Ron Paul

Y Kant Rudy Read?

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Two hours ago Ron Paul teamed up with Michael Scheuer –the former CIA operative and analyst author of Imperial Hubris–for an entertaining event at the National Press Club. Paul walked up to the podium clutching Scheuer's book, Robert Pape's Dying to Win, Chalmers Johnson's Blowback and the 9/11 Commission Report and assigned them to Giuliani for, basically, homework.

"Since Mr. Giuliani is the expert on 9/11–he talks about it, he gets paid to talk about it–maybe he ought to read this," Paul said. Around 25 TV and print reporters chuckled at the sarcasm. And as Reuters reported, yes, Paul claimed that Giuliani isn't qualified to be president (but he could be if he does the homework).

Scheuer didn't endorse Paul, but he came pretty close: "There are now 10 Republican candidates in the field and there are eight Democrats. Seventeen of them are not at all worried about Osama bin Laden and what he represents. Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has hit on the only indispensable ally that bin Laden and their allies have, and that's U.S. foreign policy."

Paul repeated (with more detail, obviously) some of his debate lines, while Scheuer tried to knock down the "they hate us for our freedom" dogma. "Ayatollah Khomenai tried for a decade to instigate a jihad against the United States on the basis of our degeneracy and our debauchery, our movies, our women in the workplace. It didn't work. No one blew themselves up because of R-rated movies. Al Qaeda and its like have gone to school on the abject failure of the Ayatollah. They have focused on U.S. foreign policy and they've found it to be a glue of unity, a glue of cohesion across the Islamic world."

I chatted with David All and Jerome Armstrong of DomeNation, who set up their camera after the event, so expect a Paul interview there pretty soon.

Terrifying headline explanation here.

NEXT: Freedom Fries Revisited

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  1. “No one blew themselves because of R-rated movies.”

    Whaaa?!?

  2. Come now, you can’t seriously expect someone who spent his career as a CIA analyst to know as much about foreign policy, global politics, and terrorism as St. Rudy.

    I mean, the man got dust on his suit fer chrissakes!

  3. I would love to see Rudy’s “I’ve never heard that before” come to bite him in the ass. It certainly aught to.

  4. When is somebody going to challenge the “they hate us because we are not Muslims” dogma?

    And by “dogma”, I mean “fact”.

    And by “challenge”, I mean “accept”.

    Sorry for any confusion there.

  5. >I would love to see Rudy’s “I’ve never heard that before” come to bite him in the ass. It certainly aught to.

    Someone should make a mash-up video of Guiliani saying “I’ve never heard that before” interjected with Paul’s quip, “Don’t you read?” (or whatever it was) along with pictures of the books mentioned above. With Paul’s fanatical internet following, it’s be bound to be at least a minor success.

    I’d do it but I lack the computer hacking skills.

  6. When is somebody going to challenge the “they hate us because we are not Muslims” dogma?

    They can hate us all they want. I hated my ninth grade math teacher, and that never hurt anybody (other than my grades). It’s the killing people that we should be worried about, and if you think Al Qaida members, insurgents et al are sacrificing their lives to end Americans’ just because they’re not Muslim, you’re nuts.

  7. Marc,

    While you may have a point for the core nutbags like Bin Laden, you are failing to see the point that these nutbags don’t recruit their big numbers on the “smite the unbelievers” trope.

  8. I thought Scheuer had been pretty much discredited as an anti-semetic nutbag. No?

  9. they hate us because we are not Muslims

    So why do Shiites and Sunnis hate each other? (Don’t even get me started on Sufi Tariqas!)

  10. Like I said in the last thread on the topic, lemme know when Paul squares the demand by the American voter/consumer for gas prices which reflect no short term interruption of extraction from Saudi oil fields, with his advocacy for the U.S. not being intimately involved with Persian Gulf politics, in the form of support for the House of Saud, which inevitably brings us into conflict with the jihadists. Until then, he’s nearly as big a gasbag as Giuliani.

  11. So I’m just wondering here, when a Muslim suicide bomber goes into a cafe (as happened yesterday) to blow up other Muslims who are doing nothing but drinking coffee, which Imperialist American policy is he combating? Or when they blow up a school full of children? Or a medical clinic? “Haha, I’ll show those Americans to allow our own people to heal the sick! Ali, let’s go destroy a clinic full of Iraqi patients and Iraqi doctors!”
    The whole “why they hate us” thing has usually revealed more about the person making the claim than it does about Muslims. If they hate us because of something you oppose, then that’s why they hate us and we need to stop. If it’s because of something you support, then it’s irrelevant. Why do abortion clinic bombers hate us? Well, in that case we’d better outlaw abortion. Right liberals? I mean, that’s what you do if they hate you.
    Considering the vast majority of our foreign ventures which allegedly cause Islamists to hate us in the last 20 years have involved protecting Muslims (Somalia/Bosnia/Kosovo/Gulf War/troops in Saudi Arabia), I’m going to have to say their argument is shit.

  12. Wow. I didn’t know there were any videos from that album. I was obsessed with Tori for about two years and bought that craptastic record just to have it. GnR and The Cult alum Matt Sorum is on the drums.

    – R

  13. “When is somebody going to challenge the “they hate us because we are not Muslims” dogma?”

    You can play into the clash of civilizations spiel if you wish but it’s simply the standard fare one always hears during wartime and goes by another name: propaganda.

    The declaration of blind hatred for “the different others” on the rise here on American soil is identical to the extremist declarations coming from the other side the conflict. Both sides are shameworthy because they bleed away rational thought in order to dehumanize the other side.

    For decades, the majority of the American public has been largely ignorant of the US Government’s heavy-handed foreign policy actions. Now, that the wave of backlash has finally broken over our nation, propaganda is being used in an attempt to make our enemies out to be the embodiment of evil incarnate while completely ignoring the the last 60 years of our government’s coercive foreign interference.

    It’s a good way to ensure that thing will get worse, much worse.

