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Friday, September 09, 2005

Why do we fight in Iraq?

Yesterday I saw Congressman Ron Paul of Texas give a great speech on the floor of the house about the War in Iraq. Paul is a Republican of the Libertarian sort, and I couldn't believe how much he and I share the same views about this war.

I highly recommend using the link to his webpage and read the speech in its entirety. But I will highlight some parts that are dead on in my opinion.

Ron Paul;
..."The reasons now given for why we must continue this war bear no resemblance to the reasons given to gain the support of the American people and the United States Congress prior to our invasion in March of 2003. Before the war, we were told we faced an imminent threat to our national security from Saddam Hussein. This rationale,
now proven grossly mistaken, has been changed. Now we’re told we must honor the fallen by “completing the mission.” To do otherwise would demean the sacrifice of those who have died or been wounded. Any lack of support for “completing the mission” is said, by the promoters of the war, to be unpatriotic, un-American, and detrimental to the troops. They insist the only way one can support the troops is to never waver on the policy of nation building, no matter how ill-founded that policy may be. The obvious flaw in this argument is that the mission, of which they so reverently speak, has changed constantly from the very beginning....

...Today, though, all the old reasons for going to war
have been discredited, and are no longer used to justify continuing the war. Now we are told we must “complete the mission,” and yet no one seems to know exactly what the mission is or when it can be achieved. By contrast, when war is properly declared against a country we can expect an all-out effort until the country surrenders. Without a declaration of war as the Constitution requires, it’s left to the President to decide when to start the war and when the war is over. We had sad experiences with this process in Korea and especially in Vietnam....

...Since no logical answers can be given for why we fight, it might be better to talk about why
we should not fight. A case can be made that if this war does not end soon it will spread and engulf the entire region. We’ve already been warned that war against Iran is an option that remains on the table for reasons no more reliable than those given for the pre-emptive strike against Iraq. Let me give you a few reasons why this war in Iraq should not be fought....

1)It is not in our national interest.....
2)This war has never been declared.....
3)It’s virtually impossible to beat a determined guerrilla resistance to a foreign occupying force....
4)Those who argue that it’s legitimate to protect “our oil” someday must realize that
it’s not our oil,...
5)So far our policies inadvertently have encouraged the development of an Islamic state, with Iranian-allied Shiites in charge....

...Those who want to continue this war accuse those who lost loved ones in Iraq, and oppose the war, of using the dead for personal political gain. But what do the war proponents do when they claim the reason we must fight on is to honor the sacrifice of the military personnel we lost by completing the mission? The big difference is that one group argues for saving lives, while the other justifies more killing. And by that logic, the additional deaths will require even more killing to make sure they too have not died in vain. Therefore, the greater number who have died, the greater is the motivation to complete the mission.
This defies logic....

Ron Paul finishes succinctly
...If confidence can be restored in our American traditions of peace and trade, our influence throughout the world would be enhanced just as it was once we rejected the military approach in Vietnam.

This change in policy can come easily once the people of this country decide that there is a better way to conduct ourselves throughout the world. Whenever the people turn against war as a tool to promote certain beliefs, the war ceases. That’s what we need today. Then we can get down to the business of setting an example of how peace and freedom brings prosperity in an atmosphere that allows for excellence and virtue to thrive.

A powerful bureaucratic military state negates all efforts to preserve these conditions that have served America so well up until recent times. That is not what the American dream is all about. Without a change in attitude, the American dream dies: a simple change that restates the principles of liberty enshrined in our Constitution will serve us well in solving all the problems we face. The American people are up to the task; I hope Congress is as well.

Listening to Mr Paul was heartening for me. You see progressives and Republicans can agree on issues. And I agree 100% with his entire speech. Please go to his site and read the full text.
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