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House Benghazi Hearings: Too Much, Too Late – Article by Ron Paul

House Benghazi Hearings: Too Much, Too Late – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
October 26, 2015
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Last week the US House of Representatives called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before a select committee looking into the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The attack left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

As might be expected, however, the “Benghazi Committee” hearings have proven not much more than a means for each party to grandstand for political points.

In fact, I would call these Congressional hearings “too much, too late.”

Four years after the US-led overthrow of the Libyan government – which left the country a wasteland controlled by competing Islamist gangs and militias – the committee wants to know whether Hillary Clinton had enough guards at the facility in Benghazi on the night of the attack? The most important thing to look into about Libya is Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or management style while Secretary of State?

Why no House Committee hearing before President Obama launched his war on Libya? Why no vote on whether to authorize the use of force? Why no hearing after the President violated the Constitution by sending the military into Libya with UN authorization rather than Congressional authorization? There are Constitutional tools available to Congress when a president takes the country to war without a declaration or authorization. At the time, President Obama claimed he did not need authorization from Congress because the US was not engaged in “hostilities.” It didn’t pass the laugh test, but Congress did next to nothing about it.

When the Obama Administration decided to attack Libya, I joined Rep. Dennis Kucinich and others in attempt to force a vote on the president’s war. I introduced my own legislation warning the administration that, “the President is required to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed Forces in response to civil unrest in Libya.”

We even initiated a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia asking the courts to rule on whether the president broke the law in attacking Libya.

Unfortunately we got nowhere with our efforts. When it looked like we had the votes to pass a resolution introduced by Rep. Kucinich to invoke War Powers Resolution requirements on the president for the use of force in Libya, Speaker Boehner cancelled the vote.

Why were there no hearings at the time to discuss this very important Constitutional matter? Because the leadership of both parties wanted the war. Both parties — with few exceptions — agree with the ideology of US interventionism worldwide.

Secretary Clinton defended the State Department’s handling of security at the Benghazi facility by pointing out that there are plenty of diplomatic posts in war zones and that danger in these circumstances is to be expected. However she never mentioned why Benghazi remained a “war zone” a year after the US had “liberated” Libya from Gaddafi.

Why was Libya still a war zone? Because the US intervention left Libya in far worse shape than it was under Gaddafi. We don’t need to endorse Gaddafi to recognize that today’s Libya, controlled by al-Qaeda and ISIS militias, is far worse off – and more of a threat to the US – than it was before the bombs started falling.

The problem is the ideology of interventionism, not the management of a particular intervention. Interventionism has a terrible track record, from 1953 in Iran, to Vietnam, to 2003 in Iraq, to 2011 in Libya and Syria. A real Congressional hearing should focus on the crimes and mistakes of the interventionists!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria – Article by Ron Paul

I Wish Nobody Was Bombing Syria – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
October 5, 2015
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The US regime-change policy for Syria has been a catastrophe. More than 200,000 killed and an entire country reduced to rubble at least partly because President Obama decided that “Assad has lost his legitimacy.” How is it that the president of a country 6,000 miles away has the authority to decide whether another leader belongs in office or not? What if Rouhani in Iran decided that Obama had lost his legitimacy for killing a number of American citizens by drone without charge or trial? Would we accept that?

At least three years of US efforts to train rebels to overthrow the Syrian government has produced, as General Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Central Command, testified last month, “four or five” trained and vetted “moderates” in Syria. The $500 million appropriated for this purpose has disappeared.

The neocon solution to this failure to overthrow Assad and “degrade and destroy” ISIS is to increase the bombing and lead a ground invasion of Syria. The confusing policy of fighting Assad and also fighting his enemies does not seem to bother the neocons. They want us to forget all about their recent failures in Libya and Iraq and to try the same failed strategy one more time.

But something dramatic happened last week. Russian president Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the United Nations criticizing the US policy of partnering with one set of extremists – al-Qaeda and its allies – to attack both ISIS and Assad. “Do you realize now what you have done?” asked Putin.

Shortly after Putin’s UN speech, he requested and was granted authority from the Russian parliament to use force in Syria in response to the Syrian government’s request for assistance against the rebels. Russian fighters and bombers began flying sorties over Syria almost immediately. In less than a week of Russian bombing, considerable damage appears to have been done to both ISIS and to al-Qaeda affiliates – some of which are considered allies by the US and were actually trained by the CIA.

