by Ron Paul
The United States invaded Iraq under false pretenses without a constitutionally-required declaration of war. Our Founders understood that how we go to war is as important as when we go to war, which is why they vested the power to declare war in the Legislative Branch. The resolution passed in Congress authorizing the president to use force in Iraq said nothing about the U.S. Constitution, but it mentioned the United Nations a dozen times. The United States should never go to war to enforce UN resolutions!
Our continued presence in Iraq is serving as a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda. A recent National Intelligence Estimate found that the U.S. presence in Iraq has had a “rejuvenating” effect on the terrorist group. Proponents of the surge say that we are achieving victory. However, even if the level of our troops being killed has declined, they are still being targeted and the Iraqi government is no closer to stability, meaning that the violence will continue.
While we keep our focus on Iraq indefinitely, bin Laden remains free to plot his next attack, and can continue to portray us as occupiers and recruit more volunteers to his cause. Shortly after 9/11, I voted for the authorization to go into Afghanistan because it told the president to do what he already had the authority to do: go after the ones who directly hit us. I was extremely disappointed that the mission there changed to one of nation-building.
Military experts, including Generals Barry McCaffrey and John Batiste, have sounded the warning that our military is stretched so thin because of Iraq and our other commitments that, as General Batiste put it recently, “our Army and Marine Corps are at a breaking point with little to show for it.” A weakened and over-committed military is a recipe for a national security disaster. Meanwhile, Washington continues to talk about how many other countries it could send troops to.
As if a national debt topping $9 trillion is not bad enough, each day this war is fought, deficit spending increases. To avoid raising taxes and the subsequent anger that would follow come election time, the federal government will continue to borrow money from countries like Saudi Arabia and China, making your children and grandchildren’s futures dependent on the actions of other nations and selling out our national security to the highest bidder.
Make no mistake, as Congress spends more and more, there will be less and less to fund Social Security and Medicare, the programs Washington has made us dependent on, without a massive tax increase. Meanwhile, bin Laden proclaims that our falling dollar is a sign that al-Qaeda’s “bleed-until-bankruptcy plan” is working.
Those who caution that leaving Iraq would be a disaster are the same ones who promised the conflict would be a “cake-walk.” It is impossible to tell how long we will have to stay and how many lives we will have to lose if we wait for political factions that have been at war for centuries to come together.
As long as we occupy Iraq, the violence against our troops will continue, and the Iraqi government will become more dependent on us. It is in the best interests of the Iraqi people that we return their country to them immediately. Indeed, violence has already gone down in the areas that are not as heavily occupied.
It is now time to bring our troops home. We must return our focus to finding bin Laden and making sure that we can be prepared for any future threats against our national security.