If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, Washington’s Syria policy is a textbook case of abject lunacy. Just as the Syrian government has ISIS on the run in eastern Syria, the US is shipping more weapons to its “moderates” who are fighting against the Syrian government.
Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. The co-host today is Daniel McAdams and Daniel good to see you.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.
Ron Paul: We want to revisit a strategic part of the world we are concerned about, of course that is the Middle East, in particular Syria. It’s been a couple of months now that there was some agreement that there would be peace talks and a cease-fire and the Russians tried to promote this and try to set the stage for this and they took an exit from Syria, but promised that if things get bad they may be back and we agreed to the cease-fire, but cease-fires are not always well-intended, they are strategically committed on each side and they maybe have a breathing space to get themselves in better position.
I am sure that has gone on both sides, but there is more than both sides in this thing. We have the Syrian government, we have the rebels who want to get rid of them and there is several factions there and they go and come, then we have the Russian government, we have the US government, we have the Turkish government, we have the Saudi government going on.
So, my guess is that this cease-fire hasn’t moved us closer to peace, permanent peace, but there’s articles now and hints now that it’s getting ready to explode again, that we maybe never stop sending weapons and we maybe getting ready to send a lot more. So, where do we stand on that, is there any hope under today’s conditions in our current foreign policy of seeing peace breaking out very soon in Syria?
Daniel McAdams: The cease-fire was very specifically targeted, it was the Syrian government and also those rebels who were not considered a terrorist group, that would mean ISIS and Al-Qaeda’s affiliate, the Al-Nusra Front. They were not part of the cease-fire, that means that they were fair game and they would also attack the Syrian government at the same time. The problem has been that the so-called moderates were part of the cease-fire, have increasingly integrated there themselves into the Al-Nusra Fronts fighting structures and even Mark Toner, the State Department’s Spokesman admitted a few weeks ago that there is a intermingling going on between the moderates and the Al-Nusra Front.
We decided to talk about this, because we both read the Wall Street Journal article yesterday, US readies plan B to arm Syrian rebels. The article is quite remarkable because it demonstrates and we’ve seen it elsewhere that throughout this cease-fire the US has taken the opportunity to provide a lot of arms to the so-called moderates, 3,000 tons by one estimation. The logic is insane. They are readying a whole new shipment, but they only will be available if the cease-fire fails, they will give these weapons to the rebels. That is like telling a kid you only get a cookie if you don’t eat your broccoli, the kid is not going to eat it.
Ron Paul: I bet our industries have already manufactured and they have already sold them out. It’s difficult for me to keep up with all the factions, because some days ISIS is up and Al-Qaeda is down and some days Al-Qaeda is up and ISIS is down and sometimes they are both together. I can imagine a lot of people, even those that watch this program, they keep up with this. You can’t help but get a little bit confused, but I think there is a good reason and an excuse for some of the confusion when you understand that the CIA backs one faction of rebels and the Pentagon backs another. I mean, how can anything so absurd come up like that. I think people that are informed will say that doesn’t surprise me, they are just in the business of chaos and agitation and pragmatism, but the goal is always to usher in a fair democratic state and get rid of the particular leader that they don’t like.
But, how in the world could they get by with this where one hand of the government doesn’t even know what the other hand is doing and they are on two different sides and we wonder why we are not doing so well.
Daniel McAdams: It’s even worse than that actually. A couple of weeks ago, the CIA rebels were actually fighting the Pentagon rebels. It really descends into the theater of the absurd. But, the problem is that the CIA and the Pentagon have two different agendas in Syria. They really are at odds with the Pentagon and we’ve talked about this and we almost made a joke about the Pentagon’s program only trained a small number of rebels at a huge expense, but the Pentagon has been more diligent about vetting these rebels and they have thrown out a lot who have sympathized with terrorism. The CIA is not bound on such daylight shone upon their covert actions, so they have actually provided, I would say the CIA agenda is definitely not anti-ISIS, it is primarily anti-Assad and I think that is evident by the kinds of weapons they have provided.
