Paul Supporters: Now May Be The Moment to Grow Up

They're Baaaack...

If you’re a Ron Paul supporter, I am trying to grab your attention.  For a change, somebody needs to do so.  I’ve listened to the childish, näive arguments of Ron Paul’s crowd for long enough.  The Republican party has listened to you and tolerated your irrational positions for long enough.  Conservatives have listened to the wistful nonsense for long enough.  The simple fact that neither you nor your chosen candidate will accept is that there are people in this world who hate without any sane rationale,  who will kill, maim, and murder without any but the most nonsensical justifications.  There are people in this world who wish to attack America or Israel for the sake of what they are, rather than what they do.  To pretend otherwise verges on self-delusion and madness.

It’s time for those of you who follow Ron Paul to recognize that the world isn’t such a friendly place. It’s not all “rainbows and unicorns,” so you might want to deal with reality for a spell. I’m flabbergasted with the ability of some Ron Paul supporters to pretend that those who oppose this country play by rules that they could endorse.

In short, it’s time to grow up.

When Ron Paul offered that if only we would withdraw from the Middle East, the Islamists would play nice, it was one of the most dangerously näive statements I’ve heard since Neville Chamberlain’s “peace for our time” foolishness.  Ron Paul fans love to point to the history of the Federal Reserve, but when it comes to the history of warfare and the conflicts between civilizations, it seems they’ve taken a pass.  Specifically, when it comes to matters of foreign policy, Ron Paul has shown a disdain and reckless disregard for the truth of our conflict with radical Islamists.

There is no peace you can make with people who want you dead, and who wish to displace you from your own territory.  The thesis Paul promotes is that we can have peace by simply leaving them be, in the hope that they will leave us be.  This is roughly akin to the idiotic premise put forward by some that you can respond to a playground bully by ignoring him, thus causing him to…what?  Stop being a bully?  This is simply unrealistic in the face of all  human experience to the contrary, because in fact, all that will ultimately stop the playground bully is a knuckle sandwich delivered by one of his would-be victims.  That’s it. That’s the only way it works in the real world.

Paul’s supporters frequently buy into his faulty proposition that if only the United States would remain clear of the Middle East, and withdraw its support of Israel, the Islamists would not have reason to hate the United States, and therefore leave us be in peace.  This is a grotesquely naive view that cannot be shoe-horned into any approximation of reality with which I’m familiar.  It cannot be.  The simple fact is that our civilization is pervasive.  The Soviets learned this as they struggled against our pop-culture, and our vast productivity, and the robust consumerism that tends to dominate a free country.  They hated our blue jeans and our rock and roll, because the young in their empire craved these things as they craved the liberty that brought them into existence.   Few things caused more heartburn in the Kremlin than the creeping of Western culture over their borders, through the airwaves, and into their black markets.   To them, it was a danger on par with our missiles and our bombers built to hold them at bay, but over the long run, they had no weapon to repel it but propaganda which few of them believed.  In much the same way, the American culture now pushes into countries via satellite and Internet and any other pipeline, and this makes the Islamic world tremble, because in the same way these things that speak freedom were a threat to the dictators in the USSR, so too are they a threat to dictators in the Middle East.  The difference is that they are also a threat to the theocratic elements there, who see government as an arm and instrument of Allah.  In the Soviet Union, they outlawed God or gods to establish a state-run monopoly over the lives and thoughts of people, but in the Islamic world, the imams and mullahs seek a similar monopoly via a unity between “church and state.”

In this sense, where the Supreme Soviet made the state God, the Islamists wish to  make God the state.  While the outward appearance of the two approaches seem dis-similar, the character and nature of the two are for all intents and purposes the same, and the results they bear forth are indistinguishable:  Death, poverty, and slavery are all such civilizations can produce.  No amount of happy talk will change this, and neither will it change the aggressive stance such cultures will of necessity take in response to our civilization.  The truth is that in the longer run, a free society of the character ours has been until recently cannot occupy the same space as the sorts of regimes characterized by unrestrained statism in any form, be they secular dictatorships or theocratic regimes.  The cultural bleed-over is the biggest threat to the statist regimes, for with all the control they exert over their people, they cannot deny to them the basic desire to have those material effects of freedom.

Ron Paul and too many of his supporters suffer under the deluded notion that assumes all people share the same basic values and desires.  This is not true of governments, and it may not even be fully true of people.  Yes, we all want food, shelter, water and the necessities of life, but how we go about getting them is a matter of distinction.  A simple example is to compare yourself with a mugger.  You both want money to purchase your life’s necessities, but only one of you is willing to engage in productive work to obtain them.  The mugger is willing to deprive you of property to fulfill his needs, and you wouldn’t permit yourself that abandonment of those values that forbid such actions(or so we would hope.)  With this small example in mind, you really need no greater, more in-depth understanding of the differences that exist among ordinary people in their morality and values to recognize that the difference in the motivations of civilizations can and do vary greatly.

