Friday, May 18, 2007


Ron's Right Stuff

Andrew Sullivan points out conservative defenders of Ron Paul.

He also points to Slate's John Dickerson (not a conservative) who puts forward basic
common sense reasons why Paul shouldn't be jettisoned from future debates. Dickerson, by the way, raises a question that's been bothering me for a while: It seems OK to "heed" Osama bin Laden's words when it supports the stay-in-Iraq position -- during the presidential debate, McCain said (about the 2:21 minute mark in the first part of the Fox debate video), "You read Zarqawi, you read bin Laden, you read al Qaeda; they'll tell ya: They want to follow us home." (Like a puppy?). However, given the response to Paul, it would appear to be verboten to listen to what bin Laden actually said with regard to his declared "fatwah" on America.

As Dickerston reports:
Here's just one instance, from 1996, in which Bin Laden in one of his declarations of war said exactly what Paul claims: "More than 600,000 Iraqi children have died due to lack of food and medicine and as a result of the unjustifiable aggression (sanctions) imposed on Iraq and its people. The children of Iraq are our children. You, the USA, together with the Saudi regime, are responsible for the shedding of the blood of these innocent children. Due to all of that, whatever treaty you have with our country is now null and void."
In short, Paul wasn't crazy in articulating one of bin Laden's declared motives for wishing to attack the United States. Paul's not offering an excuse for an horrific crime -- or suggesting that America deserved to be attacked (anymore than a murder victim "deserves" to be killed because of various jealousies and hatreds on the part of the murderer). He is, however, saying that American foreign policy is a reason stated by bin Laden and al Qaeda for the 9/11 attack. Besides, there are any number of foreign policy experts on the right and left who point to the America's pre-9/11 problematic relationship with various Arab regimes as one reason why "we are hated."

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