Saturday, November 17, 2012

Good Riddance to Ron Paul!

Au Revoir, Ron Paul!  11/14/12

On November 14 Ron Paul gave his farewell speech to Congress.  He is retiring after serving as a US Congressman from Texas' 14th district.   Ron Paul was a three-time candidate for President, once as a Libertarian (1988) and twice as a Republican (2008 and 2012).

Ron Paul claims to be a Libertarian.  I share many of his strongly Libertarian sympathies.  In his essay Civil Disobedience Henry David Thoreau wrote, "That government is best which governs least" (often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson).  Ronald Reagan summed up the essential truth of Libertarian Conservatism very well in his farewell address: "I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."  Paul would seem to concur with these noble sentiments.

I agree with much of what Paul has to say about economics, private property and an overly intrusive federal government -- including the heinous abuses of the TSA.  Paul is provocative on the issues of an out-of-control federal reserve and raises the intriguing possibility of a return to the gold standard.  Paul is right to object to a wasteful and intrusive federal government.

Ultimately, however, I find that Ron Paul is neither a Libertarian, a Republican, nor even a Conservative.  He seems to believe most of all in "Ron Paul-ism" -- a curious mixture of Libertarian economics, neo-confederate nostalgia and isolationism.

Ron Paul Uses Confederate Flag backdrop
Does this help Republicans woo back non-White voters?
What is most disturbing about "Ron Paul-ism"?  Is it his willingness to give a speech in front of the confederate flag (see image above)?  Is it the racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks that were in his newsletters  Is it the possibility that his presence at the Republican primary debates may have devalued the Republican brand name and helped Obama to win reelection in 2012 as Jed Babbin suggested in a recent article (

These are all factors to be weighed, but they are tangential to my deepest objection to Ron Paul.

Ron Paul's foreign policy is far to the left of President Obama's (see earlier post, A Bi-partisan, though perhaps not Tri-partisan, Joke, 11/9/12).    He is in favor of Liberty, but only up to the water's edge.

US Army liberates Dachau, 1945
A Noble Purpose
The United States of America in 2012 continues to be, in Lincoln's phrase "the last best hope of mankind".  It was US military and industrial might that helped to destroy the sinister barbarism of Hitler and the Japanese Empire in World War II.  It was American might that helped to liberate the Nazi concentration camps.  After World War II it was America that led the free world in opposition to communism ultimately triumphing without a shot being fired in anger.  Since the shock of Pearl Harbor, the USA emerged from isolationism and realized its need to remain engaged int he world.

Today the USA stands as the only superpower left in the world.  In many parts of the world, if the United States does not act, then nothing positive will occur.

Ron Paul in his farewell address on 11/14/12 said, "This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified.  This is similar to what we were once told that:  “destroying a village to save a village” was justified.  It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people.  And look at the mess that Iraq is in today."

Many citizens of a war weary nation might be tempted to nod their heads in agreement.  "What a horrible thing for an American Secretary of State to say!  How terrible that we killed 500,000 children in Iraq!"

Ron Paul was alluding to a Sixty Minutes interview on CBS with President Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeline Albright and this is exactly what she said...

The problem is that Ron Paul is just telling part of the story, distorting the truth to serve his own ideological ends.

Madeline Albright immediately regretted speaking as she did that day.  "Albright wrote later that Saddam Hussein, not the sanctions, was to blame. She criticized Stahl's segment as "amount[ing] to Iraqi propaganda"; said that her question was a loaded question; wrote "I had fallen into a trap and said something I did not mean"; and regretted coming "across as cold-blooded and cruel".  The segment won an Emmy Award. Albright's "non-denial" was taken by sanctions opponents as confirmation of a high number of sanctions related casualties." (

Did "500,000 Iraqis, mostly children" really die as a result of "American bombs and sanctions" as Ron Paul says they did?

1) We know that UNICEF estimated that 500,000 children may have died as a result of sanctions and that Saddam Hussein used this as propaganda directed against his enemies.  Other sources, however, suggest that the total affected may have been as low as 100,000.  "This rise in the mortality rate accounted for between a minimum of 100,000 and a more likely estimate of 227,000 excess deaths among young children from August 1991 through March 1998" Source: (  Yet another source, the Project on Defense Alternatives in an article from 2003 called "The Wages of War" estimated "probably ... 170,000 children".  The real truth of the matter is murky to say the least.

United Nations: Imposed Sanctions on Iraq
August 6, 1990 (Four days after invasion of Kuwait)
2)  The sanctions were imposed NOT by the USA, but rather by the United Nations.

3) Why were these sanctions imposed in the first place?  The Sanctions were a direct result of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.  They were imposed by the UN on August 6, 1990 only four days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  Thus one can argue, as Madeline Albright did, that it was Saddam's policies that resulted in the premature deaths of some children in Iraq.