Apply this to the question of foreign policy.  What does America gain from its relations with the Middle East?  We buy oil there, but little else, and in large measure, it had been we who discovered and developed the resource before they forcibly relieved us of our investments.  What do these countries gain from us? Aside from the money in payment for these resources, they obtain many things as free-riders.  No cellular phones would they have developed.  No televisions would they have invented.  Not even a single automobile have they produced.  All of these things were born of our culture and our civilization, and the freedoms we enjoy.  Their culture does not support the widespread production of material prosperity, but their leaders tell them these are all things without which they can live more happily, while said leaders enjoy them.

Those leaders pose as both the material and spiritual caretakers of their respective nations.  On this basis, they are able to mobilize large bodies of militants rapidly to almost any cause or purpose.  Yet these nations produce very little that isn’t seized by force from others in some manner.  Seizure is their primary means of subsistence, and it is this upon which they come to rely.  You can pretend to yourself that if only we will withdraw from them, they will leave us in peace, but their history and their culture offers a vision of conquests and warfare.  If you fail to understand this, you are inviting disaster.  The most certain way to overcome them is not by withdrawal, for you cannot withdraw from a pursuing attacker, but by engagement.  This engagement need not be aggressive on our part, but it must be mindful that sometimes, bullies simply need a knuckle sandwich, and we must recognize that “time-outs” will not suffice.

Neither may we permit ourselves the illusion that by abandoning our allies we may obtain a lasting peace.  Israel is in many ways the closest thing we have to an outpost in their midst.  It is the only country in the region that holds legitimate elections.  It is the only country that recognizes some form of inviolable rights of individual people.  Those in the region who seek to erase Israel from their maps consider it a threat: In their midst is a country in which production beyond bare subsistence is the norm.  In Israel, one need not be a ruler to obtain a prosperous life.   This is the threat Israel poses, and in truth, it is also the threat the US presents to the Islamists.  It is not by mere coincidence that relative prosperity in the region is in tight correlation with militancy.  Poverty and radicalism are constant cohorts; where you find one, you will frequently find the other.  People in poverty more readily turn their lives over to rulers.  Our own welfare state and its well-established relationship to at least one major party should make this clear.

What should have become clear to you by now is that our country is now under that same threat.  In fact, it is being fomented and pushed by people with much the same motives.  For the moment, we retain the power to undo it, but even if we do, we will be forced to confront the sad reality that in places like Egypt and Libya, there will be no easy reform.  It’s clear that we can no longer afford to prop up the devils of our choosing in the region in the hope that they will be less awful than others who may arise, but I also think it’s reasonable to suggest that our foreign policy will still require us to walk a fine line that supports our allies and punishes our foes.  As long as we are dependent for so much of our energy on our trade with the region, we will be compelled to find ways to make it work, but we mustn’t shy from this problem.  Pretending that absolute thugs like those now controlling Iran are anything else is a prescription for disaster.  When Ron Paul offered with a straight face that he believed Iran was interested in nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes, or that our presence in Saudi Arabia was the cause of the 9/11 attacks, he demonstrated his inability to square reality with his ideology. We can learn a good deal from Dr. Paul on the matter of economics, but his view of foreign policy is irresponsible and immature.  It is made of a childish petulance that demands in the form of a plea for a reformation of bullies it envisions no willingness to enforce.

Put simply, it’s dangerous, precisely because it returns us to an illusory pre-9/11 mindset that is sure to bring deep tragedies upon us.  Many Ron Paul supporters believe their candidate doesn’t find a fair shake, but this is simply not so.  Instead, his foreign policy prescriptions have been roundly rejected by those who would in other issues be his natural allies.  For those of you who hold fast to this position, it’s time for you to realize the nature of what is arrayed against us and man a post.  If our nation is to survive the attacks we will soon know from within as well as those from without, it’s time to grow up and leave the rainbows and unicorns behind.  Our enemies don’t believe in them as the basis for their foreign policies, and neither should you.

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40 Responses to Paul Supporters: Now May Be The Moment to Grow Up

  1. thedrpete says:

    The worst thing about Ron Paul is that his supporters are the most-obnoxious humans on the planet. The penultimate-worst thing about Ron Paul is the ideology of which you speak.

    To disprove his alleged cause-and-effect premise, one but has to study the life and writings of Qutb. He came from Egypt to NYC in the mid-'5os to study Americans and what makes them tick. He then attended Colorado State College (now U. of Northern Colorado), was shocked a pantload by the co-eds, returned to Egypt to preach and write and incite.

  2. Tom says:

    Two words together which the Paul supporters will never discuss or even utter: "World Caliphate"–the world-ruling Islamic superstate which that theo-political construct has been conquering to build since its beginning. There were no crusades or Western military bases in Saudi Arabia when the "Moors" invaded Spain. Simply put, they drew first blood, and have no intention of stopping.

  3. Wraith says:

    I used to support Ron Paul. And, in matters financial and Constitutional, I still maintain that he has a lot of very good points to make.

    However, the more I learn about our Jihadist adversaries, the more I realize that Dr. Paul's foreign policy would spell the end of civilization as we know it. Thank you, Mark, for laying out the situation in no uncertain terms. If I woke up, maybe other Paulians will, too.

