Ron Paul is the only Republican presidential candidate saying we should get our troops out of Iraq — now. Here's more of my edited interview with the congressman.
Some people say that if we don't attack the enemy there, they'll attack us here.
Ron Paul: I think the opposite is true. The radicals were able to use our bases in Saudi Arabia and the bombing of Iraq (from 1991 to 2001) as a reason to come over here. If China were to do the same thing to us, and they had troops in our land, We would resent it. We'd probably do some shooting.
Is this case not different? Religious fanatics hate us and want to kill us because of our culture.
I don't think that's true. It is not Muslim fanaticism that is the culprit. The litmus test is whether we are actually occupying a territory. In the case of Saudi Arabia, that was holy land.
Many say the surge in Iraq is succeeding, that we're at a turning point now, and we are creating a model of democracy in a part of the world that hasn't seen that.
That's the propaganda. I don't happen to believe that.
And if in most of Iraq, some religious fanatic comes to power and has money to buy nuclear weapons, we should just leave him alone?
The Soviets had the technology. They were 90 miles off our shore, and they had nuclear weapons there. But we were able to talk to them. We took our missiles out of Turkey. They took the missiles out of Cuba. We should be talking to people like this. It's the lack of diplomacy that is the greatest threat, not the weapons themselves.
You say we shouldn't be the world's policemen. Isn't it our responsibility to help others?
It's OK for us to personally help other people. But to go around the world and spread democracy -- goodness, no -- too many unintended consequences. It usually requires force. I think we should only do those things under the prescribed conditions of the Constitution.
Is war ever justifiable?
Sure. If you're attacked, you have a right and an obligation to defend (your) country. I do not believe there is ever a moral justification to start the war.
So in World War II, we were justified?
How about going into Afghanistan after Sept. 11?
I voted for that authority to go after those responsible for 9/11.
The Korean War?
The first Iraq war? Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. He might have invaded the next country, and the next.
I bet Israel would have done something about it, and I bet Saudi Arabia maybe would have talked to Israel. I think if it would have been left to the region, they might have taken care of Saddam Hussein in 1990 and we wouldn't have the problems we have today.
What if there's genocide and terrible suffering in a country?
It's a tragedy, and we can have a moral statement, but you can't use force of arms to invade other countries to make them better people. Our job is to make us a better people.
You'd pull American troops out of Korea, Germany, the Middle East, everywhere?
I would. Under the Constitution, we don't have the authority to just put troops in foreign countries willy-nilly when we're not at war.
If North Korea invades South Korea, we should just leave it alone?
Sure, but it's not going to happen. South Korea's about 10 times more powerful than North Korea.
If China invaded Taiwan?
That's a border war, and they should deal with it.
If Canada invades Montana?
I think that might be a little bit different. Montana probably could take care of it, but we'd probably help them out from Washington if that happened.
That's a role for the federal government?
Next week: Ron Paul on subsidies to special interests.