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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 7

Three Important Issues For America

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11 February 1998


The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. GILCHREST). Under the Speaker’s announced policy of January 7, 1997, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.

1998 Ron Paul 7:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I would like to discuss a few problems I think this country still faces. I want to mention three, but I will talk more about one in particular.

1998 Ron Paul 7:2
Overall, I believe this country faces a serious problem in that our government is too big. When government is big, it means that liberty is threatened. Today, our governments throughout the land consume more than half of what the American people produce. In order to do that, there has to be curtailment on individual liberty.

1998 Ron Paul 7:3
In the attempt to help people in a welfare-warfare state, unfortunately the poor never seem to be helped. A lot of money is spent, but due to the monetary system that we have, inevitably, the middle class tends to get wiped out and the poor get poorer, and very often in the early stages the wealthy get wealthier. In the meantime, the corporations seem to do quite well. So we live in an age where we have a fair amount of corporatism associated with the welfare-warfare state in which we live.

1998 Ron Paul 7:4
The three specific problems that I want to mention, and I mention these because I think this is what the American people are concerned about, and sometimes we here inside the Beltway do not listen carefully to the people around the country. The three issues are these: The first are the scandals that we hear so much about, the second is an IMF bailout, and the third has to do with Iraq.

1998 Ron Paul 7:5
Now, the scandals have been around a bit. We have heard about Travelgate and Filegate, and we also heard about interference in foreign policy dealing with foreign donations. Now, those I consider very serious and for this reason I join the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. BARR) in his resolution to initiate an inquiry into the seriousness of these charges. Some of these charges have been laid aside mainly because there is another scandal in the news, something that has been much more attractive to the media, and that essentially is all that we have been hearing of in the last several weeks. I think this is a distraction from some of the issues that we should deal with. But that is not the one issue that I want to dwell on this evening.

1998 Ron Paul 7:6
The IMF is another issue that I think is very important. This funding will be coming up soon. The Congress will be asked to appropriate $18 billion to bail out the Southeast Asian currencies and countries, and this is a cost; although we are told it does not cost anything, it does not add to the deficit, there is obviously a cost, and we cannot convince the American people that there is no cost just because of our method of budgeting and we do not add it into the deficit.

1998 Ron Paul 7:7
Once again, these funds, whether they go to Southeast Asia or whether they go to Mexico, they never seem to help the little people; they never help the poor people. The poor are poorer than ever in Mexico, and yet the politicians and the corporations and the bankers even in this country get the bailout. This $18 billion is nothing more than another bailout.

1998 Ron Paul 7:8
Now, the third issue is Iraq, and I want to talk more about that, because I am fearful we are about ready to do something very foolish, very foolish for our country, and very dangerous.

1998 Ron Paul 7:9
Of these three issues, there is a common thread. When we think about the scandals, we talk about international finance, a large amount of dollars flowing into this country to influence our elections and possibly play a role in our foreign policy.

1998 Ron Paul 7:10
Also, the IMF, which has to do with international finance, the IMF is under the United Nations and therefore it gets a lot of attention and we are asked to appropriate $18 billion.

1998 Ron Paul 7:11
Then, once again, we have this potential for going to war in Iraq, again, not because we follow the Constitution, not because we follow the rule of law, but because the United Nations has passed a resolution. Some have even argued that the U.N. resolution passed for the Persian Gulf War is enough for our President to initiate the bombings. Others claim that just the legislation, the resolution-type legislation passed in 1990 that endorsed this process is enough for us to go and pursue this war venture. But the truth is, if we followed the rules and if we followed the law, we would never commit an act of war, which bombing is, unless we have a declaration of war here in the Congress. Somebody told me just yesterday that yes, but that is so old fashioned.

1998 Ron Paul 7:12
Just look at what we have been able to do since World War II without a declaration of war. Precisely. Why are we doing this? And precisely because when we do it, what generally happens is that we are not fighting these wars, and they are not police actions, these are wars, and we are not fighting them because of national interests. We are not fighting them for national security, and therefore, we do not fight to win, and subsequently, what war can we really be proud of since World War II? We have not won them. We set the stage for more problems later on. The Persian Gulf War has led to the stalemate that we have here today, and it goes on and on. I think this is a very important subject.

1998 Ron Paul 7:13
War should only be declared for moral reasons. The only moral war is a defensive war and when our country is threatened. Then it is legitimate to come to the people and the people then, through their Members in the House and Senate, and the President then declare war, and then they fight that war to win. But today that is considered very old fashioned, and the consensus here in this Congress is that it will not take much for Congress to pass a resolution.

