Who Wants War?

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If anyone still
doubted that this administration’s foreign policy would bring
any kind of change, this week’s debate on Afghanistan should
remove all doubt. The President’s stated justifications for
sending more troops to Afghanistan and escalating war amount to
little more than recycling all the false reasons we began the conflict.
It is so discouraging to see this coming from our new leadership,
when the people were hoping for peace. New polls show that 49% of
the people favor minding our own business on the world stage, up
from 30% in 2002. Perpetual war is not solving anything. Indeed
continually seeking out monsters to destroy abroad only threatens
our security here at home as international resentment against us
builds. The people understand this and are becoming increasingly
frustrated at not being heard by the decision-makers. The leaders
say some things the people want to hear, but change never comes.

One has to
ask, if the people who elected these leaders so obviously do not
want these wars, who does? Eisenhower warned of the increasing power
and influence of the military industrial complex and it seems his
worst fears have come true. He believed in a strong national defense,
as do I, but warned that the building up of permanent military and
weapons industries could prove dangerous if their influence got
out of hand. After all, if you make your money on war, peace does
you no good. With trillions of dollars at stake, there is tremendous
incentive to keep the decision makers fearful of every threat in
the world, real or imagined, present or future, no matter how ridiculous
and far-fetched. The Bush Doctrine demonstrates how very successful
the war lobby was philosophically with the last administration.
And they are succeeding just as well with this one, in spite of
having the so-called “peace candidate” in office.

We now find
ourselves in another foreign policy quagmire with little hope of
victory, and not even a definition of victory. Eisenhower said that
only an alert and informed electorate could keep these war racketeering
pressures at bay. He was right, and the key is for the people to
ensure that their elected leaders follow the Constitution. The Constitution
requires a declaration of war by Congress in order to legitimately
go to war. Bypassing this critical step makes it far too easy to
waste resources on nebulous and never-ending conflicts. Without
clear goals, the conflicts last forever and drain the country of
blood and treasure. The drafters of the Constitution gave Congress
the power to declare war precisely because they feared allowing
the executive unfettered discretion in military affairs. They understood
that making it easy for leaders to wage foreign wars would threaten
domestic liberties.

Responses to
attacks on our soil should be swift and brief. Wars we fight should
always be defensive, clearly defined and Constitutional. The Bush
Doctrine of targeting potential enemies before they do anything
to us is dangerously vague and easily abused. There is nothing left
to win in Afghanistan and everything to lose. Today’s military
actions are yet another futile exercise in nation building and have
nothing to do with our nation’s security, or with 9/11. Most
experts agree that Bin Laden and anyone remotely connected to 9/11
left Afghanistan long ago, but our troops remain. The pressures
of the war racketeers need to be put in check before we are brought
to our knees by them. Unfortunately, it will require a mighty effort
by the people to get the leadership to finally listen.

See
the Ron Paul File

December
9, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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