They have provided tow missiles, which are only effective against the Syrian government’s tanks. The manpads, the shoulder-fired missiles, which they shot two Syrian Air Force planes over the past couple of weeks and even the Soviet era grad rockets which are used to fight against the Syrian army, so the types of weapons I think tells us a lot about where the CIA is focused and the Pentagon has a different agenda.
Ron Paul: The CIA is more part of the deep state, nobody really knows what’s going on with them and I think that is part of the problem. The Pentagon is supposed to be more transparent, but it’s just about close to insanity what we are doing there. But, there have been some good writers, Van Buren in particular points out, when did this all start, has it been going on for a long time? Out intervention has been going on for a long time, we’ve been intervening too often for too long and some people date this back a hundred years. Why did we intervene even in the Spanish-American war, but in recent times, they say that the real introduction to this failed policy that we are suffering from right now really came up in 2003, even though there were a lot of things that we were doing wrong before that, the Persian Gulf War and the bombing and all these things have led up to it, but the claim is the 2003 invasion.
Thousands and thousands of troops to bring order to this region has created this and the one thing that those who oppose us philosophically will never concede, never even entertain the idea that, what were conditions like before we were really involved over versus what has happened since. I think there has always been some jihadists out there, waiting for the day to wake up the radicals, just as there are some people who believe in the Christian Crusades and using force. But, the history is so clear. Where was the Al-Qaeda, where was the ISIS before we got involved? There has to be this motivation. It’s the same way, the refuse to look at this whole idea of blowback. It can’t possibly be related to our policies. They say it can’t possibly be, this is a religious thing and this is because they believe that we are free and prosperous and then they go to fight.
I don’t think many people are thinking about those issues when they are in these militias shooting at each other and trying to get rid of Assad.
Daniel McAdams: I think we’ve talked about it earlier, that Buren and a lot of writers have traced the origin of ISIS to a particular prison in Iraq where the US dumped a lot of the Saddam Hussein’s government. They dumped them in there and I think anyone with half a brain would understand how dangerous it is, these guys had enjoyed all the perks of political power and all of a sudden they are in a really awful prison and they are all hanging out with each other. Could you imagine them not plotting? Here is a way we can get back to power. It is so absurd.
We are in the midst of real revisionism about what actually happened in the Middle East, because for example Hillary Clinton said this past week ISIS’s rise is only due to the fact that Assad left a vacuum in his country. What leader would purposely say I am going to give a bunch of my power so that this radical terrorist group would come in. It’s just so foolish, but of course the media repeats it.
Ron Paul: Back to this prison issue. I think it’s been a great motivator, especially when it turned out, when the pictures were shown about the humiliation and the way they were treated. They were suspects, they were never, everybody in this country said they are criminals, they are the ones who committed these crimes. It’s never been that they were suspects and they had to be captured and arrested. but, we had Abu Ghraib and we had Guantanamo and pictures were shown and this was a strong motivator.
But, even if we conceded, which I will not concede to those who say that torture on a rare occasion can be very useful, so therefore if we torture 5,000 people, but we will get information. They justify it. Even if you set that aside and say that just being there, getting involved illegally and then having these prisons and see what has happened here as a motivator. It’s just tremendous for influencing young people who are sick and tired of what is going on and some of the people who see the abuse and the unfairness of so many innocent people being killed and how many civilians were killed in Iraq, not a thousand or two, hundreds of thousands.
Daniel McAdams: Maybe a million.
Ron Paul: Yeah. So, they will not look at it, they will not question policy. That to me is the only thing that can happen, so the one individual, think about what Van Buren said, what if we ask the candidates more about, he stated that all the candidates with now, everybody wants to fight, fight, fight and kill them all and that will solve the problem. But, what if there is a chance, I think there is a big chance, that what we are doing is making things worse, worse for us, worse for the people, worse for the cause of peace and yet nobody dare answer that, because then you are a wimp, you are un-American and you are not supporting the troops and all that non sense and yet all the failure, all the troops, all the money and all the deaths up until now, so what are they going to do? Are we having a change in our policy or do you think there is a reactivation of more militarism?