1998 Ron Paul 7:14
What worries me, though, somewhat is that this resolution will not be circulated among the Members for days and weeks and have real serious debate. There is always the possibility that a resolution like this will come up suddenly. There will be little debate, and then a vote, and an endorsement for this policy. The first resolution that has been discussed over in the Senate had language very, very similar to the same language used in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which endorsed the expansion of the war in Vietnam, where 50,000 men were lost, and it was done not with a declaration of war, but by casual agreement by the Congress to go along.

1998 Ron Paul 7:15
Congress should have and take more responsibility for these actions. It is only the Congress that should pursue an act of war. Bombing is an act of war, especially if it is a country halfway around the world and a country that has not directly threatened our national security.

1998 Ron Paul 7:16
All of the stories about the monstrosities that occur and how terrible the leader might be may have some truth to it, but that does not justify throwing out the rule of law and ignoring our Constitution.

1998 Ron Paul 7:17
This effort that is about to be launched, it has not been endorsed by our allies. It is getting very difficult to even get the slightest token endorsement by our allies to start this bombing. One would think if Saddam Hussein was a true threat to that region, his neighbors would be the first ones to be willing to march and to be willing to go to battle to defend themselves. But they are saying, do not even put your troops here, do not launch your effort from our soil, because it is not in our best interests to do so. Kuwait, the country that we went to war over not too long ago has given some token endorsement, but even their newspapers are carrying news stories that really challenge what the people might be saying about this effort.

1998 Ron Paul 7:18
There was a Kuwaiti professor who was quoted in a pro-government Kuwaiti newspaper as saying, the U.S. frightens us with ads to make us buy weapons and sign contracts with American companies, thus, ensuring a market for American arms manufacturers and United States continued military presence in the Middle East. That is not my opinion; that is a Kuwaiti professor writing in a government newspaper in Kuwait.

1998 Ron Paul 7:19
A Kuwaiti legislator who was not willing to reveal his name said the use of force has ended up strengthening the Iraqi regime rather than weakening it. Most people realize that. In the Middle East, Saddam Hussein has more credibility among his Arab neighbors than he did before the war.

1998 Ron Paul 7:20
Other Kuwaitis have suggested that the U.S. really wants Hussein in power to make sure his weak neighbors fear him and are forced to depend on the United States for survival.

1998 Ron Paul 7:21
Now, these are very important comments to be considered, especially when we are getting ready to do something so serious as to condone the bombing of another country. Just recently in The Washington Post, not exactly a conservative newspaper, talked about what Egypt’s opinion was about this. This is interesting, because the interview was done in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, and the interview was made by Lally Weymouth, and she talked to Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Amre Moussa, the Foreign Minister of Egypt, our ally, a country that gets billions of dollars from us every year.

1998 Ron Paul 7:22
So one would expect with all this money flowing into that country that they should quickly do exactly what we want. But this Foreign Minister was rather blunt: Egypt, a key member of the Gulf War coalition, is opposed to U.S. military action in Iraq. He said, We believe that military action should be avoided and there is room for political efforts. He said, If such action is taken, there will be considerable fallout in the Arab world, he warned. He said, We are not afraid of Saddam. He added that his country believes the crisis is a result of allegations that have not been proven. Yet, we are willing to go and do such a thing as to initiate this massive bombing attack on this country, and there has been nothing proven.

1998 Ron Paul 7:23
Moussa also said that Iraq’s possession of chemical and biological weapons must be pursued, of course. But this requires cooperation with Iraq, not confrontation. Even our President admits that more weapons have been removed from Iraq since the war ended than which occurred with the hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq, as well as 88,000 bombs that were dropped in the whole of World War II, and it did not accomplish the mission.

1998 Ron Paul 7:24
So he is suggesting that it is just not worth the effort and it is not going to work. And he, of course, speaks for one of our allies.

1998 Ron Paul 7:25
He says, “The whole Middle East is not comfortable with this, and I do not think there is support for such an option.

1998 Ron Paul 7:26
All of us will face the consequence of such a military attack.”
“All of us” means all of them, not the people here in the United States.

1998 Ron Paul 7:27
He said 7 years ago there was an occupation and an apparent aggression. Today it is a question over inspections, so therefore he is arguing strenuously that we not do this. The people in the Middle East, he says, see a double standard. He is talking for the Arabs.

1998 Ron Paul 7:28
The people in the Middle East see a double standard because the Israeli Government does not comply with U.N. Resolution 242, but we see no action. The U.S. is too strong on one and too soft on the other. The peace process is falling apart. We do know that the peace process with Israel and the Palestinians is not going smoothly, yet this is behind some of what is happening because they do not understand our policy.

