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Rep. Ron Paul is in a dead heat with Mitt Romney for first place in the Iowa caucuses. If he does pull out a win on Tuesday, Iowa Republicans will have chosen as their commander in chief a man who says it was wrong to kill Osama bin Laden.
“These are not conservative positions. They are not libertarian positions. They are nutty positions.” –Marc A. Thiessen In a recent interview with a Des Moines radio station, Paul not only came out against killing bin Laden but gave a remarkable reason for his opposition: The operation that took out the man responsible for the massacre of nearly 3,000 people in our midst, he said, showed no “respect for the rule of law, international law.” International law? Back in 2002, Paul wrote in a column that “America must either remain a constitutional republic or submit to international law, because it cannot do both.” I guess it is goodbye constitutional republic since Paul now claims that international law constrains us from killing the man behind the most brazen attack on our country since Pearl Harbor — the man who, as we learned from documents recovered from his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan,was actively plotting another attack to exceed the magnitude of 9/11. Since when do libertarians acknowledge the power of supranational law to prevent a sovereign United States from defending itself against foreign aggressors?
Not only does Paul oppose the killing of bin Laden, he opposes the drone campaign that has taken out more than 60 al-Qaeda leaders since 2008 — including the strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the man behind the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. As he put it in a June debate, as president “I’d quit bombing Yemen, I’d quit bombing Pakistan.”
Paul has clearly tapped into a growing sentiment among some conservatives to bring our troops home. But do Iowa Republicans really believe that we should not have killed Osama bin Laden? Or that that the United States does not have the authority under international law to take out al-Qaeda leaders planning attacks on our country? If so, then, by all means, they should vote for Ron Paul.
But that’s not all. In the CNN/Tea Party debate that took place one day after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Paul said he believes that the United States brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself.
Parroting the propaganda of al-Qaeda, Paul declared, “Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have been explicit, and they wrote and said that we attacked America because you had bases on our Holy Land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians a fair treatment, and you have been bombing … [Interrupted by boos from the crowd] I’m trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing. At the same time, we have been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for ten years. Would you be annoyed? If you’re not annoyed then there is some problem.”
At least in that debate he accepted the fact that al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. In 2007, Paul appeared on the Alex Jones Show and called the 9/11 Commission investigation into the attacks “a coverup,” adding, “I think we have to keep pushing for [a real investigation].”
So Iowa Republicans, if you believe that we brought 9/11 on ourselves because our policies “annoyed” al-Qaeda and that there has been a “coverup” of the real events on 9/11, Ron Paul is your man.
Paul has also made clear that he would do nothing to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. Paul opposes not only military action to stop the regime from going nuclear, but he opposes economic sanctions as well. On Thursday in Iowa, he declared that sanctions against Iran are “an act of war” (in Paul’s twisted worldview, sanctions against Iran are an “act of war,” but blowing up the Twin Towers is just a crime. Moreover, while Paul asserts there is “no evidence whatsoever” that Iran has enriched uranium, he apparently opposes spying on Iran to find out. During the GOP debate in Des Moines, after a discussion of Iran’s capture of a U.S. spy drone, Paul demanded to know: “Why were we flying a drone over Iran?” Apparently Paul does not want to know about the Iranian bomb until the mullahs test one.
So Iowa Republicans, if you are okay with a nuclear Iran and believe we should not be sending drones to spy on that country, please cast your vote for Ron Paul.
These are not conservative positions. They are not libertarian positions. They are nutty positions. It would bring discredit on the state of Iowa if Hawkeye Republicans make their choice for president of the United States a man who opposes the killing of bin Laden, blames the United States for 9/11 and says we should not even spy on Iran, much less stop it from getting the bomb.
Marc Thiessen is a fellow at AEI.
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