It may be tempting to cheer Russian military action in Syria, as it seems ISIS is finally suffering some considerable losses. Press reports suggest large numbers of desertions in their ranks after the Russian attacks. All of a sudden what looked to be an inevitable ISIS takeover of Syria once Assad was overthrown, seems far less likely with the Russians on the scene.

But I cannot cheer the bombs, whether they are Russian bombs or US bombs or French or British bombs. I do not believe a terrorist group created by foreign intervention in the region will be solved by more foreign intervention in the region. Bombs represent a total failure of policy. They destroy a country’s economy and infrastructure.

I wish the American people would finally demand that their government end its destructive policy of trying to change any regime that does not bow to Washington’s demands. I wish Congress respected our Constitution enough to demand that the president seek a declaration of war before attacking a foreign country. I wish President Bush and his neocon advisors had never decided to overthrow the Syrian government. I wish President Obama had fired the neocons who led him from one foolish intervention to another. I wish the CIA had not trained rebels to fight alongside al-Qaeda in Syria. I wish we would reject the shrill cries of the warmongers. I wish the US media was more than just a propaganda arm of the US government.

I am not thrilled that Russia is bombing Syria. I wish nobody was bombing Syria.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

What War and Terror Do to Principles – Article by Abdo Roumani

What War and Terror Do to Principles – Article by Abdo Roumani

The New Renaissance Hat
Abdo Roumani
September 25, 2015
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A Young Syrian Recounts the Years in His Smoldering Homeland

Editor’s Note from the Foundation for Economic Education: War is hell. And for those living in Syria, hell is currently a way of life. Armchair statesmen and foreign policy mavens have a lot to say about these matters. Here at FEE, we advocate “anything peaceful,” but often in distant, theoretical terms.

In this article, we present the unique opportunity to hear from someone who has lived the Syrian conflict. We cannot verify all of the author’s claims, but we can offer a glimpse into the mind of someone who, though he desperately wants to cling to his ideals, struggles to maintain them as he witnesses his homeland being torn apart.

I lived in Syria for three out of the four and half years of war. I’ve never been physically harmed, even though there were several close calls. In another sense, though, I’ve come to realize this war has killed so much in me that I’ve turned into something completely unfamiliar; something that often works like a calculator.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither.”

Not a long time ago, he used to be my example. I often repeated that line to those who defended the Assad rule, to those who said that his reign was better than the chaos the country had endured from 1958 to 1970. After a catastrophic union with Egypt between 1958 and 1961, Syria had to deal with the aftermath of its failures until 1970, when the late Hafez al-Assad stabilized the country. Until 2011, Syria was very secure socially, economically, and militarily. Damascus was one of the safest cities in the world — but that was irrelevant to me. I believed in certain principles and demonized the regime that failed to live by them.

I would soon change my mind.

Over the last five years, the Syrian establishment has grown more brutal. Those reforms that were foreseeable in 2011, such as limiting the secret service’s influence and empowering political pluralism, now seem impossible. Corruption has reached unprecedented levels. The establishment’s values and propaganda have never been as exposed. And yet, my opposition to this regime has faded so much that I no longer know whether I’m learning to be pragmatic or if I’ve resigned myself, given up my former convictions, and, in the end, traded everything for temporary safety.

Last August was one of the most violent months of the war in Damascus. Once the negotiations collapsed and a ceasefire expired in the strategic border town of al-Zabadani, the rebels controlling the part of the Barada Valley that was home to Damascus’s main source of fresh water cut off water supplies to the capital. That was August 14. The next day, the Syrian military retaliated by bombarding the area, forcing those rebels to turn on the taps again.

As I browsed opposition websites, reading reports of the destruction and the number of casualties, I paused at a photograph of the bodies of three children. The picture didn’t specify whether the children were killed in the August attacks or if this was yet another horrifying image pulled from the seemingly endless archives of carnage caught on film.

They were two little boys, about seven years old, with a slightly older girl lying between them. They were dressed in vibrant colors: navy blue, pink, and yellow. Their outfits were very neat, as though they had just decided to rest for a few moments. There were no signs of trauma. They looked peaceful.

