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Public Statements

Condemning the Recent Attacks Against the State of Israel

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Location: Washington, DC


CONDEMNING THE RECENT ATTACKS AGAINST THE STATE OF ISRAEL

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I have taken the time in opposition to this resolution because I very sincerely believe that resolutions of this sort actually do more harm than good. I know that it is very good to condemn the violence, and I certainly do agree with that.

But I am convinced that when we get involved and send strong messages, such as this resolution will, that it ends up expanding the war rather than diminishing the conflict, and that ultimately it comes back to haunt us.

Generally speaking, I follow a policy in foreign affairs called noninterventionism. It is not generally acceptable in this current time that we do this, but I think there is every reason to consider it. It certainly was something that the founders talked about.

The Constitution really doesn't authorize us to be the policemen of the world. And for this reason, we should talk about it. And that is why I take this opportunity to do so, with the sincere belief that we would be better off with less intervention overseas.

The founders talked about that, about rejecting entangling alliances. And we have been involved in a lot of entangling alliances since World War I, especially after World War II, and we have been doing a lot of things, losing a lot of men and women and costing a lot of money; and too often, these events have come back to haunt us. There is blow-back from our policy.

The policy of interventionism, which I object to, really doesn't work. It is well intended, and we have these grandiose plans and schemes to solve the problems of the world, but if you are really honest with yourself and you look at the success and failure, it doesn't have a good record. I mean, are you going to defend the great victory in Korea, the great victory in Vietnam? And on and on. The great victory in Iraq?

And I see resolutions like this step in the wrong direction. Actually, I believe it is going to expand the war in the Middle East.

The other reason why I strongly object to interventionism is it costs a lot of money. And someday we will have to deal with that. Supplemental bills come up now to the tune of tens of billions, and next year, already, they are planning to come up with another $100 billion for our intervention overseas. But it is off the regular budgetary process, so it doesn't meet the budgetary restraints that we are supposed to follow. So it becomes emergency funding, although we have been in Iraq for 3 years, and with plans to stay endlessly. We are building permanent bases in Iraq. So there is a lot of cost, and eventually that will come home to haunt us, and it already has.

And then there is the problem of unintended consequences. We went into Iraq for all kinds of reasons, some disproven, and all well intended, and who knows what the real motivations were. But one thing was that we would gain access to oil, and oil would be produced and would help pay the bills. Yet oil, when we went into Iraq was $28 a barrel. Now it is $75 a barrel. That is an unintended consequence.

We have done more to fall into the trap of what Osama bin Laden wanted in Iraq than anything else. And actually we have helped Iran. Iran is stronger. They have probably already more influence with the grass roots, the democratic process in Iraq, than we do. Those are the kind of unintended consequences that, on principle, I strongly object to.

I believe that the founders were correct in advocating avoiding entangling alliances, to have a strong national defense, to defend this country, I believe that is just plain common sense. Most Americans, if you just flat-out put it to them, think we should not be the policemen of the world. Do you think we should be involved in the internal affairs of other nations? People say no. We shouldn't do this. The Constitution doesn't give us the authority to do it.

And we now are in the business of maintaining an empire. A noninterventionist foreign policy concedes up front that is not our goal. We are not supposed to be going overseas and building permanent bases and staying there endlessly. Even the election campaign of 2000 was won partially on the foreign policy issue that, you know, it was said that we shouldn't be the policemen of the world and we shouldn't be in nation building.

I think those are good ideas and the American people agree. They didn't object to it. But each step along the way we dig a deeper hole for ourselves. And that is the general philosophic reasons why I believe nonintervention is beneficial. Intervention is very, very dangerous. Later there will be a lot of specifics that I would like to mention.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment just briefly on the comments made by the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. LaHood), because I think his point is well taken about the emphasis on this legislation, and to deny that would be just trying to fool one's self.

It is very clear that if one were objective and read this resolution, all the terrorists are on one side and all the victims and the innocents are on the other side, which I, quite frankly, find unfair, especially coming from the position that I want to advocate, neutrality, rather than picking sides.

