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February 06, 2012

Comments

Marcus, you are flat out wrong. Ron Paul is not a pacifist; he is a constitutionalist. Ron Paul’s position is simply that we should not be initiating war without a Constitutional declaration. Ron Paul served in the military (and he’s received more contributions from our soldiers than all other GOP contenders combined).

It's clear from your article that your objection isn’t to Ron Paul’s philosophy, but to our Constitution. Be honest and say so. You argue against Constitutional limitations on war by saying, “When Washington issued his farewell address, the world was not the same place it is today.” Even this argument cuts against you. The framers crafted our constitutional limitations to curb the ambitions of self-interested, power-hungry presidents from igniting war without a declaration by Congress. Today’s nuclear capabilities have only increased the need for these constitutional limitations. A president willing to unleash war on the mere reports of propagandistic spin doctors can do far greater damage today than in 1787. We elect such presidents at the peril of not only our liberties, but our existence. Contrary to your argument, in our nuclear age the principles of “just war” are more important than ever.

As for Ron Paul’s position on Iran, he merely points out that there is no casus belli: That at this time Iran is not a real and present danger to the United States. That, according to our own intelligence, Iran doesn’t have the ability to reach the United States; it does not even have planes that can fly here non-stop; it cannot even produce or obtain enough fuel to power their own country; that, as such, Iran is not likely a real and present danger to the United States.

Your last paragraph calls for “pre-empt[ive] war.” Pre-emptive war is where one country initiates hostile action on another on a mere belief that it intends harm—even though it has not yet acted or began to mobilize. Pre-emptive war is contrary to our system of law and everything for which America has stood. You cannot shoot your neighbor merely because you believe he hates you. You cannot do so even if he has a gun. In fact—and contrary to your examples—you cannot do so even if you believe that is why he has the gun. The term in American law for doing so is “felonious assault.” Besides, we're broke and can no longer afford our undeclared, "pre-emptive" wars.

Marcus, I once thought you revered the principles that underlie America’s freedom. Your article shows you view them as a hindrance of getting at the enemy. But if we gut these principles to “get at the devil,” our freedoms die by the blade of our own knife. As Thomas Paine warned, if we violate our principles to get at our enemies, we'll establish a precedent that will eventually reach ourselves. That is precisely what you are advocating.

"When would Ron Paul say it was okay for Israel to act?"

Paul would argue that it would always be O.K. for Israel to act. They are a sovereign.


"And considering that this threat is not just directed toward Israel, but all "Zionists" including the USA, when would it be okay for America to act under his view of things?"

When congress declares war. Until then, deplomacy is the president's only tool according to the constitution.

"Must we wait until 100,000 citizens are killed and then and only then risk the lives of thousands of soldiers? Or might we be better off to remove the threat before it is acted upon?"

Again, if congress declared war in a pre-emptive measure then Paul would lead this country to war (if he were president). But it must be a clear declaration of war. It's that pesky seraration of powers built into our constitution. Those darn stupid founding fathers.

"Again, I'm not in favor of running around the world and shooting all the dogs just in case one of them is rabid, but if there is an identifiably rabid dog headed toward your leg, what kind of thinking would require that you allow him to bite you first before taking him out?"

Are we equating war to dog bites? All humor aside, there is a difference between an individual committing an act of self defense and a country warring pre-emptively.

Can a corporation claim self defense after killing an aggressor. Of course not. You know this better than anybody. Only an individual can claim self defense. That is why war is waged in the interest of national security and not self defense.

On a side note, the president has authority to defend our country. He does not have authority to wage war and protect our "national interest" without a declaration from congress.

The soldiers at Pearl Habor didn't have to wait for a declaration of war before they could fire a bullet.

[Marc's Reply: Thanks for the comment. I agree that the declaration of war by Congress must precede armed conflict except in rare instances. I'm not making a contrary point. What I am saying however is that the USA cannot continue to brush off threats from people working to obtain and deploy nuclear weapons as mere bluster. We need to take them at their word and act decisively in advance of their launch to prevent it. ]

Marcus Carey writes: "And I am familiar with George Washington's admonitions. But when Washington issued his farewell, the world was not the same place it is today."
You use the same argument as all our domestic enemies who either want to ignore or blatantly destroy our U.S. Constitution. Shame on you !

