Ron Paul: Why Are We In Afghanistan?

Venue: U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Date: 10/15/2009


Ron Paul: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the last months, we have had a pretense of having a debate about Afghanistan, but unfortunately, it’s not much of a debate. We’re deciding whether or not to send 40,000 or 80,000 troops over to Afghanistan and we can’t even decide where the frontlines are. But the worst part of this is this is just déjà vu again, all about going to war needlessly. The same arguments were used in going into war against Iraq and that is “weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda, scare the people, it’s in our national security interest to go there” and we continue.

The Taliban never did a thing to us. The Taliban, we were paying them money up until May of 2001. They’re not capable, even if they wanted to, they’re not capable of touching us. So we’re over there, pursuing a war, spreading the war, and going into Pakistan. The American people don’t want it. We’re out of money. We can’t afford medical education here and we’re demanding that we send 80,000 or 40,000 troops to Afghanistan and expand the war. It’s time to end the whole mess.

Chairman Howard L. Berman: The time of the gentleman has expired.

The time has expired and the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Paul, is through.

Ron Paul: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It seems like we’ve had now a war going on for eight years, into the ninth year, and from the discussion, it looks like we’re searching for a justification for it; what is the reason we are there? I think we got that cart before the horse. We’ve been fighting all this time and it means that it isn’t a management problem. It’s a policy problem of how we got there, why we’re there, and what we’re doing, and besides, this type of debate about management, I can’t imagine this type of debate going on in World War II. You know, we knew who the enemy was; we declared war. The President said he’s the commander in chief and told the Congress what he needed. Now, that isn’t an argument for the Congress not paying attention. It’s an argument against the way we go to war and it looks like we have accepted this notion that perpetual war leads to perpetual peace, and we satisfy the military-industrial complex and the special interests and all these motivations just to stay in war endlessly.

But even these eight years, I don’t see where the success is. Men die, thousands of Afghanis are displaced and die. It cost a quarter trillion dollars and we’re still finding out, you know, what are we there for? Oh, well, “if the Taliban takes over” – whom we used to, you know, get along with quite well = “if they take over all of a sudden, al-Qaeda is going to be there and there’s going to another 9/11.”

This is making the assumption that 9/11 couldn’t have occurred without these training camps in Afghanistan. Do you think those nineteen guys went over there and did push-ups in those camps? There is no way. There is no way they were there doing those things. The report, when they studied 9/11, they said, “Well, there is a lot of planning going on in Germany. A lot of planning going on in Spain and there were 15 of them and were Afghans [Saudis]. I mean, if somebody really wanted to, I bet they could have talked the American people into bombing Saudi Arabia. I mean, 15 of them are Saudis. I imagine under those circumstances, the American people and the Congress could have been talked into bombing Saudi Arabia under those conditions.

So I just don’t see how we could continue to do this and come up with any sensible policy because we never challenge, we never question whether preemptive war is a good strategy and this is what this is all about: preemptive wars, starting wars, saying it’s preventative. But this is a completely un-American approach to fighting wars because under the original system, the people got behind the war, declared the war, knew who the enemy was and we didn’t come up with these strategies; “Do we need 40,000 or 80,000 people and who should we give the money to? Should we give it to this group?”

Why don’t we ever ask the question and this will be the question I’ll leave with you. Why don’t we as a Congress and the administrations, former administrations as well as this one, why don’t we ask the question, what is the motivation for somebody to attack us? And I don’t think it’s ever really asked because I think there is a different answer than then if some say, “Oh, they hate us. They hate us for our freedoms and our wealth.”

And I don’t believe that for a minute. I think the people in Afghanistan, the large majority, no matter what the reports are from the administration, our puppet administration, most people want us out of there. They don’t want us in Pakistan. The people in Pakistan don’t want us there. People in Iraq don’t want us there. It’s occupation. So my question is this, why is that never talked about, or why is it dismissed so easily if indeed you study and you find out that people who are willing to sacrifice their life to make a point is because we are seen as foreign occupiers. Just as the Soviets were seen as foreign occupiers, just as we joined those individuals who wanted to throw out the foreign occupiers in the past, and yet now, we are. We learn nothing from history, both ancient history or even recent history. Why don’t we pay more attention to the true motivations behind somebody who wants to commit suicide terrorism against us. Anybody care to answer?

