Ron Paul Steps In It In South Carolina

Once again, Ron Paul showed last night why he could never win the Republican nomination.

More so than he has in the past, Ron Paul took a drubbing in last night’s debate far worse than anything he’s seen to date, and it happened because of his foreign policy positions:

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — The rivals who largely ignored Ron Paul for much of the campaign gave him a drubbing Monday night.

The Fox News/Wall Street Journal debate pile-on began after Paul answered a question about whether the U.S. government had the authority to kill Osama bin Laden. Booed by the boisterous audience, Paul compared bin Laden’s capture in Pakistan to a Chinese dissident hiding in the U.S. and said the U.S. government wouldn’t want China to “bomb us and do whatever.” He also advocated attempting to capture and question top terrorist leaders instead of kill them.

“I mean, if you think about Saddam Hussein, you know, we did that,” Paul said. “We captured him, and we tried him — I mean, the government tried him — and he hung — got hung. What’s, what’s so terrible about this? This whole idea that you can’t capture … what’s this whole idea that you can’t capture people?”

Paul added: “Just think, [Nazi leader] Adolf Eichmann was captured. He was given a trial. What’s wrong with capturing people? Why didn’t we try to get some information from them? You know, we’re, we’re accustomed to asking people questions, but all of a sudden — gone. You know, that’s it.”

Newt Gingrich quickly jumped on the Texas lawmaker, calling the comparison of bin Laden to a Chinese dissident “utterly irrational.” Romney moved to second the former speaker, adding the right solution for bin Laden was the “bullet in the head that he received.”

The video of the whole exchange, including the crowd reaction, is worth watching and quite telling in terms of just how badly things went for Paul:

That wasn’t the only odd part of the night for Paul. Shortly after this exchange, Paul tried to explain how his arguments in favor of cutting back on military commitments abroad wouldn’t impact defense spending at home:

Speaking in a part of the state heaviest on retired military, Paul defended his pledge to cut military spending by arguing that he wouldn’t reduce domestic defense expenditures.

“I want to cut military money. I don’t want to cut defense money,” he said. “I want to bring the troops home. I’d probably have more bases here at home. We were closing them down in the 1990s and building them overseas. That’s how we got into trouble. So we would save a lot more money and have a stronger national defense, and that’s what we should do,” he contended.

He added, in a line that drew big applause — some of his only of the night: “You don’t understand there’s a difference between military spending and defense spending. Just because you spend — spend a billion dollars on an embassy in Baghdad bigger than the Vatican — you consider that defense spending. I consider that waste.”

It’s an odd position for Paul to take, given that he’s talked repeatedly about cutting $1 Trillion from the Federal Budget in a single year. How he thinks he could do that without significantly cutting the military budget on the domestic side as well as the foreign side is beyond me. Moreover, I’m not entirely sure what Paul is thinking of here. Is he suggesting that we bring the troops home, put them in bases and just keep them there? If we really are reducing our foreign commitments, then there’s no need for the same sized military we have today. Of course, telling people in a very pro-military state that probably wouldn’t go over very well, so Paul prevaricated.

It’s the bin Laden response that I think is going to hurt Paul the most, though. He could have just said “I voted for the AUMF after the September 11th attacks, and this action was taken in compliance with that resolution.”Instead, as seems to always be the case with him, he went off on some bizarre tangent that at least made it seems likes he thinks it was a bad thing that we killed Osama bin Laden. I’m largely skeptical of interventionist foreign policies to begin with so I’m sometimes sympathetic with what Paul says, but I have absolutely no problem with the operation that resulted in bin Laden’s death, and I don’t see how any reasonable person could. Moreover, every single account of the mission makes it rather clear that Paul’s fantasy of capturing bin Laden and putting him on trial was just that, a fantasy. Neither bin Laden nor the men with him were going to let him be taken alive, and if SEAL Team Six could help the man live out his death wish then that’s just fine with me. I don’t see how this helps Paul in South Carolina, or Florida for that matter. His core group of supporters will love it, obviously, but this is just going to make him a target.

It hardly matters, of course, Paul isn’t going to be the nominee. But if you needed a lesson in why that is the case, last night was a perfect example.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Military Affairs, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    The problem, of course is not Paul, but Republicans…and I’m not a huge Paul fan.
    I personally do not have a problem with OBL’s fate…but Paul’s basic point is not wrong. The Chinese dissident may be a bad analogy…but it’s not hard to imagine an applicable case. In addition we should not be afraid of trying our enemies. And we certainly should not be afraid of trying them in our civilian courts.

