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25 February 1998
1998 Ron Paul 17:1
Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentleman for his remarks. He made some very good points. I would like to follow up on the one point with regards to the military. That is one of the most essential functions of the Federal Government, is to provide for a strong national defense. But if we intervene carelessly around the world, that serves to weaken us.
1998 Ron Paul 17:2
I have always lamented the fact that we so often are anxious to close down our bases here within the United States because we are always looking for the next monster to slay outside of the country, so we build air bases in places like Saudi Arabia. Then when the time comes that our leaders think that it is necessary to pursue a war policy in the region, they do not even allow us to use the bases. I think that is so often money down the drain. It is estimated now that we have probably pumped in $7 billion into Bosnia and that is continuing. Our President is saying now that that is open-ended, there is no date to bring those troops back. We have already spent probably a half a billion additional dollars these last several weeks just beefing up the troops in the Persian Gulf.
1998 Ron Paul 17:3
The funds will not be endless. I have too many calls from so many in my district who serve in the military, and their complaint is that they do not have enough funds to adequately train. We are wasting money in the wrong places, getting ourselves into more trouble than we need to. At the same time we detract from spending the money where we should in training our personnel the way they should be. I think this is not so much a tactical decision made by management as much as it is a policy decision on what our foreign policy ought to be.
1998 Ron Paul 17:4
If we continue to believe that we can police the whole world and provide security and right every wrong, I think it will lead us to our bankruptcy, and just as was mentioned earlier, we receive the same kind of grief when we pretend that we can impose economic conditions on other countries.
1998 Ron Paul 17:5
We, as a wealthy Nation, are expected to bail out other countries who have overextended themselves and they get into trouble. At the same time, we put economic rules and regulations on them and resentments are turned back toward us. The Arabs in the Middle East do not understand our foreign policy because there have been numerous U.N. resolutions, but it is only this one particular resolution that we have felt so compelled to enforce.
1998 Ron Paul 17:6
And the real irony of all this is that first we use the United Nations as the excuse to go in. Then, the United Nations gets a little weak on their mandates, and they themselves do not want to go in. So it is a U.N. resolution that we try to enforce, and then when it is shown that it is not a good resolution, the U.N. then backs away from it. So there is no unanimous opinion in the U.N., I think further proving that this is a poor way to do foreign policy.
1998 Ron Paul 17:7
And those who would like to do more bombing and pursue this even more aggressively tend to agree with that. They do not like the idea that we have turned over our foreign policy making to an international body like the United Nations.
1998 Ron Paul 17:8
So this, to me, is a really good time to make us stop and think should we do this? I certainly think that our foreign policy in the interests of the United States should be determined by us here in the Congress, and then some will argue, well, it is not up to Congress to deal in foreign policy. That is up to a President. But that is not what is in the Constitution.
1998 Ron Paul 17:9
As a matter of fact, foreign policy, those words do not even exist in the Constitution, and the Congress has all the responsibility of raising funds, spending funds, raising an army, declaring war, so the responsibilities are on us.
1998 Ron Paul 17:10
And this is the reason why I have introduced a resolution that would say that we do have the authority to withdraw the funds from pursuing this bombing, and there is another resolution that the gentleman from Maryland will mention here shortly dealing with that same subject, because we do have the responsibility, and we, especially in the House, are closest to the people.
1998 Ron Paul 17:11
We have to be up for reelection every 2 years, and if we listen to the polls that say that 70 percent of the American people want this war, at the same time if we fail to go home and talk to our people and find out that most Americans do not want this war and there is no good argument for it.
1998 Ron Paul 17:12
The whole idea that we can immediately go over there and make sure there are no weapons of mass destruction when we helped build the weapons up in the first place, and if we are really concerned about weapons of mass destruction, why are we not more concerned about the 25,000 nuclear warheads that have fallen into unknown hands since the breakup of the Soviet Union? Our allies in the Middle East have nuclear weapons, and we have China to worry about. What did we do with China? We give them more foreign aid.
1998 Ron Paul 17:13
So there is no consistent argument that we can put up that all of a sudden Saddam Hussein is the only threat to world peace and it is in our interest to go in there and take him out. It just does not add up. If he really was a threat, you would think his neighbors would be the most frightened about this, and yet the neighbors are urging us not to do it. They are urging us to take our time, back off and wait and see what happens.
1998 Ron Paul 17:14
We, in the United States, so often are involved in conflicts around the world, and one of the things that we urge so many to do is sit down and talk to each other. We ask the Catholics and the Protestants in Ireland to talk, we ask the Croats and the Serbs to talk, we ask the Jews and the Arabs to talk; why is it that we cannot do more talking with Saddam Hussein? Instead, we impose sanctions on him which does nothing to him, solidifies his support, rallies the Islamic fundamentalists while we kill babies. There is now a U.N. report that shows that since the sanctions, well over a half a million children died from starvation and lack of medicines that we denied them.
1998 Ron Paul 17:15
So I think that there is every reason in the world for us to reassess this policy. There is a much more sensible policy. What we need is more time right now. There is no urgency about this. We did the bombing in the early 1990s, and by the way, I can see this as a continuation of that single war. But since that time with inspections, even the President claims that they have gotten rid of more weapons since the war ended than occurred with the war.
1998 Ron Paul 17:16
So if there is no military victory in sight by bombing and only great danger, what is the purpose? Why can we not continue with more negotiations and more inspections? And they say, well, we cannot trust Hussein. Well, that may be true. But looking at it objectively when we finished in 1991 our policy was to encourage the Kurds and the Shiites to rebel, and we implied that we would be there, and what happened? We were not there. Thousands and thousands of Shiites and Kurds were just wiped out because we misled them, similar to our promises that we made to the Cubans in the early 1960s.
1998 Ron Paul 17:17
So we do not gain the respect of the world by, one, saying, well, we cannot trust anything he says. Of course not, we cannot trust it. But we have to be realistic, and can they trust us, as well, because our record is not perfectly clean.
1998 Ron Paul 17:18
I now yield to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. BARTLETT).
This speech is a continuation of 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 15 and is continued in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 18.
1998 Ron Paul 17:1 I thank the gentleman for his remarks. Here, Ron Paul thanks The Honorable John J. Duncan, Jr. of Tennessee, to whom Ron Paul yielded in 1998 Ron Paul 15:13.