1998 Ron Paul 7:29
He goes on to say, “There is room for a political solution. Bear in mind the repercussions in the area. If the United States bombs, there will be Iraqi victims.” Then he asks, “What happens if the public sees a decisive move on the part of Iraq but not toward Israel? We have to take into consideration how the people who live near Iraq respond to something like this.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:30
Now, Steven Rosenfeld, in the Washington Post, on February 6, also made comments about the Middle East and the failure of the Mideast policy. And I thought he had a very interesting comment, because he certainly would not be coming at this from the same viewpoint that I have.

1998 Ron Paul 7:31
In his statement, this again is Rosenfeld in the Washington Post, he said, “There is a fatal flaw at the heart of Netanyahu’s policy. He is not prepared to address the Palestinians’ basic grievance. To think that Israel can humiliate the Palestinians politically and then reap the benefits of their security cooperation is foolish. It can’t happen.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:32
Here we are being more involved in the Middle East process with Iraq in the hope that we are going to bring about peace.

1998 Ron Paul 7:33
What about another close ally, an ally that we have had since World War II: Turkey. Turkey is not anxious for doing this. They do not want us to take the bombers and the troops out of Turkey. As a matter of fact, they are hesitant about this. This is an article from the Washington Times by Philip Smucker. He said, “Turkey’s growing fears of a clash in Iraq are based largely on what it sees as the ruinous aftermath of the Gulf War.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:34
So Turkey is claiming that they are still suffering from the Gulf War.

1998 Ron Paul 7:35
“The people,” and this is quoting from the Foreign Ministry Sermet Atacanli, “the people have started thinking that Turkey is somehow being punished,” a senior foreign official said. “We supported the war, but we are losing now.” So they are getting no benefits.

1998 Ron Paul 7:36
He said that since the war, Turkey has suffered economic losses of some $35 billion stemming from the invigorated Kurdish uprising on the Iraqi border and the shutting down of the border trade, including the Iraqi oil exports through Turkey. They used to have trade; now they do not.

1998 Ron Paul 7:37
We encouraged the Kurds to revolt and then stepped aside, so the Kurds are unhappy with the Americans because they were disillusioned as to what they thought they were supposed to be doing. “Turkey’s clear preference is for Iraq to regain control of its own Kurdish regions on the Turkish border and resume normal relations with Ankara.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:38
Further quoting the foreign ministry of Turkey, “Iraq cannot exercise sovereignty over these regions, so there has become a power vacuum that has created an atmosphere in which terrorists operate freely.” It has taken quite some effort for Turkish forces to deal with this problem.

1998 Ron Paul 7:39
What will happen if the bombs are relatively successful? More vacuum. More confusion. And more turmoil in that region.

1998 Ron Paul 7:40
The military goals are questioned by even the best of our military people in this country, and sometimes it is very difficult to understand what our military goals are. We do not have the troops there to invade and to take over Baghdad or to get rid of Hussein, but we have a lot of bombs and we have a lot of firepower. Yet, we are supposed to be intimidated and fearful of this military strength of Saddam Hussein. Yet even by our own intelligence reports, his strength is about one-half what it was before the Persian Gulf War started. So there is a little bit more fear-mongering there than I think is justified.

1998 Ron Paul 7:41
But if we do not plan to send troops, we just agree to send bombs, then it will not get rid of Hussein. Why are we doing this? Because some people question this and some people respond and say, that may be correct, maybe we do not have the ability to inflict enough damage or to kill Hussein. And some here have even suggested that we assassinate him.

1998 Ron Paul 7:42
Well, I am not going to defend Iraq. I am not going to defend Hussein. But I do have a responsibility here for us in the Congress to obey the law, and under our law, under the Constitution, and with a sense of morality, we do not go around assassinating dictators. I think history shows that we were involved in that in South Vietnam and it did not help us one bit.

1998 Ron Paul 7:43
Syria is another close neighbor of Iraq. Syria was an ally in the Persian Gulf War. Syria would like us not to do anything. Iraqi foreign minister Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf went to Damascus to see Syrian President Hafez Assad, marking the first time in 18 years that the Syrian leader met with an Iraqi official. This is one of the consequences, this is one of the things that is happening. The further we push the Iraqi people and the Iraqi Government, the further we push them into close alliances with the more radical elements in that region.

1998 Ron Paul 7:44
It is conceivable to me that it would be to Hussein’s benefit, and he probably is not worried that much, but I do not believe it is in our interest. I do not believe it is in the interest of the American people, the American taxpayers, the American fighter pilots, and certainly long-term interest in the Middle East. We will spend a lot of money doing it. That is one issue.