I was thinking of how their parents, if indeed they had survived the bombing, would feel about seeing their children lying dead in those clothes. Would they remember the day they bought the fabrics? Would they remember how they felt picking out something special for their children, excited to see the look of joy on their children’s faces when they brought home the surprise of a new outfit? Or were the children themselves there, carefully selecting just the right shade of yellow for a dress for the first day of ‘Eid — for a future that once seemed certain?

These children died because rebels in a small town with a tiny population cut off water supplies to millions of people in Damascus, the capital whose community embraces the patchwork of Syria’s ethnoreligious diversity, in the peak of the Middle Eastern summer, where temperatures exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s difficult to blame the army for striking the town where they happened to live. The rebels who cut off the water supplies may have done so out of frustration, but the flow still had to return, no matter the cost. The children paid with their lives.

Securing and occupying strategic locations around Damascus — especially those isolated pockets of rebel control where the only aim is to destabilize the capital, not to achieve any strategic goal — is certainly an objective I support. Darayya, which lies on the southwestern gate of the heavily populated capital and faces its most important airbase, is one example.

On August 6, the Islam’s Martyrs Brigade declared Operation Darayya’s Flames, claiming to have killed 70 soldiers on the first day, and capturing strategic buildings near Mezza Airbase. In retaliation, according to Al Jazeera, by August 17, the Syrian military bombed Darayya with 325 barrel bombs, 4 vacuum bombs, 130 surface-to-surface missiles, 375 “hell” shells, 5 naval mines, 585 artillery shells, and 75 napalms. The city’s death toll reached 33 casualties in 11 days, including a woman and 3 children. Another 60 had been injured.

The violence is unspeakable, but when we look at the big picture again, we’ll see how Damascus was subjected to rocket and mortar attacks throughout August as well. On August 12 alone, activists counted 67 mortars fired against Damascus, killing 14 civilians and wounding 70. Saving Damascus, which is also where the majority of Darayya’s citizens took shelter after their city became a war zone, takes priority.

I had to experience that personally in April 2014, when the major battle for my mother’s hometown, Mleha, began. Until 2012, I lived in and owned an apartment in Mleha, which also houses the Air Defense Administration and lies on the road linking Damascus with its international airport. Our town had a population of 25,000 at the time, most of whom fled to Damascus or to the government-held town of Jaramana after the rebels captured the larger part of Mleha and the army began to lay siege by the end of 2012. Nearly 3,000 people lived there under siege until the last week before the battle began, when most of them headed for either the capital or the neighboring towns and cities.

Shortly before the town fell to the army, on the 112th day of the battle, the pro-rebel activists in the town documented 677 airstrikes; 701 surface-to-surface missiles; 6,000 tank and artillery shells, mortars, and rockets; and 12 barrel bombs. They documented 335 rebel deaths and 50 civilian casualties. We don’t know how many soldiers were killed, but it’s usually at least double the number of rebel casualties. By the time the battle ended, the commander of the Air Defense Administration had been killed. He was the second ADA commander to be killed in one year.

We, as citizens, longed for the earlier reconciliation efforts held between the government and the rebels in Mleha. Many failed negotiations had taken place in the past two years. Once the negotiations completely collapsed, however, we had to take sides. I now had to live with the idea of supporting an army that was leveling my town. I lost relatives, friends, and my own home, yet that seemed to be a smaller cost than risking Damascus, where the people of Mleha now live.

It’s not easy to live between the details and the big picture. Sometimes it can be soul-wrenching to support the army, an institution that holds my country together but that also contains villains capable of unspeakable inhumanity. There are soldiers who torture your recently drafted brother. Sometimes drunk soldiers will abduct a minibus with your girlfriend in it, and direct the driver to a battle zone. One of them will sit next to her, with one hand holding an AK-47 and another between her inner thighs. You have to live with the story she tells you about how she was so afraid that she was sticking her face on the window, crying, trying to get away from him. You have to ignore these details in the big picture of an army that has lost twice as many soldiers as America lost in Vietnam, just to defend your country.

The biggest challenge of all is to be able to make any sense out of the concept of retaliation. It is one thing to bomb a ghost town, where just a few unlucky civilians remain; it’s a whole different thing to target the heart of an enemy stronghold just to deter them from crossing a line in the sand.

