Ron Paul: Propagandist or Prophet?

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Ron Paul is
“the best-known American propagandist for our enemies”,
writes Dorothy Rabinowitz in a recent Wall
Street Journal

hit piece
. To support the charge, she writes that Dr. Paul “assures
audiences” that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 “took place
only because of U.S. aggression and military actions”. It’s
“True,” she writes, that “we’ve heard the assertions
before”, but only “rarely have we heard in any American
political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of,
the motives of those who attacked us” – and, she adds,
he doesn’t care about the victims of the attacks.

The vindictive
rhetoric aside, what is it, exactly, that Ron Paul is guilty of
here? It is completely uncontroversial that the 9/11 attacks were
a consequence of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The 9/11
Commission Report
, for instance, points out that Osama bin Laden
“stresses grievances against the United States widely shared
in the Muslim world. He inveighed against the presence of U.S. troops
in Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites. He spoke
of the suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of sanctions imposed
after the Gulf War, and he protested U.S. support of Israel.”

Notice that
Rabinowitz doesn’t actually deny that the 9/11 attacks were
motivated by such U.S. policies as these. Rather, Ron Paul’s
sin is that he actually acknowledges this truth. The fact
that other political figures choose to ignore or deny this
fact hardly reflects poorly on Dr. Paul. Refusing to bury one’s
head deeply up one’s arse, as Rabinowitz is so obviously willing
to do, is hardly a character trait to be faulted.

From this position
of willful ignorance, Rabinowitz then implores her readers that
“a President Paul” would “be making decisions about
the nation’s defense, national security, domestic policy and
much else.” The conclusion one is supposed to draw is that
anyone who could actually acknowledge the ugly truth that 9/11 was
a consequence of U.S. foreign policy isn’t fit for office;
only someone who is willing to delude him or herself that the U.S.
was attacked because “they hate our freedoms” is worthy
of the presidency. Anyone who wishes to change U.S. foreign
policy is unfit; only a person who is willing to continue the status
quo should be allowed a seat in the Oval Office.

warns that “The world may not be ready for another American
president traversing half the globe to apologize for the misdeeds
of the nation he had just been elected to lead.” It’s
not clear who she has in mind with the “another”, but
it’s by now a familiar refrain. “I’ll never apologize
for the United States of America. Ever. I don’t care what the
facts are,” President George H. W. Bush declared to the world
after a U.S. warship had shot down an Iranian civilian airliner
in Iranian airspace, killing all 290 passengers aboard, including
65 children. Surely, any president willing to apologize for
the murder of innocent children must not lead the nation. The horror
of the thought!

And then there
is Dr. Paul’s position with respect to Iran. He recently urged
his host in an
“to understand that Iran’s leader, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, had never mentioned any intention of wiping Israel
off the map.” Here, again, it’s notable that Rabinowitz
doesn’t actually dispute this. Dr. Paul is, of course, correct.
The claim that Iran has threatened to acquire nuclear weapons to
“wipe Israel off the map” is a complete
of Western media propaganda, and mainstream corporate
news agencies know it is a fabrication, but repeat it obligatorily

presumably does, as well, so instead of challenging Dr. Paul on
the facts, she quotes him saying “They’re just defending
themselves” and writing, “Presumably he was referring
to Iran’s wishes for a bomb.” In the interview referred
to, Dr. Paul had said, “I don’t want them to get the nuclear
weapon”, but pointed out that Israel’s defense minister,
“Ehud Barak said that they’re acting logically,
and they’re acting in their self-interest, and if he was an
Iranian, he would probably think the same way” (Dr. Paul is
correct on this, also; it’s true that Barak
“quipped that if he were an Iranian, he would take
part in the development of nuclear weapons”).

also disinclines herself to point out what Dr. Paul said next: “But
there is a gross distortion to this debate that they are on the
verge of a nuclear weapon. There is no evidence that they are on
the verge of a nuclear weapon, and we shouldn’t be ready to
start another war” (Dr. Paul is correct
on this,
too, and has rightly drawn parallels to the current propaganda about
Iran and the lies that preceded the war on Iraq).

So, once again,
we see that Ron Paul’s true sin is his failure to jump on board
with the war propaganda. A further sin is that he said after 9/11
that “there was ‘glee in the administration because now
we can invade Iraq.’” But is the contention that those
policymakers responsible for the war on Iraq were not happy that
they now had the opportunity to do so sustainable? Is Rabinowitz
unaware that in 1996, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and David Wurmser
coauthored a document
prepared for the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister
of Israel, which made the case for overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s
regime? Or that the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), whose
membership was a virtual who’s who of so-called “neoconservatives”
calling for war on Iraq, had a manifesto
calling for regime change and stating that the “process of
transformation” of the U.S. military into a force to “preserve
American military preeminence” around the globe “is likely
to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event
– like a new Pearl Harbor”? That PNAC director Robert
Kagan acknowledged that the 9/11 attacks were the “Pearl Harbor”
he and his ilk were looking for, writing in the Washington Post
that 9/11 must be used to “to launch a new era of American
internationalism. Let’s not squander this opportunity”?

Yet again,
it becomes evidence that Ron Paul’s sin is that he is too willing
to be honest with the American people and speak the truth about
U.S. foreign policy. Just as Dr. Paul predicted
and warned about the housing bubble and financial crisis of 2008,
so did he predict
and warn
prior to 9/11 that U.S. foreign policy would result in what the
intelligence community terms “blowback”. Ron Paul has
a long record
of speaking truth to power
and making predictions
that have come to pass

concludes, “It seemed improbable that the best-known of American
propagandists for our enemies could be near the top of the pack
in the Iowa contest, but there it is.” That Ron Paul has emerged
in Iowa as a frontrunner is a hopeful sign that Americans are waking
up to the realities of U.S. foreign policy and are tired of crude
propagandists for U.S. wars and empire insulting their intelligence,
as Rabinowitz – who is a member of the Wall Street Journal’s
editorial board – does so well in her column.

with permission from Foreign
Policy Journal

December 26, 2011

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