1998 Ron Paul 7:45
We could end up having lives lost. We still have not solved all the problems and taken care of all the victims of the Persian Gulf War syndrome which numbers in the tens of thousands. Maybe we should be talking about that more than looking for more problems and a greater chance for a serious confrontation where lives were lost.

1998 Ron Paul 7:46
The Iraqi and the Syrian views, according to this article, are very close and almost identical in rejecting a resort to force and American military threats. We do not get support there, and we should not ignore that.

1998 Ron Paul 7:47
Just recently Schwarzkopf was interviewed on NBC TV’s “Meet the Press,” and he had some interesting comments to make, very objective, very military-oriented comments. He would not agree with me on my policy or the policy that I would advocate of neutrality and nonintervention and the pro-American policy. But he did have some warnings about the military operation.

1998 Ron Paul 7:48
He said, “I do not think the bombing, I don’t think it will change his behavior at all. Saddam’s goal is to go down in history as the second coming of Nebuchadnezzar by uniting the Arab world against the west. He may not mind a big strike if, after it, the United Nations lifts economic sanctions against Iraq.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:49
I am afraid that this policy is going in the wrong direction, that we are going to have ramifications of it for years to come, and that we will and could have the same type of result as we had in Vietnam that took a decade for us to overcome.

1998 Ron Paul 7:50
Mr. Speaker, there is no indication that this bombing will accomplish what we should do. Charles Duefler, deputy chief of the U.N. Special Commission in charge of Iraqi inspection said, “Put bluntly, we do not really know what Iraq has.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:51
That is at the heart of the problem. Here is our U.N. inspector admitting that they have no idea. So how can we prove that somebody does not have something if we do not know what he is supposed to have? So the odds of this military operation accomplishing very much are essentially slim to none.

1998 Ron Paul 7:52
Charles Krauthammer, who would be probably in favor of doing a lot more than I would do, had some advice. He said, “Another short bombing campaign would simply send yet another message of American irresolution. It would arouse Arab complaints about American arrogance and aggression while doing nothing to decrease Saddam’s grip on power. Better to do nothing,” Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. These are not my views. They are warnings that we should not ignore.

1998 Ron Paul 7:53
Richard Cohen from the Washington Post had some advice. He said, “Still military action is a perilous course. It will produce what is called ‘collateral damage,’ a fancy term for the accidental killing of civilians and possibly the unintentional destruction of a school or mosque.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:54
We have heard of that before. “That, in turn,” he goes on to say, “will provoke protests in parts of the Arab world, Jordan probably and Egypt as well. In both countries the United States is already considered the protector of a recalcitrant Israeli Government. As for Israel itself, it can expect that Iraq will send missiles its way armed with chemical or biological weapons.”

1998 Ron Paul 7:55
This is Richard Cohen warning us about some of the ramifications of what might happen.

1998 Ron Paul 7:56
But during these past 8 years since the war has ended, there has been no signs that that is likely to happen. It is more likely to happen that some missile or some accident will occur that will spread this war from a neat little war to something much bigger than we are interested in dealing with.

1998 Ron Paul 7:57
There are several other points that I would like to mention here. The one thing we cannot measure and we cannot anticipate are the accidents that happen. So often wars are caused by people being in the wrong place at wrong time, and then accidents happen and somebody gets killed, a ship is sunk, and we have to go to war.

1998 Ron Paul 7:58
Other times some of these events may be staged. One individual suggested the possibility of a person like Saddam Hussein actually acting irrationally and doing something radical to his own people and then turning around and blaming the United States or Israel or something like that. So we are dealing with an individual that may well do this and for his specific purposes.

1998 Ron Paul 7:59
But we would all be better off, not so much that we can anticipate exactly who we should help and who we should support; we have done too much of that. We help too often both sides of every war that has existed in the last 50 years, and we have pretended that we have known what is best for everybody. I think that is impossible.

1998 Ron Paul 7:60
I think the responsibility of the Members of Congress here is to protect the national interest, to provide national security, to take care of national defense, to follow the rules that say, we should not go to war unless the war is declared. If we go to war, we go to war to fight and win the war. But we do not go to war because we like one country over another country and we want to support them.

1998 Ron Paul 7:61
We literally support both sides in the Middle East, and it is a balancing act and, quite frankly, both sides right now seem to be a little bit unhappy with us. So the policy has not been working; we have not been able to achieve what we think we are able to do. But we must be very cautious on what we are doing here in the next few weeks.

