Ron Paul Votes Against the Safety of Our Troops

To say that I am unhappy with Congressman and candidate for the Republican nomination for the Presidency of these United States of America, Ron Paul, would be a gross understatement.First some disclosure is in order on my part. I have said in this blog more than once that if I were to take one more step to the right (politically speaking), I would be a Libertarian.

In general I find Libertarians to be highly principled and moral people. I read, I subscribe to and, six of the blogs I follow every day are operated by Libertarians. Also, one of my collaborators here at CoF’s Guest Saturday is a Libertarian.

There is much that I admire about Ron Paul. His stand on monetary and fiscal policies are my stands as well. Ron Paul is a very principled man and he stands by his principles more than anyone else I know of in Congress. I know, that as a Libertarian, Dr. Paul believes that one should never be the first to use aggression. That is the stance that I think he has taken too far and the reason I am so upset with him today.

Yesterday I learned from this American Thinker article that, back in May, Congressman John Mica (R-Fl) offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Here is the amendment:

H.Amdt. 318: An amendment numbered 38 printed in House Report 112-88 to require that the rules of engagement allow any military service personnel assigned to duty in a designated hostile fire area to have rules of engagement that fully protects their right to proactively defend themselves from hostile actions.amending H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. (Source)

The amendment passed  260 to 160 and for that I am very pleased.  But what I am trying to understand is how anyone; be they liberal or progressive or moderate or conservative, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian could vote against this amendment. What moral grounds could they possibly have? the liberals and progressives I understand because in my opinion they have no moral values. But, eighteen Republicans voted against this amendment and one of them wants to be our President, Ron Paul.

Now, I have tried to  give Congressman Paul the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he voted against the amendment to satisfy his most ardent Libertarian followers while knowing full well that the amendment would pass anyway. But, this doesn’t square with what I think I know about the man. If there is anyone in Congress who does not play politics with his votes, it is Ron Paul.

With total sincerity, I would appreciate it if the Libertarians who are reading these words would tell me whether you agree or not with Ron Paul’s vote and if you do agree, could you please explain your rational.  I would really like to understand how any moral American could vote against this amendment to help protect our men and women in uniform. I can appreciate the Libertarians stance on war. I sometimes agree. But one doesn’t have to support a given war to support the well-being of our troops.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

65 thoughts on “Ron Paul Votes Against the Safety of Our Troops

  1. This is the problem that I have with Ron Paul. I think that he is mostly right on economics and mostly wrong on foreign policy and the security of this country.

    1. Show me the FULL text of your Amendment and I will tell you why Ron voted against it. Remember the “Patriot Act”? Not very patriotic was it? You are basing your conviction off a title name “save the puppies” but that does NOT necessarily mean it’s gonna save the puppies now does it? I don’t care HOW good the surface of a bill looks, you have to look at it in its entirety. There is probably a good reason 160 voted against it, but then again we may never know. If we could find the full text of the amendment maybe we could figure it out.

      1. In my comment, I was not really referring this particular amendment so much as Mr. Paul’s general attitude toward foreign policy, I personally disagree with his attitude toward Iran, Israel, the whole of his attitude toward Muslim Radicals, and his indifference and denial of any problems with them. I think that it is this kind of denying the reality of their hostility toward us, that gets us in trouble. I do not think that we should involve ourselves in most of the things that we are in, in this I do agree with him. However, Mr. Obama has put us in such increased risk with his attitude toward Muslim Radicals and his involvements in the Middle East and North Africa, that I think that to deny and minimize the danger because of the actions of Mr. Obama, is quite frankly, scary.
        We need a President that looks at the situation as a whole and recognizes it for what it is, not one who will deny that there is even any danger. And as far as Israel, I believe that they can take care of themselves quite well, but they are our ally, and they deserve the respect and support that we should offer all our allies. Mr. Obama has made a mockery of that, but Mr. Paul seems more inclined along the ideas of Mr. Obama that I can accept.