[Marc's Reply: No, shame on you. I think my record is pretty clear, I'm an originalist when it comes to the Constitution. But you cannot doubt that when it comes to considerations of foreign policy and threat assessment, that the world is not the same place as it was in 1800. My point is simply that we cannot view our vulnerabilities in the modern world the way they did 212 years ago. A total non-interventionist strategy leaves us open to cyber attacks, terrorist attacks and financial warfare. While I agree that we have gone much too far down the wrong path when it comes to our involvement with the Federal Reserve system of finance, we cannot merely pretend that we are insulated from financial terrorism. I for one think that part of the 9-11 attack was to "scramble the eggs" and cover the tracks of those who set in motion an insidious plan to cripple us financially. Ignoring this new reality is a dangerous attitude when it comes to national security. Thanks for the debate.]

Ron Paul is no pacifist. He very much agreed that we go after the perpetrators of 9-11 as the record demonstrates. But Iran is no threat to America anymore that Iraq was and you know it. Remember all the huff and puff about North Korea getting a nuclear weapon and how they would destroy other countries and start World War III ?
Well, they got the weapon and we are all still here. If attacked, we go to war and it must be done constitutionally as Ron Paul and others state.

[Marc's Reply: You think we need to wait until we are attacked to go to war? So in other words, had we been privy to Japan's plans in late November 1941 you think we would have had to wait until they attacked in order to remove the threat? Okay, but I don't agree with that. Thanks for the comment.]

Marcus, you are flat out wrong. Ron Paul is not a pacifist; he is a constitutionalist. Ron Paul’s position is simply that we should not be initiating war without a Constitutional declaration. Ron Paul served in the military (and he’s received more contributions from our soldiers than all other GOP contenders combined).

It's clear from your article that your objection isn’t to Ron Paul’s philosophy, but to our Constitution. Be honest and say so. You argue against Constitutional limitations on war by saying, “When Washington issued his farewell address, the world was not the same place it is today.” Even this argument cuts against you. The framers crafted our constitutional limitations to curb the ambitions of self-interested, power-hungry presidents from igniting war without a declaration by Congress. Today’s nuclear capabilities have only increased the need for these constitutional limitations. A president willing to unleash war on the mere reports of propagandistic spin doctors can do far greater damage today than in 1787. We elect such presidents at the peril of not only our liberties, but our existence. Contrary to your argument, in our nuclear age the principles of “just war” are more important than ever.

As for Ron Paul’s position on Iran, he merely points out that there is no casus belli: That at this time Iran is not a real and present danger to the United States. That, according to our own intelligence, Iran doesn’t have the ability to reach the United States; it does not even have planes that can fly here non-stop; it cannot even produce or obtain enough fuel to power their own country; that, as such, Iran is not likely a real and present danger to the United States.

Your last paragraph calls for “pre-empt[ive] war.” Pre-emptive war is where one country initiates hostile action on another on a mere belief that it intends harm—even though it has not yet acted or began to mobilize. Pre-emptive war is contrary to our system of law and everything for which America has stood. You cannot shoot your neighbor merely because you believe he hates you. You cannot do so even if he has a gun. In fact—and contrary to your examples—you cannot do so even if you believe that is why he has the gun. The term in American law for doing so is “felonious assault.” Besides, we're broke and can no longer afford our undeclared, "pre-emptive" wars.

Marcus, I once thought you revered the principles that underlie America’s freedom. Your article shows you view them as a hindrance of getting at the enemy. But if we gut these principles to “get at the devil,” our freedoms die by the blade of our own knife. As Thomas Paine warned, if we violate our principles to get at our enemies, we'll establish a precedent that will eventually reach ourselves. That is precisely what you are advocating.

[Marc's reply: Thanks for the comment. For the record you are have oversimplified the right to self defense. You don't need to shoot me before I can shoot back. If you aim a gun at me I most certainly can act to eliminate the threat of deadly force. So, if you are my neighbor, you have expressed your intention to kill me, I see you pull a gun and aim it at me, I have every legal right to eliminate that threat immediately at that point. Now, how a nation deals with it is a matter of law. And as I am informed, some actions require Congressional approval, others don't. I say as long as we stay within the law, eliminate the threat.]

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