  14. Absolutely, Dave. A huge protion of the violence in the region is largely the by product of conflicts within the Islamic world, and if the oil reserves in the Persian Gulf were instead located in, say, Australia, this conflict would barely be on the radar for most Americans.

    Because of the oil, however, the U.S. allies itself with whatever entity can control the area, and provide for uninterrupted extraction. In the long run, of course, anybody who controlled the area would provide for extraction, but electoral politics is not concerned with the long run, and it is hard to envision a scenario in which the House of Saud is toppled which does not interrupt extraction pretty significantly, for at least long enough to have a big impact on American domestic politics. Thus, American politicians throw their lot in with the House of Saud, with all the negative consequense which attach to that decision. Paul, for all his reputation of being the outsider willing to confront unpleasant truths, never comes close to looking at these nasty realities head-on.

  15. Since every example of terrorist you just provided involves attacks against Muslims, Dave, I guess you’re admitting that “they hate us because we’re not Muslims” is a lousy analysis.

    I agree.

  16. And I suppose you’ll stipulate that they aren’t killing those other Muslims over disagreements with American policy.

  17. Anyone who wants to argue that this is about US policy needs to answer one question for me: When bin Laden talks about trying to establish Islamist rule over the whole Middle East, and eventually the world, is he just kidding?

  18. The other thing that bugs the hell out of me is why people can’t understand how situations deteriorate?

    What starts out as concern soon can becomes resentment which in turn evolves into a strong dislike, and then outright hatred.

    When you reach the hatred stage you are no longer apt to make reasoned arguments or have the willingness to discuss the situation. You will be more prone to make declarative statements and resort to violence, especially when violence has already been used against you.

    Rational thinkers are absolutely correct when they consider the impact of US Foreign Policy as a factor in regards to growing resentment overseas. And, that resentment bears bitter fruit.

  19. I’ve said this in another thread before, and I’ll say it again–if our dependence on oil gets us involved in that giant bloodly sandbox known as the Middle East, why can’t we at least reduce some of our dependence by

    1) Drilling for more oil at home (including Alaska and offshore oil)

    2) Start building Nuclear plants again

    3) Invest in new technology (hydro, wind, solar, turning coal in to petro, etc.)

  20. Dave,

    “And I suppose you’ll stipulate that they aren’t killing those other Muslims over disagreements with American policy.”

    Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

    Do you recall how President Bush described the strategy and aims of al Qaeda in Iraq in his most recent State of the Union speech?

  21. Y’know, one of the refreshing aspects of the interwebs used to be that it was reviving writing as a way for ordinary people to communicate. The letter had taken quite a beating from the growth of telephony, radio and TV. Now, half the hyperlinks people direct me towards are video, often without any mention that I won’t encounter a relatively quick-loading page of plain vanilla HTML, but some Java- or Flash-based bandwidth hog. Thank Ghu for Firefox w/the NoScript extension.

    Text-based explanation for the article headline here.

    Kevin

    [No explanation why I don’t upgrade to broadband is forthcoming, however. 🙂 ]

  22. Dave,

    “Anyone who wants to argue that this is about US policy needs…”

    That WHAT is about US policy needs?

  23. Dave,

    I agree. They’re not killing those Muslims over disagreements with American policy. However, that is why they kill Americans. You do see that (a) not all these killings are being done by the same people and (b) even if they were, they could be killing different people for different reasons?

    When bin Laden talks about trying to establish Islamist rule over the whole Middle East, and eventually the world, is he just kidding?

    Most of the stuff I’ve read is just about establishing it in the Middle East. To my recollection, when he has mentioned dominion over the whole world, it has been in the same sense that I hear it in Catholic Church about Christ [someday] establishing his dominion over the whole world. In other words, an inevitability, but not a subject for immediate warfare.

  24. No, he is quite serious, of course. On the other hand, if some Mugabe in Zaire was voicing the same desires, we wouldn’t care, because Mugabe’s control of Zaire has practically zero influence on American domestic politics.

  25. “Chalmers Johnson’s Blowback and the 9/11 Commission Report”

    Chalmers Johnson is a first class nutbag. He has been a nutbag for years and 9-11 just made him into more of a nutbag. The Ron Paul embarasses himself and everyone associated with him tour continues in force.

  26. “Most of the stuff I’ve read is just about establishing it in the Middle East.”

    Bin Ladin’s theory is that the West is weak and would be a push over after you unite the middle east under a new Caliphate. One thing at a time. He would get to the rest of the world once his established his base in the middle east. Not that that is going to happen but that is his plan anyway.

  27. Ron Paul isn’t completely correct, but more so than the simplistic way Rudy seems to look at the world (I think it’s over compensation for being pro choice). Still though, he’s forced far better debate about foreign policy than the Dems have been able to do.

  28. Brian24, to the contrary, Bin Laden has specifically mentioned that the Muslim expulsion from the Iberian peninsula and the gates of Vienna are historical wrongs that need to be reversed partly by the use of violence.

  29. “Brian24, to the contrary, Bin Laden has specifically mentioned that the Muslim expulsion from the Iberian peninsula and the gates of Vienna are historical wrongs that need to be reversed partly by the use of violence.”

    Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or anyone else uniting the Middle East under a caliphate is about as likely to happen as Spain and Portugal re-creating their Latin American empires.

  30. Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or anyone else uniting the Middle East under a caliphate is about as likely to happen as Spain and Portugal re-creating their Latin American empires.

    That doesnt mean that they cant bring about a whole load a havoc and oil supply interuptions trying to do that.

  31. So I’m just wondering here, when a Muslim suicide bomber goes into a cafe (as happened yesterday) to blow up other Muslims who are doing nothing but drinking coffee, which Imperialist American policy is he combating? Or when they blow up a school full of children? Or a medical clinic? “Haha, I’ll show those Americans to allow our own people to heal the sick! Ali, let’s go destroy a clinic full of Iraqi patients and Iraqi doctors!”

    I think you’re mistaking a tactic for the motivation of that tactic.

