Ron Paul on the War in Iraq

By | May 14, 2005

Some things to think about:

(The following is excerpted from a much longer speech delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives on April 6 by Congressman Ron Paul, R-TX.)

Whenever the administration is challenged regarding the success of the Iraq war, or regarding the false information used to justify the war, the retort is: Aren’t the people of Iraq better off? The insinuation is that anyone who expresses any reservations about supporting the war is an apologist for Saddam Hussein and every ruthless act he ever committed.

How much better off are the Iraqi people? Hundreds of thousands of former inhabitants of Fallajah are not better off with their city flattened and their homes destroyed.

Hundreds of thousands are not better off living with foreign soldiers patrolling their street, curfews, and the loss of basic utilities.

One hundred thousand dead Iraqis, as estimated by the Lancet Medical Journal, certainly are not better off.

One question the war promoters don’t want to hear asked, because they don’t want to face up to the answer, is this: Are Christian Iraqis better off today since we decided to build a new Iraq through force of arms? The answer is plainly no.

Sure, there are only 800,000 Christians living in Iraq, but under Saddam Hussein they were free to practice their religion. Today, the Christian churches in Iraq are under attack and Christians are no longer safe. Many Christians have been forced to flee Iraq and migrate to Syria.

But there’s another question that is equally important: Are the American people better off because of the Iraq war?

One thing for sure, the 1,500 plus dead American soldiers aren’t better off. The nearly 20,000 severely injured or sickened American troops are not better off. The families, the wives, the husbands, children, parents, and friends of those who lost so much are not better off.

The families and the 40,000 troops who were forced to re-enlist against their will — a de facto draft — are not feeling better off. They believe they have been deceived by their enlistment agreements.

The American taxpayers are not better off having spent over 200 billion dollars to pursue this war, with billions yet to be spent. The victims of the inflation that always accompanies a guns-and-butter policy are already getting a dose of what will become much worse.

Are our relationships with the rest of the world better off? I’d say no. Because of the war, our alliances with the Europeans are weaker than ever. The anti-American hatred among a growing number of Muslims around the world is greater than ever.

This makes terrorist attacks more likely than they were before the invasion. Al Qaeda recruiting has accelerated. Iraq is being used as a training ground for al Qaeda terrorists, which it never was under Hussein rule.

One of the most significant consequences in times of war that we ought to be concerned about is the inevitable loss of personal liberty. This willingness to give up hard-fought personal liberties has been especially noticeable in the atmosphere of the post-September 11th war on terrorism. Security has replaced liberty as our main political goal, damaging the American spirit.

These attitudes and fears surrounding the 9-11 tragedy, and our eagerness to go to war in the Middle East against countries not responsible for the attacks, have allowed a callousness to develop in our national psyche that justifies torture and rejects due process of law for those who are suspects and not convicted criminals.

We have come to accept pre-emptive war as necessary, constitutional, and morally justifiable. Starting a war without a proper declaration is now of no concern to most Americans or the U.S. Congress.

We have lost our way by rejecting the beliefs that made our country great. We no longer trust in
trade, friendship, peace, the Constitution, and the principle of neutrality while avoiding entangling alliances with the rest of the world.

Spreading the message of hope and freedom by setting an example for the world has been replaced by a belief that use of armed might is the only practical tool to influence the world — and we have accepted, as the only superpower, the principle of initiating war against others.

(Source: You can read the full speech by Congressman Paul at: You can read more by Congressman Paul at his Web site, Project Freedom: )

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“Of all enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debt and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect may be traced in the inequality of fortunes and the opportunities of fraud growing out of a state of war … and in the degeneracy of manners and morals engendered by both.

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

— James Madison (1751-1836), known as “the Father of the Constitution” and fourth president of the United States (1908-1817), writing in 1795.

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