On August 15, Zahran Alloush, the head of the Islam Army, launched an offensive against strategic Harasta, which is very close to the M5 highway route linking Damascus with what’s left of Syria. The army reportedly retaliated by targeting the marketplace in Duma, Alloush’s stronghold, killing 110 people. It was a massacre in every sense of the word.

It wasn’t the use of “illegal” and “indiscriminate” barrel bombs, which tend to be the focus of reporters and diplomats even though barrel bombs don’t kill nearly as many as shells and bullets do. Rather than barrel bombs, reports indicate the regime deployed guided bombs against a location known to be crowded with civilians. If these reports are true, this would mean the attack was the worst kind of retaliation: deliberately targeting civilians just to place pressure on those who rule them.

We may never know for sure what happened in Duma, except that 110 people were killed within seconds. But if the army did deliberately target civilians, how should I react? Should I condemn the army now? And what does it mean to condemn the army or the establishment? Does it mean to take measures against them, at a time when there has been already too much pressure undermining the whole country?

I have always thought of Damascus as the Middle East’s most conservative yet most libertarian city. The question that puzzles me the most now is: How much of Damascus is worth saving?

On the one hand, some will find no problem justifying the Duma attack, or any other like it. We live in a world where “the leader of the free world,” after suffering the attacks of 9/11, reacts by signing the PATRIOT Act and invading two countries, one of which had nothing to do with 9/11.

The problem in Damascus isn’t only that it’s surrounded by radical Islamic rebels. The problem is that the frontline is inside the city, in the south, where we have the presence of the Islamic State, and in the east, where the Islam Army and its Eastern Ghouta allies operate. Not that I think these people are evil, but they certainly pose an enormous threat to Damascus’s diverse community. I don’t think any government, no matter how democratic or civil, would tolerate such a presence that close.

Yet in Damascus, I met the kind of people who tolerated the Islamists operating around us, even though their neighborhoods, just like mine, were targeted with rebel mortars. Ammar, an IT worker who helped me set up my Internet connection, detested the regime so much that he said he would prefer that the Duma rebels take over Damascus. Before he moved to Damascus for a job, he lived in Duma under the radical Islamists and didn’t seem to have any difficulties with them that he wouldn’t have had with the Syrian authorities. He was a conservative Sunni Muslim — there was nothing that they wanted him to do that he didn’t want to do himself.

As an atheist and a secularist, I find it unimaginable to live under Islamic rule. The Syrian semisecular state itself is already too religious to me. Half of my friends are Christians and half the people in my family are Shiites; I fear they will be automatically doomed once ruled by the Islam Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, or Ahrar al-Sham. It’s not only the Libya-style chaos that scares me, but also an alternative religious establishment similar to that in Iran and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps my big picture is nothing more than my own political agenda. Perhaps Ammar, coming from a religious majority, has a different big picture in mind, in which people like me are insignificant.

There are few things I know for certain now. As much as I try to balance what’s personal with what’s political, the cost is that I completely detach myself from the situation. I can’t understand how some foreign governments fail to be pragmatic when it comes to dealing with my country, as if it were personal to them. First they feel sorry for us, then they demonize us, and then they sanction us and call us terrorists — and eventually, our refugees become their biggest problem.

Abdo Roumani studied English literature at Damascus University.

This article was originally published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Blame America? No, Blame Neocons! – Article by Ron Paul

Blame America? No, Blame Neocons! – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
September 21, 2015
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Is the current refugee crisis gripping the European Union “all America’s fault”? That is how my critique of US foreign policy was characterized in a recent interview on the Fox Business Channel. I do not blame the host for making this claim, but I think it is important to clarify the point.

It has become common to discount any criticism of US foreign policy as “blaming America first.” It is a convenient way of avoiding a real discussion. If aggressive US policy in the Middle East – for example in Iraq – results in the creation of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, is pointing out the unintended consequences of bad policy blaming America? Is it “blaming America” to point out that blowback – like we saw on 9/11 – can be the result of unwise US foreign policy actions like stationing US troops in Saudi Arabia?