    Once the insurgency in Iraq got rolling, the Algerian and Vietnamese examples of successful insurgencies make it clear to anyone who can read a history book that one way for insurgents to advance their cause is to make the penalty for participation in the occupation system death.

    You may not consider doctors, nurses, teachers, the janitor at a government building, etc., to be a participant in the occupation, but if the insurgents are going to follow the successful models, they have to. If you kill anyone who cooperates in any way with the attempt of the occupier to provide an environment of normalcy and calm, you increase your chance to win.

  32. “That doesnt mean that they cant bring about a whole load a havoc and oil supply interuptions trying to do that.”

    See my post above on how we could get off of Middle Eastern oil.

  33. If this were as simple as Muslims hating us for our freedoms, why don’t they attack countries that have similar freedoms? They don’t attack Sweden or Argentina, right? What Christian democracies have the terrorists attacked that weren’t a part of the coalition of the willing? It’s time to recognize that they hate us for our freedom, our foreign policy, are can-do attitude, our money and, most of all, our power. Trying to separate these things out doesn’t work.

  34. Cesar, I didn’t say they could succeed. I merely contended that they have expressed that goal. Violent, highly motivated, people, in an era where the technology of mass destruction becomes increasingly ubiquitous (it really is only a matter of a few decades, at most, before a non-state actor obtains such capability) don’t need realistic goals in order to produce some outcomes which could reasonably be called catastrophic.

  35. Anyone who wants to argue that this is about US policy needs to answer one question for me: When bin Laden talks about trying to establish Islamist rule over the whole Middle East, and eventually the world, is he just kidding?

    So… we should take bin Laden’s word that he wants world domination, but the reasons he gives for attacking the US is to be dismissed.

    Or do you just suffer from selective hearing?

  36. With regard to bin Laden’s personal dream of a caliphate, I don’t think the relevant question is whether or not he wants one – it’s whether or not American intervention in the Middle East makes it more likely, or less likely, that large numbers of Muslims will support him as the only force that can throw off the hegemon.

  37. “Cesar, I didn’t say they could succeed. I merely contended that they have expressed that goal.”

    So what?

    “Violent, highly motivated, people, in an era where the technology of mass destruction becomes increasingly ubiquitous”

    Really? So what massive industrial facilities and teams of scientists does Al Qaeda have to produce nuclear or chemical weapons with?

  38. Cesar, I support all of those proposals, but it will take many, many years for those trends to fully form. In the meantime, we live in the here and now. It’d be nice if somebody would address this. It’s pretty sad when Al Gore is the only significant political figure to actually put forth a useful idea, that of swapping payroll taxes for a tax on petroleum consumption.

  39. “Algerian and Vietnamese examples of successful insurgencies”

    Vietnam was not a successful insurgency. South Vietnam was invaded and conqured by the regular Army of North Vietnam in a classic invasion and force on force combat in the spring of 1975. The Viet Cong was effectively destroyed in the Tet Offensive in 1968. South Vietnam was in no way conquered by an insurgency. Despite myths to the contrary it just didn’t happen that way.

  40. Yes, Ceasar, the world tomorrow will be exactly like the world is today, and thus we can count on easily identified nation states to be the only actors which will ever have access to massively destructive technology. Things stay the same with regards to technology. Really.

  41. “that large numbers of Muslims will support him as the only force that can throw off the hegemon.”

    Most Muslims don’t want a calphate. They do, however, hate their current governments. To the extent that Bin Ladin was popular it was because he stuck it in the eye of the Saudi Royal family. Bin Ladin and his ilk can win if there continues to be corrupt governments that do not provide opportunity for their populations and continue to oppress them. It is not about the U.S.. It is about thier governments and the Arab world’s complete failure to provide for thier people. That is why the “just let dictators keep the animals in the zoo” ideas won’t work. The only hope is to find someway to get better governments in power in the middle east.

  42. @ LAMAR:

    Yes, it is silly to oversimplify these things. When the subject of our foreign policy over the last 60 years comes up we must realize that it has never been some monolithic, carefully guided process. It’s been filled with contradictions, misrepresentations, reversals, good intentions, selfish motivations and everything else imaginable.

    Stating that we can fault our foreign policy isn’t a simplistic statement, it is an honest one.

  43. “Yes, Ceasar, the world tomorrow will be exactly like the world is today, and thus we can count on easily identified nation states to be the only actors which will ever have access to massively destructive technology. Things stay the same with regards to technology. Really.”

    So now you want me to support the current foreign policy on something which may happen sometime in the future?

    Is Al Qaeda going to be able to purchase plutonium off Ebay in 2050 or something?

  44. “Yes, it is silly to oversimplify these things. When the subject of our foreign policy over the last 60 years comes up we must realize that it has never been some monolithic, carefully guided process. It’s been filled with contradictions, misrepresentations, reversals, good intentions, selfish motivations and everything else imaginable.”

    What do you mean it might be the case that the U.S. was not an isolationist power before the evil Roosevelt and World War II and it might be that history and the world is more complex than just going home and forgetting about the rest of the world? Careful there, you will get your libertarian card taken away for that kind of thinking.

  45. John-

    I agree its stupid to think of the United States was an isolationist power before World War II.

    But it is true that before the Spanish-American war, U.S. foreign policy tended to be focused much more on our immediate neighborhood (North and South America) instead of distant regions like the Middle East.

  46. John –

    The Viet Cong forced the withdrawal of the United States, and broke the will of the US to support the Republic of Viet Nam after that withdrawal. This made the North’s invasion possible.

    That sounds like a success to me.

  47. Cesar, you’ll note I labeled Giuliani a gasbag. Look, if you wish to contend that the conditions which pertain today with regards to access to technology of massive destruction will alwyas pertain, and build your strategy around that assumption, you just go right ahead. I’ll simply note that all strategies, thoroughout human history, which have been based upon the notion that technology, and the access to it, will remain stagnant, have been proved to fatuous. Who knows? Maybe your notion will prove to be the first exception to this trend in human history. Must be nice to have such exceptional predictive powers.