Daniel McAdams: It really is like the classic definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yet another program to deliver weapons. A couple of weeks ago the Pentagon announced yet another program to train rebels, they are going to keep doing the things that haven’t worked and hope to have a different result. But, you said something earlier that struck me, how people feel in these countries and the death and the mayhem and losing family members.
That is horrible, but even on a lesser level, think about even if Assad was not a great guy, not the greatest democrat in the world, people had a normal routine in their lives, they lived relatively normal lives where they went to their work, they went to church, they did what they do, they visited their families, all this has been completely disrupted, so even people personally not touched by death, found their entire world turned upside down. We’ve never had to experience that in this country and people are so hesitant to put themselves in the shoes of others. What would it be like if everything you have known your whole life is suddenly completely disintegrated.
Ron Paul: And, of course, they are using what is going on over there, because there is plenty of abuse of Christians now because of the conflict, but did they ever ask the question under Saddam Hussein or under Assad, under the Iranian Ayatollah, were all the Jews and the Christians abused? No, it comes for the motivation for us to go over there and even more so are the very things that came about after we got there, but that is unacceptable. No, it’s innate, they will find something to say, this is what they are dedicated to, the destruction and the killing of all Christians.
Daniel McAdams: They just liberated a village in Syria that had been a Christian village that was occupied by ISIS and they discovered a mass grave of Christians, so obviously under ISIS this is not a paradise, but what is really telling and it’s actually disgusting is when the Syrian army with the help of the Russians retook Palmira, which had been occupied by ISIS, remember they blew up all of these ancient artifacts, when they finally liberated them, there was several press conferences where they were trying to get the Spokesmen of the State Department and the Pentagon to admit that at least the Syrian government is in a better control of this than ISIS and they refused to do it. In fact, the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said it’s like going from the frying pan into the fire, from ISIS back to the Syrian government, which for all of its faults, did not have mass graves of Christians. Nobody’s even suggested that they even had that.
Ron Paul: The theoretical question that should be asked to all the candidates is what are you going to do now? Everybody has committed themselves to destroying ISIS, but what if the quickest way to destroy ISIS is to destroy the incentive, of course we change our policy. Even that isn’t acceptable in the debate, because they will come along and you’ll hear this, they say they didn’t have an end game, I argued for the case, we are going in there and we have to have an end game, total victory, send in 500,000, 300,000 is not enough. So, it’s always a technical thing, it’s not that there is no end game.
But, it turns out that if anybody could learn anything about Vietnam, a little country, a third world country, we had over 500,000 people there and lost over 60,000 Americans died there and killed a million Vietnamese and the end game, well we didn’t have a good end game. We didn’t have a good entry game, that is the problem, what are we going in there for and they said we have got to get rid of these bad guys. They have no concept of the idea that the current government may be better than what you are going to suggest.
If there is imperfections there to assume that our government and our allies going in there and more disrupting it, because they are not exactly the kind of, they don’t solve their problems that they value civil liberties, that we go in there. If we are concerned about civil liberties, my answer to that is let’s deal with the abuse of civil liberties here in this country and then maybe somebody would want to emulate us. But, we don’t have a very good record ourselves and I think that is the big problem.
Daniel McAdams: Over the weekend President Obama was asked about what is his biggest regret while he was in office, what does he think his biggest mistake was and this just demonstrates how little anyone has learned, even the Nobel Peace Prize winner said my biggest regret, my biggest mistake was not planning for the day after the Libya attack. Instead of not doing it in the first place, not planning for the day after and nation building and rebuilding.
Ron Paul: He should have called Hillary or read her emails, he could have found out. One more before we close and that has to do with Russia. Russia’s involved here, they were always a little bit involved and they got involved very much and they thought they improved things, they were working for a cease-fire and they are around there, they are not going to walk away from this. What do you think the odds are that they are going to be back? Do you think that the conditions are going to deteriorate, are we going to see the Russians bombing again? I wonder what the odds are of that happening, because that is going to be bad, because there is these weapons now, shoulder held missiles and they can shoot down airplanes and this has already been done. This could really just get out of control.
