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A Dangerous Answer
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This morning there was some peculiar media coverage of last night’s Republican debate. Predictably, in all sources Ron Paul coverage was significantly less than the column inches provided Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, even though he is running neck-and-neck with them in Iowa.

Ron Paul was the only one to raise the issue of foreign policy in a serious way, saying that it is a mistake to demonize 1.2 billion Muslims and that continually calling for war against Iran will not solve anything. I read an early morning AP article that reported those comments and opined that Paul had thereby proven that he is too extreme for the Republican Party. When I returned to the story later this morning the first version had been deleted from the server and it had been rewritten to eliminate both the “too extreme” and the direct quotes from Paul that it had included. Instead, it mentioned only Iran and briefly noted that a response to Paul was made by Michele Bachmann.

Most other press coverage also avoided providing any detail on Paul’s actual comments. The New York Times had truncated coverage but managed to insert an essentially editorial comment, reporting “Yet Mr. Paul may have showed the limits to his appeal among Republicans when he argued forcefully against aggressive action to rid Iran of its nuclear capabilities. He raised his voice, saying, ‘You cannot solve these problems with war.’”

The Washington Post had the most detailed account of Bachmann’s rejoinder, “At that, Bachmann said: ‘With all due respect to Ron Paul, I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul.’ She added: ‘The reason why I would say that is because we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Iran will take a nuclear weapon. They will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map, and they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America.’”

Here’s my problem with all of this: the mainstream media is deliberately marginalizing Paul and his views and is making him out to be extremist in spite of the fact that in a normal world it is his opponents who might reasonably be called extreme. Bachmann can be forgiven, I suppose, for misspeaking that Iran would “take” a nuclear weapon, whatever that is supposed to mean, but she is completely wrong in her assertion that the Iranian government has ever threatened to use a nuclear weapon to attack either Israel or the United States. She also repeats the conventional fiction that Israel is an actual ally of the United States.

Every other Republican candidate is completely comfortable with operating under the assumption that Israel must be protected at all costs and that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon that is somehow a threat to the United States. But there is no evidence that Iran either wants or is building a nuke. It may not even be capable of making a bomb given the ongoing sabotage of its nuclear program. It is also not clear how Iran might actually threaten the United States. As Paul has put it, Israel is quite able to defend itself with its own nuclear arsenal and advanced military capabilities. So Ron Paul is talking good sense and is trying to avoid a war while the others are not, but the media is content with spinning its coverage to leave the impression that Paul is the dangerous party.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: 2012 Election, Ron Paul 
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  1. Bravo. Sadly, US news media appear determined to misrepresent Ron Paul’s clear thinking on the Middle East, and especially on Iran.

  2. Noah says:

    It cannot be overemphasized that the original neoconservatives were Trotskyite Marxists. Trotsky wanted wanted permanent, violent, worldwide revolution to impose Communism, and the concomitant suppression of religion and nationalism; it was this commitment that was his principle ideological distinction from other theorists of Marxism. The neoconservatives want permanent war to further Zionist ambition and impose culturally Marxist “democracy” on unwilling peoples the world over.

    All the Zionist cluck-cluckers in this campaign offend me save Bachmann. I find her just sad. She has a pretty solid record favoring immigration restriction, opposed the Wall Street bailouts, and goes farther than establishment Republicans (though not as far as Ron Paul) in proposing reductions to the size and scope of government — but there she is, spouting possibly the most dangerous take on foreign policy of the GOP field this year, and not out of cynical opportunism, but misguided religious conviction impervious to circumstance or evidence.

    If Ron Paul is an extremist, so were Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, John Adams, and John Quincy Adams. How low has our Republic sunk.

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    THIS piece of garbage is published by a “conservative” ?!

    I am an Army Officer with 33 years of service, and I take great offense to at least 3 major points this author makes that are about as close to parroting the left as anything I have ever read!

    Point number 1: “there is no evidence that Iran either wants or is building a nuke” – patently false statement. There is plenty of evidence that Iran is taking excatly that path. I do not give away any classified information in citing the dispersed and subterranean facilties built far from their power plants that have only one plausible purpose. The stupidity of the quoted text is highlighted by the very next statement.