  2. I’m largely skeptical of interventionist foreign policies to begin with so I’m sometimes sympathetic with what Paul says, but I have absolutely no problem with the operation that resulted in bin Laden’s death, and I don’t see how any reasonable person could.

    Because we’re opposed to the President having the power to go assassinate people purely on his whim without any sort independent oversight. If you believe in the rule of law, the fact we had to oppurtunity to capture him and make him stand trial, but instead chose extrajudicial murder, should bother you. The problem is with the means, not the end.

  3. Hey Norm says:

    And futhermore…as I read somewhere else this am…but can’t remember where…
    Republicans are huge defenders of the rule of law when Democrats make recess appointments. Not so much when Republicans are institutionalizing torture.

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    “You don’t understand there’s a difference between military spending and defense spending. Just because you spend — spend a billion dollars on an embassy in Baghdad bigger than the Vatican — you consider that defense spending. I consider that waste.”

    Now there is some truth to power!

  5. Peter says:

    Obviously selective reporting.

    The same debate showed so many fantastic replies making the questionnaires looked like kids many a times he had to clarified their misunderstandings.

    America has a super man that can save America now down the road to ruin.

  6. ernieyeball says:

    @Peter: ” America has a super man that can save America…”

    Maybe he will nominate Lois Lane as VP and appoint Jimmy Olsen as Press Secretary!

  7. Whitney says:

    @Peter: We cannot let this ruin Ron Paul’s chances. We need him in office! Watch the WHOLE debate. One mis-step is going to change your mind? We’ve all said things that may or may not come out the way we intended. I agree with “Hey Norm”, I’ve no problem with Osama’s fate. The way Paul said it, eh, not great. His point, right on.

  8. Cary Nordan says:

    We have been in wars for 40+ years, my entire life. When might we go 10 years without a war and more troops (aka honest Americans) lost? We installed Saddam, we installed the afghan government…how did that work out for us? The 40,000+ injured and dead troops – I wonder how they feel about it.

    Has peace in the Middle East arrived? I’m still waiting – lol.

    Two things are clear:

    1) the war machine must be so profitable that it must not be stopped at all costs per the media (left) and republican party (right).
    2) the American people are very little understanding of our financial situation. We have over $15Trillion of debt, $16T loaned by the Fed and over $57T in entitlement obligations! Is anyone out there minding the shop? Oh, we are now running a $2T annual deficit!

    A very high price will be paid by most Americans over the next decade. It is a grave travesty and I continue to pray for America (my mom’s generation, my generation, and my childrens’ generation).

    May someone shine the light of truth on us.

  9. Josh Brueggen says:

    @Hey Norm: Actually I think the analogy was very apt. What Paul was tryign to do is point out what exactly we did when we went in to get OBL in Pakistan. We didn’t bother to even inform them that we were going to be in their airspace. If the Chinese did this going after a dissident in the US we’d consider that an act of war. Also I don’t have a problem with OBL being dead, the man was a monster, but he would have been much more valuable alive. Given the photos of the raid showing the body with no weapons around you must wonder why he was not captured alive, it certainly appaered he was executed on the spot. BTW Paul has stated more than once he was not sad to see OBL go, just he didn’t agree witht he way it was done.

  10. Josh Brueggen says:

    Hey Doug,

    You seem confused about Pauls plan to bring the troops home and save money. Let me explain it to you. Paul is not asking to cut troops and weapons systems, merely relocate troops from foreign bases (which are expensive to maintain and supply) to Stateside bases (which are ceaper to maintain and supply) which results in a 10-20% savings in military expenditures while not cutting defense at all. Now you ask what would those troops do stateside? Well, the answer is the same thing they do on a foreign base, which is work whatever position they are assigned, train, and be prepared in case they are called upon. I suppose we could have them do some public works projects some as well, like the Romans did, but that would just be gravy. Of course there are side benefits to having troops stateside, such as economic gains wherever they are stationed, and the ability to react to a natural disaster, but those are just nice extras. Pauls opponents purposely try to misconstrue his defense plan, not necessarily because they are more militant (though some are) but simply because they are running against him for office. Since the media have helpfully built this “isolationist” image, and continue to report in such a manner it is an easy (even if entirely underhanded) method to attack Paul which they know the media will then report as a huge Paul loss. Your article here actually is the exact outcome they were hoping for. Perhaps try doing an article discussing what it is Paul is actually proposing, maybe title it something like”Does Newt Gingrich really understand basic finance?”