Daniel McAdams: Apparently, the Russians have brought in, not to get too far in the weeds, but the Russians have brought in some helicopters that have some decent jamming technology, to jam the electronics of these missiles. That may be one of the reasons why they pulled some of these planes out, which may be more vulnerable to them. I would guess, just from looking at past Russian behavior, that they are going to be hesitant to come back in full force. I think that they feel that they have achieved what mission they want. I think there will be tactical strikes like they continue to do against Al-Qaeda and mostly ISIS. But, I have a hard time believing that they will come back in full force, unless things really go down and it looks like Assad is back on the ropes.
Ron Paul: That certainly would be better than all out war, but the big question is what are we going to do? Do you think we are going to back off? Hardly. We are not likely to back off, we are sending more weapons in there, because the foreign policy remains the same, it’s a military foreign policy of intervention, it’s based on the assumption that we are responsible for the world at large, that we are the policeman of the world and chaos would break out if we weren’t there to bring about order and all you have to do is look at the history, look at the Middle East, chaos follows our interventions. But, it has not served our benefits, it cost a lot of money, it cost a lot of lives and it cost a lot of friendships.
I just think as we get ourselves into a much deeper economic crisis, the so-called friends and allies that we have, won’t be so close. As a matter of fact, I think some of the people of some of the countries that are our close allies, whether they are German allies or French allies or British allies, that the people are probably closer to what we are talking about and yet the governments are the ones who get us into all this trouble. So, someday we should wake up and if they are looking for a suggestion on what to do, how to extricate ourselves from that, face up to it, do what we did in Vietnam, admit we made a horrible, horrible mistake and stop the killing and bring our troops home and yet the odds of that happening aren’t very good.
I am afraid this is going to linger, they don’t have an exit strategy. Hopefully, some day, we will have a generation that will grow up in this country that will say it makes a whole lot of sense to have a non-interventionist military policy and work toward friendship with all nations and trade with all nations and that good things could come out of it. The good things would be peace and prosperity.
I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.
News Anchor: How is foreign policy dictated in the United States? Well, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. constitution, Congress alone has the power to declare war. The president only has the power to direct the military once war has been declared. But Congress has all but relinquished that authority, relegating the power to bomb and invade countries to the president under the influence of the military-industrial complex. Although the people have stood up against war, most notably against the Iraq war in the early 2000s and early on during the conflict in Syria, the momentum seems to keep going towards more and more and more war. Why is this? Well, earlier today we sat down with former U.S. Congressman and host of The Ron Paul Liberty Report, Dr. Ron Paul, to get at the root of the drive towards incessant war by the United States. We first asked him about what the CIA is now terming our “Plan B” to arm and supply Syrian rebels.
Ron Paul: Well, it’s pretty amazing that they call it Plan B, but it’s just more of what they’ve being doing all along. I guess they’re inept at learning anything from their past mistakes, because they’re just continuing to do the same things that have caused the chaos in the Middle East. They broke up the country of Iraq, and now they’re breaking up Syria, they’re messing around with Ukraine, they messed around and messed up Afghanistan and Libya. So it’s all this obsession with interference, and some of them, I guess, talk themselves into thinking they’re doing good work, they’re making the world safe for democracy. Others say that it’s nothing more than a contrivance to subsidize the military-industrial complex, and others believe that it is our moral responsibility to take care of the world.
It’s probably a mixture of all those things, but one thing for sure is they’re getting no common sense from all the mistakes they’ve made, and now we’re in a situation in Syria where we have allies that are being supported by the CIA, fussing with and fighting with allies on the rebel side that are supported by the Pentagon. So our foreign policy makes no sense whatsoever. Hopefully, the American people will wake up before it’s too late.
Tyrel Ventura: It definitely doesn’t make any sense, and one of the things I fear when you see things like that particularly in Syria, is are we marching into another type of Iraq or Vietnam situation. There are U.S. boots on the ground there, contrary to what their reports are. Are we venturing into another Vietnam if we let this get out of control?