    • rab4us says:

      I too supported Dr. Paul with regards to Constitutional and monetary positions. But, as I became more aware of his foreign policy positions, I realized his "group hug to peace" philosophy was a dangerous path in a very dangerous world. Also some of his comments with regards to the reasoning behind the 9/11 attacks left me with a true WTF moment.

  4. Maybe you do not realize that the pre 9/11 mindset for the military was a scaled back version of what it is today. To think we are hated for our freedoms and not our involvement over there for decades is irresponsible thinking. Canada is free. Why are they not on constant alert for terrorist attacks? Perhaps because Canada has not been a constant thorn in the side of nearly every country in the Middle East for decades. If what you say is true, the only logical solution is to nuke the entire region for the "well-being" of the world. And it is no surprise that nearly any proponent of keeping a massive military operation going in the Middle East is someone who has not nor will not serve in the military. Reagan reluctantly accepted the fact that you cannot beat a group of people that not only want you out of their land, but are also willing to commit suicide to help accomplish that goal. That is why he got our troops out of Lebanon. The region has become a Vietnam on steroids. And besides all of that, we do not have the money to keep the war machine going.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      James, I don't advocate a massive military presence. I did serve in the military. Maybe you're confused. There is a difference between a "massive military operation" and a "defensive presence" and "engagement." Canada is not an object of terrorism? They'd be amused to know that: Link

      As for your proposition that only a nuclear sterilization of the region would suit my premise, let me ask you: What was the promise we offered the Soviets to keep them at bay? Reagan didn't like nuclear weapons either, but he built them. Thousands of them. Systems for their accurate delivery, too. Why?

      Let me ask you a philosophical question, since you've raised this: Exactly how many people are you willing to kill to defend yourself against their wrongful aggressions? Personally? One? Two? Twenty? Two thousands? What is your limit in defending your right to exist? What is that number?

      A nation's defense is merely an extension or collectivization of the right of all its citizens to self-defense. It's the primary valid purpose of government. How many dollars would you pay for securing your life against aggressors? Your family? Is there a limit at which you say "well, that's too costly, better to give up the wife and kids than to bear that cost"? You see, the problem with all of this happy talk is that it really comes down to your estimate of the threat leveled against you and yours personally. If you believe the naive notion that you can be safe, that you can escape the effects of such a war of civilizations, it's easier to rationalize this all away.

      I have a somewhat different perspective. As I exited the terminal building at Rhein-Main Airbase on 8 August 1985, literally in my first moments in service on that continent, I was welcomed by a car-bomb planted by leftists whose ideological brethren now align themselves with the Islamists. This war has been going on a long time my friend, and it isn't over, and for all the bluster about its costs and the indignant sputtering about our engagement in it, I have seen its costs, up close. I've been to the region that remains the source of so much angst. I've lived alongside the people there. I've worked with them.

      When you come here to tell me in thinly veiled terms that only so-called "chicken-hawks" are willing to fight this war, it's a damnable lie. Too many great men and women have walked onto this battlefield of their own volition and in full knowledge of what faces them. Now, about that "irresponsible thinking…"

      • I will evaluate your response. It was well stated. I wonder what your take on Ron Paul receiving more donations than any other candidate from active military. The mindset of people is changing about these wars, especially the ones fighting in it. And I believe in self-defense, but why are we not invading Iran then for their "possible" future threat? North Korea? Syria? Terrorists are training in camps in South America. How long until it is justified to invade Venezuela then? Simply put, there is no end to possible future threats to this country. We are about to pull the last troops from Iraq. Would you feel safe living there today? Do I feel safer in this country than I did before 9/11. The answer is no. They want to do full pat downs of every person going to see an NFL football game this season. We are not even safe from ourselves, let alone terrorists.

        • MarkAmerica says:

          James, those are all reasonable questions. I certainly do not enjoy the prospect of war, as I am well into middle age, and I am neither fit nor able to fight them as I once had been, but then there is the thought that I should not leave the war solely to the young. My son in law is a soldier. I don't wish for war, and neither does he, but he has re-enlisted in part because he knows the threats we face and he is willing to stand and face them. He has been deployed, and will almost certainly deploy again. If [some of] our young are able to grasp the threat to our way of life, let us not assume it is because they have fallen for some notion of phony patriotism. My son-in-law is a bright and courageous young man, and he knows why he fights.

          You're right that there is no end to the future threats against us. Welcome to life! (I shouldn't be so snarky, but I'm a sarcastic son-of-a-gun at times.) In all seriousness, and with due respect, I'd urge you to consider the reality of that statement: We are under perpetual threat precisely because mankind is still a fertile garden in which irrationality and ignorance will still too easily take root. As long as that remains true, there will always be threats. As ever, most of the serious ones will not be overcome by withdrawal or surrender or a lack of vigilance. Trusting to dumb luck will not protect us.

          Part of our national conundrum is the illusion of peace here at home. For most people, on a day-to-day basis, the war is something going on in the nebulous realm of "over there." It's remote and largely invisible to us. Sure, we see pictures of our troops, but CNN isn't embedded with the Taliban or al-Qaeda or Hamas or Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood, or any of the legion of leftists that face us here at home and abroad. What this does is to paint an asymmetric picture of the war behind the foreground of an illusion of peace here at home.