  11. Rob in CT says:

    The overall point – capture & try, not kill, works for me. Even with OBL, but then I’m wacky that way. I’m not upset that he was whacked, but let’s be honest: that was 1 part revenge, 1 part US government cowardice (not the soldiers) because they didn’t want to deal with the fuss of trying him. So, I think Paul had this one right.

    His position on defense/military cuts is weaker, yes. You can’t pretend you can achieve the scale of cuts he’s talking about w/o reducing the # of troops and reducing the flow of $$ to various districts. You can save money by closing some overseas bases and avoiding wars – I’m all for that! But if you want to save hundreds of billions of dollars in the defense budget, you’re gonna end up firing some people. It may be the right call, but you don’t get to sugar-coat that.

  12. Bob says:

    Many “conservative” Americans like to live vicariously through our military’s conquests. Most of the candidates are feeding this appetite by promising more American military adventures, putting down enemies seen and unseen. Only one candidate still stands completely for the ideals upon which our nation was founded – the ideals for which our men and women in the military fight – and that is Ron Paul. One need look no farther for the truth in that than the reports that Ron Paul gets more donations from military personnel than all other candidates – including Obama – combined.

  13. Seth fox says:

    We have radical groups in the USA too, one could make a case that many of the various street and biker gangs completely run giants the law, they use violence, are armed and very dangerous. So let’s imagine that one of those street gangs, let’s say the hells angels went to china and blew up a building. Would it be ok for china to send drones into Arlington virginia and bomb a suspected hide out, would US citizens be ok if a Chinese special ops team descended onto Bakersfield in helicopters and went guns a blazing into a killing spree ? I think not, I think our response would most likely be a massive counter offensive back at china. At minimum many Americans would be quite pissed off and possibly seek revenge themselves.

    Now I think we all agree that in the hypothetical situation, the hells angels were wrong and should be brought to justice, but I also think the proper path would be for china to work with us before launching violent attacks on our sovereign soil.

    That’s Ron Pauls point on the OBL issue. He certainly agrees we needed to get him, but at what future cost ? Whether you like it or not, Pakistan, iraq, afghanistan and Iran are all sovereign nations and not US territories. When we disrespect that FACT repercussions should be expected.

    The solution to violence is not always more violence, more killing and more death. If the US government believed OBL was being aided by the Pakistani government, then we make it known, we discuss it with congress and we declare war on Pakistan for aiding our known enemy. Is that such a difficult thing to do. I am confident that if threatened with a declaration of war by the biggest military super power the world has ever seen the paki govt would have co operated. If not we unleash hell ! This process of declaring war ended both WW1 & WW2 faster than our current wars in the middle east. We took down hitler and the massive nazi military quicker than capturing OBL and dismantling al Qaeda.

    That’s the difference between being a bully and being strong and the difference between a big military budget and a strong defense.

  14. Rob in CT says:

    I am confident that if threatened with a declaration of war by the biggest military super power the world has ever seen the paki govt would have co operated. If not we unleash hell !

    I’m sympathetic and all, but…

    Pakistan has nuclear weapons. I can’t see a scenario under which we go to war with a nuclear power. That’s a big reason for all the dancing around wrt Pakistan.

    The Bush Administration, from what I can recall, apparently made some threats right after 9/11 and secured a certain amount of (grudging, at best it seems) cooperation from Pakistan (and they used the carrot as well, obviously).

  15. Everyone knows Seal Team Six went rogue, as Republicans, and took out Bin Laden of their on accord …

    Or at least during the debates, Republicans wish that.

    That we went to “arrest” Bin Laden and that he “resisted arrest” (with or without air quotes) should be perfect for them, but since it was Obama [insert alternate reality here].

  16. (Note that the actually narrative, with the attempt at arrest, is exactly what Paul asked for. Maybe that was what got the debate riled. Socialist!)

  17. Seth fox says:

    @Rob in CT:

    We have nuclear weapons too and are still the only nation to have ever used them. We also have massive missile defense. A quicker way to war with a nuclear nation is by launching military movements within their foreign soil…no ? diplomacy is a far better option than secret special ops missions of violence on foreign soil.

