GOP Debate: Iraq--What Ron Paul Really Said

It is important to listen to what Ron Paul said in the May 15th GOP Presidential debate hosted by Fox News, as well as what he didn't say. It is also critical to ignore what Rudi Giuliani said he said, because he didn't.

In the debate, Rudolph Giuliani claims that Ron Paul says our attacking Iraq "invited" al Qaeda to attack us. This is a very simplistic statement and distorts the context of Rep. Paul's statement. The Iraq anecdote is simply symptomatic of the entire problem created by America's foreign policy in the Middle East for the past several decades.

Here's a nutshell of what Ron Paul actually said:

  • The Republican party has always been the party of non-entangling alliances.
  • Politics in the Middle East is for us very irrational, and to go to war carelessly is a travesty, because it ensures that wars continue nearly endlessly.
  • Our intervention over the past several decades in the Middle East has been a factor in their animosity toward us and their declaration of war against us.
  • Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are glad that our troops are in the Middle East, because it makes us easier targets.
Ron Paul is correct. But the fact of the matter is that we are there, helping the people of Iraq to achieve liberty. I wish I knew more about his specific solution to the quandary that we are currently in.

Click below to hear the interchange between candidates and the debate hosts on this issue.

Update: Just after posting this article, I found the following interaction between Ron Paul and CNN's Wolf Blitzer, in which he states essentially my main point about the context of the Iraq comments. Hat Tip to "WakeUpFromYourSlumber".

What do you think?


  1. If you're saying that Paul's views are nuanced in like manner to Giuliani's views on abortion then I'll agree with you.

    What isn't being said is that, in the context of a debate where you only have a minute to speak, both men made a tactical error in trying to be nuanced.

    Giuliani, in response to Paul, had a Reagan-like moment because he got to concisely frame what Paul was trying to say, instead of the other way around.

  2. ...To those of you who have wished to comment on this article, I apologize that somehow errantly commenting was turned off for some time...


    I disagree; Giuliani did not have a Reagan-like moment. Reagan would not have misunderstood what Ron Paul was saying. Somehow I don't think Giuliani really misunderstood either.

  3. It's a hard concept to accept that leaving iraq is the best thing for iraq.

    Here's the bottom line. We can't force iraqis to want freedom. They have to want it for themselves. If the iraqi people didn't have the courage to stand up to Sadam then they don't want freedom bad enough.

    People say that if we leave now there is a civil war going on and the side of democracy will lose.

    America fought the revolutionary war on our own! Our ancestors wanted freedom more than anything. They risked their own lives and didn't expect France to start the war against England for us. We started the war ourselves because we wanted freedom.

    That's what makes the US so unique. We overcame all odds to win a war against a powerhouse. We should spread freedom through example and not force. Once we use force we are limiting freedom.

    Satan wants to force to choose the right. But God's way is to let us choose for ourself. If we don't embrace that idea in politics we would soon lose our freedom too.

  4. Those are some good insights. I sigh when I realize that al Maliki doesn't seem to really want freedom for anyone but himself and his cronies. I cheer when I see that the Anbar Salvation Front is taking up the fight against al Qaeda. I worry that the time I spent in Iraq might have been mostly wasted, because, like you say, most Iraqis don't seem to want freedom bad enough.


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