      2. Iran and nukes.

        So we are concerned about the ‘possibility’ of Iran getting a nuke? What did we do with North Korea when they were in the EXACT same position? What about India? What about China? What about ALL those missing high yield nukes from the collapse of Russia? And we’re concerned about the POSSIBILITY of Iran getting ONE nuke? Iran’s “Air Force” has NO strategic capability (just like their military), Iran is SURROUNDED by nukes, Iran can not produce enough oil for its own citizens or military to threaten the US in ANY credible way. The ONLY legitimate threat Iran offers is ‘duping’ the US into another unneeded/unnecessary war that will only quicken our insolvency. Wait…we already are insolvent.
        This whole ‘we gotta do something about Iran’ theory is nothing more than war mongering from the NeoCons, for their businesses.

        BTW I have a fleet of radio control planes in my basement…does that count as an “Air Force”?

    2. EXPLAINED… Why did Ron Paul vote ‘nay’ on Amndmt 318? Simple…
      Congress has NO say (or is not supposed to) over Rules of Engagement, it not Constitutional. ONLY our military leaders and the president determine ROE, NOT Congress…and usually the president buts out.
      There is a good reason for this…our forefathers did NOT want Congress tying the hands of our military with legislation and regulations. This is why Dr. Paul voted against the measure…because he didn’t want Congress dictating legislation/regulations to our military (thus binding our militaries hands) in time of war. This could be devastating.

      Hope that makes sense…sorry to hijack loopy.

  2. I can’t explain it, which is why I am not a hardcore libertarian. For example, I love but find Lew Rockwell’s blog detestable if not downright kooky.

  3. I am right there with you on this one and am looking forward to hearing what others, especially Libertarians, have to say. I also disagree with Libertarians on foreign policy and security many times, but do have a Libertarian that contributes to my blog as well. I think there is a lot we can work together on, and not working together will definatley set us up for defeat. I will not hesitate to vote for Ron Paul if he wins the nomination and have a great deal of respect for him for not running as a independent and screwing up the election. I also have a great amount of respect for his fiscal policy and as you put it, the fact he never plays politics. Great topic…I am looking forwad to hearing some explinations

    1. Shane, thank you so much for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I am hopeful that some of my Libertarian friends will share their thoughts with us also. I see that you are doing great work at your “The Bitter Americans” blog. I’m adding your site to my blogroll.

      1. Thank you. I have been working hard keeping the blog going and many times I don’t take enough time to read and comment on other peoples blogs. Yours is great and I have been skimming it for quite some time now…once I figure out how to better manage my time, you will hopefully see me around here more often.

      2. You’re very welcome, Shane. the more people who are willing to raise voices and share our common concerns, the better. In my opinion, we have have about 15 months to make our case with the electorate. We can do it! I am optimistic, which isn’t easy these days. You hang in there and keep up the good fight.

  4. Paul’s Iranian Nuclear Policy, or lack thereof, pretty much finished him with me. While it looks like we have a great chance at victory in 2012, the GOP slate at this point looks troublesome to me. Bill Bennett had Farnsworth on his program, who was talking about the art of rhetoric this morning. It is apparently a skill set which we have lost. Now politicians want to be part of the folks. Perhaps that is what I am looking for at this point. The art of making a cogent rebutal and the ability to inspire.

    1. I agree that Paul’s stance on Iran is naive. “The art of making a cogent rebuttal and the ability to inspire.” I like that. We need someone who can motivate and excite the conservative base as well as put the liberals in their place.

    2. Well, there is the rub. I come to exactly this same problem with Ron Paul. Good on fiscal and monetary policies, and then….he hits you with his ideas re: foreign policy and the military. In his defense, I honestly believe his heart is in the right place in that he feels our military is too stretched and we have meddled in places we should never have gone. I agree with him on those things. BUT, then he goes so far into isolationism that it becomes unrealistic. In a perfect world, we could withdraw from the rest of the world’s nasty corruption and aggression towards us. But we can’t, so Ron Paul’s position on this is wishful thinking. Nice to entertain those ideas…just not practical. Unfortunately. So most of us land in the Monroe Doctrine (albeit more globally now) and come to the “walk softly and carry a big stick” camp.

