Paul: U.S. Has 'Dug a Hole' for Itself in Iraq

Republican sees 'politicking' in Petraeus, and says "bad policy'" led to 9/11.

ByABC News
September 11, 2007, 1:15 PM

Sept. 11, 2007 — -- While several of his 2008 rivals spent the sixth anniversary of 9/11 in congressional panels debating the future of U.S. involvement in Iraq, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Republican presidential candidate, declared at a policy forum that the United States has "dug a hole for [itself]" in Iraq.

Paul described Iraq as a "preemptive war" saying it was a "planned invasion and occupation" of a "country that was no threat to us whatsoever."

Part of the reasoning behind invading Iraq, Paul said, was "to have another excuse to keep the military industrial complex going."

What might seem like bold rhetoric from the fiery Texas Republican on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was actually nothing new for Paul: His assertions at the Johns Hopkins University discussion were consistent with his presidential platform and congressional career, both of which draw heavily from libertarian and constitutionalist ideals.

Of the Petraeus report and the congressional hearings, Paul told ABC News, "I think it's a lot of politicking" and "grandstanding of both parties."

Paul said the general's testimony, which will be used by President Bush to outline the future strategy in Iraq, missed its mark by not addressing what he deems "the real issues in Iraq" -- policy and financing.

"If we as Republicans want to change things, we have to deal with the authority the president was given -- we have to remove that -- and we have to remove the financing, which we could do," Paul said. "But this tinkering around with how many soldiers are there and whether there's progress or not -- I think it's kind of missing the whole point."