The neo-cons are getting nervous. Ron Paul just won’t go away. So now the attacks begin.
Dorothy Rabinowitz, in a column in today’s (December 22, 2011) Wall Street Journal, reveals the contempt the Journal and its neo-con acolytes have for Ron Paul. While I’m not an avowed supporter of Mr. Paul, I do think he’s the only candidate in the race for president that actually tries to describe things as they are. Her dismissal of his candidacy as the “best-known American propagandist for our enemies” deserves a point by point rebuttal, so here goes:
Ron Paul’s supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent—a point Dr. Paul himself has been making with increasing frequency. It’s a thought that comes up with a certain inevitability now in those roundtables on the Republican field. One cable commentator genially instructed us last Friday, “You have to give Paul credit for sticking to his beliefs.”
And why wouldn’t one be given credit for sticking to his beliefs? At least Paul is courageous enough to plainly explain his beliefs, and allow the voters to decide whether or not they agree. Sure beats the hazy bullshit shoveled by either of Romney, Gingrich or Obama, each of whom seem to have as their only remarkable attribute the ability to opportunistically gauge the political winds in shaping and forming their “beliefs”, in the rare instance they ever bother to actually proffer any.
He was speaking, it’s hardly necessary to say, of a man who holds some noteworthy views in a candidate for the presidency of the United States. One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.
Are his views noteworthy because they happen to disagree with those of Ms. Rabinowitz and her ilk? Ask the families of those many thousands in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, etc., who have lost loved ones by dint of American militarism whether or not America is a leading agent of evil and injustice. From their perspective, having suffered a seemingly endless stream of bombings and invasions and drone strikes, what else but evil and injustice could be surmised about America? Does Ms. Rabinowitz really believe that everything America does as a result of its imperial imperatives is good, even for America?
Hear Dr. Paul on the subject of the 9/11 terror attacks—an event, he assures his audiences, that took place only because of U.S. aggression and military actions. True, we’ve heard the assertions before. But rarely have we heard in any American political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of, the motives of those who attacked us—and so resounding a silence about the suffering of those thousands that the perpetrators of 9/11 set out so deliberately to kill.
There is among some supporters now drawn to Dr. Paul a tendency to look away from the candidate’s reflexive way of assigning the blame for evil—the evil, in particular, of terrorism—to the United States.
The question must be asked: But for the US invasion of Iraq in the first Gulf War, would 9/11 have ever happened? Reasonable people can disagree, but not the likes of Ms. Rabinowitz. She apparently believes America, pure and innocent and good in all its international dealings, was attacked without provocation on 9/11, and anyone, especially a presidential candidate, that has the independence of thought to ponder otherwise is a traitor to America.
The world may not be ready for another American president traversing half the globe to apologize for the misdeeds of the nation he had just been elected to lead. Still, it would be hard to find any public figure in America whose views more closely echo those of President Obama on that tour.
When has Mr. Paul promised to traverse the globe apologizing for the misdeeds of the nation? When did Obama do so? Obama let the world know that his wouldn’t be a presidency defined like his predecessor by an existential need to lead Americans into combat as the only means of diplomacy and force projection. Is that such a bad thing, especially considering the ongoing disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan?
His efforts on behalf of Iran’s right to the status of misunderstood victim continued apace. On the Hannity show following the debate, Dr. Paul urged the host to understand that Iran’s leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel off the map. It was all a mistranslation, he explained. What about Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust? A short silence ensued as the candidate stared into space. He moved quickly on to a more secure subject. “They’re just defending themselves,” he declared.
Presumably he was referring to Iran’s wishes for a bomb. It would have been intriguing to hear his answer had he been asked about another Ahmadinejad comment, made more than once—the one in which the Iranian leader declares the U.S. “a Satanic power that will, with God’s will, be annihilated.”
