Thursday, December 8, 2011

Explaining Ron Paul's Stance on 9/11

Ok, so the biggest hangup Republicans have about endorsing Ron Paul is his foreign policy. And the biggest hangup they have about his foreign policy is the incredibly widespread lie that Ron Paul "blames" America for 9/11. He does nothing of the sort. What he does do, however, unlike any other candidate on either side of the aisle, is recognize what motivated the people who are to blame for 9/11, and how the US's overly aggressive foreign policy contributed to their motivations. That is a reality that is well documented in official Pentagon files. It is vastly different from blaming the attacks themselves on the US.

To understand why, let's use an analogy here. Let's say Sam is at a bar in a sleazy part of town. He sees somebody who's clearly drunk screaming all sorts of nasty things at his girlfriend, even shoving her. Concerned, Sam steps in and grabs the man to try and break it up. Angry at the interference and still clearly intoxicated, the man shoves Sam to the ground and soon you get into a fight. Over the course of the fight, Sam lands a good punch to the man's face before they're split apart. He breaks the man's nose. So soon you're split apart and Sam goes home feeling good about himself because he helped protect a helpless woman from her jerk boyfriend.

A month later, long after Sam has forgotten the altercation, the brother of the man he fought drives to his house with a shotgun and kills his sister in plain daylight. Say like, 9:00 in the morning. There are dozens of witnesses. Eventually, that man is sentenced to death for his actions. After the funeral and the trial are over, Sam's nephew Ronnie takes him aside and says "listen, Uncle Sam. It's probably not a good idea to go back to that bar and pick fights with those people. I know you meant well, but It's a violent part of town, and the last thing we need is more enemies trying to kill us. I don't know if poor ol' Grandma could take it if she lost another one."

Now, in that example, did little Ronnie blame Sam for what happened to his sister? Did he say that it's his fault that she's dead? No! Obviously it's not Sam's fault; it's the fault of the man who killed her. In fact, he didn't even say Sam necessarily did anything wrong. It could be argued that the man Sam punched deserved it, that he was doing the right thing by defending that girl. But what Ronnie was saying was simply that it would have worked out better for the family in the end had he never got involved with that guy in the first place. So in the future, it's probably not a good idea to go down into that nasty part of town again, to ensure that we don't get caught up with the wrong crowd.

For anybody who hasn't been able to pick up on it by now, in that analogy, Ronnie is Ron Paul and his Uncle Sam is the United States. The bar is the Middle East, the murderer is a terrorist, Sam's sister represents the 9/11 victims. What Ron Paul says about 9/11 is not that we caused it, not that it was an inside job, not that it's the US's fault or that we are to blame for those deaths. Rather, he's simply observing that our actions in the past, whether justified or unjustified, were what motivated the murderers who drove planes into the twin towers. And so he argues that we should limit our use of violence in the future so as not to create even more people who might want to do the same thing.

The purpose of this post is not to prove that Ron Paul's foreign policy is a good idea or a bad idea. There are good arguments on both sides. Rather, I'm just trying to clarify what his policy is. And for all Ron Paul's opponents to say Ron Paul blames America for 9/11, as Rush Limbaugh did earlier this week on his radio show and as many others have in the past, that's simply not true. Most of them know it's not true, most of them recognize it's a lie, but they say it anyway because it's a convenient and effective lie. So if you're somebody who's considered supporting Paul in the past but always balked a bit at his crazy foreign policy ideas, hopefully this post gave a bit of clarity and showed he's not the anti-american, terrorist loving lunatic people make like to make him out to be.

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