1998 Ron Paul 7:62
People say, well, we have to do it because Hussein has so much of this firepower, he has all of these weapons of mass destruction. It was just recently reported by U.S. intelligence that there are 20 nations now who are working on and producing weapons of mass destruction, including Iran and Syria. So why do we not go in there and check them out too?

1998 Ron Paul 7:63
Why is it that we have no more concern about our national security concern about China? I think China can pose a national threat. I do not think we should be doing it to China. I do not think we should be looking to find out what kind of weapons they have. We know they sell weapons to Iraq. And we know they are a very capable nation when it comes to military. But what do we do with China? We give them foreign aid. They are one of the largest recipients of foreign aid in the whole world.

1998 Ron Paul 7:64
So we do not apply the rules to all the countries the same, and we get narrowed in on one item and we get distracted from many of the facts that I think are so important. Some people believe that it is conceivable that the oil is even very important in this issue as well.

1998 Ron Paul 7:65
We obviously knew the oil was important in the Persian Gulf War because it was said that we were going over there to protect our oil. Of course, it was Iraqi oil but some people believe sincerely that keeping this Iraqi oil off the market helps keep the prices higher and they do not need that to happen.

1998 Ron Paul 7:66
As a matter of fact, it was in the Wall Street Journal today that that was further suggested. It said: Equally important the U.S. must terminate illegal oil exports from the Iraqi port of Basra.

1998 Ron Paul 7:67
There, submerged barges depart daily for Iran, which sells the oil and, after a hefty rake-off, returns the proceeds to fund Saddam. So there are sales and there might be people that are looking at this mainly as a financial thing dealing with oil.

1998 Ron Paul 7:68
The odds now of us being able to stop this bombing I think are pretty slim. I think that is rather sad because it looks like there will be a resolution that will come to the floor. There probably will not be a chance for a lot of debate. It will come up under suspension possibly and yet in the words may be toned down a little bit.

1998 Ron Paul 7:69
It might not be identical to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. But all I would like to do is point out to my colleagues that this is more important than it appears, and we should not be so glib as to give this authority, to give the cover for the President to say, well, the Congress said it was okay. I do not think the Congress should say it is okay, because I think it is the wrong thing to do. And I think it could lead to so many, so many more problems.

1998 Ron Paul 7:70
So we have a responsibility. If the responsibility is that Saddam Hussein is a threat to our national security, we should be more honest with the American people. We should tell them what the problem is. We should have a resolution, a declaration of war.

1998 Ron Paul 7:71
Obviously, that would not pass but it looks like it will not be difficult to pass a resolution that will condone and give sanction to whatever the President does regardless of all the military arguments against it.

1998 Ron Paul 7:72
So I see this as really a sad time for us and not one that we should be proud of. I do know that the two weakest arguments I can present here would be that of a moral argument, that wars ought to be fought only for defense and for national security. I have been told that is too old-fashioned and we must police the world, and we have the obligation. We are the only superpower.

1998 Ron Paul 7:73
Well, I do not think that is a legitimate argument. I do have a lot of reservation that we are so anxious to go along with getting authority elsewhere, and that is through the United Nations. When the Persian Gulf War was started, getting ready to start, it was said that we did not need the Congress to approve this because the authority came from the United Nations resolution.

1998 Ron Paul 7:74
Well, that to me is the wrong way to go. If we are involved in internationalism, where international financing now is influencing our presidential election, if international finances demand that we take more money from the American taxpayers and bail out southeast Asian countries through the IMF and that we are willing to have our young men and women be exposed to war conditions and to allow them to go to war mainly under a U.N. resolution and a token endorsement by the Congress, I think this is the wrong way to go.

1998 Ron Paul 7:75
I do realize that we have been doing it this way for 40 or 50 years. But quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I do not believe the American people are all that happy about it. I have not yet had anybody in my district come up to me and start saying, RON, I want you to get up there and start voting. I want to see those bombs flying.

1998 Ron Paul 7:76
As a matter of fact, I have had a lot of them come and say, why are you guys up there thinking about going to war? I have had a lot of people talk about that. So we should not do this carelessly and casually.

1998 Ron Paul 7:77
There is no reason in the world why we cannot be willing to look at the rule of law. The rule of law is very clear. We do not have the moral authority to do this. This is, we must recognize, this is an act of war.

1998 Ron Paul 7:78
When the resolution comes up to the floor, no matter how watered down it is, I think everybody should think very seriously about it and not be careless about it, not wait until a decade goes by and 50,000 men are killed. I think that is the wrong way to do it.

1998 Ron Paul 7:79
There is nothing wrong with a pro- American foreign policy, one of nonintervention, one where we are neutral. That was our tradition for more than 100 years. It stood out in George Washington’s farewell address, talk about nonentangling alliances. These entangling alliances and our willingness to get involved has not been kind to us in the 20th century. So we should really consider the option of a foreign policy that means that we should be friends with all.