Ron Paul: I think we’re very close to that, I’m afraid it could get a little worse, because in Syria we have to consider the fact that the Russians have taken a very specific position on this. They’ve been involved, they have their base there, they have their personnel there, even though they’ve taken out some of the air force. They have promised that if push comes to shove, they’ll be back. I think what we need to do is revisit the catastrophe of Vietnam and how it was finally ended. We finally had to admit that we lost the war, and we left, and since then we’ve been on much better relationships with Vietnam and we’re getting along with them and trading with them. But, right now, there’s no indication that we’ve learned one single thing from them.
But that’s eventually going to be the solution, even though right now we have several candidates, everyone of them has a more aggressive policy. They say, they will be the ones that take care of ISIS, never really ever considering the fact that maybe our foreign policy in the Middle East from 2003 onwards, especially since we went into Iraq, is that we created Al-Qaeda and we created ISIS. So as long as they are in total denial, or they work very hard to hide the truth, we’re going to continue to get deeper and deeper into this mess until we will leave under very dire conditions, and that will be probably with the bankruptcy of this country, just as the Soviets had to leave Afghanistan.
Tyrel Ventura: Great point.
Female News Anchor: Moving to Ukraine, you recently wrote about the U.S. interventionist policy towards Ukraine, however, many still believe that the U.S. involvement in the Maidan Revolution was just pure conspiracy theory. What part do you believe that the U.S. played in that revolution?
Ron Paul: Well, I think they were very much involved in getting rid of the elected leader and sending him on his way to Russia. So, yes, I think it’s pretty well admitted that that was the case, they have a tape recording of our ambassador and our representative there discussing how they’re going to get rid of this guy. We were pro NATO, pro EU and pro military-industrial complex, we didn’t like who was in [05:07 ??], we weren’t satisfied, so we were in the business of getting rid of this dictator. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re very involved. But people who are on the other side of this issue would say, “It’s not really a coup, we’re just helping out in a desperate situation”. But it was a coup, we got rid of a leader that we didn’t like and made the conditions much worse, and it’s still total chaos in Ukraine, and it’s probably going to get a lot worse.
Female News Anchor: Dr. Paul, I wonder what are your thoughts on this, why do you think it’s so easy for the American public to accept the situation in Syria, that it’s very open that the U.S. government wants to overthrow Assad, why do you think that’s so easy for everybody to digest? But it seems so impossible that we would be involved somehow in Ukraine in the same manner?
Ron Paul: I think it’s the power of the propaganda machine, they’re very efficient. Because if you take a poll, like we did before Obama said that he wanted to start bombing Assad. Before he started bombing Assad, the people didn’t want it, the Congress didn’t want it. The people were against going into Iraq. But then the propaganda machine gets busy. It’s the government officials, it’s the announcements, and it’s the collusion that they have with the major media. They hear it incessantly, and they have to tell people that there’s a great danger out there, there’s a lot of fear, we’re going to be attacked, and if you don’t support it, you’re un-American and you don’t care about your country and you don’t care about the safety of the American people. They hear this incessantly until they change their minds. Most citizens are probably more apathetic than they should be and they only listen to it when the propaganda gets hot and heavy about this great danger they feel.
The large majority of the American people now think the greatest danger we face is ISIS, and yet, when you look at the real danger, it’s minor compared to the dangers of living in our inner-cities or the dangers of our war on drugs and whatever. And then they refuse, of course, to accept the fact that the danger that we do face from radicals comes as a consequence of our foreign policy. They ridicule those of us who even talk about blowback, and yet, that is very, very real and there’s reason … If the American people could only put themselves in the shoes of the people who are on the receiving end of our bombs and drones, they might understand this. But when I made those statements in the presidential campaign, I would get booed for this. Yet, now if a candidate says, “Well, I’ll take care of ISIS, we’ll carpet bomb this country and that country”, and if there’s a Christian audience there, he’ll be cheered for that.
So it is the propaganda, who controls the propaganda makes all the difference in the world. That’s why, hopefully we can break that monopoly control of information with Internet programming and independent thinking, rather than depending on the government to tell us the truth, because we’re making progress there. 70% of the people don’t believe in our government, and that’s very good. And they’re getting a little bit annoyed with the media, but unfortunately, if they want to build up fear in the people, they’re still pretty successful at doing that.