    Pakistan has the bomb..sure, if they launch a missile at American soil they are erased from the planet by the US…period! The us could certainly suffer casulties, but that is the chance you take,, you ask questions like “is this the best route to take?” and you ask them in front of our elected congress…you do not have a president/king calling the shots and endangering the lives of 300MM citizens. This is how we avoided a nuclear war with the soviets for 60+ years, and the very exact reason nations like Iran want nuclear weapons, once you have them people think twice about invading you.

  18. Andre Kenji says:

    Pakistan has not only nuclear weapons, but also long range missiles.

  19. Sassan says:

    I want to further thank the moderators for their questions in the South Carolina debate as the American people had the chance to again further see that Ron Paul is not only anti-American but anti-humanity for comparing a Chinese dissident to terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

  20. @Sassan:

    They aren’t the same, and that’s the whole problem with bin Laden style raids. When the only basis required to launch one is “who’s annoying the President today?”, there’s no way to make sure they’re only used against the bin Ladens of the world. Much like the patriot act was passed using terrorism as an excuse, but is now mostly used to allow the government to ignore due process when prosecuting garden variety crimes, we’ve already seen these assassinations slip from people like bin Laden to Iranian scientists that have commited no crime other than being a diplomatic headache.

    How long before we start using them domestically for things like organized crime, gangs, or drugs because the government can’t be bothered to prosecute people when an easy shortcut is available?

  21. Seth fox says:

    @Sassan:

    How on earth can you call Ron Paul un-American ? Disagree with his viewpoints, but I truly believe every candidate running loves their country. They just have different ideas as to what should be done to make it better. Calling a candidate un-American for wanting to follow the Constitution regarding declarations of war is Un-American. Invading countries without a declaration of war is 100% against everything the founding fathers stood for, fought for and died for, it is also against the rules set forth in the constitution…the SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. Sorry but the most un-American thing you could do is ignore the basis and principles from which this nation was founded (the constitution)…ever read it ?

    In addition, how can you honestly make a case that a medical doctor who never took a dime from Medicare and often gave free medical treatment to patients is anti-humanity. Is it also anti-humane to want to stop killing people in other countries for their oil, for their beliefs, because a small faction of their population starts violence ? To end wars and make peace ? This is anti-humane ?

    Osama was not a super hero like thor or ironman…he was one individual, a violent crazy individual I surely agree, but still one man with no real army, air force, or navy ? He represented no nation, was not an elected official nor a dictatator. So in that light regardless of what terror OBL caused, he is still a dissident not of one nation, but of many.

  22. Sassan says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Patriot Act has kept us safe and preventing multiple terrorist attacks.

    There is ZERO evidence to suggest that the U.S. is behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists. In fact, it is either Mossad or themselves.

    The Islamic regime is one of MURDER and of MURDER at their very core. Maybe you should stop being an apologist to the evils of the Islamic Republic as Ron Paul is, and supporting freedom and democracy in getting rid of the evil madmen who are not only a threat to the freedom and human rights aspirations of the Iranian people, but a threat to international peace and humanity itself. In fact, the core of that very regime is to bring the “end of the world” through their “hidden imam” ideology which is at the very core of everything that evil regime is about and does.

    Therefore, understand the enemy we are facing in an era of apocalyptic weaponry. In fact, Ron Paul has been clear about one thing: he is against freedom and democracy for human beings and in fact is a type of despicable person who would turn away a dissident of any country for “not wanting to interfere”. In fact, during the height of the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009, Ron Paul was the lone House member to vote against a resolution “expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.”

  23. Barb Hartwell says:

    The military and the president probably had their reasons for doing what they did. Pakistan had to know that OBL was there. He could have been captured but I cannot see him giving any information. He may have caused more harm in captivity. Ron Paul is right on in some cases as I feel we are spending so much and losing so many troops to pad more pockets. We should be defending from here. Our boarders are a joke.