1998 Ron Paul 7:80
People will immediately say that is isolationism. Even if you are not for the IMF bailout, this argument really bewilders me. If you are not for the $18 billion bailout of the IMF, you are an isolationist. You can be for free trade and get rid of all the tariffs and do everything else, but if you are not willing to give your competitors more money and bail them out and bail out the banks, you are an isolationist. You are not for free trade. It is complete nonsense. There is nothing wrong with isolating our military forces.

1998 Ron Paul 7:81
We do not have to be the policemen of the world. We have not done a good job and the world is not safer today because of our willingness to do this. One act leads to the next one. We are still fighting the Persian Gulf War, and it sounds to me like we are losing our allies. We must take this under serious advisement. We must not be too anxious to go and do something that we could be very sorry for.

1998 Ron Paul 7:82
I know that people do not like this statement I am going to be making to be made, but I think there should be a consideration for it. So often Members here are quite willing to vote to put ourselves and our men in harm’s way that could lead to a serious confrontation with many deaths. But if those individuals who claim that it would be best to assassinate Saddam Hussein or put land troops on there, I wonder if they would be willing to be the first ones on the beachhead. That really is the question. That is a fair statement.

1998 Ron Paul 7:83
If you are willing to go yourself, if you are willing to send your child, then it is more legitimate to vote casually and carelessly to go marching off with acts of war. But if that individual who is getting ready to vote, if he himself or she herself is not willing to land on that beach and risk their lives, they should think a second time.

1998 Ron Paul 7:84
In a war for national defense, if this country is threatened, every one of us should participate in it. We should and we can. We could do it our way, to participate in the defense of this country. But once it is being involved in a casual and a careless manner with not knowing what the goals are, not knowing what victory means, not fighting to win, this can only lead to bigger problems.

1998 Ron Paul 7:85
This is the time to reassess it. I know time is running short. Everybody is afraid of losing face. Some people say, well, how do we back off and we cannot let Saddam Hussein lose face, and what about our own politicians who have been saying that we must do something. They will lose face. Would that not be the worst reason in the world to do this, because they are afraid of losing face because we threatened them? If it is the wrong thing to do, we should not do it. And there seems to me to be no direct benefit to the American people, certainly no benefit to the American taxpayer, certainly no benefit to peace in the Middle East. It is more likely to cause more turmoil. It is more likely to unify the Islamic fundamentalists like they have never been unified before.

1998 Ron Paul 7:86
So what we are doing here is very serious business. Unfortunately, it looks like it is going to happen and it looks like there will be one or two or three or four of us that will say, go slow, do not do this, let us question this. But unfortunately, the only significant criticism we have had of the policy has been, do more faster.

1998 Ron Paul 7:87
We do not need to do more faster. We need to do less quicker, much less quicker. Nothing has been happening in the last few years, the last few weeks. Does President Clinton need to bomb over the weekend or next week or two weeks from now? I say absolutely not. There is no need for this.

1998 Ron Paul 7:88
Saddam is weaker than he used to be. He could be stronger after this is finished. So we must be cautious. We must take our time and think about this before we go off and make this declaration. It sounds like a lot of fun. We have a lot of bombers. We have a lot of equipment that we have to test, and we can go over there and see if the B–1 and the stealth bombers will work a little bit better than they have in the past. But this is not a game. This is not a game. This is serious business.

1998 Ron Paul 7:89
One item like this, one event like this can lead to something else, and that is what we have to be cautious about. We cannot assume that, yes, we can bomb for a day or two or three or four and the stronger the rhetoric the more damage we are going to do. We need less rhetoric. We as a Nation have on occasion been the initiators of peace talks. We encourage the two groups in the Middle East, the Israelis and the Palestinians. We bring them to our country. We ask them to sit down and talk. Please talk before you kill each other. We go to the Protestants and we go to the Catholics and we say, please talk, do not kill each other. Why do we not talk more to Hussein? He is willing to.

1998 Ron Paul 7:90
I know, I mean you have to take his word with a grain of salt, but would it not be better to sit down across the table and at least talk rather than pursue a course that, a military course that may be more harmful?

1998 Ron Paul 7:91
If this would be a guarantee that it would get a lot better and that we would solve a lot of problems, maybe we could consider it. But even those who advocate this do not claim they know when the end stage is, what the ultimate goal is, and that they would expect success. They are not expecting this. They just want to bomb, bomb people. Innocent people will die. Those pictures will be on television.

