The Post and Ron Paul
In an unsigned editorial, The Wash Post "assess[es] a grass-roots phenomenon, and the strange ideology behind it" and concludes that Ron Paul is more Pat Buchanan than anything. They kick him around for some good reasons–the race-baiting newsletters, fear of a NAFTA superhighway, and more–and then lay into his stance toward Iraq 2.0:
Mr. Paul goes so far as to express understanding of Osama bin Laden's antipathy toward U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, which, Mr. Paul says, created the "incentive" for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "It's sort of like if you step in a snake pit and you get bit," he told Mr. Russert. "Who caused the trouble?" During the Cold War, the late Jeane Kirkpatrick chided Democrats for "blaming America first" in foreign policy. That may or may not have been apt. But in 2008, there is one candidate to whom her words definitely apply: Republican Ron Paul.
To which H&R regular and blogger Alan Vanneman responds:
After having established the fact that Mr. Paul believes in a lot of nonsense, much of it dangerous, the Post goes on to reveal the worst: "Mr. Paul goes so far as to express understanding of Osama bin Laden's antipathy toward U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia, which, Mr. Paul says, created the "incentive" for the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001."
The only problem is, it's a well-known fact that U.S troop presence in Iraq was the catalyst for Bin Laden's terrorist assaults on U.S. interests, both here and in the Middle East. As author Christian Alfonsi notes in his excellent book, Circle in the Sand, U.S. policy makers received frequent warnings that presence of a substantial number of U.S. troops could lead to disaster. During the leadup to the first Iraqi War, the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles Freeman, warned the administration that "It remains our judgment that Saudi and Arab political realities preclude a U.S. military presence in the Islamic holy land which appears to be open-ended or semi-permanent." During the war itself, a report issued by a committee headed by Richard Clarke stated that "A permanent U.S. presence will provide a rationale for, and could become a target for, the terrorist threat that will outlive the war." Of course, the U.S. received frequent complaints from the Saudis themselves.
Why does the Post attack Ron Paul most aggressively on the one thing he gets right? Because the Post doesn't want its readers to know the truth. It's a strange way for a "great newspaper" to act.
More on Ron Paul and the newsletters forthcoming.