Answers to Ron Paul's Questions on Iraq From an Opponent of the War

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In the House
of Representatives, September 10, 2002

Representative Ron Paul, Texas.

Soon we hope
to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there
are some questions that won’t be asked — and maybe will not even
be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered
by those who are urging us to start this war.

1. Is it not
true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height
of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?


2. Is it not
also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it
cannot retaliate — which just confirms that there is no real threat?


3. Is it not
true that those who argue that even with inspections we cannot be
sure that Hussein might be hiding weapons, at the same time imply
that we can be more sure that weapons exist in the absence of inspections?


4. Is it not
true that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was able to
complete its yearly verification mission to Iraq just this year
with Iraqi cooperation?

Yes. Also, former Marine and former UN Inspector Scott
is openly challenging
the administration’s thesis that Iraq is a threat to the United

5. Is it not
true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop
a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks
on the United States last year?


Does anyone
remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and
that none came from Iraq?

That fact doesn’t support an attack on Iraq, making it easy for
U.S. officials to forget it.

6. Was former
CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently
said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq’s links to terrorism?

Neither the president nor Tony Blair have produced any evidence
to contradict that conclusion.

7. Is it not
true that the CIA has concluded there is no evidence that a Prague
meeting between 9/11 hijacker Atta and Iraqi intelligence took place?


8. Is it not
true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al-Qaeda
were hiding out, is in the control of our “allies,” the Kurds?


9. Is it not
true that the vast majority of al-Qaeda leaders who escaped appear
to have safely made their way to Pakistan, another of our so-called

Yes, but U.S. officials don’t criticize their allies, even when
they are headed by non-democratic, brutal military thugs.

10. Has anyone
noticed that Afghanistan is rapidly sinking into total chaos, with
bombings and assassinations becoming daily occurrences; and that
according to a recent UN report the al-Qaeda “is, by all accounts,
alive and well and poised to strike again, how, when, and where
it chooses”?

What better way to divert people’s attention away from the chaos
in Afghanistan and the failure to capture Osama bin Laden and
Mullah Omar (remember him? He was the leader of the Taliban and
a prime suspect in the 9-11 attacks) than to attack Iraq? And
you can’t deny it’s a brilliant political strategy to galvanize
wartime “support-the-government-and-the-troops” patriotism right
around election time.

11. Why are
we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from
tracking down those who did attack the United States — and who may
again attack the United States — and using them to invade countries
that have not attacked the United States?

Good question. Here’s another one: Why was the FBI spending so
much time and resources spying on bordellos in New Orleans and
harassing drug users prior to 9-11 rather than pursuing the strong
leads that pointed toward the 9-11 attacks?

12. Would an
attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world’s worst suspicions
about the US — and isn’t this what bin Laden wanted?

Yes. The U.S. government’s attack will engender even more hatred
and anger against Americans, which will engender more attacks
against Americans, which will engender more U.S. government assaults
on the civil liberties of the American people. As Virginian James
Madison pointed out, people who live under a regime committed
to perpetual war will never be free, because with war comes armies,
taxes, spending, and assaults on the rights and freedoms of the

13. How can
Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force,
and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even
then proved totally inept at defending the country?

It’s convenient to compare any target of the U.S. government to
Hitler in order to make people emotionally negative toward the
target. That’s why federal officials called David Koresch Hitler
before they attacked the Branch Davidians, including (innocent)
children, with deadly, flammable gas at Waco. Remember that Hitler
took over Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia and then had the
military might to fight on two fronts against the Soviet Union,
France, Britain, and the U.S. Iraq, on the other hand, has invaded
no one in more than 10 years and, in fact, invaded Kuwait only
after U.S.
failed to give Saddam (their buddy and ally at
that time) the
red light
on invading Kuwait. By the way, notice how they
never refer to their targets as a “Joseph Stalin” even though
Stalin was no better and possibly much worse than Hitler. The
reason they don’t is that Stalin was a friend and ally of Franklin
Roosevelt and the U.S. government.

14. Is it not
true that the constitutional power to declare war is exclusively
that of the Congress?

Yes, but since the Congress abrogated its constitutional duty
in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Granada, Panama, and other invasions,
interventions, and wars, the president and most members of Congress
believe that the declaration of war requirement has effectively
been nullified, which is similar to Pakistan President Masharraf’s
unilaterally amending his country’s Constitution to give himself
more power.

Should presidents,
contrary to the Constitution, allow Congress to concur only when
pressured by public opinion?

No. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and must be
obeyed regardless of public opinion. In fact, the Bill of Rights
expressly protects the people from the visisitudes of public opinion.
The Consitution prohibits the president from waging war without
an express declaration of war by Congress. That’s why both Presidents
Wilson and Roosevelt could not intervene in World Wars I and II
without a congressional declaration of war.

Are presidents
permitted to rely on the UN for permission to go to war?

No. The supreme law of the land — the law that the American people
have imposed on their federal officials — is the U.S. Constitution.
We the people are the ultimate sovereign in our country, not the
United Nations.

15. Are you
aware of a Pentagon report studying charges that thousands of Kurds
in one village were gassed by the Iraqis, which found no conclusive
evidence that Iraq was responsible, that Iran occupied the very
city involved, and that evidence indicated the type of gas used
was more likely controlled by Iran not Iraq?

I have not seen it, but it would not surprise me. As history has
repeatedly shown, public officials in every nation consider it
proper and useful to lie as a way to galvanize public support
in favor of the war that they’re determined to wage. Decades later,
when people are finally permitted to view the files, the records
inevitably reveal the falsehoods that led the people to support
the wars. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which Congress enacted
on the request of President Lyndon Johnson, comes to mind since
it cost the lives of 60,000 men of my generation in the Vietnam
War, including some of my schoolmates at Virginia Military Institute.

16. Is it not
true that anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 US soldiers have
suffered from Persian Gulf War syndrome from the first Gulf War,
and that thousands may have died?

I didn’t know that but it wouldn’t surprise me. But when was the
last time you saw high public officials worry about the welfare
of American GIs? Vietnam? Somalia? VA Hospitals?

17. Are we
prepared for possibly thousands of American casualties in a war
against a country that does not have the capacity to attack the
United States?

It’s impossible to know how many American casualties there will
be, and you could be right about thousands of American casualties,
given the urban fighting that will have to take place. On the
other hand, American casualties could be light given the U.S.
government’s overwhelming military might and tremendous domestic
dissatisfaction in Iraq against Saddam Hussein (many Iraqis will
undoubtedly view American forces as liberators, given Hussein’s
brutal, dictatorial regime). From a moral standpoint, we should
not only ask about American GI casualties but also Iraqi people
casualties. After the Allied Powers delivered the people of Czechoslovakia,
Poland, and East Germany to Stalin and the Soviet communists after
World War II, those people suffered under communism for five decades,
which most of us would oppose, but who’s to say that they would
have been better off with liberation by U.S. bombs and embargoes,
especially those who would have been killed by them? I believe
that despite the horrible suffering of the Eastern Europeans and
East Germans, Americans were right to refrain from liberating
them with bombs and embargoes. It’s up to the Iraqi people to
deal with the tyranny under which they suffer — it is not a legitimate
function of the U.S. government to liberate them from their tyranny
with an attack upon their nation.

18. Are we
willing to bear the economic burden of a $100 billion war against
Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an
already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years
occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to “build democracy”

Federal spending is now out of control, which means that taxes
are now out of control because the only place that government
gets its money is taxation, either directly through the IRS or
indirectly through the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies.
My prediction is that they’ll let the Fed do it, so that President
Bush avoids blame for raising taxes and so that U.S. officials
can blame inflation on big, bad, greedy businessmen who are “price-gouging.”
When you add the costs of the war and foreign policy in general,
including foreign aid and bailouts to corrupt foreign governments,
to the federal “charity” and pork that the members of Congress
send back to their districts in an attempt to buy votes to get
reelected, it doesn’t portend well for the future economic well-being
of the American people. After all, let’s not forget how Ronald
Reagan brought down the Soviet Empire — he made it spend itself
into bankruptcy.

19. Iraq’s
alleged violations of UN resolutions are given as reason to initiate
an attack, yet is it not true that hundreds of UN Resolutions have
been ignored by various countries without penalty?

Yes. And since these are UN resolutions, doesn’t that mean that
only the UN, not a specific member of the UN, has the legal authority
to enforce them?

20. Did former
President Bush not cite the UN Resolution of 1990 as the reason
he could not march into Baghdad, while supporters of a new attack
assert that it is the very reason we can march into Baghdad?

I have no reason to doubt that this is true.

21. Is it not
true that, contrary to current claims, the no-fly zones were set
up by Britain and the United States without specific approval from
the United Nations?

I didn’t know this but nothing surprises me anymore.

22. If we claim
membership in the international community and conform to its rules
only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position,
directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?

Absolutely, and what does it say about the U.S. government’s commitment
to the rule of law?