  48. “The Viet Cong forced the withdrawal of the United States, and broke the will of the US to support the Republic of Viet Nam after that withdrawal. This made the North’s invasion possible.”

    No. The U.S. only withdrew after Nixon bombed Hanoy during the Christmas bombings and forced them to agree to peace. The U.S. withdrew in 1973. Nothing happened until the spring of 1975, when Ford said the U.S. would never go back to Vietanm. The North Vietnemese then invaded. It would be as if the U.S. went home from the korean penisula in 1974 and the North then invaded and conquered the South. Would that have meant that the North’s 1950 invastion was successful? I don’t think so. The Viet Cong were completely destroyed as a military force. A succusessful insurgency would be say Castro or Ortega where they actually overthrow the government and take over.

  49. John, if “It is not about the U.S.,” then who exactly has these “just let dictators keep the animals in the zoo” ideas?

    15 of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. Three came from Egypt. One came from Yemen.

    Zero came from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, or Afghanistan.

    Can you think of any reasons why people angry at the Saudi and Egyptian governments would attack us, but people angry with the Syrian and Iranian governments do not?

  50. 15 of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia

    Because that was Bin Laden’s primary recruiting ground and homeland?

  51. SPD:

    Though I’m sure there are plenty of theological differences I’m not up on, the Shia/Sunni split has its roots in the problem of the Succession to Muhammad.

    Schisms in Christianity over similar religious or temporal questions have caused plenty of warfare and persecution. (Rome v. Byzantium, Luther, et al v. the Pope, various Popes v. anti-Popes, etc.)

    Kevin

  52. val,

    “Because that was Bin Laden’s primary recruiting ground and homeland?”

    Exactly. Now, why do you think the leadership of al Qaeda are all from countries ruled by dictators we support? Why do you think those countries are the most fertile recruiting grounds?

  53. Exactly. Now, why do you think the leadership of al Qaeda are all from countries ruled by dictators we support? Why do you think those countries are the most fertile recruiting grounds?

    joe, I dont think that you have enough of a sample there to establish a causal link. I happen to think that because Bin Ladden happened to be from Saudi Arabia (and the wealth that he had from there) allowed to most successfuly recruit from Saudi Arabia.

    I keep hearing about Saudi Arabia over and over on this blog. What actions/operations has the US performed in Saudi Arabia or onbehalf of that country that are blatantly interventionist?

  54. “I keep hearing about Saudi Arabia over and over on this blog. What actions/operations has the US performed in Saudi Arabia or onbehalf of that country that are blatantly interventionist?”

    Well, there was that little war we had in 1991 when we used their entire country as a staging base for it.

  55. Well, there was that little war we had in 1991 when we used their entire country as a staging base for it.

    I see so its not specificaly meddling in Saudi affairs that are at issue here but meddling in the muslim world? Also you feel that Kuwait was extremely displeased about receiving US milltary assitance driving Saddam back to his own border or what? I wonder whey there were no hhijackers from Kuwait.

  56. “John, if “It is not about the U.S.,” then who exactly has these “just let dictators keep the animals in the zoo” ideas?”

    James Baker and the entire realist school of foreign policy that you so fell in love with in the last year. Further, what is arguing that the middle east was better off with Saddam if not that? The idea behind tolerating Saddam is that at least he was a strong leader and kept the place from falling into chaos and letting the Iranians take over. I think that is what you have been arguing for oh I don’t know the last five years on here.

    Yes, the 9-11 bombers were Saudis but why did they do it? They did it because Bin Ladin thought that if he could kill enough Americans he would get the American people to stop intervening in the Middle East and stop supporting Israel and the Saudi Royal family. They hate us because we support the governments that oppress them and the Israelis. I wouldn’t advocate stopping the support of Israel, but I would advocate making them give the Palestinians some kind of a state and I would certainly advocate doing something to get better governments that provide for their people in the Middle East. Not necessarily invade, but certainly support liberalizers and not be afraid to stand up to the Saudi Royals.

  57. val,

    “I happen to think that because Bin Ladden happened to be from Saudi Arabia (and the wealth that he had from there) allowed to most successfuly recruit from Saudi Arabia.”

    Yes, and if the primary leaders of global jihad were from Syria, we’d expect them have success recruiting from among Syrians.

    But as much as people in Syria dislike the American government, there has never been a Syrian terrorist group that has launched attacks on America.

    Why do you think that is?

  58. So the Viet Cong was destroy in the Tet Offensive of 68. Pawns are meant to be sacrificed. Looks like a successful gambit to me.

  59. “I see so its not specificaly meddling in Saudi affairs that are at issue here but meddling in the muslim world?”

    No, judging from bin Laden’s statements and the statements of others like him, putting thousands of non-Muslims troops on what Muslims consider to be holy land was the issue. I’m not saying that justifies anything he did (again), but it did serve as a really good recruiting tool for them–the fact that the Saudi royal family allowed American soldiers in their country, without the approval of the people that lived there. Not only that, but they continued to stay there even after the war ended. That is a good part of the reason bin Laden was able to recruit so many of the hijackers from Saudi Arabia.

  60. Val, we sold them their military equipment and trained their military and security services. We regularly share intelligence with them regarding their major domestic threat. American oil companies are heavily involved in their export economy. Our Navy protects the shipping lanes from their ports.

    Now, these are all very predictable outcomes with regards to the nation which consumes more oil than any other, but it does no good to pretend that these outcomes don’t carry additional baggage. My problem with Paul is that he prtends he can wave a magic wand and make these outcomes disappear, without it entailing yet other kinds of unpleasant additional baggage.

  61. “Anyone who wants to argue that this is about US policy needs to answer one question for me: When bin Laden talks about trying to establish Islamist rule over the whole Middle East, and eventually the world, is he just kidding?”

    I am sure that he’d like to do this — heck, I’m sure Kim Jong Il feels the same way about North Korea — but the question is how realistic is this? His region has no air force and navy — do people really think he can inspire enough loyalists to breed like crazy for the sole purpose of blowing up every country in the world and take over all those governments? Heck, they’re obviously so weak they can’t even take Saudi Arabia or Israel.

