Show: America’s Nightly Scoreboard
Channel: Fox Business
Brian Sullivan: The body of fallen soldier Brandon Maggart returning home to Missouri will be laid to rest tonight. That’s just one night after the President declared an end to formal combat operations in Iraq. Sergeant Maggart was killed on August 22nd, three days after the last combat brigade left Iraq. Our next guest says this proves that we’re going to see more of an escalation than a drawdown. Joining us now from Clute, Texas, is Republican Congressman Ron Paul. Congressman Paul, welcome to the program, it’s Brian Sullivan. You wrote that, not only will our operations likely not change much, but that costs may actually go up because of the increased use of private contractors. Explain your position.
Ron Paul: That’s right. They’re admitting they’re keeping 50,000 troops there, that’s a lot, and they will be armed and they can get killed. But they have also 100,000 contractors there and they’re admitting that these numbers may increase. But even those troops that they’re bringing out, Obama was pretty clear that they may go into Afghanistan, or elsewhere, that he allows, this gives him more leverage to go into other areas. So, overall, there is no chance that this announcement here this last week has anything to do with reducing expenditures. And we talk about uncertainties in the marketplace, domestic uncertainties about fiscal policy and tax policies. But what about the uncertainty of our foreign policy? There’s an overhang, and it goes on and on, and this is a drain on our economy. So I see it as a serious problem.
Brian Sullivan: Do you believe that the troops that remain, remain more in harm’s way? It’s not as if the enemy there is going to say ‘oh, that’s not a combat troop, I’m not going to plant an IED’. Now, are there fewer soldiers there to protect the ones that are left?
Ron Paul: That’s right. And they make it sound like the mission has been so-called accomplished. I think this is like Mission Accomplished second time around, even though those words weren’t used. But, no, I think it’s very dangerous over there. I think they’ll continue to be killed and somebody might want to just make the point, if we make an example of them. But the whole thing is, there’s no intent to really leave ever for the indefinite future. We have this embassy that’s bigger than the Vatican. We have like 40 bases as of now and we plan to keep those bases there. Al Qaeda has actually moved into Iraq. Al Qaeda wasn’t there before the war started and, of course, we were told Al Qaeda was there and they were participants in 9/11. They had nothing to do with 9/11. This has been a tremendous boost to Osama Bin Laden. Because this proves his point that we’re over there for occupation. It just stirs up the hatred and the radicals. So I see this, our presence there, going in was bad, staying there is bad. I don’t like to see the American people deceived and thinking that we’ve had a major turning point.
Brian Sullivan: But Congressman, but we are there now, so what should we do? Should we, as you wrote, most people, when they hear the end of the war, think ‘all the troops are gone’. 50,000 remain. What do we do now?
Ron Paul: As a policy, our policy should be, we should come home. I mean we’re admitting now that they don’t need our combat troops. Just go one step further. But it’s a mess. It’s a mess of our creation. The strongest politician over there is al-Sadr. Al-Sadr is a strong Shiite aligned with Iran. And it just seems like, the more we get involved in trying to take care of our national security interests, the worse we make our national security. So we, essentially, in many ways, have turned Iraq over to be a close ally of Iran. And people say ‘well now we can never leave forever’. But when are we going to quit? If everything we do makes it worse for us, both financially and for national security purposes, the only thing I can say is overall policy is wrong. George Bush was right in the year 2000 when he said ‘we should have a humble foreign policy, we shouldn’t be policeman of the world and we shouldn’t be in nation building’. And that is exactly the foreign policy I like. And yet we have embarked on another course, both the leaderships of both parties, for this involvement around the world.
Brian Sullivan: The Russians learned a very hard lesson about the Afghan people. Right?
Ron Paul: That is true and others before them.
Brian Sullivan: Do you believe that we’re ramping up there and maybe it’s needed, the Taliban, cruel, oppressive to their own citizens. But, will we ever leave Afghanistan and if so, when? Let’s say we do at some point. Do you believe it will simply tumble back into what it was before we got there?
Ron Paul: Probably, but the Taliban hasn’t been a threat to us. We used to go to war because they threatened us but the Taliban are local people. They’re not Al Qaeda. They don’t send people outside their borders. All they care about is occupation. They don’t want foreigners. They were our allies when the Russians were the occupiers and we were supporting the radicals. As a matter of fact, we even supported some of the training of the radical Islamists. And we’re not gonna conquer Afghanistan because we’ll leave and they’ll drift back into some problems that they’ve had. But they’ve had periods of time, people back into the 1950s and the 1960s, Afghanistan wasn’t that bad of a country. It was rather calm compared to what’s happened since the Russians were in, the Soviets were in and since we’ve been in there. But this has been going on literally for centuries, outsiders always wanted to conquer Afghanistan.
Brian Sullivan: And wrap it up with this, Congressman, very quickly, do you believe you can, quote, unquote, win a war against an area that does not have a strong central government?
Ron Paul: No. Not unless you sacrifice every single thing that we have, our liberties and all our wealth. And then, after that’s all consumed, we lose anyway. So, no, you can’t win. You can’t win that. You can win the hearts and minds of other people if you set a good example. You trade with them and you talk to them. Look, we’re winning the hearts and minds of the people of Vietnam. But not because we went over there and killed a bunch of them. It’s because we left there and we started trading with them and talking to them. Just think now how westernized and capitalized, capitalistic the Chinese have become. You don’t win these battles with war. That’s been my argument and we have a great message. Actually our message here at home about freedom and prosperity in the marketplace and sound economics, we’re even losing that at home. So if we work harder on a sound, healthy economy here with sound money, I think more people would look to us and try to emulate us, and we wouldn’t have to try to force our way on other people around the world.
Brian Sullivan: Congressman Ron Paul, Sir, we appreciate your views tonight. Thank you very much.