Defund The War – by Rep. Ron Paul

March 23, 2007

The $124 billion supplemental appropriation is a good bill
to oppose. I am pleased that many of my colleagues will
join me in voting against this measure.

If one is unhappy with our progress in Iraq after four
years of war, voting to de-fund the war makes sense. If
one is unhappy with the manner in which we went to war,
without a constitutional declaration, voting no makes
equally good sense.

Voting no also makes the legitimate point that the
Constitution does not authorize Congress to direct the
management of any military operation – the president
clearly enjoys this authority as Commander in Chief.

But Congress just as clearly is responsible for making
policy, by debating and declaring war, raising and equipp-
ing armies, funding military operations, and ending
conflicts that do not serve our national interests.

Congress failed to meet its responsibilities four years
ago, unconstitutionally transferring its explicit war power
to the executive branch. Even though the administration
started the subsequent preemptive war in Iraq, Congress
bears the greatest responsibility for its lack of courage
in fulfilling its duties. Since then Congress has obedient-
ly provided the funds and troops required to pursue this
illegitimate war.

We won’t solve the problems in Iraq until we confront
our failed policy of foreign interventionism. This latest
appropriation does nothing to solve our dilemma. Micro-
managing the war while continuing to fund it won’t help
our troops.

Here’s a new approach: Congress should admit its mistake
and repeal the authority wrongfully given to the executive
branch in 2002. Repeal the congressional sanction and
disavow presidential discretion in starting wars. Then
start bringing our troops home.

If anyone charges that this approach does not support the
troops, take a poll. Find out how reservists, guardsmen,
and their families – many on their second or third tour
in Iraq – feel about it.

The constant refrain that bringing our troops home would
demonstrate a lack of support for them must be one of the
most amazing distortions ever foisted on the American
public. We’re so concerned about saving face, but whose
face are we saving? A sensible policy would save American
lives and follow the rules laid out for Congress in the
Constitution – and avoid wars that have no purpose.

The claim that it’s unpatriotic to oppose spending more
money in Iraq must be laid to rest as fraudulent.

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We should pass a resolution that expresses congressional
opposition to any more undeclared, unconstitutional,
unnecessary, preemptive wars. We should be building a
consensus for the future that makes it easier to end our
current troubles in Iraq.

It’s amazing to me that this Congress is more intimidated
by political propagandists and special interests than the
American electorate, who sent a loud, clear message about
the war in November. The large majority of Americans now
want us out of Iraq.

Our leaders cannot grasp the tragic consequence of our
policies toward Iraq for the past 25 years. It’s time we
woke them up.

We are still by far the greatest military power on earth.
But since we stubbornly refuse to understand the nature of
our foes, we are literally defeating ourselves.

In 2004, bin Laden stated that al-Qaeda’s goal was to
bankrupt the United States. His second in command,
Zawahiri, is quoted as saying that the 9/11 attack would
cause Americans to, “come and fight the war personally on
our sand where they are within rifle range.”

Sadly, we are playing into their hands. This $124 billion
appropriation is only part of the nearly $1 trillion in
military spending for this year’s budget alone. We should
be concerned about the coming bankruptcy and the crisis
facing the U.S. dollar.

We have totally failed to adapt to modern warfare. We’re
dealing with a small, nearly invisible enemy – an enemy
without a country, a government, an army, a navy, an air
force, or missiles. Yet our enemy is armed with suicidal
determination, and motivated by our meddling in their
regional affairs, to destroy us.

And as we bleed financially, our men and women in Iraq die
needlessly while the injured swell Walter Reed hospital.
Our government systematically undermines the Constitution
and the liberties it’s supposed to protect – for which it
is claimed our soldiers are dying in faraway places.

Only with the complicity of Congress have we become a
nation of preemptive war, secret military tribunals,
torture, rejection of habeas corpus, warrantless searches,
undue government secrecy, extraordinary renditions, and
uncontrollable spying on the American people. The greatest
danger we face is ourselves: what we are doing in the name
of providing security for a people made fearful by
distortions of facts. Fighting over there has nothing to
do with preserving freedoms here at home. More likely the
opposite is true.

Surely we can do better than this supplemental
authorization. I plan to vote no.

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