4) The "Children dying as a result of sanctions" was a propaganda line used by Saddam Hussein, regardless of the fact that the incompetence of Saddam's government may have played an even greater role in these deaths.  According to Michael Rubin writing in the New Republic at the same time that children were allegedly starving in Iraq, Saddam's government was selling food abroad  that had been earmarked to Iraqi citizens.  Rubin writes, "incredibly, even as Saddam's regime milks its people's suffering for international sympathy, it sells food abroad that is earmarked for Iraqi citizens. According to the U.S. State Department, in October 1999 Allied patrols in the Persian Gulf stopped three ships that were carrying food out of Iraq. Near the Iranian border, I watched smugglers load sacks of rice and grain (and whiskey) for export."  Here is the full article...(

5) Why were the sanctions lifted?  The sanctions were lifted as a direct result of the USA-led invasion (vociferously opposed by Ron Paul) of Iraq in 2003 and were specifically cited by Tony Blair as a coherent reason (unlike WMD) for supporting the invasion.*  For a fuller treatment of the effect of the UN sanctions on Iraq please see this 2002 article from Reason magazine...

Saddam Hussein
The Butcher of Baghdad
Why then is it that Ron Paul even as he bids farewell to Congress is willing to believe and say the worst about his country regardless of the fact that it is not true?  Why is Paul always a member, like Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn of the blame-America-first crowd?  Why are we willing to give any credence to a man who stoops to regurgitating the propaganda talking points of a dead and little-mourned dictator?

Ron Paul claims to holds liberty in high regard.  If so, why does he seem to deny support for liberty among our allies throughout the world?  Do the Iraqis not deserve to be free of a murderous dictator?  Did the Czechs in 1938 not deserve freedom and autonomy?  The Poles in 1939?  Do Afghan girls not deserve a chance to receive an education?

Has the US blundered in any of its military interventions?  Yes, the Vietnam war was a series of tragic miscalculations that cost over 50,000 American lives.  After 2003, the occupation of Iraq was miserably botched and nation building was a costly mistake.  The surge policy of escalation in Afghanistan adopted by President Obama remains highly questionable to this day.

Is there waste and inefficiency in our military procurement system?  Unquestionably (see earlier post Colonel John Boyd, 1/6/12).

Commander Kelly must insist, however, that these facts do not outweigh the truth that there is no viable alternative to the United States remaining engaged and exerting principled leadership in our the world; we cannot retreat into the turtle shell of isolationism as Ron Paul suggests.

* The late Christopher Hitchens wrote, "March 2003 happens to mark the only time that we decided to intervene, after a protracted and open public debate, on the right side and for the right reasons. This must, and still does, count for something."  For his full take on the Iraq war see Christopher Hitchens article -- Did I get the Iraq War Wrong? :

How ironic that Hitchens the socialist should stand up for human liberty while Ron Paul, the putative "libertarian" should be an apologist for dictatorship and tyranny!

Hitchens on Iraq

What would Ron Paul make of this...?

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades or on


Bill Funk said...

Good post. Very well researched. I spent some time investigating the alleged deaths in Iraq of 500,000 children. What a crock you find once you get into it and start the search! Some comments to your numerical points as follows:

1. As near as I could determine, this started with a Liberal Canadian who supposedly did a study for UNICEF. It was later debunked by the UN as not being factual or capable of being confirmed. In short, he just threw the number out, based in part on an FAO and WFP special report dealing with malnutrition. Throw in an Indian women working for UNICEF, who went around the world (Anupama Rao Singh - Phd in Home Economics) quoting it and another, a 38 year old UK Indian named Anup Shah, who lived in but left the US (go figure) and is founder of a website called Global Issues, who also threw it out as fact and all of whom collectively are responsible for this info to be accepted as reality. Also, some half wit named John Pilger (see goes so far as to talk about estimated deaths of children from dust in the Basra area - you see, there was no dust before the Americans invaded. damn, we are vicious! BTW, in the research you come across several Islamic propaganda sites as well using the figures.
2. Correct, but the above people will tell you the US "muscled" the other UN members into authorizing it. The US has such tremendous influence at the UN you know - especially with UNICEF.
3. Gee, did Saddam Hussein invade Kuwait? I forgot all about that.
4. True, Saddam took advantage of the UN aid, even the Special Report acknowledges that. He also spoon fed it to families who were loyal to him. Sometimes I think Saddam was never a Boy Scout.
5. Another good point. Didn't you see all the press film coverage of the starving and malnourished children in Iraq? Neither did I, but then perhaps the press deemed the sight of that too horrific to show the American people. The press is very careful not to show the US in a negative light you know.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Keep it coming!