Ron Paul Quotes
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Congressman Ron Paul
U.S. House of Representatives
October 8, 2002
2002 Ron Paul 96:1
Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution. The wisdom of the war is one issue, but the process and the philosophy behind our foreign policy are important issues as well. But I have come to the conclusion that I see no threat to our national security. There is no convincing evidence that Iraq is capable of threatening the security of this country, and, therefore, very little reason, if any, to pursue a war.
2002 Ron Paul 96:2
But I am very interested also in the process that we are pursuing. This is not a resolution to declare war. We know that. This is a resolution that does something much different. This resolution transfers the responsibility, the authority, and the power of the Congress to the President so he can declare war when and if he wants to. He has not even indicated that he wants to go to war or has to go to war; but he will make the full decision, not the Congress, not the people through the Congress of this country in that manner.
2002 Ron Paul 96:3
It does something else, though. One-half of the resolution delivers this power to the President, but it also instructs him to enforce U.N. resolutions. I happen to think I would rather listen to the President when he talks about unilateralism and national security interests, than accept this responsibility to follow all of the rules and the dictates of the United Nations. That is what this resolution does. It instructs him to follow all of the resolutions.
2002 Ron Paul 96:4
But an important aspect of the philosophy and the policy we are endorsing here is the preemption doctrine. This should not be passed off lightly. It has been done to some degree in the past, but never been put into law that we will preemptively strike another nation that has not attacked us. No matter what the arguments may be, this policy is new; and it will have ramifications for our future, and it will have ramifications for the future of the world because other countries will adopt this same philosophy.
2002 Ron Paul 96:5
I also want to mention very briefly something that has essentially never been brought up. For more than a thousand years there has been a doctrine and Christian definition of what a just war is all about. I think this effort and this plan to go to war comes up short of that doctrine. First, it says that there has to be an act of aggression; and there has not been an act of aggression against the United States. We are 6,000 miles from their shores.
2002 Ron Paul 96:6
Also, it says that all efforts at negotiations must be exhausted. I do not believe that is the case. It seems to me like the opposition, the enemy, right now is begging for more negotiations.
2002 Ron Paul 96:7
Also, the Christian doctrine says that the proper authority must be responsible for initiating the war. I do not believe that proper authority can be transferred to the President nor to the United Nations.
2002 Ron Paul 96:8
But a very practical reason why I have a great deal of reservations has to do with the issue of no-win wars that we have been involved in for so long. Once we give up our responsibilities from here in the House and the Senate to make these decisions, it seems that we depend on the United Nations for our instructions; and that is why, as a Member earlier indicated, essentially we are already at war. That is correct. We are still in the Persian Gulf War. We have been bombing for 12 years, and the reason President Bush, Sr., did not go all the way? He said the U.N. did not give him permission to.
2002 Ron Paul 96:9
My argument is when we go to war through the back door, we are more likely to have the wars last longer and not have resolution of the wars, such as we had in Korea and Vietnam. We ought to consider this very seriously.
2002 Ron Paul 96:10
Also it is said we are wrong about the act of aggression, there has been an act of aggression against us because Saddam Hussein has shot at our airplanes. The fact that he has missed every single airplane for 12 years, and tens of thousands of sorties have been flown, indicates the strength of our enemy, an impoverished, Third World nation that does not have an air force, anti-aircraft weapons, or a navy.
2002 Ron Paul 96:11
But the indication is because he shot at us, therefore, it is an act of aggression. However, what is cited as the reason for us flying over the no-fly zone comes from U.N. Resolution 688, which instructs us and all the nations to contribute to humanitarian relief in the Kurdish and the Shiite areas. It says nothing about no-fly zones, and it says nothing about bombing missions over Iraq.
2002 Ron Paul 96:12
So to declare that we have been attacked, I do not believe for a minute that this fulfills the requirement that we are retaliating against aggression by this country. There is a need for us to assume responsibility for the declaration of war, and also to prepare the American people for the taxes that will be raised and the possibility of a military draft which may well come.
2002 Ron Paul 96:13
I must oppose this resolution, which regardless of what many have tried to claim will lead us into war with Iraq. This resolution is not a declaration of war, however, and that is an important point: this resolution transfers the Constitutionally-mandated Congressional authority to declare wars to the executive branch. This resolution tells the president that he alone has the authority to determine when, where, why, and how war will be declared. It merely asks the president to pay us a courtesy call a couple of days after the bombing starts to let us know what is going on. This is exactly what our Founding Fathers cautioned against when crafting our form of government: most had just left behind a monarchy where the power to declare war rested in one individual. It is this they most wished to avoid.
2002 Ron Paul 96:14
As James Madison wrote in 1798, "The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has, accordingly, with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature."
2002 Ron Paul 96:15
Some- even some in this body- have claimed that this Constitutional requirement is an anachronism, and that those who insist on following the founding legal document of this country are just being frivolous. I could not disagree more.
2002 Ron Paul 96:16
Mr. Speaker, for the more than one dozen years I have spent as a federal legislator I have taken a particular interest in foreign affairs and especially the politics of the Middle East. From my seat on the international relations committee I have had the opportunity to review dozens of documents and to sit through numerous hearings and mark-up sessions regarding the issues of both Iraq and international terrorism.
2002 Ron Paul 96:17
Back in 1997 and 1998 I publicly spoke out against the actions of the Clinton Administration, which I believed was moving us once again toward war with Iraq. I believe the genesis of our current policy was unfortunately being set at that time. Indeed, many of the same voices who then demanded that the Clinton Administration attack Iraq are now demanding that the Bush Administration attack Iraq. It is unfortunate that these individuals are using the tragedy of September 11, 2001 as cover to force their long-standing desire to see an American invasion of Iraq. Despite all of the information to which I have access, I remain very skeptical that the nation of Iraq poses a serious and immanent terrorist threat to the United States. If I were convinced of such a threat I would support going to war, as I did when I supported President Bush by voting to give him both the authority and the necessary funding to fight the war on terror.