But he also mentioned the fact about trying to change the resolution. I would like to emphasize also that being on the International Relations Committee, I was anxious to see the resolution, but characteristically it was very difficult to get. We didn't hold hearings and we didn't debate it and we didn't get a chance to have amendments to it, and even last night I couldn't receive it. There were some news articles very early this morning. Lo and behold, they had copies of it. It took me until about 9 o'clock this morning to get it.

So I think it would be fairer within this Congress to allow us to have a chance to debate these in the committee, to bring them to the floor.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 8 minutes to the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. Rahall).

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) derogatorily said there is no room to talk about neutrality, as if it were a crime. I would suggest there is room for an open mind to another type of policy that may save American lives.

I was in the Congress in the early 1980s, and then I left Congress, and I just come back recently. But I was here when the Marines were sent in to Lebanon, and I strenuously came to the floor before they went, when they went, and before they were killed, arguing my case. And then they were killed. Ronald Reagan, when he sent the troops in, said he would never turn tail and run.

Then, after the marines were killed, he had a reassessment of the policy. When he wrote his autobiography a few years later after leaving the Presidency, he wrote this.

He says, ``Perhaps we didn't appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines' safety that it should have.''

In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believe the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Boustany).

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I just want to make a couple of comments before yielding. It has been well advertised about the three prisoners that have been taken, the three Israeli prisoners. Everybody in the country knows about it. What I find a bit interesting is that some people estimate between 8,000 and 10,000 Palestinians and Lebanese are in prisons and under the authority of the Israeli police and government.

It is also known that one-third of the Cabinet of Palestine have been arrested and held hostage by the Israeli Government, and once again, I think this is a distortion of what is going on. It is hard to get the information out to find out exactly what is happening in this area.

Also, I would like to make one additional point that it is very easy to criticize the Government of Lebanon for not doing more about Hezbollah. I object to everything Hezbollah does because I am a strong opponent to all violence on both sides. So I object, too, but I also object to the unreasonable accusations that the Government of Lebanon has not done enough, when we realize that Israel was there for 18 years, and Hezbollah did not get any weaker, and they are stronger than ever. So I think, again, a little bit of balance is worth considering.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Issa).

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of accusations made about who precipitated the crisis, the charges made that it all occurred because three prisoners were taken, and that Hezbollah and Hamas deliberately provoked the situation. And it may well be true. I have no idea exactly what is true.

But there are others who have indicated that they believe that it was precipitated mainly with the intent of our foreign policy, along with Israel's foreign policy, as an initial step to go into Iran. We have talked about Iran around the House and around Washington, and there are a lot of people very, very concerned. Our administration talks about it all the time; taking out Iran, taking out the nuclear sites. But to do that, the theory is that these missiles had to be removed and, in a practical military sense, that seems very reasonable. So there could be the deliberateness of Hamas and Hezbollah precipitating the crisis for whatever gain they think, or deliberately precipitated by both the United States and Israel with the intent to follow up with bombing in Iran. And I am frightened about that. I think that may well occur.

I have talked to a lot of military people, a lot of CIA people, who actually believe this is a possibility within months. And this is the reason I have such great concern about what is happening in this area of the country, because if us going into Iraq didn't go so well, can anybody imagine what is going to happen when the bombs start to fall on Iran? I think it is going to be catastrophic. And there has been talk on television this past weekend, the beginning of World War III. And this war is about to spread, and this is the reason that I oppose this resolution, because, deep down in my heart, I believe that what we do here helps to provoke things and agitate things and bring us closer to a greater conflict. And I am just arguing that there is an alternative other than violence to settle some of these problems.

Now, a lot of bombs have fallen on both sides, and of course, if they are coming from Lebanon, Syria and Iran are blamed, and they may well deserve the blame. But we haven't talked about who gets the blame for the other side. More people are getting killed on the other side. And as we mentioned before, innocent people are killed, and a lot of nonmilitary targets have been hit, farms and buildings and electrical plants and airports that have nothing to do with the military.

And yet the reason I believe this is going to be worse is because we see it in this country the way we want to see it. And we have no willingness to think about how it might be seen elsewhere, like how is it going to be seen by 1 billion Muslims around the world? And you know, quite frankly, every single bomb that is dropped by Israel, by their calculation, and they have reason to believe so, those are U.S. bombs. Those are our airplanes. We paid for them. And they get the money to buy these weapons. So whether it is deliberate or whatever, it doesn't matter. It is the perception by the Muslims who are radicalized by this.

