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October 19, 2002

A few words from a Texas Republican
Posted by Teresa at 09:02 PM *

This past September, Republican congressman Ron Paul, U.S. House of Representatives, figuratively nailed a list of 35 questions about Iraq on Mr. Bush’s door, saying:

Soon we hope to have hearings on the pending war with Iraq. I am concerned there are some questions that won’t be asked—and maybe will not even be allowed to be asked. Here are some questions I would like answered by those who are urging us to start this war.
They haven’t been answered. They should have been then, and they still should be now. Here are a few:
1. Is it not true that the reason we did not bomb the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was because we knew they could retaliate?

2. Is it not also true that we are willing to bomb Iraq now because we know it cannot retaliate—which just confirms that there is no real threat?

5. Is it not true that the intelligence community has been unable to develop a case tying Iraq to global terrorism at all, much less the attacks on the United States last year? Does anyone remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and that none came from Iraq?

6. Was former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vincent Cannistraro wrong when he recently said there is no confirmed evidence of Iraq’s links to terrorism?

11. Why are we taking precious military and intelligence resources away from tracking down those who did attack the United States—and who may again attack the United States—and using them to invade countries that have not attacked the United States?

12. Would an attack on Iraq not just confirm the Arab world’s worst suspicions about the US, and isn’t this what bin Laden wanted?

13. How can Hussein be compared to Hitler when he has no navy or air force, and now has an army 1/5 the size of twelve years ago, which even then proved totally inept at defending the country?

18. Are we willing to bear the economic burden of a 100 billion dollar war against Iraq, with oil prices expected to skyrocket and further rattle an already shaky American economy? How about an estimated 30 years occupation of Iraq that some have deemed necessary to “build democracy” there?

22. If we claim membership in the international community and conform to its rules only when it pleases us, does this not serve to undermine our position, directing animosity toward us by both friend and foe?

26. Is it not true that preventive war is synonymous with an act of aggression, and has never been considered a moral or legitimate US policy?

28. Why is it that those who never wore a uniform and are confident that they won’t have to personally fight this war are more anxious for this war than our generals?

Comments on A few words from a Texas Republican:
#1 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2002, 09:55 AM:

Ron Paul is an interesting guy. He holds some sensible positions and some flat-out whacko positions, but he's one of the few people in Congress who consistently votes his positions regardless of anything else. It's hard not to admire him even when you think he's wrong, because he really can't be bought.

(The questions are good. Not holding my breath for answers, though.)

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2002, 11:02 AM:

I figured he had to be an interesting guy when I got to question #31, where he cites the Treaty of Westphalia. It's pertinent, but it's not what I expect to see from the current crop of elected politicians -- not in a general-release document, at any rate.

This pleases me. He's not afraid he'll lose approval points if he mentions a bit of history that some of his constituents won't have heard of.

I find I care less than I used to about the hairsplitting fine points of a politician's positions, and more about hearing his or her disintermediated voice. It isn't just a matter of aesthetics. I believe there's a largely unacknowledged divide between politicians who still believe we're all members of the same polity, all citizens together; and those for whom I'm just a member of the voting audience, watching but not otherwise a participant in our regularly scheduled pantomime of democracy.

#3 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2002, 03:31 AM:

Republican, heck. Ron Paul was the *Libertarian* candidate for President several years back (1992, I think). He's an MD. He's also a alumnus of my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. Mind you, Pitt's a good school and I'm proud of my two count 'em two degrees from there, but it seems to breed some loony politicians: Orrin Hatch and Jim Traficante are also Pitt alumni!

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2002, 08:48 AM:

U. Pitt breeds loony politicians? Sure, why not? I know of a small-town parochial elementary school that's produced three pro SF writers.

For me, the mystery is what Orrin Hatch was doing in Pittsburgh at all.

#5 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2002, 11:45 AM:

Hey, David Hartwell and Gardner Dozois were born in the same hospital. Small world, wouldn't want to paint it.

#6 ::: Bill Woods ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2002, 03:49 PM:

"For me, the mystery is what Orrin Hatch was doing in Pittsburgh at all."

Well, he grew up there. Hmm, I knew that, but the Hatchs went back and forth more than I would have guessed.

Sen. Orrin Hatch webpage

#7 ::: Vicki Rosenzweig ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2002, 07:10 PM:

Teresa, Which three? Or, failing that, which school?

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