23. How can
our declared goal of bringing democracy to Iraq be believable when
we prop up dictators throughout the Middle East and support military
tyrants like Musharraf in Pakistan, who overthrew a democratically-elected

The U.S. government’s commitment to democracy is a sham, evidenced
not only through its support of brutal non-elected dictators who
follow its orders but also through its support of ousting democratically
elected leaders who refuse to follow its orders, such as Chavez
in Venezuela or Allende in Chile.

24. Are you
familiar with the 1994 Senate Hearings that revealed the U.S. knowingly
supplied chemical and biological materials to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq
war and as late as 1992 — including after the alleged Iraqi gas
attack on a Kurdish village?

I read a New
York Times article
on this just the other day. At the
risk of modifying my statement above about not being surprised
by anything anymore, I was stunned to learn that U.S. officials,
including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, were supporting
Iraq when it was using chemical weapons against Iranians. From
a moral standpoint, how low can they go? And how hypocritical
can they be?

25. Did we
not assist Saddam Hussein’s rise to power by supporting and encouraging
his invasion of Iran?

This is during the time that Saddam was a buddy
of the U.S. government.
I wonder why they’re not just offering
him money again to re-become a buddy, as they do with other dictators,
such as Masharraf, the brutal army dictator who took over Pakistan
in a coup and who was a strong supporter and close friends of
the Taliban.

Is it honest
to criticize Saddam now for his invasion of Iran, which at the time
we actively supported?

No, it’s highly hypocritical but it’s effective with respect to
those who refuse to believe that their federal government has
engaged in wrongdoing overseas.

26. Is it not
true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression,
and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?

Yes, and wasn’t that the preferred pretext of the Soviet Union
when it committed acts of aggression during the Cold War?

27. Why do
the oil company executives strongly support this war if oil is not
the real reason we plan to take over Iraq?

Good question.

28. Why is
it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they
won’t have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this
war than our generals?

I suggest that we form a “Suicide Brigade” for all men over 40
who support sending American GI’s into foreign wars. Their mission
would be to blow themselves up on enemy targets, thereby bringing
the war to a quicker conclusion. They’ve already lived their lives
anyway, and their suicides would be helping to save the lives
of younger American soldiers. My prediction: Not one single “hard-charger”
will volunteer, but I would oppose drafting them into “service.”

29. What is
the moral argument for attacking a nation that has not initiated
aggression against us, and could not if it wanted?

There is no moral argument. And here’s one back at you: At what
point does an unprovoked attack against a weak nation that kills
innocent people go from being “war” to becoming murder?

30. Where does
the Constitution grant us permission to wage war for any reason
other than self-defense?

It doesn’t, but we are now experiencing the consequences of permitting
U.S. officials to ignore the Constitution for decades, especially
with respect to the declaration of war requirement. Question back
to you: Did you ever think you would live in a nation in which
one man has the omnipotent power to send an entire nation into
war on his own initiative and the omnipotent power to jail any
American citizen in an Army brig for the rest of his life without
the benefit of trial or habeas corpus?

31. Is it not
true that a war against Iraq rejects the sentiments of the time-honored
Treaty of Westphalia, nearly 400 years ago, that countries should
never go into another for the purpose of regime change?


32. Is it not
true that the more civilized a society is, the less likely disagreements
will be settled by war?

Absolutely. We are learning that our Founders were right — that
an unrestrained federal government is highly dangerous to the
best interests of the American people. That’s the reason they
required a Constitution as a condition of bringing the federal
government into existence — they didn’t trust unrestrained government
and intended the Constitution to protect us from unrestrained
government officials.

33. Is it not
true that since World War II Congress has not declared war and —
not coincidentally — we have not since then had a clear-cut victory?

Absolutely true, and such false and fake resolutions as the “Gulf
of Tonkin Resolution” are shams that have prematurely snuffed
out the lives of tens of thousands of American GIs.

34. Is it not
true that Pakistan, especially through its intelligence services,
was an active supporter and key organizer of the Taliban?

Yes, but the brutal Army general who took over in a coup and who
recently unilaterally amended his country’s Constitution without
the consent of the people or the Parliament, is now doing what
Washington tells him to do, and that’s the difference.

35. Why don’t
those who want war bring a formal declaration of war resolution
to the floor of Congress?

Because they’re afraid to take individual responsibility, both
politically and morally, for their actions. This way, they can
straddle this fence — if the war goes well, they can claim credit
and if it goes bad, they can blame the president. It’s called
political and moral cowardice, a malady that unfortunately has
pervaded the U.S. Congress for many, many years.

14, 2002

Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

is an Independent Candidate for the U.S. Senate from

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