      “If wishes were horses” we might all be safer and our military could be used to defend us here at home only. We’d like to have that…but seems we can’t. We might also be concerned though that our dislike of Interpol being given carte blanche in the U.S. is how other countries feel about our military being involved in their internal affairs. Sovereignty must require some international respect for it. Just a thought.

  5. History is full of “principled” men that could not see further than their noses and did great harm to themselves and to their country.
    The shady part of “principle” is when it is often used to hide our real intentions, i.e., “I’m suing for 100 million dollars, but is not the money, is the ‘principle’ of it”.

    If I give him the benefit of the doubt on his intentions, he still comes short by making the good the enemy of the perfect in practically every issue.

    At Robbing America we just published the latest Ron Paul anecdote about refusing media and questions coverage in the O’Reilly show after complaining bitterly for weeks that he doesn’t get enough media coverage. This behavior makes me think twice; not to mention his “I wouldn’t have killed Osama Bin Laden”.

    A man like this in the presidency gives me the shivers.

  6. Thanks for inviting me over Jim. I am that Libertarian you speak of. I also read this piece on American Thinker. I don’t fault anyone for scratching their heads and asking, “What the hell was Ron Paul thinking?” I did too, when I read that American Thinker article.

    I need to use a metaphor here. Years ago on a search and rescue mission, we were reviewing the terrain we were going to search using a map. An old timer said that there was a drainage and an old miner’s shack at the top of that drainage. None of that showed on the map. This kicked off a back and forth. Sure enough, there was indeed a drainage and a shack. The point of this story? When confronted with contrary evidence, the old timer trusted his memory of the terrain rather than that of a tangible map. That is how I am viewing this AT article.

    Ron Paul uses common sense all of the time. The problem with this article is that Ron Paul gets no chance to defend his voting record which is absolutely transparent, predictable, and year after year he scores the absolute highest in conservatism. When you read this article it nearly forces you to assume that Ron Paul is some sort of idiot and indeed the writer throws his out with the liberals. All I ask anyone to do is to trust the terrain. If Ron Paul voted against this measure he had a justifiable and credible reason for doing so.

    One last example. Libertarians don’t believe in starting un-necessary wars. Paul has voted against funding and subsidizing the military in virtually every mid-east country. He is tired of wasting money we don’t have on wars we don’t need. When he opposes sponsoring Israel- he gets labeled anti semitic. Nothing is further from the truth. But for some reason, fear, out come the labelers. It’s the same with Obama. Criticize his poor performance and get labeled a racist.

    I am going to wait and see what Ron Paul’s website says about the AT article. You can trust the answer will make sense. That comes from following this guy for 15 years or so.

  7. Not much more to add… I certainly can’t defend Ron Paul’s views on foreign affairs. When I hear the Paulites speak about it, they remind me of leftists–divorced from reality. Bad people with malicious intent are in the world. They need no excuse and will use ANY excuse to do harm to others (and generally, to their own people). Targets number one and two for these types (aside from their own people) are the USA and Israel. To think that if we shrank back and just defended our own borders nothing bad in the rest of the world would affect us strikes me as naive at best.

    Certainly, there is absolutely no excuse for hamstringing soldiers in harms way with rules of engagement that put them in even more jeopardy.

    1. The military complex is in bed with the statists, the bankers, and the FED. They stay in power and remained employed. The contractors make bank. The FED finances wars and death. What could be wrong with a system like that? In exchange for your son’s life, they will give you a nice cotton flag. Call you a patriot.

      Please do not label us lefties. Nothing is more further from the truth.

      1. I didn’t call anyone a leftist… I said (basically) that not protecting our interests outside of our borders was naive and reminded me of the way leftists think about war and hard diplomacy.