1998 Ron Paul 7:92
And I, quite frankly, do not believe the polls that most Americans want us to do this. I go home; I talk to a lot of my constituents. I do not find them coming and saying, do this. They do not even understand, the people who come and talk to me, they ask me what is going on up there. Why are they getting ready to do this?

1998 Ron Paul 7:93
I mean, most people in this country cannot even find where Iraq is on the map. I mean, they are not that concerned about it. And yet all we would have to do is have one ship go down and have loss of life and then all of a sudden, then do we turn tail? Then is it that we do not lose face after we lose 1,000 men by some accident or some freakish thing happening?

1998 Ron Paul 7:94
Sure, we will lose more face then. But we can save face if we do what is right, explain what we are doing and be open to negotiations. There is nothing wrong with that. I mean, there has not been a border crossing.

1998 Ron Paul 7:95
The other thing is it would be nice if we had a policy in this country, a foreign policy that had a little bit of consistency. I have been made fun of at one time on the House floor for being consistent and wanting to be consistent.

1998 Ron Paul 7:96
I do not particularly think there is anything wrong with being consistent. I think there should be a challenge on my ideas or our ideas. We should challenge ideas. But if you want to be consistent, if they are the right ideas, you should be consistent. But we talk about this horrible country, I am not defending the country and I am not defending Hussein, but we criticize him as an individual who invaded another country. I wonder what they are talking about.

1998 Ron Paul 7:97
I wonder if they are talking about when he invaded Iran with our encouragement and our money and our support. Is that what they are talking about? Or are they talking about the other invasion that we did not like because it was a threat to western oil? I think that might be the case.

1998 Ron Paul 7:98
So they talk about poison gas. Yes, there is no doubt about it. I think the evidence is out that he has used poison gas against his own people. Horrible, killed a lot of people. But never against another country, which means the line could be drawn by if he had ever used these weapons. We cannot investigate 20 countries. We cannot investigate North Korea. We cannot investigate China. Why do we have this obsession with investigating this country? But poison gases, under international agreements, we are not supposed to use poison gases.

1998 Ron Paul 7:99
Poison gases, we used them, not against a foreign power but we used them against our own people. No, we did not have a mass killing but those families understood it. Over 100, more than 100, 150 people were gassed with gas that was illegal, according to our own agreements, and we used them at Waco.

1998 Ron Paul 7:100
So at one time we were an ally of a country, at the same time he is using poison gas and invading another country and then, when he invades the wrong country, then we give him trouble.

1998 Ron Paul 7:101
For many, many years, Noriega was our ally, and he was no angel when he was our ally. He received money from the CIA, but all of a sudden he wanted to be his own drug lord. He did not want to be beholding to our CIA, so we had to do something about him.

1998 Ron Paul 7:102
There is nothing wrong with a foreign policy that is consistent based on a moral principle and on our Constitution. That means that the responsibility of the U.S. Congress is to provide for a strong national defense. There is nothing wrong with being friends with everybody who is willing to be friends with us. There is nothing wrong with trading with as many people that will trade with us, and there is nothing wrong with working for as low tariffs as possible.

1998 Ron Paul 7:103
There is no reason why we should not consider at least selling some food and medicine to Castro. We have had a confrontation with Castro now for 40 years, and it has served him well because his socialism and his communism was an absolute failure. But he always had a scapegoat. It was the Americans. It was the Americans because they boycotted and they would not trade and, therefore, that was the reason they suffered. So it served him well.

1998 Ron Paul 7:104
I would think that being willing to talk with people, if we believe in our system, if we believe that liberty is something to be proud of and that that works, I am convinced that it is better to have set an example to talk with people, trade with people, and go back and forth as freely as possible and we will spread our message much better than we ever will with bombs.

1998 Ron Paul 7:105
How many bombs did we drop in South Vietnam? How many men were lost on our side? How many people were lost on the other side? How many innocent people were lost? So the war ends, after a decade. After a decade of misery in this country where we literally had to turn on our own people to suppress the demonstrations. But today I have friends who are doing business in South Vietnam, making money over there, which means that trade and talk works. They are becoming more Westernized.

1998 Ron Paul 7:106
This whole approach of militancy, believing that we can force our way on other people, will not and cannot work. Matter of fact, the few quotes that I used here earlier are indicating that we are doing precisely the wrong thing; that we are further antagonizing not only our so-called enemies, but we are further antagonizing our allies. So if there is no uniformity of opinion of the neighbors, of Iraq, that we should be doing this, if we will not listen to the moral, if we will not listen to the constitutional issue, we should listen to the practical issue. His neighbors do not want us to do it.