  62. @ John:

    Don’t get me wrong, there is a universal theme to our foreign policy of the last 60+ years: interventionism.

  63. joe:

    `Cause Syria is relatively weak, and Damascus can use sneakier tactics, such as allowing that country to be an avenue of infiltration into Lebanon by Iranians backing Hezbollah. Asad’s old man may have been brutal to his own subjects, but he avoided picking fights with bigger dogs for the most part.

    Kevin

  64. Will Allen-

    Do you ever think that perhaps the oil selling nations of the world are just as dependent on American money as we are on their oil?

  65. “Anyone who wants to argue that this is about US policy needs to answer one question for me: When bin Laden talks about trying to establish Islamist rule over the whole Middle East, and eventually the world, is he just kidding?”

    He would have a hard time getting enough recruits for this if it weren’t for our meddling foreign policy. We are his best recruiters.

  66. Yes, the 9-11 bombers were Saudis but why did they do it? They did it because Bin Ladin thought that if he could kill enough Americans he would get the American people to stop intervening in the Middle East and stop supporting Israel and the Saudi Royal family.

    I don\’t know if that\’s entirely accurate. Couldn\’t it also be a possibility that 9/11 was just a provocation to goad the US to a (perhaps disproportionate) response. I thought I read somewhere that one of Osama\’s goals is to provoke a region-wide uprising against Western supported puppet governments, like the Saudis and Pakistan.

    If there were ever a fundamentalist muslim uprising in Pakistan, home of the Taliban, then extremists would have access to nukes immediately. Seems we have more to worry about with our so-called allies than with our so-called enemies.

  67. “James Baker and the entire realist school of foreign policy that you so fell in love with in the last year.”

    You mean, “Americans.”

    “I think that is what you have been arguing for oh I don’t know the last five years on here.”

    You think a lot things that bear no resemblance to reality, John. I despise Republican Kissinger-lovers like Baker only slightly less than I despise you blood-thirsty neocons.

    ANd hasn’t the debacle we’re struggling with the Iraq demonstrated to you the folly of lumping together unlike, mutually-antagonistic political factions while formulating global strategy? Or are you just so terrified at the prospect of actually trying to argue against the liberal criticism of this war that you retreat to the easy ground of attacking Jim Baker and Noam Chomsky. (Remind me, which one am I supposed to be today?)

    “Further, what is arguing that the middle east was better off with Saddam if not that?” A sad commentary on just how much damage you people have done. I didn’t think it was possible to make Iraq a worse place than it was under Saddam – I thought we’d be arguing whether the marginal improvments I thought we’d see were worth it. When I say you’re dumber than a bag of hammers, John, it is not a statement of my esteem for hammers’ intelligence.

    “They hate us because we support the governments that oppress them and the Israelis. I wouldn’t advocate stopping the support of Israel, but I would advocate making them give the Palestinians some kind of a state and I would certainly advocate doing something to get better governments that provide for their people in the Middle East. Not necessarily invade, but certainly support liberalizers and not be afraid to stand up to the Saudi Royals.”

    Yes indeedy. No more holding handsies with tyrants. It pains me that, because of this war, we are going to have to sit down with the Assads and Sauds and Ahdmanadinajads of the region, when I’d prefer we throw spitballs at them, but if the alternative is to let the terrorist and sectarian violence your war has unleashed consume the entire region, then we don’t have much of a choice.

  68. Val, we sold them their military equipment and trained their military and security services. We regularly share intelligence with them regarding their major domestic threat. American oil companies are heavily involved in their export economy. Our Navy protects the shipping lanes from their ports.

    Im aware of those, but to me not one those is equivalent to the level of intervention we have pursued else where in the world (iraq, kuwait, korea, vietnam, balkans, etc..) Yet everytime this conversation comesup here our support for the House of Saud is spoken of in the same breath as our adventurism in Iraq. To me they are not even remotely comparable. What we have in Saudi Arabia is a very close commercial relationship, and measure intelligence strategic alliance.

  69. “Do you ever think that perhaps the oil selling nations of the world are just as dependent on American money as we are on their oil?”

    Yes they are. They have no choice but to sell us oil. Even Iran still sells oil the evil west. What are they going to do with it? Drink it?

  70. kevrob,

    1. The question is about dissidents who oppose Middle Eastern dictatorships, not the dictators themselves. So the Assads use sneaky tactics – that’s relevant to why anti-Assad forces don’t attack us how, exactly?

    2. The Saudis have been using that same “sneaky” tactic for years, letting anti-government jihadists go make trouble.

  71. Yes, they are, cesar, and if you will actually take the time to read what I wrote, I explicitly said so. In the long run, whomever controls the Saudi oil fields will sell the oil on the world market. Electoral politics, however, are mostly concerned with the short run, and in the short run, it is exceedingly likely that if the House of Saud were to be toppled, that Saudi Arabian oil fields would be disrupted for weeks, if not months.

    One of the chief tactics Bin Laden is pursuing to attack the House of Saud is to disrupt oil exports. Such an interruption would cause price spikes that the American consumer/voter would deem, given his or her current expectations, wholly unacceptable, and American political incumbents pay very close attention to such possibilities. U.S. policy thus finds itself in support of the House of Saud, despite all of the long-term negative ramifications. It would be nice is somebody like Paul, who has no chance of being elected anyways, would at least use rhetoric which attempted to change some of the expectations of the American voter/consumer, which, if we were lucky, could lead to a strategy which was less short-sighted.

  72. we oughta cut to the chase.

    Pull our troops out of the middle east, turn our backs on OPEC (funds terrorism), and start making the necessary adjustments to live within our nation’s true fiscal means.

    I’m sick of our leaders first hyping/promoting, and then beating up on poorly defended weaklings in misguided attempts to preserve a bankrupt (both morally and fiscally) order.

