A Man with a Flashlight

Who is Ron Paul?
May 5, 2007, 2:23 am
Filed under: Hell, Let's Call it Torture, Politics, The War on Terror

I had never heard of this guy until the Republican primary debate the other night. Not that I watched that (it wasn’t broadcast in Okinawa that I know of).

A wikipedia search later, I was reading his June 2002 speech in the House of Representatives. Impressive, I must say. Nine months after the hijackings, not many people were worrying about habeas corpus, warrantless surveillance, and the exchange of freedom for security.

If I were a Republican primary voter, I might want to pay a little more attention to a man who said these things in 2002 (italics are his):

As evidence mounts that we have achieved little in reducing the terrorist threat, more diversionary tactics will be used. The big one will be to blame Saddam Hussein for everything and initiate a major war against Iraq, which will only generate even more hatred toward America from the Muslim world.

It may be true that the average American does not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. I’m sure our citizens are more tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing all this government supervision is necessary and helpful- and besides they are living quite comfortably, material wise. However the reaction will be different once all this new legislation we’re passing comes into full force, and the material comforts that soften our concerns for government regulations are decreased. This attitude then will change dramatically, but the trend toward the authoritarian state will be difficult to reverse.

Political propagandizing is used to get all of us to toe the line and be good “patriots,” supporting every measure suggested by the administration. We are told that preemptive strikes, torture, military tribunals, suspension of habeas corpus, executive orders to wage war, and sacrificing privacy with a weakened 4th Amendment are the minimum required to save our country from the threat of terrorism.

Who’s winning this war anyway?

Of course, I guess if I were a Republican primary voter, perhaps I wouldn’t be concerned about habeas corpus, warrantless surveillance, and the exchange of freedom for security.

Paul must feel vindicated by the events of the last five years, and he should.

I wonder, though, if there’s room for him in the Republican party. Even after six years of Bush, the police state movement within the Republicans is in rude health. Witness Rudy Giuliani.

And the Democrats? They give these issues lip service, but I wonder what they will deliver. Take the example of Guantanamo: John McCain and Robert Gates, the defense secretary, have both supported closing it, an obvious and largely symbolic step. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards haven’t yet, as far as I know. So let me take it back: they don’t even give lip service to some of these issues.

There is so much to be repaired, and so far, none of the big-time candidates for president seem to have an appetite to begin the healing process. How many years will it take to roll back the damage of the Bush administration?

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