In the Fox interview I pointed out that the current refugee crisis is largely caused by bad US foreign policy actions. The US government decides on regime change for a particular country – in this case, Syria – destabilizes the government, causes social chaos, and destroys the economy, and we are supposed to be surprised that so many people are desperate to leave? Is pointing this out blaming America, or is it blaming that part of the US government that makes such foolish policies?

Accusing those who criticize US foreign policy of “blaming America” is pretty selective, however. Such accusations are never leveled at those who criticize a US pullback. For example, most neocons argue that the current crisis in Iraq is all Obama’s fault for pulling US troops out of the country. Are they “blaming America first” for the mess? No one ever says that. Just like they never explain why the troops were removed from Iraq: the US demanded complete immunity for troops and contractors and the Iraqi government refused.

Iraq was not a stable country when the US withdrew its troops anyway. As soon as the US stopped paying the Sunnis not to attack the Iraqi government, they started attacking the Iraqi government. Why? Because the US attack on Iraq led to a government that was closely allied to Iran and the Sunnis could not live with that! It was not the US withdrawal from Iraq that created the current instability, but the invasion. The same is true with US regime-change policy toward Syria. How many Syrians were streaming out of Syria before US support for Islamist rebels there made the country unlivable? Is pointing out this consequence of bad US policy also blaming America first?

Last year I was asked by another Fox program whether I was not “blaming America” when I criticized the increasingly confrontational US stand toward Russia. Here’s how I put it then:

I don’t blame America. I am America, you are America. I don’t blame you. I blame bad policy. I blame the interventionists. I blame the neoconservatives who preach this stuff, who believe in it like a religion — that they have to promote American goodness even if you have to bomb and kill people.

In short, I don’t blame America; I blame neocons.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The Real Refugee Problem – And How To Solve It – Article by Ron Paul

The Real Refugee Problem – And How To Solve It – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance HatRon Paul
September 7, 2015
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Last week Europe saw one of its worst crises in decades. Tens of thousands of migrants entered the European Union via Hungary, demanding passage to their hoped-for final destination, Germany.

While the media focuses on the human tragedy of so many people uprooted and traveling in dangerous circumstances, there is very little attention given to the events that led them to leave their countries. Certainly we all feel for the displaced people, especially the children, but let’s not forget that this is a man-made crisis and it is a government-made crisis.

The reason so many are fleeing places like Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq is that US and European interventionist foreign policy has left these countries destabilized with no hopes of economic recovery. This mass migration from the Middle East and beyond is a direct result of the neocon foreign policy of regime change, invasion, and pushing “democracy” at the barrel of a gun.

Even when they successfully change the regime, as in Iraq, what is left behind is an almost uninhabitable country. It reminds me of the saying attributed to a US major in the Vietnam War, discussing the bombing of Ben Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.”

The Europeans share a good deal of blame as well. France and the UK were enthusiastic supporters of the attack on Libya and they were early backers of the “Assad must go” policy. Assad may not be a nice guy, but the forces that have been unleashed to overthrow him seem to be much worse and far more dangerous. No wonder people are so desperate to leave Syria.

Most of us have seen the heartbreaking photo of the young Syrian boy lying drowned on a Turkish beach. While the interventionists are exploiting this tragedy to call for direct US attacks on the Syrian government, in fact the little boy was from a Kurdish family fleeing ISIS in Kobane. And as we know there was no ISIS in either Iraq or Syria before the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

As often happens when there is blowback from bad foreign policy, the same people who created the problem think they have a right to tell us how to fix it – while never admitting their fault in the first place.

Thus we see the disgraced General David Petraeus in the news last week offering his solution to the problem in Syria: make an alliance with al-Qaeda against ISIS! Petraeus was head of the CIA when the US launched its covert regime-change policy in Syria, and he was in charge of the “surge” in Iraq that contributed to the creation of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The idea that the US can salvage its disastrous Syria policy by making an alliance with al-Qaeda is horrific. Does anyone think the refugee problem in Syria will not be worse if either al-Qaeda or ISIS takes over the country?

Here is the real solution to the refugee problem: stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Embrace the prosperity that comes with a peaceful foreign policy, not the poverty that goes with running an empire. End the Empire!

