I don't know what is.

    "Tribalistic ingrates" is true. And, yes, if you want to call it "leaving the animals at the zoo", that is your choice. I call it "not wasting hard-earned American dollars on backwards morons who just hand it over to their corrupt half-brothers in billion-dollar contracts".

    Seriously, John, liberal foreign policy and accusing people of racism? When did you become Hillary Clinton?

  • ||

    I don't think that AFgans are sub humans. I guess I am naive like that. And further, you want to leave Afghanistan, good. When we leave the Taliban will take back over. And the very same people who harbored and refused to turn over the group that murdered 3000 Americans will return to power like nothing ever happened. The message will be that it is just a ok to kill Americans all you have to do is hang in there for a few years and we will go home and let you back into power.

    That won't embolden any of our enemies or anything. Hell, why don't we just bomb New York for them. You seem to think our interventionism causes us to deserve what we get. Why not just save them the trouble and bomb ourselves and tell them how sorry we are.

  • robc||

    Everytime the Taliban takes back over, we park a cruise missile into the government headquarters. Maybe eventually they will get the lesson.

  • ||

    You can't prevent them from taking over that easily. I am not so sure that a surge was the right thing to do in Afghanistan. I think we should leave a few thousand people around Kabul and just bomb the shit out of every area the Taliban tries to take over.

    The real solution is to legalize heroine and grant the Afghans an exclusive license on the condition that they don't let the Taliban take over. But that would require use doing something smart. I am not holding my breath.

  • ||

    every time they take over we will give them millions of dollars "to fight the drug war" same as in the past.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I did not say they were subhuman, though many of them act like it. Or, what...you condone tribalism, misogyny, lack of basic standards of cleanliness and bestiality? Would you want to see Americans act like the Afghans? I thought not.

    The rest of your speculation is just that: speculation. Right now, I know the cost in time, lives and money that the occupation of Afghanistan has cost. Can you gaze into your crystal ball and guarantee me that the costs would be higher if we did not insist on propping up a corrupt government? Of course you cannot.

    In twenty years when Karzai's family is a brutal ruling oppressive tribe and fragile democracy in Iraq falls to a strongman, morons like you will wonder "Why do they hate us?" Fuck.

  • ||

    Maybe you are right. Of course you and your ilk have been wrong about Iraq. First it was going to be a general uprising. Then it was going to be a civil war without end. Now it is going to be some strong man who takes over in some distant future. It must really suck to wake up every day and know that Iraq didn't turn into Somalia. I mean where do the Iraqis get off not living down to your expectations.

    And you don't know what the cost of staying is any more than you know the cost of leaving. You assume that the war will not end and that we will lose because that is what you desperately wish to happen not because you have any real reason to think so.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Yes, Iraq, that great paradise that only saw 13 violent deaths per day from bombings and shootings, and an average of 10 per day last month.

    Man, John, you were right: Democrat Republican foreign policy does shit unicorns, puppies and gold!

  • ||

    Saddam was killing 10,000 a month. And it is a country of 30 million. The US had 49369 violent deaths in 2003 in a country of 300,000 million. That is 135 a day or the equivalent of 13 deaths per day if we had the population of Iraq.

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/46822.php

    So you are saying we have made Iraq as safe as America. Wow, thanks for proving my point.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Citation needed on the 10,000 per month, John. As your hero would say "There you go again".

  • ||

    http://www.fas.org/news/iraq/2000/02/iraq99.htm

    There is a good taste from 1999. And I can't find the 10,000 cite. But so what. It is equal to the US now. Like I said, that is the best statistic I have ever seen. Even I didn't realize things were going that well over there.

    Again, thanks a lot.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    There is a good taste from 1999. And I can't find the 10,000 cite. But so what.

    "So I made it up to justify the 100,000 civilian deaths since 2003. But so what? The ends justify the means!"

  • ||

    13 deaths per day in a country that large is actually quite safe. Much safer than say Columbia or Mexico or what it was under Saddam. Try again troll.

  • ||

    I am going to remember that 13 violent deaths per day stat. That is a great stat. That is probably the best statistic I have seen showing the progress we have made in Iraq.