  24. Sassan says:

    @Seth fox:

    Ron Paul is an anti-American because he is an apologist for evil and Islamic fundamentalism and instead blaming America for the actions of such terrorists and madmen while ignoring the root cause: their ideology. He is not only anti-American, but he seems to be a truther and attracts the support of all those who stand in the gutter for their beliefs including

    And Ron Paul is anti-humanity for the simple reason he is against freedom and democracy for people throughout the world and hence is for propagating the evil of ruthless dictators and madmen. He is for evil as he can be proud to state the fact (among many things) was one of only two congresspersons to vote against funding for malaria immunization and prevention in Africa which helps save millions of lives each year. I find this very “wise” for our national security implications. Away from the vital humanitarian concerns (as we are a hope and beacon for liberty, freedom, and human rights) imagine the void that this would create in which Islamicists would quickly fill without blinking. And then we would have a new terror haven called AFRICA.

    Indeed, Ron Paul is NOT for peace. His isolationist and cowardly positions would create voids in which terrorists, despots, and other questionable rogue states would be quick to fill. Indeed, he is against humanity and unappreciative of the world peace and stability we help ensure throughout the world.

    And you Paultards show your true fact. You simply can’t admit to the fact what type of sick person your superhero is. You go again in comparing Osama Bin Laden to a Chinese dissident who escapes his country for the only crime for wanting to be free from tyranny.

  25. Barb Hartwell says:

    @Seth fox: Yes OBL was just one man but that one man is responsible for inciting hate and death against many around this world. He was the same as Hitler and he had to die also. Yes we can say it is wrong to go into another country and do what we did, but we are at war with Terrorism and he was our number one.Obama did what was right for everyone.

  26. Rob in CT says:

    @Seth fox:

    Dude, I’m well aware we have nukes and are the only country use them. I’ve made that point myself many times. It’s irrelevant to the point I was making.

    You said this:

    If the US government believed OBL was being aided by the Pakistani government, then we make it known, we discuss it with congress and we declare war on Pakistan for aiding our known enemy. Is that such a difficult thing to do. I am confident that if threatened with a declaration of war by the biggest military super power the world has ever seen the paki govt would have co operated. If not we unleash hell !

    Is that such a difficult thing to do? Well, yes, because Pakistan has nuclear weapons (lots of ’em). We aren’t going to declare war on another nuclear power.

    Recognizing this, our government put pressure on Pakistan to help us (I don’t know what the threats entailed back in 2001, of course). The results have been decidedly mixed. As for the OBL raid in particular: none of the options were great. You have:

    1) Go to the Pakistanis, tell him we found him, and ask permission to go get him. Distinct possibility that the information gets leaked and he gets away.

    2) Do what we did. Pakistanis are pissed off. Diplomats do their thing. Cooler heads prevail and eventually it blows over.

    3) Do nothing at all.

    4) Declare war on Pakistan?

    You proposed something that is completely ridiculous and I pointed it out. Don’t get all huffy about it – address the issue. How was declaring war on Pakistan realistic or desirable under any circumstances? How could it *possibly* have been better than the course of action taken?

    Also, in your ridiculous scenario, while Congress and POTUS had a discussion about getting OBL, OBL of course gets the hell out town.

    I’m generally in favor of a less interventionist FP and I’m also generally in favor of going back to a process of actually declaring war before getting into one (Iraq, Libya…). I find myself agreeing with Ron Paul quite a bit regarding our FP and “national security.” None of that includes declaring war on a nuclear power because they (or an element of their gov’t) may be harboring a terrorist. W.T.F?

    But then Sassan came along and brought the full wingnut crazy, so whatever.

  27. Sassan says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Great points. In addition, the Pakistan government for the most part is not run by Islamic madmen. Who are we in risk for overthrowing the Pakistani government? YUP. Taliban-like militants.

  28. @Sassan:

    The Patriot Act has kept us safe and preventing multiple terrorist attacks.

    Are you aware that less than 1% of the warrants issued under the terms of the Patriot Act last year were issued in terrorism related investigations? The biggest use (76%) is to get warrants for drug raids without having to show probable cause, and beyond that it’s been used for everything from copyright violations to dealing with homeless people.

    Terrorism was just an excuse, the real reason for the law is to make it easier for law enforcement to routinely violated the civil rights of average citizens.

  29. @Sassan:

    In fact, during the height of the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009, Ron Paul was the lone House member to vote against a resolution “expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.”

    Good for him. Because thanks to politicians who can’t deal with not being the center of attention for five minutes, that resolution handed the Iranian regime a huge propaganda victory. It did nothing to help the revolution, but allowed the regime to pass it off as just a US supported insurgency.