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War – Article by Ron Paul

New Military Spending Bill Expands Empire But Forbids Debate on War – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
May 18, 2015
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On Friday the House passed a massive National Defense Authorization for 2016 that will guarantee US involvement in more wars and overseas interventions for years to come. The Republican majority resorted to trickery to evade the meager spending limitations imposed by the 2011 budget control act – limitations that did not, as often reported, cut military spending but only slowed its growth.

But not even slower growth is enough when you have an empire to maintain worldwide, so the House majority slipped into the military spending bill an extra $89 billion for an emergency war fund. Such “emergency” spending is not addressed in the growth caps placed on the military under the 2011 budget control act. It is a loophole filled by Congress with Fed-printed money.

Ironically, a good deal of this “emergency” money will go to President Obama’s war on ISIS even though neither the House nor the Senate has debated – let alone authorized – that war! Although House leadership allowed 135 amendments to the defense bill – with many on minor issues like regulations on fire hoses – an effort by a small group of Representatives to introduce an amendment to debate the current US war in Iraq and Syria was rejected.

While squashing debate on ongoing but unauthorized wars, the bill also pushed the administration toward new conflicts. Despite the president’s unwise decision to send hundreds of US military trainers to Ukraine, a move that threatens the current shaky ceasefire, Congress wants even more US involvement in Ukraine’s internal affairs. The military spending bill included $300 million to directly arm the Ukrainian government even as Ukrainian leaders threaten to again attack the breakaway regions in the east. Does Congress really think US-supplied weapons killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine is a good idea?

The defense authorization bill also seeks to send yet more weapons into Iraq. This time the House wants to send weapons directly to the Kurds in northern Iraq without the approval of the Iraqi government. Although these weapons are supposed to be used to fight ISIS, we know from too many prior examples that they often find their way into the hands of the very people we are fighting. Also, arming an ethnic group seeking to break away from Baghdad and form a new state is an unwise infringement of the sovereignty of Iraq. It is one thing to endorse the idea of secession as a way to reduce the possibility of violence, but it is quite something else to arm one side and implicitly back its demands.

While the neocons keep pushing the lie that the military budget is shrinking under the Obama Administration, the opposite is true. As the CATO Institute pointed out recently, President George W. Bush’s average defense budget was $601 billion, while during the Obama administration the average has been $687 billion. This bill is just another example of this unhealthy trend.

Next year’s military spending plan keeps the US on track toward destruction of its economy at home while provoking new resentment over US interventionism overseas. It is a recipe for disaster. Let’s hope for either a presidential veto, or that on final passage Congress rejects this bad bill.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Political Murders in Kiev, US Troops to Ukraine – Article by Ron Paul

Political Murders in Kiev, US Troops to Ukraine – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
April 22, 2015
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Last week two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.While some journalists here in the US have started to notice the strange series of opposition killings in Ukraine, the US government has yet to say a word.Compare this to the US reaction when a single opposition figure was killed in Russia earlier this year. Boris Nemtsov was a member of a minor political party that was not even represented in the Russian parliament. Nevertheless the US government immediately demanded that Russia conduct a thorough investigation of his murder, suggesting the killers had a political motive.As news of the Russian killing broke, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) did not wait for evidence to blame the killing on Russian president Vladimir Putin. On the very day of Nemtsov’s murder, Royce told the US media that, “this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime.”Neither Royce, nor Secretary of State John Kerry, nor President Obama, nor any US government figure has said a word about the series of apparently political murders in Ukraine.

On the contrary, instead of questioning the state of democracy in what looks like a lawless Ukraine, the Administration is sending in the US military to help train Ukrainian troops!

Last week, just as the two political murders were taking place, the US 173rd Airborne Brigade landed in Ukraine to begin training Ukrainian national guard forces – and to leave behind some useful military equipment. Though the civil unrest continues in Ukraine, the US military is assisting one side in the conflict – even as the US slaps sanctions on Russia over accusations it is helping out the other side!

As the ceasefire continues to hold, though shakily, what kind of message does it send to the US-backed government in Kiev to have US troops arrive with training and equipment and an authorization to gift Kiev with some $350 million in weapons? Might they not take this as a green light to begin new hostilities against the breakaway regions in the east?

The Obama administration is so inconsistent in its foreign policy. In some places, particularly Cuba and Iran, the administration is pursuing a policy that looks to diplomacy and compromise to help improve decades of bad relations. In these two cases the administration realizes that the path of confrontation has led nowhere. When the president announced his desire to see the end of Cuba sanctions, he stated very correctly that, “…we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new.”