    Thanks AO. I really owe you one.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    And all those violent deaths in Mexico and America are part of targeted campaigns by organized groups, so it is totally the same thing.

  • ||

    Violent death is violent death. You are just as dead either way. The fact is that a similar percentage of people are dying in Iraq today as are dying in America. That means that an Iraqi is just as safe as an average American statistically anyway. That is fantastic.

    So, did that 13 per day stat that you spouted with so much smugness hurt when it went up your ass?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    You can pretend that Iraq and America are equivalent in safety, John, but we both know you do not really believe that.

    I mean, really...50 dead in one day from a car bombing is the same as 50 murders across the United States in one day? Fuck off wi' yeh, John.

  • ||

    As they say, the statistics don't lie. 10 per day is less than America for the population. Yeah, it sucks if you are one of the 50. But apparently, Iraqis are safer in other ways than Americans are so it statistically evens out.

  • Apostate Jew||

    Americans in Iraq have to wear body armor. Iraqis in America do not. Also, you are not taking account of Iraq's highly unreliable "normal" murder statistics.

    To argue that Iraq is safer than other randomly selected developing countries is unreal and only done in an attempt to score political points. It's as silly as the argument that Somalia is the libertarian paradise.

    You're capable of better so do better.

  • T||

    Well, the ones in Mexico are, anyway. Or have you missed why Mexico's murder rate is what it is now?

  • ||

    Can you gaze into your crystal ball and guarantee me that the costs would be higher if we did not insist on propping up a corrupt government? Of course you cannot.

    In twenty years when Karzai's family is a brutal ruling oppressive tribe and fragile democracy in Iraq falls to a strongman, morons like you will wonder "Why do they hate us?" Fuck.

    In the case of Afghanistan, we gave money to any group that would fight the Soviets, and refused to prop up or support any sort of puppet government, corrupt or otherwise.

    History and power politics continuing as they do even when the USA is not involved, there was a civil war, and the Pakistani and ISI backed Taliban largely won.

    And people still insisted that "we created the Taliban" and that it was "our fault" that they took over, even though in Afghanistan we did exactly what you're recommending here in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    And that's why people in US foreign policy ignore all the facile explanation of "this is why they hate us." Because someone is there with a ready explanation of "why they hate us" no matter what we do. Set up a puppet, don't set up a puppet. Defend democracy, don't defend democracy. Trade, don't trade. Deal with a nasty government, don't deal with a nasty government. Abandon a country to its own devices, meddle.

    It doesn't matter what tone US foreign policy takes, there will be a ready explanation for why it causes blowback; in the profusion of explanations, they all become ignored.

  • ||

    +10

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +10

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So the solution, of course, is to dump trillions of dollars propping up corrupt governments.

  • Barack Obama||

    Works at home, too!

  • Jimmy 'Crack' Corn||

    +6

  • ||

    Why hire mercenaries when we have Special Operations Command? And isn't surgically routing them out what we are doing in NW Pakistan, Yemen and the horn of Africa?

  • ||

    Because SoCOM gets the cover of Uncle Sam if they fuck up and kill a wedding party. If you hire mercenaries, and in the letter of reprisal specify exactly who they are supposed to take out, you let the mercenaries know that if they fuck up and kill someone else, they're on their own.

  • ||

    That is just stupid. First the mercenaries would have no international status to go to other countries. They would just be criminals. And second, SF is responsible for their actions.

  • ||

    who gives a shit about international status.

    If we're going to have people romp around in our name fucking shit up the least we could do is be manly about it, i.e. publically delimit who we're going after, and be straight up about how we're backing up some bruisers to do shitty things.

    International status be damned. Basically it would be up to the state department to make sure that whatever country the mercenaries were operating in would be okay with they are doing. A series of bilateral negotiations should do the trick. Who cares if some pissy face in western europe thinks we're doing something dickly. It never stopped Bush, and it sure as hell never stopped Obama.

