Moral Low Ground

War & Peace

‘The Moral High Ground’: Ron Paul Says U.S. Foreign Policy Partly to Blame for 9/11

That U.S. foreign policy and actions were directly responsible for the September 11, 2001 terror attacks ought to be self-evident. But in this country, to suggest such a thing will get you branded as an anti-American, terrorist-loving traitor faster than you can say “they hate us for our freedoms.”

They most certainly do not hate us for our freedoms. They hate us for our invasions, our occupations and, above all, our hypocrisy. They hate how successive administrations have lavished billions upon billions of dollars in aid and weapons upon Israel, aid and weapons that are used to kill, maim and terrorize the Palestinian people in service of an illegal and immoral occupation. They hate how President Obama, addressing the Middle East during the Arab Spring revolts, righteously vowed to “stand squarely on the side of those who are reaching for their rights” even while supporting the tyrannical regimes in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and elsewhere that were torturing, murdering and disappearing their own people with Washington’s blessing.They hate how the leaders of a nation born from revolt against tyranny lecture the world about freedom and democracy while actively crushing just about every revolutionary movement of the modern age, overthrowing one democratically-elected government after another and backing nearly every right-wing dictatorship since World War II. They hate how the U.S. preaches  “free market” neoliberal economic rhetoric while pumping billions of dollars worth of agricultural subsidies into American agribusiness giants, corporate welfare that has cost millions of dirt-poor subsistence farmers in the developing world their livelihood and even their very lives. I could go on for volumes about the myriad legitimate reasons why they hate us, but Moral Low Ground is a one-man operation, so…

Enter Ron Paul, the Texas doctor-turned- U.S. Congressman- turned perennial GOP presidential candidate. A brilliant figure whose not afraid to call it like he sees it, the staunch libertarian has often sounded more like a far-left peacenik than someone seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Appearing on CBS’ Face the Nation yesterday, Rep. Paul was asked to clarify his beliefs regarding the connection between U.S. policy and 9/11.

“I think there’s an influence,” Paul said. “That’s exactly what, you know, the 9/11 Commission said. That’s what the DOD (Department of Defense) has said. That’s what a lot of researchers have said. Just remember, immediately after 9/11, we removed the base from Saudi Arabia. So there is a connection.”

“You talk to the people who committed [9/11] and those individuals who would like to do us harm, they say, ‘Yes, we don’t like American bombs to be falling on our country,’” Paul said. “‘We don’t like the intervention that we do in their nations.’ So to deny this, I think, is very dangerous – but to argue the case that they want to do us harm because we’re free and prosperous, I think, is a very, very dangerous notion because it’s not true.”

Host Bob Schieffer, who conducted the interview with the tone of someone questioning a lunatic,  then asked if Rep. Paul blamed America entirely for 9/11. “That’s a misconstruing of what I’m saying,” Paul replied. “America is you and I. We didn’t cause it. The average American didn’t cause it. [But] if you have a flawed policy, it may influence it.”

Bravo, Mr. Paul. What you said is anathema to the vast majority of Republican voters but it was the cold, hard truth. Unfortunately for Paul, the truth out of season bears no fruit, and his fruitless efforts to enlighten the ignorant hordes of conservative voters, many whom probably couldn’t tell you the difference between Iraq and Iran, will probably just backfire on him. Saying what he said yesterday is roughly the equivalent of slathering his naked body in honey and rolling around over a fire ant colony. Pity, for it is precisely that sort of ignorance that explains why millions upon millions of Americans were absolutely dumbstruck as to why anyone would ever want to attack the U.S.A., the greatest country “god” ever created.

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