    2: “she is completely wrong in her assertion that the Iranian government has ever threatened to use a nuclear weapon to attack either Israel or the United States” Are you kidding me? The threats and statements by their leader, Amadena-wack job have clearly indicated his intent and dseire to obliterate Israel, and harm us any way he can. We put a LOT of energy and effort into disrupting and intercepting planned attacks against us, many of which are supported or sponsored by Iran. I believe strongly that they will use the Nuc as soon as they have it. Retaliation is not a deterrent to them.

    3: “fiction that Israel is an actual ally of the United States.” Anti-Semitism raises its ugly head again by falsely implying that we have other friends besides Israel in this strategically important part of the world. We have no stronger friend and ally inthe Middle East than Israel. To refuse to come to their aid and assistance when attacked (as they are almost every single day by Hamas) is foolish.

    The war we are in is a war between cultures. Radical Islam is antithetical to everthing we stand for. They cannot peacefully co-exist with our Western society. Sadly, we refuse to recognize the fight we are in, and worse, we refuse to fight for our way of life.

    If this kind of article is indicative of other published opinions here, this will be another site I never return to.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Best option for Iran will be Bachmann as US president.

    Iran will benefit from election of stupid US president.

  5. America does not function under the rule of law. Instead it functions under the collective thumbs of a political elite. And who do you think owns the majority of the Main Stream Media in America? These same elitists. When someone like Ron Paul comes along who is knowledgeable in the workings of the world and states a world view that is the opposite of the power structure at first he will be ignored then he will be marginalized and finally he will be vilified and smeared by these same elites through their Main Stream Media outlets. As George Orwell stated in his book 1984,and I paraphrase, In times of deceit to speak the truth is treason. If this be treason, then Ron Paul should make the best of it.

  6. phelps says:

    Goodbye Dennis. You could have your war for civilization if the economy was booming, but since it is busting most Americans are in a fight just to keep their homes and jobs. Bachmann is dangerous. Iran may be able to shutdown the Straights of Hormuz then we’ll get a worldwide economic meltdown, which may happen anyway, but why do anything to accelerate it.

    If you all want to fight the muslims, then be our guest. Just don’t expect any of our tax dollars to help you. Newt brags about being rich. Let him pay for it.

  7. Mr. Paul’s position on foreign policy is, speaking from anecdotal evidence, the absolute least extreme and most mainstream of his ideas. Who is in the streets clamoring for war with Iran? Where is that happening in America? Where are there lines outside the recruiting stations full of eager young men looking to go airborne and jump into Tehran?

    Where people are talking at all about foreign policy, I hear them talking about immigration, borders, and foreign aid. And on all three of these counts, they seem foursquare behind less meddling and more minding of America’s own business. On the pointiest of pointy-headed left, there’s disagreement about immigration, but even over here, advocating war with Iran is an invitation to tarring and feathering. Indeed, few subjects are more likely to arouse our allegedly latent sense of fiscal discipline.

  8. VikingLS says:

    Mr Scroader Muslims have lost every single war with the west except when those wars were fought on their own soil ever since the Turks were turned back from Vienna. Muslims represent less than 1 % of the US population. Western Europe’s muslim population is much lower than you might think (France is only 4%). We are in no danger of losing our culture.

    With regards to the Israelis our need for allies in that region is largely because of Israel. The Israelis have been caught spying on us repeatedly and have even attacked a US Navy Ship, the Liberty. That’s not much of an ally.

  9. Phil, The last two comments are illustrative of the Lobby’s success in establishing the Good Guys vs Bad Guys fallacy among the American people. A desire to fight the Iranians becomes the only patriotic response. The idea that we might judge the Israelis as we would any other nation, or that our interests and that of Israel might diverge is called anti-Semitism.

    I can’t help feeling pessimistic after reading Pat Buchanan’s and your coverage of the current crop of GOP candidates. It seems that the cozy consensus among them is that war with Iran is a given.

    Ron Paul’s line of reasoning is that of a long and proud American foreign policy tradition. That it can be treated as a fringe position is indicative of how far we’ve wandered from our own heritage.