First, what possible difference does it make whether a two-bit Iranian leader, beholden to the mullahs for his power, says about the Holocaust? What matters is what Iran does, and not against Israel, but against the US. Israel only has whatever importance the US wishes to assign it as a putative client state of the empire (although it often feels like the US is a client state of Israel’s empire). Does Iran, even a nuclear Iran, have the capacity to annihilate the US? No, so again, what does it matter how many kooky things come out of Ahmadinejad’s mouth?
There can be no confusions about Dr. Paul’s own comments about the U.S. After 9/11, he said to students in Iowa, there was “glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq.” It takes a profoundly envenomed mindset—one also deeply at odds with reality—to believe and to say publicly that the administration of this nation brought so low with grief and loss after the attack had reacted with glee. There are, to be sure, a number of like-minded citizens around (see the 9/11 Truthers, whose opinions Dr. Paul has said he doesn’t share). But we don’t expect to find their views in people running for the nation’s highest office.
The Paul comment here is worth more than a passing look. It sums up much we have already heard from him. It’s the voice of that ideological school whose central doctrine is the proposition that the U.S. is the main cause of misery and terror in the world. The school, for instance, of Barack Obama’s former minister famed for his “God d— America” sermons: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for whom, as for Dr. Paul, the 9/11 terror assault was only a case of victims seeking justice, of “America’s chickens coming home to roost.”
Perhaps there was glee in the administration after 9/11 because Iraq could now be invaded, perhaps there wasn’t. But what happened afterward suggests at least some in the administration weren’t overly distraught over the justification 9/11 provided for invading Iraq. That the Administration so easily lied its way into war with Iraq even before concluding matters in Afghanistan implies there was something like glee among the Administration’s neo-con warmongers, especially including its warmonger-in-chief. Incidentally, which regime was responsible for inflicting more death and destruction on the world over the last ten years than America?
Some in Iowa are reportedly now taking a look at Dr. Paul, now risen high in the polls there. He has plenty of money for advertising and is using it, and some may throw their support to him, if only as protest votes. He appears to be gaining some supporters in New Hampshire as well. It seemed improbable that the best-known of American propagandists for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in the Iowa contest, but there it is. An interesting status for a candidate of Dr. Paul’s persuasion to have achieved, and he’ll achieve even more if Iowans choose to give him a victory.
Instead of bemoaning that the “best-known of American propagandists for our enemies could be near the top of the pack in Iowa” why not consider why it might be thus? Does Ms. Rabinowitz so distrust the ability of Iowan Republicans to hold informed opinions? Could it be that Americans being asked to fund and provide fodder for America’s military adventurism don’t buy the neo-con line that everything America does in the world is good, and that anything anyone does to thwart America’s imperatives is bad? Perhaps they, like Paul, are taking the long view, realizing that military adventurism in support of empire ultimately always ends badly. Perhaps it is Ron Paul’s supporters that love America, even more so than neo-con warmongers that always have a flag handy for gift-wrapping their self-defeating impulse to spend money and spill blood on unnecessary projections of American force. Perhaps Paul’s idea–that America should be defended and not much more–is the more sound strategy for ensuring freedom from government oppression, whether originating domestically or abroad. Perhaps it is Mr. Paul that reveals his deep love for America by plainly speaking the truth about her flaws, while Ms. Rabinowitz reveals her contempt for America by excoriating a presidential candidate with whom she disagrees.
To paraphrase former Alabama governor and presidential candidate George Wallace, so far as Romney, Gingrich or Obama is concerned, there’s not a nickel’s worth of difference among them. That Ron Paul is a viable candidate in the race, while consistently presenting an alternative vision for America that does not include endless and unnecessary wars in the service of militant capitalism, speaks volumes about the concerns of the people and their ability to ascertain where their true interests lie. Isn’t that the whole point of the democracy that Ms. Rabinowitz, the Wall Street Journal, and their neo-con cohorts fetishistically believe should be exported across the globe by dint of American force projection? Democracy apparently is good for Iraq, but for Americans in Iowa and elsewhere, not so much.