This Be a 'War Year'?
Congressman Ron Paul, MD
of September 11th, the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan,
and economic troubles at home all serve to make 2002 a year of great
uncertainty for America. The President already has warned the nation
that 2002 will be "a war year," and economic recovery in the near
future seems unlikely. It is easy for us to lose sight of the primary
responsibility of our government during troubled times, because
we naturally are anxious to have Washington eradicate terrorism
and "fix" the economy. Yet we should not forget that peace and prosperity
are best secured by a government that secures liberty for its citizens.
The best formula for securing liberty is limited government at home
and a noninterventionist foreign policy abroad.
in the self-determination of the Afghan people should be our goal
as that nation begins to rebuild its government. While we certainly
were justified in our military actions against bin Laden and his
network, we must not allow ourselves to engage in nation building
in Afghanistan. Neither America nor the UN should seek to install
a government, and we certainly should not allow ourselves to become
involved in another endless UN "peacekeeping" operation similar
to Kosovo. Our goal should be to get our troops out of the country
as soon as possible and remain neutral toward the various factions
still vying for power. The best solution may be for Afghanistan
to break up into several countries based on ethnic and religious
differences, with a Pashtun government in Kabul and the south and
various mujahidin governments in the north. Regardless of the outcome,
we must recognize that history teaches us time and again that we
should not involve ourselves in the internal conflicts of foreign
at home can only be achieved if we do not allow government to engage
in the kind of runaway spending that marked the final months of
2001. Congress allowed terrorism to serve as an excuse for billions
in special interest spending that had little or nothing to do with
September 11th or fighting terrorism. The fiscal year
2002 budget, already bloated with billions of dollars in unnecessary
and counterproductive spending before September 11th,
has become a grab bag for every group or industry seeking a handout.
Several federal agencies and bureaucracies needlessly receive more
funding than originally requested by President Bush. Dangerous foreign
aid spending also grows next year, sending more of your tax dollars
overseas to fund dubious regimes that often later become our enemies
the Taliban being a poignant example. Congress cannot continue
to increase spending each year and expect tax revenues to keep pace.
Deficit spending and tax increases will be the inevitable consequences.
No reasonable person can argue that our current $2 trillion budget
does not contain huge amounts of special interest spending that
can and should be cut by Congress, especially when we are confronted
with terrorist threats and an economic crisis.
Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.