  10. I was of course citing Dennis Schroader and LOYAL, not the intervening comments.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    “I am an army officer with 33 years of service,”

    Dennis, that does not in of itself make you privy to high level intelligence. What type of unit are you in. What do you think Mr. Giraldi did, bake cookies?
    It is precisely this kind of mindless neo-con, muslims vs. The World, the sky is falling, perpetual war for my sake mentality that is rampant in the officer core. Strangely it is most common in non-combat types, especially MPs. Do you REALLY believe that Iran can harm us and Israel is an ally? Take a deep breathe and read your history.

    p.s. I just got my Honorable Discharge (SF, baby!), don’t worry, your still important without a salad bowl chest.

  12. Dennis: Let me remind you that senior German officers were prosecuted under Nuremburg War Crimes Indictments 1 & 2 for plotting, planning and preparing a war of aggression and for actually waging that war. Was Poland a treat to Germany? Was Iraq a threat to the United States?

  13. “If this kind of article is indicative of other published opinions here, this will be another site I never return to.”

    Good, then I fully expect you will be fighting your 100 years war instead of bothering us with your neocon rants.

  14. cfountain72 says: • Website

    Dennis, wait..don’t go….

    You may disagree with what Mr. Giraldi says, but I would assume that someone with your long and distinguished service is not afraid of being challenged by differing opinions. First, bear in mind that Mr. Giraldi was a longtime CIA officer, so he’s not just reflexively spouting a bunch of ThinkProgress talking points. Also, don’t forget that the desire to use military force to solve problems is neither conservative nor liberal. Remember Truman (Korea), Wilson (WWI), LBJ (Vietnam), Clinton (Bosnia)?

    Next, understand that we have heard all the points you have stated from many others, ad nauseum….and have found them to be wanting, and typically expressed by those most anxious to send you and your fellow soldiers into harm’s way.

    1. Where is this evidence? I heard much the same pablum from those pushing us to attack Iraq, by the then-Secretary of State (aluminum tubes, mobile laboratories, yellow cake from Niger, etc.). In fact, I actually believed it at the time, and have regretted it ever since. Do you have any non-classified evidence that we can read as well? The most recent NIE’s do not indicate that the Iranian’s are working on nuclear weapons. The report indicated that this probably ended around 2003, right after we deposed of their biggest enemy: Iraq.

    2. Again, do you have any specific statements that we can review. The classic ‘wipe-Israel-off-the-map’ line has been shown to basically be a mistranslation, repeatedly used by those willing us into war with Iran. This is not to say that they are all sugar and roses. But do you remember the last time Iran actually invaded another nation? (Take your time and let me know what you find.) Did you know that Iran chose (apparently, for ‘crazy’ religious reasons) not to use chemical weapons against Iraq in their 8 year-long war, even though Iraq did use them against Iranian forces? Your statement that our (and Israel’s) nuclear weapons is are not a deterrent is baseless. The deterrent served us quite well against the much more formidable (and murderous to its people) USSR. And you’re right, why do we/Israel still have them?

    3. Anti-Semitism? Do you have something against Persians? Or Arabs? Then why are you so down on Iran? Being skeptical of Israel’s state policy has nothing to do with liking or disliking Jews (the definition of anti-Semitism). It is a policy difference, not a religious, cultural, or ethnic one. Israel has easily the strongest military in the Middle East, and can take care itself just fine, as you no doubt know. As a strategic ally, what do they offer? Do we have bases there? Do they sell us oil? We offer them $3B/year; what exactly is it that we get in return?

    There may indeed a war of cultures, but this is only exacerbated by the fact that we insist on punching our fist into a wasp nest and then are surprised to see that we get stung. I see over a million dead Iraqi’s; by contrast, how many Americans have been killed by ‘Radical Islam’?

    You want to fight for our way of life? Have you called your Senator or Congressmen to express your disgust over the right of your government to indefinitely detain people without any due process? Or their claimed right to assassinate American citizens without any due process? This is the real threat to our ‘way of life.’ While you are busy fighting for our freedoms, your employer is busy taking them from us.

    Peace be with you.

    ps. As you are new to these parts, may I recommend you at least read some Andrew Bacevich or Chris Preble. The are both veterans and have a detailed foreign policy view that you might not have been exposed to.