    Is it too late to cozy up to Chavez (like we did Pakistan’s Musharraf after 9/11)?

  73. val, supplying the apparatus which allows a small bedouin family to rule with utter impunity over several million people, while gigantic wealth is concentrated in the small bedouin family’s hands, because the largest reserves of the world’s most important mineral resource is controlled via that apparatus, is no minor matter. It carries grave potential consequences, depending on the cultural and ideological make-up of the people who resent that small bedouin family.

  74. and start making the necessary adjustments to live within our nation\’s true fiscal means.

    Isn\’t that what Jimmy Carter said?

  75. “Is it too late to cozy up to Chavez (like we did Pakistan’s Musharraf after 9/11)?”

    Well Chavez, despite his rhetoric, sells us plenty of oil and will most likely continue to do so.

  76. PLS, many people gravely underestimated the consequences which flowed from Pakistan obtaining nuclear weapons. I suspect that it is likely that many of them will become better educated in that regard in the next few years, if they haven’t already.

  77. Well Chavez, despite his rhetoric, sells us plenty of oil and will most likely continue to do so.

    He also said he would go to war with the United Staes if we attacked Iran. The plot thickens!

  78. “He also said he would go to war with the United Staes if we attacked Iran. The plot thickens!”

    Somebody should seriously remind him what happened the last time a Latin American country went to war with the United States.

  79. An extremely talented politician, who was not afraid of losing an election above all else, could creatively package some proposals which entail extricating us, over substantial time, from the entanglements of Persian Gulf politics. I don’t see anybody on the horizon with either the talent or motivation, however, and even if such an ideal candidate appeared, we are not talking about something that can be accomplished in a short amount of time. Who knows? Maybe we’ll get lucky and muddle through.

  80. Somebody should seriously remind him what happened the last time a Latin American country went to war with the United States.

    Right. But war in this case might be cutting off oil.

    Also, you might remember what happed the last time a country thought is was powerful enough to take on the whole world.*

    Chavez is a an asshole though. I hope his country can get rid of him without a war.

    *(Don\’t mean to be snarky here. Just a balancing thought on why it not be wise to let our military prowess make us overconfident to our own detriment.)

  81. Giuliani would then have to run as a Democrat, since the only thing he appears to agree with the conservatives on is punishing Muslims.

  82. I think some some forces in the GOP thought Giuliani would help pull in the Democrat vote.

  83. val, supplying the apparatus which allows a small bedouin family to rule with utter impunity over several million people, while gigantic wealth is concentrated in the small bedouin family’s hands, because the largest reserves of the world’s most important mineral resource is controlled via that apparatus, is no minor matter. It carries grave potential consequences, depending on the cultural and ideological make-up of the people who resent that small bedouin family.

    Will, not that I disagree with you that continuing this alliance does not carry certain risk for grave consequences, I do think you over simplifying the situation in Saudi Arabia quite a bit. The Saud family has held control or at least some very strong influence in this region long long before the US became a blip in Mid-east politics. Also you will note that most of the attacks in Saudi Arabia happened to target foreign workers, that is they were much more careful not to target SA citizens than they would have been elsewhere. Because that would have even further undermined what limited support they have. This tells me the violent discontent in Saudi Arabia in not as widely spread of a fenomenon as you suggest. Its an oppresive regime to say the least, but those trying to overthrow it are not freedom fighters but are seekers of power.

    I think it would be naive to think that if we were to leave our spot near the royal ear, the House of Saud would tumble, because that spot would immediately be filled by another power; China, Russia, etc…

  84. “Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, or anyone else uniting the Middle East under a caliphate is about as likely to happen as Spain and Portugal re-creating their Latin American empires.”

    “That doesnt mean that they cant bring about a whole load a havoc and oil supply interuptions trying to do that.”

    Like we’re presently doing?

  85. @Pregnant lesbian sex
    Chavez has now almost closed down the RCTV station in Venezuela. So nothing to worry about in the immediate future. This didn’t hurt Russia, remember.

  86. Ya. He\’s also banning Soap Operas, instead commanding his people to go read good socialist books.

    Before one communist tyrant goes out(Fidel), we already have another one to replace him.

    I can\’t believe he was the little darling of the American left. I remember I use to hear glowing praise of Chavez on Amy Goodman\’s \”Democracy Now.\” Glad I was finally able to shake myself from all that.

    Anyway, don\’t want to get too off topic…

  87. Val, I suspect, and I suspect Bid laden believes, that what popular support the Saud family has, is overwhelmingly dependent on it’s welfare state delivering oil money. Thus the attempts by Bid Laden to disrupt oil extraction. It is extraordinarily difficult for even people intimately familiar with Saudi Arabia to gauge the level of support the House of Saud has or how brittle that support is. The Shah looked pretty secure up to about the early ’70s or so. In any case, as long as we supply the apparatus which helps keep the House of Saud in power, we will be in conflict with the Bin Ladens of the world.

    There is nothing about Russia’s level of intergration in the global economy, or China’s social and political stability, which makes me sanguine about either of them becoming the House of Saud’s major sponsor, if we were to abandon that role.

  88. Also, Val, people who seek to supplant repressive regimes nearly always intend to be every bit as repressive themselves. That usually doesn’t greatly harm their odds of succeeding.

  89. Re: Pakistan’s nukes

    Pakistan’s nuke program was a boondoggle that cost the nation of Pakistan mightily. While their rivals (India) paid for their nuke development out of their existing national coffers, Pakistan borrowed the money from the world banking cartel. Like the man says, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” Pakistan’s debt beat the hell out of their economy, and all they had to show for it was a limited run of nigh-on-dud nukes.

    So, when 9/11 came around, their besieged leadership was more than willing to trade off a chunk of their nation’s autonomy in return for a restructuring of their debt load (with a bit of cash and access to some cold war bric-a-brac type weaponry thrown in for sweetener).

    Like convincing the Hatfields to mortgage the ranch to buy an over priced gun, because “it’s so big!”, and will undoubtedly make the McCoy’s see who’s who on the block.