          You've said, with substantial reasoning behind it, that you feel no safer than before 9/11, but in fact less. Do you know why? I can tell you: The perception of safety prior to 9/11 was shattered on that day. You have been shocked into awareness of a threat that has been there all along. It was there. I saw it. I witnessed it. The Marine barracks bombing you mentioned happened 8 days before I reported for Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, and they trained us sparing no hardship because they and we believed we would be going to war. Imagine my surprise when we didn't, at least not then, but in 1985 as I exited the terminal in Germany, the blast reminded me that this was not a sight-seeing tour.

          It's one of the things we must confront about ourselves, and it's the thing our enemy exploits too frequently: We are accustomed to our comfort and relative prosperity, and it takes something substantial to rouse us from the blissful embrace of its illusion. They deal us the death of a thousand cuts, and we continue to slumber, no longer much flinching at each slice for fear of interrupting our happy dreams.
          Thank you for engaging this discussion reasonably. It's a welcome and promising development I heartily appreciate! Mark

    • Carol Cumbie says:

      It was not Regan it was Carter who turn his back on the Shaw of Iran. Carter set him up to be taken over by the crazy ones they have now. The Shaw may had done his people wrong but instead of letting the people there decide. Carter allowed someone back that had been exiled from Iran. When the Shaw needed help Carter turned his back on him. Carter didn't know much more than Obama. He caused the oil shortage by going on tv and saying we were running out of Oil. The start of the high gas prices. Carter allowed a country to become unstable and left all the Embassy people so they could get captured. Carter didn't even have the brains to get our people out.. WE have Carter to thank for the religious nut in Iran. He could not even rescue them without screwing it up. They would not release the hostages till Regan came into power The biggest problem is when they allow them to come to the USA they don't have to assmilate into the american society. They should not be allowed to have their own little areas what is what causes most of the problems. If we go to war it needs to be war. It should not be they are at war but the USA is not allowed to act like they are at war. When they can cut the heads of our people and we should be against water boarding. If it would save one of my family members I would be all for it. Our guys should not be put into harms way then have to ask to fire back on someone. If you are at war it should be war. Most of the people over there are from the USA not Canada so they are going to go after the one who has the most presence. We have a lot of the people from that country living here in the USA.. Who would have ever thought you would be treated better as a Muslim than as a christian.Then Obummer wonders why so many doubt his christian faith something he doesn't have. He is closest to the black preacher who said not god bless america but God dam america. He has roots in the Muslim brotherhood. He was happiest in Egypt when he spoke to the muslim brotherhood and muslims.He also spoke their language perfectly

  5. mrfixit says:

    Excellent post and follow on dialogue. There is no need to further explain, but I will offer some supporting information just to reinforce a already solid dose of reality.

    The Ron Paul types are always surrounding themselves with the Constitution. They claim to be the experts and Paul claims the same.
    OK, then why do they not realize that one of the most salient points used to argue for the adoption of the Constitution in the Federalist papers was NATIONAL DEFENSE?

    More that just a gun boat, coastal Navy even. It was clearly explained that we needed a Navy to protect or INTERNATIONAL interests, and this was over 200 years ago!

    How profound it was, because about 3 decades later we almost lost it all with the British burned our capital in the war of 1812!

    A strong defense of our interests on an international stage is deeply rooted in our Constitution, so when Paul spouts about an isolationist point of view, he is in fact rejecting the fundamental justification and original intent of the Constitution in the first place!

    So, while on domestic issues and economics, we can agree with much of his views, on the larger issues of international matters and national defense, Ron Paul represents a dangerous point of view that is actually contrary to the original intent of our Constitution, but you’ll likely be attacked by his followers if you dare point this out.

    I’m afraid to say, the SOME of his supporters are just as much drones as the Obama zombies, but we should try to wake them up, and keep Ron Paul as an ally on issues domestically at least, in the end a healthy and ongoing debate is a good thing.

  6. thedrpete says:

    Having above disagreed not a nanowit with MA, and having disagreed completely with Congressman Paul and the Paulites, I would advocate for getting the Abrams tanks out of Europe and bring home the troops in Japan, in Europe, and in the rest of East Asia, and from the Middle East. I would also bring home the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Two premises: First, if the Afghans and Iraqis want to emerge from the 7th century, let them do it on their own. We had our revolution; let them have theirs. Second, what our war — and it is a war — against Islamists — the terrorists are the lesser of two evils there with the Islamists among us forming enclaves across our fruited plain the greater threat — what is a better fit rather than boots on ground and Abrams tanks is much-better-than-we-now-have intelligence partnered with black ops. Covert surgical strikes, no geographical outs-of-bounds, no holds barred.

    Just the take of this guy, who admittedly may be both an order of fries (or Moochelle fruit cup) AND a Coke (or Moochelle milk) short of a Happy Meal.