        I didn’t say all war was good. I didn’t say there weren’t problems with military suppliers and the Pentagon. I didn’t say that there is no connection between big government and big military. I was referring to use of force in our interests when needed and, no, I don’t believe for a minute that every dollar spent is spent wisely and there’s no corruption, but I also don’t believe we have no moral or strategic interest in ANY war that isn’t washing up on our shores.

        The point was the “no war is worth fighting” (like Paul’s statement on Iranian nukes) is similar to (but not with the same reasoning) the leftist view. And I fully acknowledge that the libertarian reasoning is better and more grounded in something real than the leftists “kumbayah” (non)reasoning.

      2. The military industrial complex IS the Fed. This is something that escapes virtually all conservatives. There really is no distinction. Ron Paul is the only one who has a clue on how this operates and does not play along.

        He is not clueless on Iran, but knows more about what is going on there than these conservatives who prattle on about the danger. Look from what I’ve learned from history, specifically, the Bolshevik Revolution, is that these people are propaganda masters. They had this country petrified of communism through the 20th century while at the same time were funding communism, at first directly then through proxys. The ‘they’ I speak of are the Federal Reserve Banking Cartel that owns this nation. It’s so totally out in the open now. Pat’s right, there are bad people with malicious intent out there, but unless we wise up and realize that those that run the military and the intelligence community are not free agents working on our behalf, we will continue to send people off to die for nothing.

        A snapshot of the corruption: Do you actually believe that killed Osama and dumped his body in the ocean and the Seal team who could verify or not gets blown up the next month? I’ve seen Bugs Bunny cartoons with more believability.

        As to this amendment, “No text for this amendment is available on GovTrack”, so I can’t see what it specifically says. But I will say I sure don’t judge an amendment by its description. So many of our kooky laws have gotten though with these amendmends no one wants to be on record of being against – a psychological warfare technique. Ron Paul doesn’t play that game and has introduced H.R. 2613 to repeal the Gun-free school-zone act.

        Do you actually think that Ron Paul, supported by the troops more than any other candidate, wants them not to be able to defend themselves when he’s putting in a bill to allow schoolteachers to defend themselves on American soil?

  8. This is why I’m not a Libertarian. I do consider myself Libertarian-leaning, and I like much what Paul has to say on domestic fiscal issues. I don’t care much for legalization of heroin, which, I guess makes me not a Libertarian. Paul’s foreign policy ideas are a mess. I suppose, he has to sunny of idea about human nature. Evil exists, Iranian regime is evil… Not supporting the troops is despicable.

    1. Ron Paul is a Vietnam Veteran praised by Ronald Reagan himself for his support of the troops. The troops support Ron Paul because they know what he says about foreign policy is true.

      1. Ron Paul’s service record speaks for itself. I question his judgment today. I’m not sure what you mean by “the troops support Ron Paul”, but I suspect the military, like the rest of our country is not too keen, for instance, on allowing Iran go nuclear or has no opinion on Hisbullah.

      2. Of active duty military, Ron Paul receives more campaign money than all of the other Republican candidates combined is the metric I was using to measure his troop support. You also have the Ron Paul forums full of veterans and active-duty military. Because so many of them have been over there, they know the facts vs. the propaganda and they ain’t buying it. The troops I know say going into Iran would be complete bloodbath, but like Henry Kissinger, establishment Republican guru said,

        “In Haig’s presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as ‘dumb, stupid animals to be used’ as pawns for foreign policy.”

        — Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein, The Final Days, p. 208

      3. Nobody is proposing to go into Iran. Ron Paul believes that Iran should be allowed to go nuclear, and that Iran is not a threat, and that we should not apply sanctions.
        I doubt many in the armed forces think that Hisbullah and Hamas are just fine, as Paul apparently does.
        Even assuming that Ron Paul gets more campaign money from active duty military doesn’t mean that he gets more individual donors today. More money will flow in later on in the campaign. Ron Paul has very spirited followers, that we know.

