Ron Paul's Texas Straight Talk - A weekly Column
April 6, 1998
Congressional action weakens national defense
America's taxpayers, airports sacrificed for "world cop" policy

Last week Congress passed more legislation which weakens our national defense and further funds the unconstitutional, fiscally irresponsible and dangerous practice of policing the world. And it was all done at the expense of America's airports and public housing.

The legislation was HR 3579, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act. When I learned that this legislation continued the "police the world" programs, I submitted amendments to the Rules Committee to defund those aspects of the legislation. Unfortunately, the Rules Committee sidetracked the amendments, preventing them from getting a full floor vote.

One of the truly positive aspects of HR 3579 was Section 3002, stating that "none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be made available for the conduct of offensive operations by United States Armed Forces against Iraq for the purpose of obtaining compliance by Iraq with United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to inspection and destruction of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq unless such operations are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act." This language is virtually identical to HR 3208, a bill I introduced in February of this year to require Congressional consent prior to any offensive attack by the United States on the Republic of Iraq.

As a former Air Force flight surgeon, I am committed to supporting troops and believe the only way to completely support soldiers is to not put them in harms way except to defend our nation. Of course, those drumming for war say they want everyone to support the troops by sending them into battle: a contradiction, at best.

Unfortunately, Congress has refused to acknowledge anytime recently that the proper and constitutional role of the U.S. military is to provide for the national defense and not the security of all foreign entities against attacks by all other foreign entities. It was for this reason that I submitted amendments to defund the military appropriations in this so-called Emergency Appropriations Act. The proper amount of appropriations for unjustifiable United States peacekeeping missions around the world is zero. Instead, this bill rescinds funding from domestic programs such as airport maintenance and safety programs, to be spent on our "police-the-world" program.

While I am not overly excited about the federal government dictating the priorities of airport construction and modernization, at least it is tax money being spent here, to the benefit of the taxpayers, rather than elsewhere in the world with our troops being exposed to risk..

It has become the accepted political notion in this century that war is a Presidential matter in which Congress may not meddle, and certainly never offer dissenting views. Yet, in the Constitution we find strict prohibitions placed on the President when it comes to dealing with foreign nations. The Constitution is clear: No war may be fought without a specific declaration by the Congress.

There is absolutely no moral or constitutional reason to go to war with Iraq or further intervene in Bosnia at this time. To go to war to enforce the dictates of the United Nations, or to play the part of 'policemen of the world,' offends the sensibilities of all who seek to follow the Constitution. I refuse to participate in (or fund) an action which would possibly expose even one soldier to risk when there is absolutely no immediate threat to the territory of the United States.

So as Congress robs from America's taxpayers and airports, I suppose we can all rest secure, knowing that our troops are being scattered around the world, placed in the way of needless harm.

Then again, perhaps we shouldn't rest so secure.

Ron Paul represents the 14th District of Texas in the United States House. He can be contacted at his Washington office, 203 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515, or at his web site (