    • Tom says:

      Perhaps if your proposal was coupled with nuclear incineration of large numbers of enemy–combatant and non-combatant–there would be some merit. However, leaving such a vital area of the world to its own devices invites the expansion of the foreign aspect of the Islamist enemy, betrays allies, and leaves a vacuum that still other powers will rise to fill. By leading the way against this threat, America retains its crucial sovereignty and world hegemony.

      We can argue over the best tack to take in prosecuting the never-ending fight against this and other threats, but the wholesale withdrawal you speak of is clearly destructive to American interests. Note how you discuss withdrawing conventional forces from Europe, but ignore how you would counter threats from Russia (yes, they can reemerge) or even conventional threats from Islamist forces. Similar points are to be made about Asia. You say nice-sounding things, but understand nothing of the world situation.

      I recently had to put a written beatdown on someone who was mad about missile-defense agreements with Eastern European powers, saying we were giving defense to foreign countries. The moron, if he was being sincere, has no understanding of security in the modern world and the need for a forward presence. You also could use some brushing up on such matters.

      BTW, claiming to disagree with Paul and his supporters does not hide the fact you agree with them completely.

    • Tom says:

      Plus, regarding the conventional forces, I really want to drive it to the bad guys with something like this again:

      And again.

      And again.

  7. thedrpete says:

    The Constitutional role of the U.S. federal government is the protection and defense of the life, the liberty, and the property (from whence derives the pursuit of happiness) of Americans, the right of self-defense being unalienable with each of us. We the People, having that right, authorized the federal government to act collectively as each of had right individually.

    Much of the U.S. Military for the past 60+ years has been employed defending the French, Germans, Austrians, Italians, etc., leaving them free to spend nothing on defending themselves. Ditto vis-a-vis Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Abrams tanks are in Europe because of, and only because of, turf and budget wars between our armor and infantry divisions. To deploy them in Europe you'd have to destroy town and villages to build and expand bridges and tunnels to move them. We have no way to move them elsewhere other than to build facilities to load and unload them from retrofitted aircraft carriers.

    Unless, Tom, you can clearly establish the link to the defense of Americans' rights and the cost-effectiveness thereof, of our defending at our expense Western Europe, Southeast Asia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, et al, methinks that your argument and your "beat down" are unworthy

    America's defense, I propose, should be based and built from 21st-century technology and enemy-assessments, not shifted and tinkered from WW-II.

    Incidentally, I'd resign from NATO and both resign from and deport the United Nations.

    • Tom says:

      Again, Petey here shows no understanding of the modern world and the fact that our country's interests are truly global. The fall of our allies would weaken us and strengthen whatever enemy that conquered them. Other reasons for standing with our allies have been laid out before.

      Petey needs to understand that oceans don't provide the protection they once did. He also needs to understand the economic, social, and cultural impact events around the world can and do have across the planet.

      Of course, Petey's point is his delusion that if we leave the world alone, the world will leave us alone. I can't be sure exactly how deluded he is on this–some of it might simply be rhetoric to cover his belief in some NWO-type conspiracy–but we all know that leaving the mugger or bully alone only encourages him to strike you eventually.

      But I can't let this go without pointing out the hilarity of his statement, "America’s defense, I propose, should be based and built from 21st-century technology and enemy-assessments, not shifted and tinkered from WW-II." This comes from someone whose strategic military perspective was outdated by the War of 1812! Isolation doesn't work, and it's modern technology that makes a forward defense all the MORE important.

      If we wait until an enemy has landed on our shores, it is likely too late for us. At best, we will suffer the horror of war on our own land. I'd much prefer we fought on their land. That's why the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, though not perfectly managed, were in fact smart moves. We were able to kill sheetheads on sheethead land. It was THEIR cities being destroyed. It was THEIR people suffering. The terrorists fought us THERE, where WE chose, instead of here. We took the initiative and did not what they expected, not what the Left and the Paultards would want, but rather something novel–we took the offensive. The only real problem is that the American people failed their country and didn't support it enough, forcing half-measures and eventually the timelines cursing us today.

      • Sean St Louis says:

        Tom, you fail to see that our "campaigns" of invasion and occupation are exactly what they wanted and, indeed, expected.

        I daresay that, in their eyes, our prolonged presence has pleasantly exceeded their expectations and has allowed them unprecedented success in their recruitment efforts.

        I should also point out that your racist epithets and juvenile remarks do not give your neoconservative views much gravity.

      • Tom says:

        And what my esteemed opponent in this debate fails to understand is that the Islamists' aim was to cause America to cower and retreat, as they had seen America and the West do in the past (Iran, Lebanon, Somalia). But instead, we went on the offensive and we killed lots and lots of people that needed killing. We even killed the big man himself (yes, he actually existed). That is the reality.

        And as for my use of "epithets," they are no worse that what is common in the American military. Mark, to censor such language would be to censor our brothers and sisters in uniform with a horrible form of PC. How can our nation kill these people when we can't even call them names?

        Oh, how things have changed since World War II, when we fought "Krauts" and "Japs."

        • MarkAmerica says:

          Tom, I was a soldier, and yes, I've heard my share of epithets, but this happens not to be the sort of battlefield on which those are permissible. Besides, there are more descriptive and accurate terms available. I wouldn't censor anybody on a real battlefield Tom, because I know there are worse things there than epithets. You're welcome to stay, but the epithets must go.