You can't deny it. There are more radicals today than there were 2 or 3 years ago. And the reason why I am worried about this is we are now getting the information about the reaction to 9/11. 9/11 occurred, and the immediate response by many of our leaders and the administration said, let's go to Iraq. People would say, well, why Iraq? Well, we have been planning on it all along. This is the opportunity.

As soon as this crisis built, we heard very similar comments. Let's go to Iran, you know, to go forward.

There are others who suggest that this crisis has come about not out of our strength, but out of our weakness. If Hezbollah and Hamas has deliberately done this, they might have calculated we have been stretched fairly thin around the world and with Iraq, and know that a lot of the American people and the taxpayers are getting tired of the war, so they may have seen this as a sign of weakness on our part. But then the ``neocons'' say, yeah, that may well be true, that is why we have to be tougher than ever. We have got to unleash the bombs. We have got to consider nuclear weapons, and back and forth and back and forth, until one day we are going to get ourselves in such a fix that World War III will be here and it will be irrevocable.

And there are some people who sort of like this idea. There are some ``neocons'' who thrive on chaos, because their theory is they want regime change. They want regime change in Syria, and they want regime change in Iran. They wanted it in Iraq. And we are, by gosh, we are going to have regime change, and they are going to be our friends and they are going to be democrats. We are going to have democratic elections.

So we go to war and our men and women die. We spend all this money, and we have elections. And then sometimes we don't like the results of the elections, so we ignore them.

What if we had elections in Saudi Arabia? What if we had elections in Egypt? And then what if their radicals were elected?

So we are fighting and dying to spread democracy. And it is probably one of the most dangerous things for us with our current foreign policy, is that when they do vote and elect Hezbollah and Hamas, then we have to reject the principle of democracy.

Self-determination is a great principle, and we should permit it and encourage self-determination. But encouraging elections under these circumstances, and by force, in hopes that we get our man in charge just doesn't work.

I think we are going to have regime changes, a lot more regime changes than most people want around here. I think the regime changes are coming in Saudi Arabia, and I think there will be a regime change maybe in Egypt. Who knows? In Libya. And you are going to be very unhappy with those regime changes.

So, yes, it was well intended to have regime change in Iraq. But what has it gotten us?

And now we want to spread that philosophy and have more regime changes, and who knows what the results are going to be? They are not going to be good. They are going to backfire on us.

You know, when Osama bin Laden responded to why, he had a list of reasons on why he encouraged or directed the attack on 9/11. And the one thing that he listed we shouldn't ignore, because as bad as that individual is, and as violent as he is, nobody has ever proven he tells lies. Nobody has ever proven this. Nobody says he is a liar. So we ought to listen to what he says.

And one of the reasons that he listed for this was back in 1982, back to the problems we had in Lebanon, there were 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinians killed. And who knows whose bombs and who was doing it? But you know, we were in there, although our troops weren't fighting and we left, but Israel was involved, 18,000. But regardless of whether or not we directed it or wanted it is irrelevant. The conclusion was that we were participants, and it rallied his troops and helped him organize to get people so hateful that they were willing to commit suicide terrorism and come here.

Now, we can ignore it and say, well, he is a liar. That is not the reason they did it. But we do that at our own peril.

Now, one of the reasons why I believe that it wouldn't be difficult to put the label USA on these weapons, obviously the airplanes have been built here. But what about the money? How much money have we given for weapons?

Between 1997 and 2004, and that doesn't even count the last 2 years, we gave over $7 billion in weapons grants. It wasn't a loan. It was a weapons grant.

Now, the neat thing about this, this was an economic deal because it was beneficial because under the foreign military financing program that we have, Israel is required to spend 74 percent of that back here. So you are talking about a military-industrial complex, a pretty good deal. You know, we subsidize them, send the money over here, it comes over here, and our arms manufacturers make even more money and then dig a bigger hole for us in foreign policy and contribute to the many problems that we have. And that amount of money, they get $2.3 billion of these military grants, and they automatically increase it $60 million per year. So it is locked in place.

