Show: Montel Across America
Host: Montel Williams
Montel Williams: We have the pleasure of being joined by one of our favorite guests here on “Montel Across America”. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome him, he’s a congressman from the 14th district of Texas. Welcome, Congressman Ron Paul, to “Montel Across America”.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Montel Williams: Thanks so much for being here today, sir – the day before turkey day. I’m going to ask you a little later on what you’re going to be doing tomorrow. But I wanted to talk to you a little bit about some things that are happening and headlines that the president last night went ahead and made his statement about when he will finally make a decision about Afghanistan. And he said this:
Obama: “After 8 years, some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done, it is my intention to finish the job.”
Montel Williams: And him making that statement means, you know, the rumor mill is saying that he’s anticipating sending in about an additional 34,000 troops which will require an additional 15,000 to 20,000 support personnel that will go in with them. And when we take a look back at this war in Afghanistan, there is an argument about how many troops actually are there. We think that the current number of troops in Afghanistan is 68,000, earlier I said it was close to 100,000. But there are about 68,000 troops that are on the ground there. The president making this statement that he’s going to go ahead and make the decision and send in more troops and he’s going to ask NATO to send in more troops, I just wonder what do you think about this and what do you think the pushback is going to be from the American public? Because 66%-68% of the American public has had enough of this war. They are disappointed in the way the war is going and I have a feeling those numbers are going to go up now knowing that more of our sons and daughters are going to go off to die. What do you think, sir, about this decision?
Ron Paul: I think it’s a serious mistake. I think the American people are going to get more upset. We can’t provide policies and take care of people here at home, but we’re over there spending all this money and it’s a lot of money. I mean this could be huge if you send 35,000 – 40,000 more men over there; it could go into the billions of dollars. But I think the biggest shortcoming in his statement is he “wants to get the job done”. I don’t know what the job is, maybe you could tell me. That’s the real problem, nobody knows exactly what the job is.
If we’re threatened by a country and our national security is at stake, you have no difficulty describing the job and you don’t debate whether you have 35,000 or 40,000 troops and how much it’s going to cost you. You work hard to preserve the national security. But since this has nothing to do with national security, and we talk about a job, I think its way too vague and I’m really disappointed because this is the one area where I had hoped that he would help us. I think it helped him a lot in the campaign to take the position that he wanted to wind wars down. But not only do we have to worry about Afghanistan, but I’m really concerned about how many times we send these drones over into Pakistan and people over there aren’t very happy with us and I think we’re digging a much deeper hole for ourselves.
Montel Williams: And you know, congressman, I got to ask you: how are we going to get somebody down there in Washington DC to start asking some of these tough questions? You just talked about the drones that are going into Pakistan and then we found out yesterday that there has been a so classified, I bet even you don’t have the clearances to know some information about the private sub-contracted run hit squads, special operations that are going on right now and the money that is being spent. And I take a look at some of the figures that just came out about the amount that the defense department has spent on the war from 2000 to 2009. It’s 5 trillion 600 billion dollars. But they don’t even quote the numbers that we’re paying to these sub-contractors.
Ron Paul: How many people could get healthcare with about 1/10th of that? You know, this is just money down a rat hole and the military-industrial complex loves it and they make these plans. I just have difficulty understanding the obsession with this, the inability to reassess and say, “We’ve made a mistake, let’s change policy. Let’s just come home and offer friendship, offer peace, offer trade with them.” I’m sure it’s a very imperfect country over there and it’s a very imperfect country here. But we still do our very best, but I just think the more troops we send over there and the more people that die, the greater danger that we’re in; both financially and more people are hating our guts. How would we react if some of the treatment that we place on those other countries… if somebody did that to us? We would be outraged and we would be unified, too. There would be no dissent in this country; we’d all be unified. That’s why the dissenters, whether they’re in Iran or Afghanistan or any place who want true reform, we totally neutralize them. So I see this as a policy that we follow doing exactly the opposite of what they’re pretending to do.
Montel Williams: And also, sir, will there be and should there be and can we call for some sort of congressional investigation into the amount of money that’s being lobbied with and paid into some of your peers’ campaign war chest to lobby for more war funding? A couple weeks ago we did a little look at some of the people and some of the greatest offenders who received $700,000, $400,000, $200,000 from military sub-contractors to continue to vote and lobby to send more troops and to continue this war. You know, in some ways are some of your peers literally talking out of both sides of their mouth? They’re saying they want to bring the war to an end, yet they have people lobbying them and trying to press for more troops.
Ron Paul: Well, yes. It should be investigated. You know Cunningham was caught at it and he’s in jail, but that’s a rarity. I think the system breeds that. A lot of it is so-called legal and ethical because it’s part of the system. You can lobby, you can put money in and who knows when it’s quid-pro-quo and how much of it is cash. So, it’s the system. But I also see the system breeding this because government has so much to offer. If we weren’t fighting all these wars, think how small the military-industrial complex would be. But they drive our foreign policy and then you can see where the pressure comes from to keep building.