  • ||

    "On foreign policy, [global war on terror], Gitmo, Afghanistan, Rand Paul is NOT one of us,"

    Yeah that's nice. But if he ain't one of us, then I can't be bothered one way or the other.

  • ||

    Giuliani *thought* he won that exchange with Paul, and he definitely got a bump from hawkish Republican primary voters the next day.

    But Giuliani's willful ignorance about the consequences of America's free-wheeling interventionism, also reflected by McCain and Romney, was probably the single greatest factor in a Democrat winning the general election.

    Even Bush acknowledged that he squeeked past John Kerry in '04 ***IN SPITE*** of everybody hating the Iraq war. The Republicans in '08 ran on the idea that everybody loved it. And even though the Dems failed to nominate a sincerely anti-war candidate, the GOP rhetoric was offensive enough to independent voters everywhere to shape a landslide victory for Obama.

    So nice going, Rudy. You're part of the reason we've been saddled with shitty health care reform.

  • ||

    If Bush won in spite of the war, what did he win on? If 9-11 hadn't happened and John Kerry hadn't painted himself as a Michael Moore Peacenik, no way would Bush have won in 04. No way.

  • Geotpf||

    Bush won in 04 because Kerry was a dumbass who ran a horrible campaign, and the power of incumbency is very strong.

  • ||

    He ran a horrible campaign because he let the Republicans convince the country that he was going to cut and run in Iraq and stop fighting the war on terror. That election was totally about Iraq. Without Iraq, the Republican base is never motivated enough to come out.

  • Geotpf||

    That's part of it, but there was failure all over the place in his campaign. Kerry was a poor pick as a candidate in the first place, considering he always lived in the shadow of Ted Kennedy.

    Kerry's single significant accoplishment in the Senate, his hearings that helped take down BCCI (an international slush fund of a bank for criminals and terrorists-Bin Laden had an account there) was hardly mentioned during the campaign. Why?

    It seems that Bob Shrum thinks the American people are too stupid to understand what it means that Kerry shut down BCCI. "You can't talk about that because people think you're talking about the BBC," Bob Shrum, Kerry's top adviser, told one senior staffer. "Why were you investigating British TV?"

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....004955.php

    Shrum was a total idiot for saying this, and Kerry was a total idiot for listening to him.

  • Ayn R. Key||

    The problem was Kerry ran a "me too but better" campaign. "Yes, I'd do everything Bush did but I'd do it better because I'm smarter." He never represented a choice. Had he taken the "you want to pull out of Iraq" charge and made it a platform with "yes, actually, I will" he'd have won.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I don't think he would have. But it would probably have been more honest.

  • John Fitzgerald Kerry||

    And... I served in Vietnam, but I rarely talked about it.

  • ||

    If Bush won in spite of the war, what did he win on?

    Tax cuts.

    I didn't vote for him in 04 but I was happy he beat Kerry for this very reason.

  • Chris||

    To me, as a Kentuckian who has made it his business to research Rand Paul, it seems that he isn't too much different from your average connie. Active in trying to overturn Roe v Wade, wants an underground electric fence along the border, pro drug war.

    He may well get my vote, but it's an anti-democrat vote, not a pro-Paul vote.

    Sad but true.

  • ||

    Links. does he really want an electric fence? Does he support the drug war?

  • Scotticus Finch||

    WASHINTON WIRE: So do you think drugs should be legalized? RAND PAUL: “It’s a state issue. All issues of crime are better addressed at the state level.” (Peter Walsten, “Q&A with Rand Paul,” Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire Blog, 11/12/2009

    From his opponent's site. Not an ideal answer, but hardly "pro drug war".

  • Mad Max||

    Especially since he's running for the *Federal* Senate, and to have drug policy addressed at the state level would involve Congress repealing a lot of federal drug laws.

  • Jimmy Olson||

    Did he really have to name his son Rand?

  • Jesse Walker||

    The son's name is Randall. Apparently he didn't like being called "Randy," so...

  • ||

    Yeah. Rand sounds cooler than Randy. That is unless people think you were named after the author. then it sounds dorky.

  • wayne||

    That is unless people think you were named after the author. then it sounds dorky.