      • Tom says:

        Then it's goodbye, with a notation of how you have aided and abetted your opposition.. You wrote elsewhere, "I have become perplexed at the willingness of some of my fellow Americans to simply abandon leadership in the world." Maybe part of the reason is that people have been so wimped down and White Liberal Guilt-infected by PC that they won't even use an epithet against an enemy that like to target school children and cut off hostages' heads for light afternoon entertainment. Americans and Westerners need to grow a spine and not cower to PC, or they will lose.

        • MarkAmerica says:

          Tom, That's too bad. You made excellent points with which I fully agree. Leadership includes the willingness to restrain one's own intemperate reflexes in the interests of victory. Spend a moment or two with that. Thanks! Mark

  8. thedrpete says:

    Unfortunately , Mark America, you have commenter Tom bickering — that's opposed to, say, adult arguing — with that with which he disagrees, even when there's no one involved arguing said or anything close to said.

    Tom spews, but doesn't pass reading and comprehension. And, no, I won't stoop to snarking back by referring to him as "Tommy" or "Tommie".

    • MarkAmerica says:

      I do prefer comments to be directed at me and the articles. I have killed a number of replies that seemed to go too far over the line. I will be watching!

    • mrfixit says:

      With all due respect, you sound like a whiner, and then you did exactly what you whined about by claiming Tom couldn't pass reading and comprehension.
      Since I just read the exchange, I'd have to say the comprehension issue may be yours, if you did not get the points.
      Sure we do have an ongoing need to adjust our forces (we should all be able to agree on that), but to go to the extremes Ron Paul would like if foolish as would it also be as the world’s police force, the rational choice is something in between, as is the choice between anarchy and totalitarian rule. And that comparison also hints at what would result on either extreme as well.

  9. Sean St Louis says:

    I can appreciate some of the views espoused in Mark's article and from some of the commenters. However, …

    I've studied history for many years, so I want to chime in here.

    The doctrine of preemptive war is infinitely more dangerous to The United States than any threat of Islamic fascist terrorism.

    It can be said that the idea of preemptive war (or "preventive" war) is what ultimately led to the downfall of the Roman Empire. Rome, when their capitol was sacked by the Gauls in 390A.D., found itself victimized by the same savage preemptive measures it had once inflicted on Carthage.

    If we can learn anything from history it should be that preemptive war is a losing strategy.

    Our national defense will increasingly depend on exactly what Ron Paul has been saying for years:

    "In time it will become clear to everyone that support for the policies of preemptive war and interventionist nation-building will have much greater significance than the removal of Saddam Hussein itself. "

    I support Ron Paul. Increasingly so, a non-interventionist foreign policy is our only means of maintaining a viable national defense in the future. We have become the aggressor. The idea of "American Exceptionalism" must come to an end before it is too late.

    Listen to me now and believe me later.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Thanks Sean!

      The doctrine of preemptive war is infinitely more dangerous to The United States than any threat of Islamic fascist terrorism.

      I agree in the abstract that this sounds right, but in practice, to believe this is to commit national suicide. How many nuclear detonations in American cities are you willing to absorb? You do realize it will eventually come to that, don't you? If not, you're not familiar enough with radical Islamic terrorism. There must be some circumstances under which you can envision preemptive war, or you are consigning some number of Americans to act as a trip-wire for your principles.

      If we can learn anything from history it should be that preemptive war is a losing strategy.

      Preemptive on which basis? To gain territories? We haven't done that in a long,long time. This is the problem with your stance: You don't countenance preemptive wars even as a matter of an aggressive self-defense. I don't think anybody here would support preemptive wars of aggression to seize territory or resources. After all, when we went to war with Iraq in 2003, it was on the basis that Saddam was developing WMD. While I didn't support nation-building, I did support the idea of eliminating Saddam as a continuing threat. As it turns out, and this is the danger, the WMD threat may not have been so great as we had guessed, and this is the only danger of preemptive war for defensive purposes: You blow it if your intelligence isn't very good.

      I agree with the second half of Dr. Paul's statement. I don't want any part of nation-building.

      We are not an aggressor, despite your attempt to paint us as one. We have gained no territory or resources.

      The idea of American Exceptionalism is critical to our continued prosperity. At this point, you've lost my support completely. The problem isn't with American Exceptionalism, but with those who mis-characterize it for their own purposes.

      • Tom says:

        In 1898, we conquered territory from Spain, territory including the Philippine Islands. From 1899 to 1901 we put down a Muslim Jihadist insurrection there. And we promised eventual independence to the Philippines. On July 4,1946, after liberating the islands, they received their independence. After that we maintained two notable military bases there–Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. In 1991, America left these bases in accordance with treaty obligations and the request of the Philippine government. To this day, many Filippinos consider themselves, "little brown Americans."

        Hmm. We conquer territory, destroy some people, liberate it from the Japs, then give it its independence as per our word, and even abandon our military bases there when asked to do so. And many people there love us. Yes, what an aggressive power we have been! Even in our conquests we are merciful to a fault.