  15. Dennis:

    I’m sorry that this issue doesn’t line up neatly on the left-right divide for you. There are plenty of conservatives who are non-interventionists, and plenty of lefties who are itching to fight Iran.

    “Retaliation is not a deterrent”. Really, care to cite any evidence? By the way, Ahmenidijad is a clown but he is constrained by the real power in Iran, Khameini.

    Thanks for the gratuitous charge of anti-Semitism based on a remark about the State of Israel. Political Correctness has surely found its way into the thinking of the Right, hasn’t it?

  16. Couldn’t agree more, Phil. Meanwhile there goes Rick Perry on CNN now about how he talks with JINSA Neocon John Bolton on a regular basis about how ‘dangerous’ Iran is! See video included at bottom of following URL:

  17. CD File says:

    What I found curious in the whole discussion was the lack of respect for Israel’s sovereignty regarding the fact they they would be the most in vulnerable, most willing to act and most likely have the most effective results. When did Israel become Puerto Rico?

  18. pb says:

    Ucant Hyde: SF? Which group?

  19. Dennis. you might want to take a listen to the former Israeli minister (in following youtube) about how the anti-Semitic ‘trick’ is used:

    “It’s a Trick, We Always Use It.” (calling people “anti-Semitic”):

  20. Being an enlisted Marine I never did like officers. Especially Army Pukes. You guys were just always so up tight, and half you couldn’t even read a damn map. And when you twits did something like beat your wife, or drink and drive. It was so nicely covered up. While I got NJP for having scuffed shoes, or not dusting a window sill.
    Point number 1: “there is no evidence that Iran either wants or is building a nuke” – patently false statement.
    Now General if you were running a country, and for the last ten years or so, were called one of the axis’ of evils. And constantly had the leaders of the most technically powerful military in world history. Talking about changing your Regime. And how big an asshole, and trouble maker you are. How you should be arrested, and etc, etc, etc. Wouldn’t you as the leader of that Regime, look to any method possible to stay in tact? Even you have to admit a state must take whatever measures necessary to stay in power.
    Your employer says, and does some of the most ridiculous things ever conceived. Treating us, the people that are going to pay your pension, as we are the stupidest things going. Even our inbred Ivy Leaguers runnin’ our joint know they need street cred. Although not all of us have our heads up our asses, and know they are nothing but phony creeps.

    2: “she is completely wrong in her assertion that the Iranian government has ever threatened to use a nuclear weapon to attack either Israel or the United States” Are you kidding me?
    Since your trained in American War Colleges, it not surprising you no nothing about what creates a state. A state needs legitimacy. Outsider agitators make fine symbolism for a Regime to use as a crutch to gain legitimacy. Like it or not. My former employer, and yours because of it actions like it or not. Serves as fine crutch Being involved as the US govt was with the former Shah. Has served the Iranian regime very well in fact. You do remember him right? They have long memories in the middle east. They have taught you that right?
    You might Also want look up what it means to be “Vichy”, and how many Presidents we went through in South Vietnam from 1963-1975. Maybe you will get a clue that an outside Imperial power in this day and age. Has a difficult time establishing a legitimate government. Why do you think Patton kept the Nazi’s in their government posts in his sector at the end of the campaign in Europe? While the fool Brenner fired all the Bathists, and things went to shit quickly after the invasion.

    The actual translation is:
    “The Regime in Jerusalem will disappear from the pages of history” Basically he is predicting their demise. And since they are relying on the most arrogant and ignorant government in history (yours), of which nearly every action you all have taken, over the last ten years have actually weakened Israels chances. He’s probably right.
    3: “fiction that Israel is an actual ally of the United States.” Anti-Semitism
    We don’t even have a treaty with them. 2nd Lt. Moron. Last time I checked you had a treaty with an Ally no? As far as the Anti-semitism goes. Buck up old boy. You’ll get your chance die for them soon enough, to prove your loyalty to the humanist, small middle eastern country. Although you don’t seem the type to actually lead fighting men into battle. More of a Chairborne Raider I’d say. I’d like to think you’d work in logistics, but then you seem to stupid for something that important.
    And no I don’t thank you for your service, since it aint doing me a lick of good.