    Rubes.

  90. “Most of the stuff I’ve read is just about establishing it in the Middle East. To my recollection, when he has mentioned dominion over the whole world, it has been in the same sense that I hear it in Catholic Church about Christ [someday] establishing his dominion over the whole world. In other words, an inevitability, but not a subject for immediate warfare.”

    The Orthodox Jews also believe in “The Kingdom of God” in which Israel will rule the world at the end of time.

  91. The Orthodox Jews also believe in “The Kingdom of God” in which Israel will rule the world at the end of time.

    Ya but they already do that by controlling the USA and the Media, douche

  92. Yeah, so anyway… given the many cogent arguments that people have made above, I now have some hope that changing US foreign policy will eliminate the threat posed by Roman Catholic terrorists in Central and South America.

    The Animist Liberation Front may then follow suit and abandon its holy war as well.

  93. Crude imports from the Middle East and North Africa combined represent less than 15% of U.S. consumption. Last time I did the math in Feb it was around 12.5%.

    The U.S. is hugely overcommited to the region and has been for decades. The results are increasingly detrimental to itself and to the overwhelming benefit of Europe and Asia.

    The Middle East is a sucker’s game, especially for the U.S.

  94. \”Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.\” – C.S. Lewis

    Here\’s a question: What\’s better, to support a unpopular secular tyrant or let a popular tyrant/religious idealogue take power, in cases where our interests are involved?

    The danger being a religious idealogue (with the power to) might commit irrational acts. Two extreme examples: nukeing Israel; screwing up the oil supply just \’cause he can.

  95. Paul giving Rudy a reading list story front page at Yahoo.com — getting some nice media coverage…

  96. Patrick D, due to the fungibility of oil, unless you advocate conquering Canada, it matters not a whit where the oil that arrives in the U.S. was actually pumped from. It is frustrating that this still needs to be explained at this late date.

  97. Like I said in the last thread on the topic, lemme know when Paul squares the demand by the American voter/consumer for gas prices which reflect no short term interruption of extraction from Saudi oil fields, with his advocacy for the U.S. not being intimately involved with Persian Gulf politics, in the form of support for the House of Saud, which inevitably brings us into conflict with the jihadists. Until then, he’s nearly as big a gasbag as Giuliani.

    Does this mean that the war is really about oil?

    I imagine that Rudy would reject that as well. It would be a welcome breath of fresh air for someone to say it.

  98. From Ron Paul speech to the House November 29, 2001. “In 1996, after five years of santions against Iraq and persistent bombings, CBS reporter Lesley Stahl asked our Ambassador to the United Nations, Madeline Albright, a simple question: ‘We have heard that a half million children have died (as a consequence of our policy against Iraq). Is the price worth it?’ Albright’s response was “We think the price is worth.’ Although this interview won an Emmy award, it was rarely shown in the U.S. but widely circulated in the Middle East. Some still wonder why America is despised in this region of the world!”

  99. Pretty much, deron, and I’d sure enjoy the breeze as well. Of course, a lot of the people who use the “No blood for oil!” rhetoric would also bitch like crazy if they suffered the dislocations entailed in Saudi oil going off-line for a few months.

  100. Will,

    “It is frustrating that this still needs to be explained at this late date.”

    Doesn’t have to be explained to me. I’ve traded quite a few futures contracts myself.

    Don’t like thinking regionally? Cool. Globally, the U.S. is committed to the free flow of petroleum products well out of proportion to our interests.

    Fungibility is just another arguement used to maintain the long-standing U.S. foreign policy goal of keeping our hand on the oil flow to Europe and Asia. This quasi-central planning and merchantilistic strategy for hegemony just keeps getting more expensive and U.S. taxpayers are suckers for putting up with it.

  101. Does anyone here believe in free markets? I’m just wondering because this is supposed to be a libertarian website. I don’t care about securing middle east oil, and I don’t think it is a worthy goal. We’ve got wind power, water power, solar power, coal power, oil in Canada, oil in Alaska, Ethanol, etc. It’s called free market and if middle east oil isn’t available or really expensive then we get energy some other way, the market fixes things on it’s own.

    I agree that the Islamo-Facists are crazy, totally bonkers, but to say that we need this interventionist foreign policy is like beating a hornets nest with a stick. This kind of policy only makes Islamo-Facists MORE crazy.

    Ron Paul is right.

    One day the neo-libertarians here will understand that government involvement at home or abroad should follow the same policy. Hands off.

  102. If you are familiar with the concept, Patrick, I’m at a loss why you would suppose that the U.S. would be substantially less sensitive to the dislocations entailed in Saudi oil extraction being interrupted that an oil importer which actually received more of it’s oil from Saudi Arabia. The stuff in Canada isn’t going to cost any less, and the Venezuelans will be happy to sell it to whomever.

    Now, you are correct that the U.S. taxpayer pays more to ensure the free flow of oil than other taxpayers, proportionally, although one must also factor higher per capital oil use. That doesn’t have as much impact on domestic politics, however, as the voter who get pissed off when the price of gas hits five dollars a gallon, even if it is temporary.

  103. Someday, Dmitri, you’ll understand that what you believe really doesn’t matter much, unless enough people agree with you, and can thus elect somebody who approximates your views. Paul may be right, but he would have a lot more credibility, and might possibly be more useful, if he were more candid.

  104. Ron Paul never said we shouldn’t go after bin Laden. His position was that Congress should grant letters of marque and reprisal which would direct the president with the task of eliminating Osama bin Laden and his key supporters. This would allow for a narrow targeting of the enemy and preclude a military invasion of a country which results in uneccessary loss of life and treasure.

  105. Does anyone here believe in free markets? I\’m just wondering because this is supposed to be a libertarian website. I don\’t care about securing middle east oil, and I don\’t think it is a worthy goal. We\’ve got wind power, water power, solar power, coal power, oil in Canada, oil in Alaska, Ethanol, etc. It\’s called free market and if middle east oil isn\’t available or really expensive then we get energy some other way, the market fixes things on it\’s own.