Right now we have not too far from my district where they’re building some military trucks. And everybody in Texas said, “We got to save it, we got to save it. It’s jobs, jobs.” But I can’t do that, we don’t even need these trucks. I’m afraid that if we have those kinds of trucks we’ll just get further involved in driving all over Pakistan and all over Afghanistan. But the driving force is this military industrial complex with a tremendous amount of pressure. So when it comes to a nation like that, conservatives are big spenders. And then on other things the liberals are big spenders and that’s why we have this huge runaway deficit and the trouble we have with our dollar. It is not sustainable, that’s what I’ve concluded.
Montel Williams: I’m hoping that out of the chasm, sir, the chasm caused between the fight between the Right and the Left, you know, there are people like you that will rise above. Is there going to be a move, you think, a more legitimate and a solid move towards a third idea and now, I don’t want to use the third party, but you know, this upcoming election, there are a lot of people who can’t side with the Right or the Left like myself.
Ron Paul: Right.
Montel Williams: I want some representation out there representing me the way I fit, where I fit, and that’s in that middle position and you know, people like yourself, although there are some people that would say, Sarah Palin is one of those middle people. But people like yourself, I believe, who are right down the middle of the road. Are we going to see, you know, more coming out of what we were calling independence, you know, the middle ground and will we see a third party possible in some point.
Ron Paul: Well, I wish so, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think your opinion is shared by maybe the majority of the American people. They’re sick and tired of what’s happening. But the system is so well ingrained that the two parties just like we’ve been talking about foreign policy, foreign policy really didn’t change from one administration to the next. But the system, the political system, we brag about our wonderful system and we send troops over and they get killed promoting democracy, but if we come to this conclusion that there is not a whole lot difference between the two parties and we need another option, we don’t have an equal chance of getting our message out. The media doesn’t cover the third-party system. You can’t get into the debates. It’s very, very difficult if you’re trying to do it. I mean, Ralph Nader has faced this as well as the libertarians and all the third parties who try to get this message out and they can’t do it because the laws are so biased. It’s very difficult unless you’re… Ross Perot did reasonably well offering a third option, but he was a billionaire.
Montel Williams: Do you think that, sir…
Ron Paul: So it doesn’t offer it to the average person to compete with the two parties and even though the two parties are very similar, there is a power struggle. I mean, that they do compete for power.
Montel Williams: From within. Also now, you know, with Sarah Palin out here right now, obviously not really tied to and aligned to and no one is claiming her, she is raising a war chest that’s kind of crazy with thousands of people showing up at book signing and they’re all chanting, “Sarah, run. Sarah, run.” Do you think that there is some glimmer of hope in the fact that she will legitimatize… whether she ever runs or not, she’ll legitimize the fact that another voice needs to be heard?
Ron Paul: Well, I think so.
Montel Williams: And you have already done that, but I’m sorry that she has got to be the one because, you know, she got far more television time.
Ron Paul: Yeah, but from my viewpoint, I mean, I think her tone is different and she represents some people who are very disgruntled and discouraged, but I don’t think her foreign policy is any different. You see it as sort of go along with the neoconservative viewpoint. I still think she serves a benefit just because she is challenging the status quo, but I think she was supportive of all the bailouts that occurred last year, which so many Americans are critical of.
Montel Williams: Without a doubt.
Ron Paul: So I don’t see where there is a deep, philosophic challenge from what she is saying.
Montel Williams: Hey, now look, I got one more thing. I know you have to go and I’ve got to take a break, but I’ve got to ask you this question. Do you know that we just signed with jobless… you know, unemployment is on all time high right now in the last 25 years. We can’t create jobs. The President is going to do a job commission here, a summit, next month and we found out that the US government has just signed a multi-billion dollar contract with the Chinese government, a Chinese construction engineering company. One of the largest contractors in China was awarded $100 million to do a subway ventilation project in Manhattan and it’s also doing some other construction here in this country. We have jobs. Why are we letting the Chinese subcontracting company or a Chinese engineering company into the United States to do something that Americans could be doing?
Ron Paul: Well, that’s a pretty darn good question. It’s a sign of the times and it’s sort of a sad sign because if we can’t do it or we don’t have the sense to make sure that we do it ourselves, there is something seriously flawed with our system.
Montel Williams: Congressman Paul, I can’t wait to see you face to face, sir, and I’m glad. Thank you so much for being part of the show. Let me ask you real quick. What are you doing tomorrow for Thanksgiving?
Ron Paul: We’ll be home with all our kids. We have five kids and eighteen grandchildren. I think they’re all going to be there tomorrow.
Montel Williams: Do you cook, sir? Are you cooking the meal?
Ron Paul: Oh, yeah. I do all the work. I do the cooking and cleaning up all by myself.
Montel Williams: Are you kidding me? Well, look now, I mean, send me a little leftover…
Ron Paul: No, I have to admit that I take it pretty easy and others do all the work for the whole family.
Montel Williams: All right, sir. I want you and your family from all of us here at Montel Across America want you and your family to have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I got to take a little break. You’re listening to Montel Across America.
Ron Paul: Thank you.
Montel Williams: Give it up for Congressman Ron Paul. We’ll be back right after this.