Ron Paul has never liked war. Perhaps because Dr. Paul’s medical residency had been in obstetrics and gynecology, daily experiencing the origin and promise of life, the nurture of mothers during pregnancy and at birth.
Perhaps it was because he understands like Brigadier General Smedley Butler, the multi-decorated Marine hero, that war is a racket, through which many die and a few profit in millions…and now billions…of dollars.
Perhaps it’s both. Whatever the reason, Paul’s never liked war or the military-industrial complex. And he’s never been quiet about it. Even when he ran twice as a Republican presidential candidate, he’d complain about America’s constantly invading sovereign nations during the past and new century. Republican audience members would boo him for it. He didn’t seem to care. It just increased his resolve, and he’d further explain himself.
No doubt, when Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination and Paul suddenly became silent, the neoconservatives—both in the Republican Party and the Obama administration—breathed a sigh of relief, believing they had finally ridded themselves of this Libertarian(he was that party’s presidential nominee in 1988) in Republican clothing. The neocons may have thought they’d never hear from that thorny peacenik again.
They were wrong. Paul simply returned to his native Texas, and has evolved from a single thorn into a thorntree (we dare not say thornBush), just beginning to spread its branches. He has formed The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI), has created an Internet TV station, become an active presence in social media, and has brought into the fold a brain trust who serves as a board of advisors and columnists. In their constant daily messages, they hammer away at the Washington neocons and their ravenous desire for endless war, and its offspring at home, such as massive surveillance in the U.S.
Only today, reports have come of Paul’s praising Congress’s refusal to approve the USA Freedom Act, because—though it would have imposed certain restrictions on the controversial National Security Agency’s (NSA) Orwellian surveillance of Americans–it would have renewed portions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act increasing government limits on freedom. He said in his Sunday column on the foundation’s website:
The abuses of the Constitution in the PATRIOT Act do not need to be fully recounted here, but Presidents Bush and Obama both claimed authority based on it to gut the Fourth Amendment. The PATRIOT Act ushered in the era of warrantless wiretapping, monitoring of our Internet behavior, watering down of probable cause, and much more. After the revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know how the NSA viewed constitutional restraints on surveillance of American people during the PATRIOT Act period.
But Paul’s and his foundation’s obsessive concentration of late has been on Washington’s addiction to endless war. Here are recent examples of columns and video pouring from Paul’s group:
- Today (Monday) the foundation’s executive director Daniel McAdams said in a TV interview that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s sudden resignation did not bode well for America. McAdams indicated it only means the White House’s neocon base led by Susan Rice, the national security advisor, will continue to try and remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, further increasing Middle East instability.
- On Nov. 19, the website ran journalist Robert Parry’s piece headlined “Still Letting the Neocons Lead”. Parry complained in the piece:
It may be highly naïve at this point to think that President Obama will ever demonstrate true leadership by repudiating the neocon “group think” regarding a whole variety of issues including today’s hotspots, such as Iran, Syria, Iraq, Russia and Ukraine.
- On Nov. 10, John W. Whitehead, attorney and founder of The Rutherford Institute, considered a conservative ACLU, had a column called “The Devil’s Bargain: The Illusion of a Trouble-Free Existence in the American Police State”. He quoted CNBC:
One out of 100 American adults is behind bars — while a stunning one out of 32 is on probation, parole or in prison. This reliance on mass incarceration has created a thriving prison economy. The states and the federal government spend about $74 billion a year on corrections, and nearly 800,000 people work in the industry.
On Nov. 7, the website carried an interview with former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, an advisory board member of Paul’s foundation, titled “The U.S. Must Work to Re-establish Friendly Relations with Russia”. Kucinich contended:
Because the Democratic Party voted most recently to support giving arms to the so-called Syrian rebels, the Democrats once again voted for war. And the party has consistently voted for war. It has not distinguished itself from the Republican Party at matters of perpetual war which means that there is a vacuum in American politics, there is a vacuum with respect to addressing the need of the people for jobs, the need of the country for rebuilding its infrastructure which is in need of trillions of dollars worth of repairs, and the need for redefining America’s role in the world as a means of recognizing that this is not a unipolar world. This is a world of multiple interests and multiple countries, and there is folly for any nation including America to try to sell itself up there as the only nation that matters because indeed we have to be ready to recognize the concerns of all people.
Some in DC must be wincing from the thorny nicks. We saw a C-SPAN panel recently discussing the NSA and the ever-pervasive propaganda on the war on terror. One of the panelists, who appeared to be a neocon college professor, was blasting Paul for his anti-neocon campaign. That, of course, to Paul and his cohorts is a good sign—getting under the military-industrial complex’s armored skin.
But will the Paul-led antiwar effort be enough to stop President Obama’s and Congress’s military onslaught into the Middle East and the continuance of endless war? RPI’s McAdams in a Nov. 7 report concludes the onslaught was continuing. His headline: “Obama Demands Another 1,500 Troops and $5.6 Billion for War Expansion”.
The headline alone rings a ghostly bell of Vietnam and America’s gradual incursion of military troops into a war we could not win:
Then the bloody, slow withdrawal finally ending after the 1972 presidential election.
Oh, and let’s not forget the U.S. surprise invasion of Iraq in March 2003. By May 1, President George W. Bush declared “Mission Accomplished”. But it took until December 2011 to withdraw our military…who are on the way back for another futile effort that will bring billions of dollars to a chosen few.
Ron Paul and his peacenik cohorts no doubt will keep reminding us of that.