      4. Ron Paul IS NOT a VIetnam Veteran. He is a veteran that served during the Vietnam War. He NEVER was in Vietnam. HUGE DIFFERENCE!!!!

  9. No doubt, Ron Paul isn’t the dream candidate. For one, he should stay out of these never ending and unwinnable wars on stage with fellow Republicans. So yes, there is room for improvement. That said, I am just not buying the idea that Ron Paul is naive. He certainly isn’t. He just sees the world through a specific constitutional libertarian lens. As he often says: “government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place”. In 1975, Ronald Reagan stated, “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism”. Ron Paul’s position on civil liberties and the patriot act shouldn’t be mistaken for naïveté, they are at the heart of his campaign for liberty.

  10. Let me say this as politely as I possibly can; Ron Paul is a f*cking MORON and his supporters are just as bad, maybe worse… Paul and the Paultards… God help us ALL if that old bastard runs as a 3rd party candidate, he will give Obama another term and America will be done for…

    1. Deep stuff, Fred. If Paul ran against Obama…Obama would lose. I believe that 38% approval rate will drop. I really don’t think it’s going to take much to beat Obama. In fact, as pointed out to me, I’m not sure Hillary won’t take a run at his weak ass. Really.

  11. I want to thank everyone who has commented today, but, I want to especially thank the Libertarians who shared their insights today. What I gather from the comments of the Libertarians is that Ron Paul is not naive at all and that he always has a sound reason for the positions he takes. Taking that at face value, it supports what I said once over at Frankenstein Government and that is that Ron Paul is his own worse enemy. He says things with some frequency that he must know are very disturbing to the very people he needs to vote for him. If he dose indeed have sound reasons for taking these positions, he needs to do a much better job of explaining the why. We conservatives are neither stupid nor close minded. If Ron Paul has a rational explication for his vote on this amendment, I for one would like to give him a fare hearing.

  12. I agree with you accessment of Ron Paul, I think that he is the one man who doesn’t play politics with his votes. He votes on every issue based on his true postion and I would say he did the same here. Like you I feel that I am thisclose to being a libertarian, but when Ron Paul says that it is okay for Iran to have nukes it makes it hard to vote for him. I understand what he is saying. that sovereign nations can do what is in their best interest, but there comes a tiem when the interests of another nation may threaten our nation and for Ron Paul to say Iran can have nukes? That is scary.

    1. Steve,
      I would point you to a recent Derbyshire post at NRO where he makes the point that Ron Paul’s position on Iran is not any different than any of the other candidates:

      “I just want to hear some explanation for the extravagant scorn being heaped on Dr. Paul for his Iran position when it is, in its actual effect, identical with the position of the other candidates, only more honestly presented.”

      This is because the only way you stop Iran from having nukes is do another full-scale ground occupation which we just can’t financially or logistically do, and everyone knows it, but it makes for exciting talk.

      Or as Doug Wead says:

      “Dr. Paul points out that Iran’s neighbors, China, Pakistan, Russia, and Israel all have nuclear weapons. And that Israel is well able to take care of itself. Thirty years ago, June 7, 1981, in Operation Opera, Israel took out Iran’s developing nuclear program. That was at time when American presidents were not dictating what Israel could or could not do.

      Paul would end American veto power of Israel and let them have its own foreign policy. He points out the absurdity of giving $ 3 billion of aid to Israel $12 billion to its avowed enemies. We are funding both sides.”

      Controlled conflict is the engine of tyranny.

      Thanks for this opportunity to hash things out.

      I bet there’s something fishy in that amendment for Paul Ryan to vote against it too. They like to hide the bad stuff under innocuous titles.

    2. He doesn’t wish for Iran to implement the 60 year old technology; but he understands that even if they do build a bomb; the 300 NUKES in Israeli hands should be enough to keep the Iranians from being stupid. It is easy to be persuaded by “fear” to hand over our money, lives and rights for a “great” cause….. Ron Paul doesn’t fall for the emotionalism…..