2002 Ron Paul 96:18
Mr. Speaker, consider some of the following claims presented by supporters of this resolution, and contrast them with the following facts:
2002 Ron Paul 96:19
Claim: Iraq has consistently demonstrated its willingness to use force against the US through its firing on our planes patrolling the UN-established "no-fly zones."
2002 Ron Paul 96:20
Reality: The "no-fly zones" were never authorized by the United Nations, nor was their 12 year patrol by American and British fighter planes sanctioned by the United Nations. Under UN Security Council Resolution 688 (April, 1991), Iraq’s repression of the Kurds and Shi’ites was condemned, but there was no authorization for "no-fly zones," much less airstrikes. The resolution only calls for member states to "contribute to humanitarian relief" in the Kurd and Shi’ite areas. Yet the US and British have been bombing Iraq in the "no-fly zones" for 12 years. While one can only condemn any country firing on our pilots, isn’t the real argument whether we should continue to bomb Iraq relentlessly? Just since 1998, some 40,000 sorties have been flown over Iraq.
2002 Ron Paul 96:21
Claim: Iraq is an international sponsor of terrorism.
2002 Ron Paul 96:22
Reality: According to the latest edition of the State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism, Iraq sponsors several minor Palestinian groups, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). None of these carries out attacks against the United States. As a matter of fact, the MEK (an Iranian organization located in Iraq) has enjoyed broad Congressional support over the years. According to last year’s Patterns of Global Terrorism, Iraq has not been involved in terrorist activity against the West since 1993 – the alleged attempt against former President Bush.
2002 Ron Paul 96:23
Claim: Iraq tried to assassinate President Bush in 1993.
2002 Ron Paul 96:24
Reality: It is far from certain that Iraq was behind the attack. News reports at the time were skeptical about Kuwaiti assertions that the attack was planned by Iraq against former. President Bush. Following is an interesting quote from Seymore Hersh’s article from Nov. 1993:
2002 Ron Paul 96:28
At the very least, the case against Iraq for the alleged bomb threat is not conclusive.
2002 Ron Paul 96:29
Claim: Saddam Hussein will use weapons of mass destruction against us – he has already used them against his own people (the Kurds in 1988 in the village of Halabja).
2002 Ron Paul 96:30
Reality: It is far from certain that Iraq used chemical weapons against the Kurds. It may be accepted as conventional wisdom in these times, but back when it was first claimed there was great skepticism. The evidence is far from conclusive. A 1990 study by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College cast great doubts on the claim that Iraq used chemical weapons on the Kurds. Following are the two gassing incidents as described in the report:
2002 Ron Paul 96:35
Claim: Iraq must be attacked because it has ignored UN Security Council resolutions – these resolutions must be backed up by the use of force.
2002 Ron Paul 96:36
Reality: Iraq is but one of the many countries that have not complied with UN Security Council resolutions. In addition to the dozen or so resolutions currently being violated by Iraq, a conservative estimate reveals that there are an additional 91Security Council resolutions by countries other than Iraq that are also currently being violated. Adding in older resolutions that were violated would mean easily more than 200 UN Security Council resolutions have been violated with total impunity. Countries currently in violation include: Israel, Turkey, Morocco, Croatia, Armenia, Russia, Sudan, Turkey-controlled Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Indonesia. None of these countries have been threatened with force over their violations.
2002 Ron Paul 96:37
Claim: Iraq has anthrax and other chemical and biological agents.
2002 Ron Paul 96:38
Reality: That may be true. However, according to UNSCOM’s chief weapons inspector 90-95 percent of Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons and capabilities were destroyed by 1998; those that remained have likely degraded in the intervening four years and are likely useless. A 1994 Senate Banking Committee hearing revealed some 74 shipments of deadly chemical and biological agents from the U.S. to Iraq in the 1980s. As one recent press report stated:
2002 Ron Paul 96:41
These were sent while the United States was supporting Iraq covertly in its war against Iran. U.S. assistance to Iraq in that war also included covertly-delivered intelligence on Iranian troop movements and other assistance. This is just another example of our policy of interventionism in affairs that do not concern us – and how this interventionism nearly always ends up causing harm to the United States.
2002 Ron Paul 96:42
Claim: The president claimed last night that: "Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles; far enough to strike Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey and other nations in a region where more than 135,000 American civilians and service members live and work."
2002 Ron Paul 96:43
Reality: Then why is only Israel talking about the need for the U.S. to attack Iraq? None of the other countries seem concerned at all. Also, the fact that some 135,000 Americans in the area are under threat from these alleged missiles is just makes the point that it is time to bring our troops home to defend our own country.
2002 Ron Paul 96:44
Claim: Iraq harbors al-Qaeda and other terrorists.
2002 Ron Paul 96:45
Reality: The administration has claimed that some Al-Qaeda elements have been present in Northern Iraq. This is territory controlled by the Kurds – who are our allies – and is patrolled by U.S. and British fighter aircraft. Moreover, dozens of countries – including Iran and the United States – are said to have al-Qaeda members on their territory. Other terrorists allegedly harbored by Iraq, all are affiliated with Palestinian causes and do not attack the United States.
2002 Ron Paul 96:46
Claim: President Bush said in his speech on 7 October 2002: " Many people have asked how close Saddam Hussein is to developing a nuclear weapon. Well, we dont know exactly, and thats the problem …"
2002 Ron Paul 96:47
Reality: An admission of a lack of information is justification for an attack?