Ron Paul was right on Iraq
It was the decisive moment of the South Carolina debate.
Hearing Rep. Ron Paul recite the reasons for Arab and Islamic resentment of the United States, including 10 years of bombing and sanctions that brought death to thousands of Iraqis after the Gulf War, Rudy Giuliani broke format and exploded:
"That's really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of 9/11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I have ever heard that before, and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11."
The applause for Rudy's rebuke was thunderous -- the sound bite of the night and best moment of Rudy's campaign.
After the debate, on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," came one of those delicious moments on live television. As Michael Steele, GOP spokesman, was saying that Paul should probably be cut out of future debates, the running tally of votes by Fox News viewers was showing Ron Paul, with 30 percent, the winner of the debate.
When Ron Paul said the 9/11 killers were "over here because we are over there," he was not excusing the mass murderers of 3,000 Americans. He was explaining the roots of hatred out of which the suicide-killers came.
Lest we forget, Osama bin Laden was among the mujahideen whom we, in the Reagan decade, were aiding when they were fighting to expel the Red Army from Afghanistan.
What Ron Paul was addressing was the question of what turned the allies we aided into haters of the United States.
Bin Laden in his declaration of war in the 1990s said it was U.S. troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia, U.S. bombing and sanctions of a crushed Iraqi people, and U.S. support of Israel's persecution of the Palestinians that were the reasons he and his mujahideen were declaring war on us.
Elsewhere, he has mentioned Sykes-Picot, the secret British-French deal that double-crossed the Arabs who had fought for their freedom alongside Lawrence of Arabia and were rewarded with a quarter century of British-French imperial domination and humiliation.
Almost all agree that, horrible as 9/11 was, it was not anarchic terror. It was political terror, done with a political motive and a political objective.
What does Rudy Giuliani think the political motive was for 9/11• Was it because we are good and they are evil• Is it because they hate our freedom• Is it that simple?
Ron Paul says bin Laden is delighted we invaded Iraq.
Does the man not have a point• The United States is now tied down in a bloody guerrilla war in the Middle East and increasingly hated in Arab and Islamic countries where we were once hugely admired as the first and greatest of the anti-colonial nations. Does anyone think that bin Laden is unhappy with what is happening to us in Iraq?
Of the 10 candidates on stage in South Carolina, Dr. Paul alone opposed the war.
Rudy implied that Ron Paul was unpatriotic to suggest the violence against us out of the Middle East may be in reaction to U.S. policy in the Middle East. Was President Hoover unpatriotic when, the day after Pearl Harbor, he wrote to friends, "You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bitten."
Ron Paul is no TV debater. But up on that stage in Columbia, he was speaking intolerable truths. Understandably, Republicans do not want him back, telling the country how the party blundered into this misbegotten war.
By all means, throw out of the debate the only man who was right from the beginning on Iraq.
Pat Buchanan edits The American Conservative magazine.
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