Sunday, October 28, 2007

A bit about Foreign Policy

There are of course a myriad of desired goals when it comes to foreign policy. Here are a few of the goals that various groups have in no particular order:

1) Protect the US investments around the world
2) Eliminate war
3) Eliminate hunger
4) Eliminate poverty
5) Prevent nuclear proliferation
6) Secure sources of oil
7) Rescue oppressed people
8) Stand up for national sovereignty
9) Protect our Allies
10) Defeat terrorists
11) Generate wealth and profit
12) Stimulate the economy
13) Destroy evil regimes
14) Maintain super power status

So which of these are the official reasons for invading Iraq? 5, 7, 10, 13. Let's take a little closer look at each of these.

5 - OK, everyone wants nukes. They don't want to be seen as helpless nations that cannot defend themselves. We're the only nation in all of human history that has used a nuclear weapon. It's reasonable for nations to want nuclear weapons. They see it as a chance to get real bargaining power at the table with the big boys. Let's try to avoid the whole argument of what really should be done about nuclear weapons, and point out the fact that the proponents of invading Iraq claimed that nuclear weapons had been present, or were currently present in Iraq. This has at best, not been confirmed, and at worst was a complete lie.

7 - Yes, I think it is factual that Saddam was a horrible and cruel dictator that killed in the neighborhood of a million of his own citizens over the time of his regime. This is clearly a problem. The questions that have to be answered here are:

A) What authority do we have to save these people from their own government?
B) How should we accomplish this, assuming we have that authority?

A - I'm not sure that we have any authority over this matter, and we sure wouldn't accept it if a radical sect of some religion came and declared war on us because of our rates of abortions (in the neighborhood of 850,000 per year) in this country. I think we lack clear moral authority.

B - Even if we did, however, I would definitely argue that we have failed to execute this rescue of the Iraqi people. According to one study(I apologize for not being able to locate the primary source), over 650,000 Iraqis have died that wouldn't have died if pre-war fatality rates had continued.

10 - "Terrorists are bad!" OK, sure.
A) Who are the terrorists?
B) Where can we defeat them?
C) Why are they attacking us?
D) How many terrorist attacks were there on US interests before World War II?
E) How many terrorists were in Iraq before we invaded?

OK, I may have asked too many questions here, but I'll try to talk about each one.

A - Well, part of the problem here is that there is no single definition. Most people at least focus on Fundamentalist Muslims. Particularly the Wahhabi Sect that has sprung up since the 18th century, and is in power in Saudi Arabia. Some say that we didn't even have very good evidence that Osama Bin Laden was actually behind the 9/11 attacks.

B - We started in Afghanistan, a location that Osama was supposed to reside. They convinced us he escaped to Pakistan, but we still haven't found him, and aren't attacking Pakistan.

C - Suicide bombers attack occupiers. We had military bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and we openly supported Israel.

D - This is a question that I'd like answered. My suspicion is that there weren't any.

E - I would love to see some evidence to suggest that we had knowledge of terrorists in Iraq. I don't think there is any.

13- OK, on with the reasons for invading Iraq. Saddam was a bad man. However, we created him. I think our government's hands were already stained here. Nothing justified here.

Real, however unstated reasons for going into Iraq? 1, 6, 11, 12, 14. I'll attempt to back those up if anyone thinks that they're invalid accusations, they're mostly off the top of my head.

Ron Paul speaks of this matter rather excitedly in this debate:

Ron Paul Opening Comments

Ron Paul Rebuttal

My point in all of this is to support Ron Paul's position for leaving Iraq. I feel that the entire premise of using 9/11 as a reason to go to Iraq is flawed, we've failed to accomplish what we claimed we set out to do, and it doesn't appear that there's any likelihood that we will ever accomplish it. We should safely and in an orderly fashion pack up and leave Iraq. We shouldn't have been there in the first place. It's not about terrorists. It's not about 9/11. It's a mistake and a lie. We should stop fueling the hatred. Support the troops, bring them home.

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How I learned about Ron Paul

I first heard about Ron Paul on a Free State Project yahoo mailing list. They were first talking about how Ron Paul had answered the question "What's the most pressing moral issue in the United States right now?". He responded "I think it is the acceptance just recently, that we now promote preemptive war...". Most of the other candidates pointed to abortion. These gentlemen on the list were excited about Ron Paul. They felt that he had rightly taken a stand on an issue that helped him stand out from the pack. This stand didn't particularly set well with me, and in fact, they had linked to sites that were filled with conspiracy theories and strange positions on all kinds of issues. Those links caused me to seriously question the sanity of anyone that would support Ron Paul.

The key to gaining interest in Ron Paul was deciding to watch the entirety of the September 5th Republican debate (not to say that any other debate would not be sufficient for this purpose). I entered the debate unsure of what candidate could be worthy of my vote in the primary, but having a history of disgust with politicians in general. My very first impression of Ron Paul was that he is not your ordinary politician. He doesn't seem to be unsure of his policies. He doesn't seem to test the wind before he speaks. He has a certainty to him that is extremely admirable. The next thing I noticed is that I agree with everything he says about domestic policy. When someone I agree with on nearly every position comes along, I want to look closer on the issues we disagree about. I will detail my thoughts on each of Ron Paul's positions in separate posts.

When I did go about learning more in depth what Ron Paul was really saying (mostly by listening to the man talk on You Tube), I was impressed and also persuaded.

There have been a great deal of thorough and fair interviews with Ron Paul.

My favorite interview:
Candidates@Google (over an hour)

A very good speech:
C-SPAN - Iowa Straw Poll Speech

For a very brief overview (admittedly somewhat emotional):
Ron Paul: A New Hope

And if you wonder whether he's a smooth talking flip flopping politician, check this out:
Ron Paul Interview 1988

Just go to youtube and search for Ron Paul. You'll find a wealth of information.

The bottom line is that you've got to stop letting other people tell you what to think. Don't even let Ron Paul tell you what to think. These issues are too important to take lightly. I think that if you do dive deeper, you'll also be very impressed with this man Ron Paul. I hope that you agree with him enough to vote for him.

Finally, please don't be afraid to vote FOR someone this time around. Don't vote against someone, or believe the media when it says that candidate X is the front runner and can win against the Democrats. Vote for the candidate that you want to be president!

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