Now, you say, well, that is money for our ally. And fine, if it was used for defense, maybe. But if it is used to antagonize 1 billion Muslims and there is no willingness to even consider the fact that we should look at it in a balanced way, and instead it is ridiculed and said, oh, this is ridiculous to think of neutrality or balance and think about both sides, and the innocent people dying on both sides should be considered.

So we are moving toward a major crisis, a major crisis financially and a major crisis in our foreign policy. I don't believe we can maintain this.

So even if you totally disagree with our aggressive empire building and policing the world, let me tell you, I am going to win the argument, because we are running out of money. We are in big debt, and we are borrowing it. We borrowed $3 billion a day from countries like China and Japan and Saudi Arabia to finance this horrendous debt. And it won't be, it can't be continued. The dollar will eventually weaken. You are going to have horrendous inflation. Interest rates are going to go up, and it is going to be worse than the stagflation of the 1970s.

And domestic spending is never curtailed. We have been in charge of the Congress and the Presidency for several years now, and the government gets bigger, probably faster than it was getting before.

So we are facing a crisis that is liable to escalate and get out of control in the Middle East. At the same time, it has a bearing on our finances, because when it contributes to the deficit, there is a limit to how much foreigners will loan to us. We have to print the money. We have to go to the Fed, create new money. That is the inflation.

And what does it do to the cost of oil? Inflation pushes the cost of oil up. That should be a concern to everybody. And at the same time, the production of the oil didn't work. I mean, the oil production went down in Iraq.

What happens if this happens to be true? I actually pray that I am completely wrong about this. And you can say, well, you are, so don't sweat it. But what if I am right? It is frightening, because if this leads to bombing in Iran, look for oil at $150 a barrel. Then the American people will wake up. They will say, hey, what's going on here? Why is gasoline so expensive? It is expensive because we have less production out of Iraq, and it is expensive because the value of the dollar is going down. And it is expensive because they are anticipating that this crisis is not going away, and what we do are antagonizing the world.

So, once again, I come to this from a slightly different viewpoint than those who like to pick sides. There is nothing wrong with considering the fact that we don't have to be involved in every single fight. That was the conclusion that Ronald Reagan came to, and he was not an enemy of Israel. He was a friend of Israel. But he concluded that that is a mess over there. Let me just repeat those words that he used. He said, he came to the conclusion, ``The irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there.''

I would like you to rethink our policy, not only there, but the kind of policy that led to 60,000 people dying in Vietnam and then walking away. And what happened after we walked away? We are better off than ever. We had a naval ship going into Vietnam just recently. We trade with them. We do deals with them. Yet it was a total fiasco and a total loss because of the way we went to war.

And this is also the reason that I am determined to persist that if we take our country to war, that we ought to be responsible. We should never send these kids and young people to war without a declaration, win the war, and get it over with. When we don't declare it, it goes on and on and on. We don't win them.

And literally, this Persian Gulf War, and this Iraqi war, it has been going on since 1990. We never stopped bombing Iraq, never stopped bugging them, and antagonizing them and inciting them.

So it is not a sign of weakness to talk about neutrality. It is a sign of strength that you have a little bit of courage and you believe in your own system. If we want to spread our values, it is a good way to do it. Set a good example. Put our financial house in order. Treat people evenly, and trade with people, and talk to people and travel.

But don't think that we can force our values at the point of a gun, and think they are all going to be democratic elected governments that we are going to be pleased with. It is not going to happen.

So there is reason to reconsider the total policy that has been followed in this country essentially for 100 years. And it hasn't been productive for us. Essentially, Woodrow Wilson started it. We are going to make the world safe for democracy. And look how safe the world has been since Woodrow Wilson introduced that. We are less safe than ever. And our financial condition is worse than ever.

And we are running our program, whether it is our domestic welfare program or our foreign policy, it is being run on borrowed money. It is borrowed money from overseas, and it is also from inflated currency. And we can get away with it for a while longer, but let me tell you, there is a crisis coming, and it is going to be dealing with the dollar and it is going to involve our foreign policy. And then we will, as a sign of weakness, we will have to come home. We will have to come home because we can't afford the empire. It is not wise to have it, and we should have more confidence and more belief that what we have in this country, and what America used to stand for, that we should spread that message more by setting an example and through a voluntary approach. And when that time comes, I think that maybe more people will reconsider it.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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