    Or, worse, after South Africa's currency.

  • Raven||

    "He is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11."

    I love the respect for natural rights and the idea of innocent until proven guilty embodied in that statement.

  • Becky Chandler||

    I have been really pleased to see how Rand Paul's campaign has proceeded. He is clearly the tea party candidate, and though I know many in that group do have something of a problem with the idea of non-interventionist foreign policy--his coaliton has held together--and despite a few scattered complaints Rand Paul has not comprised his opinion on this.

    I am sure many voters are really tired of the Cheney-Giuliani--fear and war mongering--we have been down that electoral road countless times--perhaps that dog don't hunt no more.

    But, anyway it is a hopeful sign that a true constitutional conservative/libertarian movement can be formed and matter in the next election and coming years.

  • ||

    Voting for just about any Republican is going to mean more of the Neo-con B.S that we got with Bush/Cheney and voting the leftist Democrat ticket will continue the demise of the Republic. The present two party system is not working for the country.

  • ||

    When Ky. voters go to the polls, I hope they remember that Trey Grayson is an anagram of Gay Treason.

  • robc||

    You spell like you were educated in KY. Or not educated, as this case shows.

  • Nash||

    Anybody who hasn't figured out that Rand Paul is courting a conservative base to actually win an election isn't paying attention.

    Is he a pure libertarian? I doubt it but I do know that if he wins he will be the most libertarian sitting member of the senate.

    Libertarians who don't support this guy clearly have no desire to actually have any meaningful impact on policy in this country.

  • ||

    Could not have said it better.

  • jacob||

    +10000

  • ||

    Bullseye.

  • Some Guy||

    "Fighting back was the right thing to do" after 9/11.

    I'll agree to that. Now ever since we gave up on fighting back against the people who actually attacked us to focus on propping up an illegitimate despot who's barely even US-friendly anymore, I see little point to our continues operations there.

  • jacob||

    +10000

  • ||

    If the goal was "fighting back" then invading Iraq made as much sense as blowing up American Airlines.

  • Some Guy||

    The quote was in reference to Afghanistan.

  • ||

    Its funny how people like to turn everything into some dig on Sarah Palin. The media when ever discussing Palin always refers to her as a "controversial" person. What is so controversial about her? Nothing really. If the media dislikes someone then it more often then not means that person must really be on the right track. So if the liberal media complex dislikes Sarah Palin then I know she must be on to something. And besides remove 5, 6, or 7 years, add some lipstick, those glasses, a mini-skirt, a tight white collared shirt, and I would totally hit that :) Librarian style baby, let her release all those repressed sexual needs. However that husband of hers has an appearance of someone who gets the job done, sides shes got like six kids or something! That woman likes to get down.

  • jacob||

    I hope Rand Paul beats the shit out of Grayson. I mailed my donation about two months ago.

    I think an endorsement from Cheney plays very well into Rand Paul's hands. He can paint Grayson's campaign as pro-spending. I'd harp about the deficits and other expansions of government (Medicare benefits, No Child Left Behind, etc.) that Bush/Cheney were part of, and tie this in with the endorsement of Grayson.

    And is anyone really impressed with an endorsement from Santorum?

  • ||

    On Foeirgn Policy:

    http://www.peacefreedomprosperity.com/?p=2622

  • Cookie Kwan||

    Name one. Phillipines? Well, they're oppressing MILF.

    They're oppressing "mothers I'd like to fu*k"?

  • Cookie Kwan||

    Ugh. That was supposed to go way up there.

  • ||

    Like father........like son it would seem:

    Obama just might be another Bill Clinton in the making:

    http://www.nationalenquirer.co.....rity/68589

    and....................

    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=26292

  • ||

    It's hard to believe that anyone would listen to the comments of has-been Neocons like Rudy Giuliani, Dick Cheney or Bill Kristol. These clowns are living in a fabricated dream where their Authoritarian brethren hold on dearly to what little remains of their twisted view of the world. Ron and Rand Paul are the two best people to come on the political scene since the founding of our nation. It's just too bad that the Neocons can't see this.

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