1998 Ron Paul 7:107
And what are we going to prove? We should not do it. We should reassess this. We should decide quietly and calmly and deliberately in this body that quite possibly the move toward internationalism, abiding by the U.N. resolutions, paying through the nose to the IMF to bail out the special interests, never helping the poor but always helping the rich, encouraging a system that encourages foreign countries to come in and buy influence, should be challenged. We should change it.

1998 Ron Paul 7:108
And we do not have to be isolationists. We can be more open and more willing to trade and talk with people and we will have a greater chance of peace and prosperity. That is our purpose. Our purpose is to protect liberty. And we do not protect American liberty by jeopardizing their liberty and the wealth of this country by getting involved when we should not be involved.

1998 Ron Paul 7:109
The world is a rough enough place already, and there will continue to be the hot spots of the world, but I am totally convinced that a policy of American intervention overseas, subjecting other nations to our will, trying to be friends to both sides at all times, subsidizing both sides and then trying this balancing act that never works, this is not going to work either. It did not work in the 1980s when we were closely allied and subsidizing Hussein and it will not work now when we are trying to bomb him.

1998 Ron Paul 7:110
Neither will it work for us to not have somewhat of a consistent policy to ignore the other countries that are doing the very same thing at the same time the real threat possibly could be a country like China. And what do we do? We give them billions and billions of dollars of subsidies.

1998 Ron Paul 7:111
There is nothing wrong with a consistent defense of a pro-America foreign policy. People will say, well, the world is different and we have to be involved. That is exactly the reason that we ought to be less aggressive. That is exactly the reason why we ought to take our own counsel and not do these things. Because we live in an age where communications are much more rapid. The weapons are much worse. There is every reason in the world to do less of this, not more of it.

1998 Ron Paul 7:112
But none of this could happen. We could never move in this direction unless we asked a simple question: What really is the role of our government? Is the role of our government to perpetuate a welfare-warfare state to take care of the large special interests who benefit from this by building weapons and buying and selling oil? No, the purpose cannot be that.

1998 Ron Paul 7:113
The welfare-warfare state does not work. The welfare for poor is well-motivated; it is intended to help people, but it never helps them. They become an impoverished, dependent class. And we are on the verge of bankruptcy, no matter what we hear about the balanced budget. The national debt is going up by nearly $200 billion a year and it cannot be sustained. So this whole nonsense of a balanced budget and trying to figure out where to spend the excess is nonsense. It just encourages people to take over more of the responsibilities that should be with the American people.

1998 Ron Paul 7:114
We here in the Congress should be talking about defending this country, providing national security, providing for a strong currency, not deliberately distorting the currency. We should be protecting private property rights and making sure that there is no incentive for the special interests of this country to come and buy their influence up here.

1998 Ron Paul 7:115
We do not need any fancy campaign reform laws. There is no need for those. We need to eliminate the ability of the Congress to pass out favors. I do not get any PAC money because there is no attempt to come and ask me to do special favors for anybody. I get a lot of donations from people who want liberty. They want to be left alone, and they know, they know that they can take care of themselves.

1998 Ron Paul 7:116
Now, this point will not be proven until the welfare state crumbles, and it may well crumble in the next decade. The Soviet system crumbled rather suddenly. We cannot afford to continue to do this, but we must be cautious not to allow the corporate state and the militant attitude that we have with our policy to rule. We have to decide here in this country, as well as in this body, what we want from our government and what kind of a government we want.

1998 Ron Paul 7:117
We got off from the right track with the founders of this country. They wrote a good document and that document was designed for this purpose, for the protection of liberty. We have gone a long way from that, until now we have the nanny state that we cannot even plow our gardens without umpteen number of permits from the Federal Government. So our government is too big, it is too massive, and we have undermined the very concept of liberty.

1998 Ron Paul 7:118
Foreign policy is very important because it is under the conditions of war; it is under the condition of foreign confrontation that people are so willing to give up their liberties at home because of the fear. We should avoid unnecessary confrontations overseas and we should concentrate on bettering the people here in this country, and it can best be done by guaranteeing property rights, free markets, sound money, and a sensible approach to our foreign policy.
Notes:

1998 Ron Paul 7:21 is grammatically incorrect. Just recently in The Washington Post, not exactly a conservative newspaper, talked about what Egypt’s opinion was about this. Perhaps in does not belong, or perhaps talked should be, there was talk.

1998 Ron Paul 7:22 He said, If such action is taken, there will be considerable fallout in the Arab world, he warned. is redundant. Perhaps this should be, He warned, If such action is taken, there will be considerable fallout in the Arab world.

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