So while Obama is correctly talking about sanctions relief for Iran and Cuba, he is adding more sanctions on Russia, backing Saudi Arabia’s brutal attack on Yemen, and pushing ever harder for regime change in Syria. Does he really believe the rest of the world does not see these double standards? A wise consistency of non-interventionism in all foreign affairs would be the correct course for this and future US administrations. Let us hope they will eventually follow Obama’s observation that, “it’s time to try something new.”

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

After a Twelve-Year Mistake in Iraq, We Must Just March Home – Article by Ron Paul

After a Twelve-Year Mistake in Iraq, We Must Just March Home – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
March 23, 2015
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Twelve years ago last week, the US launched its invasion of Iraq, an act the late General William Odom predicted would turn out to be “the greatest strategic disaster in US history.”

Before the attack I was accused of exaggerating the potential costs of the war when I warned that it could end up costing as much as $100 billion. One trillion dollars later, with not one but two “mission accomplished” moments, we are still not done intervening in Iraq.

President Obama last year ordered the US military back into Iraq for the third time. It seems the Iraq “surge” and the Sunni “Awakening,” for which General David Petraeus had been given much credit, were not as successful as was claimed at the time. From the sectarian violence unleashed by the US invasion of Iraq emerged al-Qaeda and then its more radical spin-off, ISIS. So Obama sent the US military back.

We recently gained even more evidence that the initial war was sold on lies and fabrications. The CIA finally declassified much of its 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which was the chief document used by the Bush Administration to justify the US attack. According to the Estimate, the US Intelligence Community concluded that:

‘[W]e are unable to determine whether [biological weapons] agent research has resumed…’ And: ‘the information we have on Iraqi nuclear personnel does not appear consistent with a coherent effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program.’

But even as the US Intelligence Community had reached this conclusion, President Bush told the American people that Iraq, “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons” and “the evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.”

Likewise, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “bulletproof” evidence that Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaeda was contradicted by the National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that there was no operational tie between Hussein’s government and al-Qaeda.

Even National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s famous statement that the aluminum tubes that Iraq was purchasing “are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs,” and “we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” was based on evidence she must have known at the time was false. According to the NIE, the Energy Department had already concluded that the tubes were “consistent with applications to rocket motors” and “this is the more likely end use.”

It is hard to believe that in a society supposedly governed by the rule of law, US leaders can escape any penalty for using blatantly false information – that they had to know at the time was false – to launch a pre-emptive attack on a country that posed no threat to the United States. The fact that they got away with it simply makes it all the easier for Washington’s interventionists to try the same tricks again. They already did with Libya and Syria. It is likely they are also doing the same with claims of a Russian “invasion” of Ukraine.

Last week President Obama correctly blamed the current chaos in Iraq on the Bush Administration’s decision to invade. He said, “… ISIL is a direct outgrowth of al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion. Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

However, if the US intervention in Iraq created the “unintended consequences” of ISIS and al-Qaeda, how is it that more US intervention can solve the problem?

A war based on lies cannot be fixed by launching another war. We must just march home. And stay home.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Iran Fighting ISIS – Is it Really a Problem? – Article by Ron Paul

Iran Fighting ISIS – Is it Really a Problem? – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
March 16, 2015
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As Iran continues to take an active role in helping Iraq fight ISIS, many US neocons are upset that the US military is not over there on the ground doing the fighting. They want Americans believe that only another US invasion of Iraq – and of Syria as well – can defeat ISIS. But what is wrong with the countries of the region getting together and deciding to cooperate on a common problem?

While the entry of Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias into ISIS-occupied areas may not be ideal – there are bound to be revenge killings and sectarian fighting – it is far more likely that the ISIS problem will be solved by the countries in the region than by US bombs and ground troops. Our bombs will continue to make the problem worse because it was our bombs that helped create the problem in the first place. What the neocons who lied us into the Iraq war don’t like to admit is that there was no ISIS problem and no al-Qaeda problem in Iraq and Syria before we invaded Iraq.