    I agree that the Islamo-Facists are crazy, totally bonkers, but to say that we need this interventionist foreign policy is like beating a hornets nest with a stick. This kind of policy only makes Islamo-Facists MORE crazy.

    Ron Paul is right.

    One day the neo-libertarians here will understand that government involvement at home or abroad should follow the same policy. Hands off.

    *applause*

  106. Also Paul has said he believes in trading with people, so that would probably not change anything with the House of Saud.

    We should start funding the House of Atreides just incase, though. 😉

  107. And also for Dimitri, while agreeing with your general point, we should very much welcome the challenging questions of Paul\’s views from wherever they come from, neo-cons or neo-libs or whoever.

    I disagree with some of Paul\’s views, and so I certainly don\’t think everyone should take his word as the gospel of a Libertarian Jesus or something.

    At the very least, he\’s brought up some wonderful points for debate. However, the more his views are debated, the more I seem to find myself agreeing and find his points mostly pretty reasonable.

  108. Do you really think any of the “Muslims” in power really give a shit about their religious beliefs? The most powerful of them do it for 1 thing, Power, and all the bullshit that comes with it. They dont care about allah and about freedom and about any of that crap. They kill each other and the innocent because they want power. Get that through your retarded head.

  109. PLS, agreed, but as a former neo-con I feel that there is need to realize that Paul is right about foreign policy. I welcome any question about Paul and his views, and I try to answer those questions.

    (BTW, my neo-con friends are not very happy with Paul, so I have a lot of answering to do. Some of them are coming around slowly…)

  110. Michael,

    Not sure who that was directed at, but the same thing could be said about the US govt…

  111. As Osama himself has said “If we hate you for your freedoms, why did we not attack Sweeden?”
    Osama and his minions can fight all they want among themselves, I don’t think the spilling of more of our blood and treasure in the desert will stop it.
    But they bring their fight to us because we have been interfering with the Muslim world for decades. They don’t attack Sweeden, Switzerland, Denmark, etc and all those countries have many freedoms similar to ours. In fact, with the USA PATRIOT act and similar post 9/11 laws, those countries actually have MORE freedom than we do. We’ve lost ours. Ron Paul is fighting to get our freedom back.

  112. ..as a former neo-con
    hmmm bery interesteengkt…

    UPDATE!!

    Giuliani\’s camp to responds to Ron Paul\’s \”homework assignment\”:

    Maria Comella, Giuliani\’s Deputy Communications Director, criticized Paul for saying that Giuliani needs to be better educated about terrorism and September 11th.

    \”Mayor Giuliani said it best — it is extraordinary and reckless to claim that the United States invited the attacks on September 11th,\” Comella said. \”And to further declare Rudy Giuliani needs to be educated on September 11th when millions of people around the world saw him dealing with these terrorist attacks firsthand is just as absurd.\”

    Via CNN.

  113. Yeah, Giuliani dealt with the attack the same way my whole family did – he happened to be in Manhattan at the time. I guess I missed the part where he hopped on a boat and beat the crap out of Bin Laden with his bare hands.

  114. So I guess if you pick out any random New Yorker who lived through 9/11, that makes him an instant expert on counter-terrorism and foreign policy, at least vis a vis Ron Paul.

  115. They don’t attack Sweeden, Switzerland, Denmark, etc and all those countries have many freedoms similar to ours.

    Eeegad man, whatever repetitious and dull point yor were trying to make went out the window as soon you mentioned Denmark. Ya those guys never had any problems with Islamists :rollseyes

  116. Rudy to Ron: “You callin’ me out on 9/11? I invented the stuff!”

  117. sam harris makes a point that if the whole west were muslim, 9/11 may have never happened. however, he does point out that if there were no muslim vs. judeo-christian fued, there would still be sunni vs. shia. ahh, it never ends.

  118. Here’s my foreign policy:

    1) Leave other countries alone. Be nice, make trade, keep an eye on what they’re up to, but otherwise stay totally out of their bidness.

    2) If some country/group messes with us, kick its ass.

    Under my policy we would have gone into Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden, but we would have remained focused on that instead of attacking Iraq.

    Vote for me in 2008. Thanks.

  119. I can\’t help but wonder what Urkobold?\’s foreign policy would be…

    UPDATE!!!

    New Ron Paul interview at DomeNation

    Apparently the actual news conference of the event will actually have to be released by ABC or CNN- who were there- as no one else brought a camera to the event.

  120. @ Dave
    “I thought Scheuer had been pretty much discredited as an anti-semetic nutbag. No?”

    Not agreeing with our support of Israel does not equal anti-semitism. This is reason’s homepage. Can’t get away with that here.

  121. Rudy’s spokesman naturally does not address Rudy’s statement that he NEVER HEARD of the theory that US foreign policy might have motivated the 9/11 hijackers.

    That doesn’t surprise me, since the only two possible explanations are that he is a fool, or a liar.

    It’s one thing to not agree with that theory. It’s another thing entirely to have never heard of it. I don’t agree with the theory that says the moon landings were faked – but if I claimed to have NEVER HEARD OF it, I’d have to be some kind of moron or have lived my whole life in a monastery somewhere.

  122. “And to further declare Rudy Giuliani needs to be educated on September 11th when millions of people around the world saw him dealing with these terrorist attacks firsthand is just as absurd.”

    i laughed. i laughed hard reading that.

    but then i realized that they’re serious. i think the onion put it best: rudy really does think running for president of 9/11 is a viable strategy.

  123. Omar: Abdul, why do you think the Americans are here in the middle-east attacking us?

    Habib: Well, Omar, I think that we need to take a look at all the terrorist attacks that we are committing and realize that it is probably pissing the Americans off.

    Ahmed (interrupting): Excuse me, I would like to respond to that if I may. As a human that lives on that planet and breathes air, I find that comment very offensive. I have heard a lot of reasons that the Americans are here, but that one is just absurd! I think Habib owes me an apology.

    (crowd goes wild)

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