    Also, if you’re so worried about Terrorism, why are you supporting the Green Revolution? Are you aware one of their primary complaints with the election results was that Admendimjad was being too conciliatory toward the US with regards to the nuclear issue?

  30. seth fox says:

    Rob in CT: Your points are well made, not saying I have all the answers, but certainly enjoy the conversation regarding alternate plans of action as opposed to the current “guns a blazing, kill everyone” policy. I also think we agree about a war with Pakistan but are just saying it from different standpoints. I agree we don’t want a war with a Nuclear Power, agree 100%, 1000%, my point was that if we are hell bent on launching military action on foreign soil we should expect retaliation, and that retaliation could certainly be one of a nuclear sort from a nation like pakistan. So if the risk is war with a nuclear power wouldn’t it make more sense to allow congress to vote on it than allow it to happen by default ? If OBL was allowed to escape, then the entire world knows that he was aided by Pakistan, that is how you gain support and avoid world wars. My overall point was that the risk the US assumed in launching the attack on OBL was VERY large had Pakistan reacted any different than they have. Quick responses to your points (which are very valid)
    1) Avoid a war with a nuclear state -vs- losing OBL risk/reward
    2) This time
    3) What benefit (outside of revenge) did we gain..what did we sacrifice and lose
    4) Last and final resort If all 3 above fail

    Sassan: The responsibility of the President of the United States is not to rid the world of all evil doers in every corner of the planet, nor is it the responsibility of the USA to enforce democracy across the globe. You are so brainwashed with this ideology crap its scary. Your version of America is VERY far from what made it a great and prosperous nation. Your version has us executing everyone whose views are different than ours, if other nations want what we have they have to earn it like we have through revolution. If they want to destroy us they have to bring the fight to us and they will LOSE !! Running around the world trying to enforce policy has NEVER worked…EVER, the long term success rate of of such Empirical Goals is 0% yes ZERO percent. No civilization or leader has ever been able to successfully accomplish what you lay out. so that leaves 3 choices (1) Try and defeat any potential enemy anywhere in the world to avoid a fight on our soil. Mind you we can’t afford this nor have the man power to accomplish it (2) Kill everyone so we are the only ones left on the planet i.e. pointless (3) Mind our business and respect other nations laws on their soil and worry about our own domestic problems and lead the rest of the world by example while maintaining the strongest military defense affordable and allowable.

    BTW, option 3 is what made us a great nation.

  31. Ben Wolf says:

    @Sassan: The Patriot Act has kept us safe and preventing multiple terrorist attacks.

    There is ZERO evidence to suggest that the U.S. is behind the assassinations of the Iranian scientists. In fact, it is either Mossad or themselves.

    The Islamic regime is one of MURDER and of MURDER at their very core. Maybe you should stop being an apologist to the evils of the Islamic Republic as Ron Paul is, and supporting freedom and democracy in getting rid of the evil madmen who are not only a threat to the freedom and human rights aspirations of the Iranian people, but a threat to international peace and humanity itself. In fact, the core of that very regime is to bring the “end of the world” through their “hidden imam” ideology which is at the very core of everything that evil regime is about and does.

    Therefore, understand the enemy we are facing in an era of apocalyptic weaponry. In fact, Ron Paul has been clear about one thing: he is against freedom and democracy for human beings and in fact is a type of despicable person who would turn away a dissident of any country for “not wanting to interfere”. In fact, during the height of the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009, Ron Paul was the lone House member to vote against a resolution “expressing support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law.”

    Nuh-uh.

    Wow! That’s what is great about responding to an argument based entirely on assertion: I just have to assert it isn’t true! No work involved!

  32. Rob in CT says:

    Ok, Seth, so we agree war with Pakistan was simply not an option. Good, now we’re in reality.

    if we are hell bent on launching military action on foreign soil we should expect retaliation

    Generally speaking, yes. That said, as far as I know, we managed to avoid any “collateral damage” in the OBL raid. The Pakistani government is annoyed, yes. They’re not going to declare war on us for rather obvious reasons (nuclear power, and “superpower” too. It’s suicide). They might be less cooperative with us regarding Afghanistan – that, to me, is the real downside risk (but then I figure we should leave Afghanistan post haste), though it’s tough to quantify.

    If OBL was allowed to escape, then the entire world knows that he was aided by Pakistan

    I think you’re overstating this. We might allege this, but proving it would be hard (further, even if we thought this was the case it might not be to our advantage to publicise it. And even if we had some solid evidence (unlikely), a chunk of “the whole world” wouldn’t believe us anyway (some of that is our own fault, but it is what it is).