ISIS is an idea, not a country or an army, which is why the US declaring war on ISIS makes no sense. It is clear that if we really want to defeat ISIS, the last thing we should be doing is bombing and sending troops back to Iraq and into Syria. Our bombs and involvement in the region only serve to recruit more fighters into ISIS. To make matters worse, many of these radicalized fighters come from Europe and even the US. What happens when they go home?

What if the US had not gotten involved with Iraq in 1990 when Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait after getting what he thought was a green light from the first Bush Administration? The interventionists were saying that if we did not act, Saddam Hussein was going to take over the region and perhaps more! But what about the other countries in the region that may have felt threatened? Maybe Saudi Arabia would have made a move; maybe Israel would have taken care of the problem. Why does it always have to be the US?

The dedicated neocons and other interventionists will not cheer Iran currently taking steps to defeat ISIS even though they claim that ISIS is at this time the number one threat to the US. Why don’t they like this good news? Because they desire the rest of the world to believe that the US is the only indispensable nation. They want the rest of the world – and especially the American taxpayer – to believe that no problem anywhere can be solved without US involvement.

It diminishes our prestige, they argue, for us not to take the lead in every conflict everywhere on the globe. Perhaps if people overseas begin to see that they can solve their own local and regional problems without the US military involved, more Americans would come to see the neocons as the real threat to our national – and financial – security.

Instead of being angered at Iranian help to address the problem of ISIS, perhaps we should send them a “thank you” note.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The Failed ‘Yemen Model’ – Article by Ron Paul

The Failed ‘Yemen Model’ – Article by Ron Paul

The New Renaissance Hat
Ron Paul
February 1, 2015
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Last September President Obama cited his drone program in Yemen as a successful model of US anti-terrorism strategy. He said that he would employ the Yemen model in his effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
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But just a week ago, the government in Yemen fell to a Shiite militia movement thought to be friendly to Iran. The US embassy in Yemen’s capital was forced to evacuate personnel and shut down operations.

If Yemen is any kind of model, it is a model of how badly US interventionism has failed.

In 2011 the US turned against Yemen’s long-time dictator, Saleh, and supported a coup that resulted in another, even more US-friendly leader taking over in a “color revolution.” The new leader, Hadi, took over in 2012 and soon became a strong supporter of the US drone program in his country against al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula.

But last week Hadi was forced to flee from office in the coup. The media reports that the US has lost some of its intelligence capability in Yemen, which is making it more difficult to continue the drone strikes. Nevertheless, the White House said last week that its drone program would continue as before, despite the disintegration of the Yemeni government.

And the drone strikes have continued. Last Monday, in the first US strike after the coup, a 12 year-old-boy was killed in what is sickeningly called “collateral damage.” Two alleged “al-Qaeda militants” were also killed. On Saturday yet another drone strike killed three more suspected militants.

The US government has killed at least dozens of civilian non-combatants in Yemen, but even those it counts as “militants” may actually be civilians. That is because the Obama administration counts any military-aged male in the area around a drone attack as a combatant.

It was al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that claimed responsibility for the brutal shooting at an anti-religious magazine in Paris last month. At least one of the accused shooters cited his anger over US policy in the Middle East as a motivation for him to attack.

Does anyone wonder why, after 14 years of drone strikes killing more than 800 al-Qaeda militants, it seems there are still so many of them? As a Slate Magazine article this week asked, “what if the drones themselves are part of the problem?” That is an excellent question and one that goes to the heart of US anti-terrorist strategy. What if it is US interventionism in general and drone strikes in particular that are motivating so many people to join anti-US militant movements? What if it is interventionist and militarist Western foreign policy that is motivating people to shoot up magazines and seek to bring terrorism back to the countries they see as aggressors?

That is the question that the interventionists fear most. If blowback is real, if they do not hate us because we are so rich and free but because of what our governments are doing to them, then US interventionism is making us less safe and less free.

The disintegration of Yemen is directly related to US drone policy. The disintegration of Libya is directly related to US military intervention. The chaos and killing in Syria is directly related to US support for regime change. Is there not a pattern here?

The lesson from Yemen is not to stay the course that has failed so miserably. It is to end a failed foreign policy that is killing civilians, creating radicals, and making us less safe.

Ron Paul, MD, is a former three-time Republican candidate for U. S. President and Congressman from Texas.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.