    • Tom says:

      Sheer foolishness. Waiting for the threat to become overpowering is what led to 50 million deaths in World War II. A little preemptive war by the UK and France in 1936 and some U.S. naval action against Japan in conjunction with China would have prevented that. And on that account, a pre-emptive war by the West against the Soviet Union in 1946 would have prevented decades of Cold War, nuclear fears, and hundreds of millions living under Communist oppression, as well as establishing undisputed American military and economic hegemony for generations. And any American who opposes that is no patriot.

      The lesson from historical empires is not to avoid having an empire, but rather to manage it properly. In examples such as Rome, one can find a number of lessons of what to avoid. Things such as moral decay, problematic religiosity, a "bread and circuses"-based culture on the government dole, and even unnecessary oppression of conquered territories (though rome wasn't the worst on that point at all), are things which any nation needs to avoid. If it does, its empire can survive and thrive. If it doesn't, then "preemptive wars" or not, it will fall.

      • MarkAmerica says:

        I'm going to say this to both of you: Rational conversations without insults, or I will end it. I don't want any shooting wars here. Thanks!!! Mark

  10. Sean St Louis says:

    Mark, to be clear, when I used the term "American Exceptionalism" perhaps I used it a bit cynically. I understand it's meaning, but many people do not. Perhaps we should actively teach it's true meaning to those who understand it's meaning as "American Superiority".

    Anyway, it might be better said that the incorrect use of the term "American Exceptionalism" should be condemned. We should not consider ourselves 'exceptional' in the 'superior' sense, as I feel that many Americans do.

    If more people would take the time to understood why America really is exceptional maybe they would better understand the historical arguments behind Ron Paul's ideas.


    This is one of my favorite quotes:

    "Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too."

    ~Marcus Aurelius

    The only defensible war is a war of defense. Someone once said that if men do not now succeed in abolishing war, civilization and mankind are doomed. If we continue to police the world and the consequences are dire.

    Our current foreign policy is a policy of aggression and of nation-building. "Making the world safe for democracy". How do you give something to someone who does not want it and is this approach really in our best interest? Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly become nation-building endeavors. The obvious question is, "who's next?".

    As you point out, the real threat of terrorism comes from the potential use of weapons of mass destruction against our civilian population. Obviously, it is a legitimate argument. I do not believe that Paul would rule out preemptive attacks on those who pose a credible threat. Indeed, it is his duty as Commander In Chief, but preemptive "war"?

    "…the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place."

    ~George W. Bush

    THIS is our foreign policy?!

    Common sense, and American law, says that legitimate use of violence can only be that which is required in self-defense. But I would, as would a "Pres. Paul", exclude any possibility of prolonged occupation and nation-building.

    I think that many Paul supporters feel as I do on this; that Ron Paul would not hesitate to put down any group or nation that poses an imminent, immediate threat to our country. Indeed, it is the Commander-In-Chief's duty to do so.

    With that said, I think you and others may overestimate our enemy. They are poorly trained, poorly-armed, poorly-lead radical militants. They are not Islamic Fascist Commandos, by any means. It can be said, and I think you would agree, that a conventional threat is virtually non-existent in the context of an invasion of U.S. soil.

    oops, gotta go, more later…

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Sean, I agree with some of what you've said. Let's not pretend that I've advocated 'occupation' or 'nation-building', and have in fact opposed them. As for Ron Paul, his recent mention of Kucinich in his cabinet tells me all I need to know about his tendencies. Sorry, can't endorse that. At all.

    • mrfixit says:

      Sure they are not the Red Army that we can see and build a defense to repel, we are talking about Radical Islam, they fight differently, using ANY means to destroy the enemy. What is worse, the co-opt and align with the enemy of their enemy, even when it seems a conflict of interest.
      The Far Left is aligned with Radical Islam, if you haven’t heard this yet, you need to do some homework.
      They have INFILTRATED and are attacking from within, did you see the London riots? That is tip of the iceberg and it is coming to a town near you if trends continue.
      We bought some time be taking the fight to them, but as we retreat, it will come back home to us.
      You are free to deny this all you want as MANY do, but ignoring the threat will not make it go away, you actually encourage them to continue.
      I might also add that the 9/11 hijackers seemed to be well trained and committed, and that also is just the tip of the iceberg. That and some had advanced technical degrees, including doctors in the UK that tried to blow up some airports.
      Underestimating the enemy is a dangerous thing, but history has shown over and over this happens, and the consequences. We are doomed to repeat the catastrophic mistakes because people like Ron Paul and Obama refuse to recognize the dangers, they are both living in a false reality, but at least Ron Paul has some of the domestic policy right, and I’d still take him over Obama, but either way, we are doomed from a National Security point of view.

  11. Chris says:

    Please research the correlation between our military involvement in the Middle East and the annual reported terrorist attacks/attempts in the U.S. You will find that attacks against our country greatly increase in times of active militarism in the Middle East.

    While I would agree there are definitely those who hate us because of who we are, there are thousands more who hate us for what we do, and our presence is not helping our national defense.