  21. Konrad says:

    What a crazy world it has become, when a voice that is arguing against offensive war is called “extremist”.

    That’s why they want to “kick him out”

    Before the Neocons (ex-Marxists, ex-Lefties and Warmongers) highjacked the GOP, it actually stood for non-intervention.

  22. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is no question if USA should attack Iran – question are “How much does it cost?”, “Who is going to pay for that?”
    Suvorov (Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov 1729 – 1800) have wrote military manual “The Science of Victory”. – Recent wars waged by U.S. (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) clearly show us that this country lacking such science. And without Science of Victory cost of war (on Iran or else) would be too high for present US.

  23. Dennis Schroader – – You claim Iran is building nukes or getting ready to do so. Why, then, did Iran recently offer to cease production of 20% uranium?

  24. Ben, Okla. City – – Ahmadinejad made clear in recent months he wants to negotiate with “the west”. Khamenei tends to block such efforts.

  25. James:

    That’s a good point and everything I have read supports the notion that the power structure in Iran doesn’t want engagement with the West. However, the younger people there are friendlier to the West.

    So I think we are dealing with a regime that doesn’t like us very much, but that is not irrational, and in which Ahmadenijad is not calling the shots. Also, time is on our side if we can be patient.

  26. Carlist says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the only country in the Mideast area
    with whom we have a military alliance, is Turkey via N.A.T.O.

    Any verifications?

  27. tbraton says:

    “So I think we are dealing with a regime that doesn’t like us very much, but that is not irrational,”

    Keep in mind that there was a very strong anti-British feeling in the newly formed U.S.A. after the War of Independence long before the “special relationship” blossomed. After all, the Iranians remember (even if most Americans are ignorant of the fact) that we and the British plotted to overthrow their democratic government in 1953.

  28. TomB says:

    Dennis Schoader wrote:

    “Anti-Semitism raises its ugly head again by falsely implying that we have other friends besides Israel in this strategically important part of the world.”

    Well it’s good to know the latest addition to the infinite, protean list of what’s anti-semitic.

    Raises a curious point with enough validity to be worth pondering however: Before we became such a good “friend” with Israel we had lots of friends in the ME. Since, it has become just about the only country in the region that *is* willing to openly call us its friend.


  29. @ Carlist, on December 17th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    U.S. State Department, Treaties in Force

    We have no defense or security treaties with Israel. “Memorandums of agreement” and “exchanges of notes” between unelected bureaucrats in State and Defense do not legally or morally obligate the people of the United States of America to sacrifice our lives and prosperity for an expansionist and institutionally racist foreign state on the other side of the planet.

    Dennis Schroader, when Netanyahu said, “America is a thing you can move very easily,” he was talking about you.

  30. Ben, Okla. City – – The Iranian offer to cease production of 20% uranium obviously must have been approved by Khamenei. The US, quite foolishly, failed to respond to the Iranian offer. And the reason of course, is: ISRAEL LOBBY.

    The Israel lobby is undermining the national security of the US by preventing any improvement in US-Iran relations.

  31. TomB – – Ironically, the “pro-Israel” crowd, who shout about “anti-Semitism” when Israel is criticised for doing something dangerous or stupid, are in fact damaging Israel.

  32. With regard to both Bachmann and Dennis Schroader, it is a matter of serious concern when establishment figures become creations of their own propaganda. One would have hoped that the still smoking ruins from ten or more years of implementing their preferred policies might have disposed them to a more intelligent appreciation of reality. It is not necessary to be a Conservative to learn from the past; but if you cannot learn from the past, you cannot be a Conservative; and ability to learn anything at all must be regarded as questionable. The notion that the same tools we used to fix Iraq and Afghanistan will fix Iran is simply nuts; the notion that Israel is an ally is nonsense; and any notion that Israel is in some way a vital strategic asset of the US needs a whole lot more support that simply saying it is for it to be acted upon as a matter of public policy. Israel may represent a financial asset or debit to the politician mouthing US devotion; but that is another question, the answer to which might put a person on the wrong side of our legitimate national interest and possibly in jail, might it not.

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