Chairman Howard L. Berman: In 20 seconds.

Unidentified Male Speaker: In twenty seconds. (Laughs).

Robert Kagan: Congressman, I think in 20 seconds, I can only tell you that some of us do pay a great deal of attention to what the ideology is that drives al-Qaeda and affiliated groups to try to attack us. It’s been articulated in tremendous detail on multiple books. It goes beyond not liking us because of our wealth and a variety of other things and it has to do with the struggle within Islam that they see us participating in whether we are present there or not. It is a very, very sophisticated strategy. It is a very, very sophisticated ideology and it is extremely clear on what their intentions are and why.

Chairman Howard L. Berman: The time of the gentleman has expired.


  • I contradict your opinion
    Mr. Ron Paul from the start was an opponent to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,Why is accused of lying ? What you offered ? have you write to congress? We went into Iraq on a fib of weapons of mass destruction, and was unveiled the lie
    Senator told me about the war in Afghanistan: Whenever we kill them they increase !!!!! !! I I says for him : such as a the sheep was slaughtered
    Wars create pain and do not solve problems

  • Ben Duffy

    I think the reason we’re in Afghanistan is because Ron Paul voted to send our troops there. And rightfully so. Unfortunately for professional assclown Ron Paul, it’s a little difficult for him to claim that he never supports wars unless they are delcared by Congress. That is a made up after-the-fact justification.

    Ron Paul is not the champion of the Constitution. He picks and chooses when and what part of the Constitution he wants to defend, just like all the rest of them.

    Also, he is a lying turd.

    • johnny b

      this douche thinks Ron Paul is a neocon.

    • longshotlouie

      They must’ve found this troll in a pretzel shop.

  • I share with Mr. Ron Paul in The same opinion
    what is the usefulness of these wars? Why the American soldiers dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why we spend billions of dollars on these wars? Why do we create our own hatred and hatred of America?
    These wars generate the violence and extremism

  • Dillon W.

    HAHAHA @ Muhammad Akhtar. I guess Im a “ronpublican” too!

  • jim warren

    If the usa must be in iraq and afganistan to fight talaban and al-qeuda , should we go it alone as we have in Iraq , yes we did go it alone, as soon as any other country gets any deaths , they quit. if any other countrys have the balls , let them send a like amount of men and money- the usa is broke- we could do it on borrowed money, or maybe some of the world war 1 and 2 countrys that owe us , pay us back- when we go bankrupt and we will, see how many come running to our aid-

  • Whitney

    Dear President Obama: Lay down your defenses – We Have No Enemies and We Cannot Sin
    I Call Upon God’s Name And On My Own – Nagasaki Sequence

    WORLD PEACE SONG from Istanbul. “Hate or Love” amateur video

  • Lindsey

    Robert Kagan says that their ideology is very sophisticated. He thinks too much. The problem is that Al-Qeuda’s ideology and the average citizen of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan’s ideology are totally different. Al-Queda wants Sharia Law etc. and the average citizen of these countries wants to live under a way more moderate ideology while having some say-so in their government. If Iraq works itself into a functioning Republic, which I think it will, then the rest of the Middle East will take care of itself as the general population of the rest of these countries will overthrow their dictators and install some sort of representative government. Iran did it (as a response to our inserting the Shah in power) and I feel the rest of the Arab world will too. Bottom line is we need to quit supporting dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, Yemen etc. etc. and practice what we preach. Supporting dictatorships undermines our moral credibility. We have a functioning Democracy in Afghanistan now so we need to let them take over. If they fail, it won’t be because we didn’t give them a chance to succeed. Afghans remember, “Freedom isn’t Free”!

  • Muhammad Akhtar

    I must say after researching about this guy ,I am now neither democrat nor Republican but I am officially Ronpublican .