    To think that any amount of military occupation will prevent a couple extremists from hopping a plane to the U.S. to fly a plane into a building or build a homemade bomb to detonate in a public place is foolish.

    Extremists will exist no matter what, but we are greatly exacerbating the problem by killing hundreds of thousands of their civilians. Osama Bin Laden and many others have very explicitly cited our past military actions as a driving force behind their terrorist actions, to boot.

    Also, the comment on Canadian terrorism is completely out of context; compare the amount of terrorist attacks or attempts in Canada vs. the U.S.; it'd be laughable if it weren't so tragic.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Chris, Have you considered that the correlation you mention isn't causation? Could one be in response to the other, but you've confused cause and effect? It's a common problem.

      • Chris says:

        Sorry, nice try though. I'm afraid the CIA and many independent studies would disagree with you (one for example:….

        Perhaps you have confused cause and effect…It's a common problem, so I hear.

      • Sean St Louis says:

        Thanks for that, Chris.

        I, and many, believe that peace cannot be obtained through war and military intervention. Peace can only be obtained through respect and understanding. Ron Paul understands this and is one of the many reasons why I support him.

        It is difficult to to defend a "War equals Peace" (to paraphrase GW Bush) position when history and hard data is closely examined.

      • mrfixit says:

        Chris and Sean,
        It is frustrating that many have been so misled as it appears you have.
        Our conflict with extreme Islam goes back to BEFORE the founding of the United States.
        In the arguments for the US Constitution, the founders clearly argued for a US Navy, to defend our peaceful commerce on the high seas and overseas.
        The USMC hymn mentions the “shores of Tripoli” meaning Libya, which is from the Barbary pirates, which represents radical Islam by the way.
        Back then we were a tiny force on the world stage, but we were still attacked… Makes the “respect equals peace” idea foolish as it is.
        If you have two civilized nations that adhere to common standard of morality and law, that is one thing and there respect MIGHT lead to peace, but NOT if you are dealing with a force that is unrestrained and willing to use ANY means to further expand its power.
        Of course Bin Laden and other EVIL forces would latch on to any DEFENSE of our interests as reasons to justify there heinous acts, but would they somehow stop if we leave?
        NOT A CHANCE. Radical Islam is about WORLD CALIPHATE, and domination globally, they will not stop until that is achieved and they will use ANY means that works, not limited to obvious acts of extreme violence. They will infiltrate and corrupt as well, and arguable have done so already with much more effect than 9/11.
        God Help us if folks as naive as Ron Paul get into power, oh wait, we have that NOW, and look at the results, better or worse that GW Bush?
        Wake up man, stop believing the lies, read the Federalist papers, then ask how Ron Paul can be as true to the Constitution but then deny one of the most salient arguments made to adopt it in the first place?
        Is a Ron Paul zombie really that much different than an Obama zombie in this respect?

  12. Chris says:

    Before I respond in full, may I ask which Federalist essay you are referring to that promotes preemptive war and interventionism?

    The thing that scares *me* is people like you who insinuate that there exists such an imminent threat of which the only way to save ourselves from complete domination is to kill them all first, since they are all radical and cannot be stopped otherwise.

    We are not against strategic defensive operations (Ron Paul voted for the authority to assassinate Bin Laden) but rather against all-in undeclared wars.

    You, sir, take fear-mongering to the extreme. I'd appreciate it if you could rationally outline for me what Ron Paul has said that goes against the constitution or even the Federalist papers in regard to national defense.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Uh, yeah, sure… Which preemptive war? Which interventionism?

      As for imminent threats, what constitutes one in your view?

      Fear-mongering? Get out of here if you're going to throw empty terms around. Either explain in specificity what you mean, or peddle it elsewhere.

      • Chris says:

        First of all, let me say I meant to reply to MrFixIt, not the post I ended up responding to, so hopefully that makes the context of my post a little more clear.

        Fear mongering: the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end.

        …Not an empty term, Mark, but rather fitting of those like MrFixIt who say things like the Radical Caliphate is pursuing world domination, that they are unstoppable, and will use all and any violence necessary.

        While parts of that may have some merit (and don't get me wrong, i'm not trying to discredit radical Islam as a threat), it is certainly an overreaction to say we must invade Iran preemptively to save ourselves from their imminent wrath.

        I would say the Iraq/Afghanistan war was fairly preemptive ("They have WMDs! We need to invade before they can use them on us") and the looming Iran war that so many are hoping for is based on the same premise.

        And as far as interventionism, we are forcing "democracy" down the throats of thousands who don't want it, we pretend to be Israel's friend but tell them what they can and cannot do, thereby crippling their sovereignty, and we pay practically provide for the defense of dozens of nations around the world, all on your dime.

        An imminent threat should be something verifiable by multiple intelligence sources, unlike this "Iran has a nuke" nonsense. But more importantly, it should be a clearly defined enemy, to which we can form a clearly defined defense; if the circumstances justify war, so be it. Define it, win it and get out of there.

        Again, please tell me what specifically of Paul's foreign policy is directly in conflict with the Constitution or the Federalist papers?