    Look, it’s possible that taking the high road would’ve worked. We go to the Pakistani government, ask for help, get it, and capture OBL for trial. That would’ve been lovely. But I understand why the Obama administration didn’t go that route – there are good reasons to believe it wouldn’t have worked that way at all.

    Only time will tell if there will be blowback because of the raid. One thing to remember is that the faction in Pakistan that would be inclined to blow up some Americans already didn’t like us much, before the raid (and the drone strikes, which by the way are FAR more worrisome from a blowback perspective!).

    I’m generally in favor of your “option 3.” Though I think it’s fair to note that “Great Nation” is something people define differently. I see it as a mixture of: are we free, are we prosperous, are we a good example. Others look at our quasi-empire, puff out their chests & chant USA! USA! USA! Great! 😉

  33. mantis says:

    I find it interesting how many of you have adopted the assumption that Osama bin Laden was assassinated and no attempt to capture him was made. I don’t see this assumption based on anything factual, but whatever. Details.

  34. @mantis:

    I don’t see this assumption based on anything factual, but whatever.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42906279/ns/world_news-death_of_bin_laden/

    Four of the five people shot to death in the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, including the al-Qaida leader himself, were unarmed and never fired a shot, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

  35. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    From your link:

    According to the officials’ account, as the first SEAL team moved into the compound, they took small-arms fire from the guest house in the compound. The SEALs returned fire, killing bin Laden’s courier and the courier’s wife, who died in the crossfire. It was the only time the SEALs were shot at.

    The second SEAL team entered the first floor of the main residence and could see a man standing in the dark with one hand behind his back. Fearing he was hiding a weapon, the SEALs shot and killed the lone man, who turned out to be unarmed.

    Doesn’t sound like an assassination to me. Sounds like they shot at an unknown individual who they assumed was armed and turned out to be bin Laden.

    Care to try again?

  36. @mantis:

    Continuing on from your quote:

    The SEALs then made their way up a staircase, where they ran into one of bin Laden’s sons. The Americans immediately shot and killed the 19-year-old son, who was also unarmed, according to the officials.

    Hearing the shots, bin Laden peered over the railing from the floor above. The SEALs fired but missed bin Laden, who ducked back into his bedroom. As the SEALs stormed up the stairs, two young girls ran from the room.

    One SEAL scooped them up and carried them out of harm’s way. The other two commandos stormed into bin Laden’s bedroom. One of bin Laden’s wives rushed toward the Navy SEAL, who shot her in the leg.

    Then, without hesitation, the same commando turned his gun on bin Laden, standing in what appeared to be pajamas, and fired two quick shots, one to the chest and one to the head. Although there were weapons in that bedroom, bin Laden was also unarmed when he was shot.

    When you’re immediately shooting everyone you come across, man or women, armed or unarmed, resisting or unresisting, that sure doesn’t sound like you’re trying to capture anyone alive.

  37. Susie says:

    Ron Paul 2012

  38. matt says:

    Ron Paul 2012!

    If we can capture and try in a court of law as opposed to kill than I’m all for it.

    I’ll cast my vote for any Constitutionalist and not the neocons running, Obama, Newt, Perry, Mitt, etc.

    Ron Paul 2012!

  39. John L says:

    @Stormy Dragon: OK Navy SEAL. So you say we had the chance to capture him and didn’t. I mean, you are a Navy SEAL right? You were there when it all went down… In the shit… that’s you…

    Oh, so you’re not a Navy SEAL? Don’t even bother trying to convince anyone you are… We all know you’re a keyboard cowboy.

    I seriously doubt you’ve ever been shot at. There’s even the possibility… you don’t know what gunpowder smells like. I mean, how often do you find yourself in a tactical situation… that you can make these claims?

    Paintball? Airsoft? I could even give those a little merrit but certainly not enough to bring these claims against a group people who do not simply find themselves in harms way occationally but LIVE THERE.

    Osama bin Laden was a CIA trained terrorist. To consider him to be anything other than armed and extremely dangerous could have easily signed the death warrent of one of that SEAL’s team members… or his own… but someone like you wouldn’t have given more than a passing thought, perhaps a superficial tear, about another dead soldier.

    People like you sicken me.