Ron Paul
1999 Ron Paul Chapter 35

Moral And Constitutional Wars Must Be Fought In Self Defense

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28 April 1999

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL) is recognized for 5 minutes.

1999 Ron Paul 35:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, we have heard from several Members already about being unhappy with the legislative process today. The votes did not go exactly the way I wanted, but I am not all that unhappy with what happened because there was a serious effort for this House to restore some of the responsibility that they have allowed to gravitate to the administration and to our Presidents over the many years.

1999 Ron Paul 35:2
Today’s legislative process was chaotic, but I think it was chaotic for a precise reason. We are trying to rectify something that has been going on for more than 50 years, and it is not just this President. It is every President that we have had since World War II. We have in the Congress permitted our Presidents too much leeway in waging war.

1999 Ron Paul 35:3
This was an effort today to restore that responsibility to the House. It was done sloppily, but considering the alternative of doing nothing, this was much better.

1999 Ron Paul 35:4
So I am very pleased with what happened today. I am disappointed that there was such strong feelings about the outcome. But I suspect they were not unhappy with the process as much as they were unhappy with not winning the votes.

1999 Ron Paul 35:5
But nevertheless the votes were very important today. One of the most significant, if not the most significant: we on this House floor today voted up and down on a war resolution. This is not done very often and under the circumstances that exist today, probably the first time.

1999 Ron Paul 35:6
But that was an easy vote. The House overwhelmingly voted not to go to war. This makes a lot of sense. This is a very good vote. Why should we go to war against a country that has not aggressed against us?

1999 Ron Paul 35:7
So this was normal and natural and a very good vote. The problem comes with the other votes because they do not follow a consistent pattern.

1999 Ron Paul 35:8
I think there are too many Members in this House who have enjoyed the fact that they have delivered the responsibility to the President. They do not want war, but they want war. They do not want a legal war, they want an illegal war. They do not want a war to win, they want a war that is a half of a war. They want the President to do the dirty work, but they do not want the Congress to stand up and decide one way or the other.

1999 Ron Paul 35:9
Today we saw evidence that the Congress was willing to stand up to some degree and vote on this and take some responsibility. For this reason I am pleased with what happened. So voting against the war that has no significant national security interest makes a lot of sense to me.

1999 Ron Paul 35:10
Another vote, the vote to withhold ground troops unless Congress authorizes the funding for this; this is not micromanaging anything. This is just the Congress standing up and accepting their responsibilities. So this in many ways was very good. This means that the people in this country, as they send their messages to the Members of Congress, are saying that this war does not make a whole lot of sense. If the people of this country were frightened, if they felt like they were being attacked, if they felt like their liberties were threatened, believe me the vote would have been a lot different.

1999 Ron Paul 35:11
But I am very pleased that this House stood up and said:

1999 Ron Paul 35:12
Mr. President, you have overstepped your bounds already. Slow up. Do not get this notion that you should send in ground troops. It makes no sense to this House.

1999 Ron Paul 35:13
Now the interesting thing is that was a resolution, it was a House Resolution, that probably really does not have much effect other than a public relation effect because it would have to be passed by the Senate, it would be vetoed by the President, we would have to override his veto. So, in the practical legislative sense it does not mean a whole lot, but it means something in the fact that we brought it to the floor and we were required to vote on it.

1999 Ron Paul 35:14
Another resolution that was defeated unfortunately, and it was defeated by a two-to-one margin; this would have said that the President would have to cease, we should have told him to cease, because we have not given him the right to wage war. As a matter of fact, even today we said there will be no war, there will be no declaration of war, so we should consistently follow up and say what we should do is withdraw and not fight a war.

1999 Ron Paul 35:15
Likewise, when we come to the endorsement of the military bombing, fortunately it went down narrowly. But it in itself, too, does not have any legal effect. That is a House Concurrent Resolution that has no effect of law other than the public relations effect of what the Congress is saying.

1999 Ron Paul 35:16
But I think it is a powerful message that the American people have spoke through this House of Representatives today to not rubber stamp an illegal, unconstitutional and immoral war. The only moral war is a war that is fought in self-defense. Some claim that this is a moral war because there are people who have been injured. But that is not enough justification. The moral and constitutional war has to be fought in self-defense.

1999 Ron Paul 35:1 the administration probably should be capitalized: the Administration.

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