to a Doubting Infantry Veteran
by Walter Block: Ron
Paul and the Election of 2012
Here is a letter
sent to me by one of my readers. I quote it in full (very slightly
edited for clarity, and to fill in abbreviations).
curious about all this ‘veterans’ support for Ron Paul. I am a 63-year-old
veteran and belong to many vet organizations including one from
the unit I served with. The unit I was with,1st Infantry, Black
Lions, has a Yahoo-based site that we communicate with each other
by common e-mails sent through that site. The flood of outrage that
was expressed by Ron Paul's statement that one of the ‘American
citizens’ who was recently killed by a drone was denied his right
to a trial flooded my e-mail box. Honestly I have to agree with
that outrage. Does Ron suggest that we should have risked our troops
by sending them in to capture this terrorist so we could give him
his Miranda rights and a ‘fair’ trial? I just don't see the support
for Ron from any of the organizations I belong to. I can say this
much, those organizations are by far mostly Republican supporters
and I like some of Ron Paul's ideas in other realms however I cannot
support his mind set of the ‘Golden Rule’ in combat situations.
In war there is no sense of fair play. On ambush patrols we would
ideally wait for the enemy to pass our ambush site and shoot them
in the back wherein, if in their death throes they squeezed their
triggers, it would not be in our direction. Do you have any statistics
regarding support for Ron from other generations of veterans?"
with this reader almost entirely. To take the last point first,
there is no doubt that active servicemen overwhelmingly support
the Ron Paul candidacy. Whether this is due to the fact that he
is the only one of the five candidates presently running who is
not a chicken hawk (Gingrich, Obama, Romney, Santorum), or because
active duty soldiers like his policies, I cannot say. But of that
fact there can be no doubt. All you need do is google "military
donations by candidate" or "military donations Ron Paul"
or any other such combinations of words and you will see this for
yourself. See, for example, the following: here,
here and here.
As to their
"right to a trial" I don’t see why you place scare quotes
around "American citizens." Does not that phrase mean
something to members of the military such as yourself? According
to our constitution, which you and the president are sworn to uphold,
American citizens are not to be executed without a fair trial. Do
you really oppose this?
of the Air Force Ron Paul was widely denounced for his criticism
of the way Obama handled the demise of Osama bin Laden. Yes, the
Congressman from Texas wanted this murderer of the innocents to
have a trial. We accorded this aspect of a civilized order to Nazis
at the end of World War II. The Israelis dealt with Eichmann in
that manner. Is Osama so much worse than these folk that he did
not deserve to be heard in a court of law? We are presumably fighting
for a civilized order, among other things. Well, laws, courts, trials,
the presumption of innocence are all aspects of countries that are
not out and out barbarians. Do you favor barbarism? As they say
in the western movies, first we give Osama a fair trial,
and then we hang him.
The whole defense
about water boarding is that it will help us get information about
our enemies. I don’t necessarily advocate this practice for bin
Laden, but, why oh why was he summarily executed, before what he
knows could be wrung out of him? Does that strike you as somewhat
anomalous? That Captain Paul (I like that title) could wonder out
loud about this does not make him the wuss and sissy you imply that
he is. You don’t wonder about this?
You are totally
confused about Ron Paul’s position on terrorists such as Osama bin
Laden. A constitutionalist (have you ever heard of that document?
look up article I, Section 8, paragraph 11), Dr. Paul advocated
the use of Letters of Marque and Reprisal. These are permissions
or warrants or commissions for private individuals to engage in
acts that would otherwise be considered murder, or piracy or theft
(see on this here,
Does this sound to you as if the next president of the U.S. was
advocating the use of Miranda rights abroad?
As to "fair
play" in war, have you ever heard of the Geneva Conventions?
This does not mean that the U.S. allows the enemy to win; that we
do not shoot enemy soldiers in the back, contrary to the Marques
of Queensbury rules. Mr. Paul’s view on war is that we should rarely
engage in it, only then in self defense, that such an act should
be declared by Congress as stipulated in the Constitution, and that
we should win it quickly.
Last but far
from least, let us consider the "Golden Rule." According
to it, one must do unto others as one would have them do unto us.
If we rule out masochists who want you to beat them and therefore
feel justified in beating you in accordance with this rule, this
is a pretty good regulation for a civilized order. Of course, Ron
Paul never ever in a million years meant this to be applied to warfare
conditions as you more than imply. It would be grotesque for Ron
Paul when he becomes Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, to
order his soldiers to obey this rule during wartime when faced with
the enemy. But, when not applied to wartime conditions, it is a
very, very good rule. Since we would not want the Iranians to kill
our women and children, we shouldn’t kill theirs. Since we wouldn’t
want the Iraquis to set up military bases on our territory, we shouldn’t
set up any in theirs. Since we wouldn’t want our citizens assassinated,
we should not engage in such despicable acts ourselves. Since we
wouldn’t want foreign drones killing our residents, we shouldn’t
fly them over places like Pakistan.
I hope and
trust you now see the candidacy of Ron Paul in at least a slightly
different light. He is not at all "giving away the store."
His is a counsel of peace, commercial relations with the rest of
the world and prosperity. But, if anyone dare attack us, or even
credibly threaten to do so, he will make every effort to protect
us. He favors defense not offense. He offers the very
common sense notion that the best way to protect us is not to send
our soldiers all over the world, but rather to stay at home where
they can engage in defense.
Block [send him mail] is a
professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior
fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending
the Undefendable and Labor
Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book
Privatization of Roads and Highways.
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
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