      1. I understand, but why did Paul ryan vote against it as a supposedly dyed-in-the-wool conservative? I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. It is a core libertarian belief that self-defense is an inalienable right. I really am not sure what to make of this whole thing.

  13. I really scratched my head when Ron Paul said he wouldn’t have gone after osama. It’s good to be principled, but if you are not willing to adapt or accept reality as it is, then you will end up doing something dangerously stupid.

    1. After 9/11, Ron Paul proposed a bill that would have issued a letter of Marque and Reprisal, allowing the military to go after Osama and Al-Qaeda. Instead, we went into massive ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But how did we end up killing him or the story of him in the end? By the technique of Marque and Reprisal. Ron Paul, right yet again.

      1. I will also add that Ron Paul serves on the House Committee for Foreign Affairs and on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. To act like he’s some idiot walking though the woods licking lollipops and singing Kum-bay-ya is nothing but an Establishment talking point/smear. Ron Paul is privy to intelligence that we don’t see and he knows his history regarding our involvement covert and otherwise in these countries.

        Crap, he was against the Iranian nuclear program when the United States was helping them build their reactors back int he ’70s and now the Establishment is trying to say he’s all about Iranian nukes? It would be comical if it weren’t so tragic.

  14. I do not know about the bill you are talking about here, but I do know that Ron Paul can always be counted on to put his principles before anything else–including the facts on the ground and, inevitably, the American people. I’ve spent to much of my life dealing with ideologues like him to have much patience for him and his kind.
    Whenever a person puts whatever -ism they believe in before the welfare of others, then they have started drinking Kool-Aid. Without having to deal with the real world and real world repercussions of their -isms, such people have the virtue of pure simplicity of ideas and theories. This makes them impossible to talk to–they will always be right. No matter what they believe, somewhere in the universe or in some parallel existence, there will be a logical consistency to their ideas that cannot be rebutted, even when the reality before them is contrary to all they believe.

  15. After looking into this a little further, I want to point out that Republicanmother is correct that there is no text of the amendment available. We have no idea what the combat veteran Ron Paul voted against. This entire debate has been about an abstract notion that Ron Paul – as well as Paul ryan, by the way – doesn’t want to allow our troops to defend themselves. In other words, this is about as relevant as debating whether we should establish a wildlife sanctuary for unicorns.

    What I have learned from this debate, however, is the level of scorn that so-called conservatives have for libertarians. Many, including some commenting here, have called for a libertarian-conservative alliance to unseat Obama. At the same time many of these same conservatives launch into vitriolic commentary regarding libertarian positions on issues, and in this case, we have no idea what the position of one particular libertarian – Ron Paul – might be because we don’t even know what he voted against.

    What I take from this is that conservatives want libertarians to vote for a conservative candidate, but will take every opportunity to deride a libertarian candidate, including creating imaginary issues on which to impale Dr. Paul.

    Some here have derided standing by principle in favor of practicality. Well, we have seen what so-called practicality gives us. Conservative “practicality” gave us Sarbanes-Oxley, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, TSA, an unfunded war in Iraq based on the myth of WMDs and an al Qaeda presence, a devalued dollar to increase exports, and record deficits. Just as Democrats like to blame Bush, Republicans are now blaming Obama. I did my own analysis, and if Obama and crew had not added a single dime to the budget, we would still have a trillion dollar deficit, thanks to the GOP, baseline budgeting, and the Baby Boom retirement.

    So if this is going to be an across-the-board attack on Ron Paul, which it has become, as a libetarian father of a 4-year-old, I would like to thank conservatives for colluding with liberals to form the one-party Republicrat system that has flushed our nation down the toilet.

    1. I would agree that some of the comments have been out of line but certainly not all. I also agree that there may be more to this amendment than we know. I knew this was a problem when I wrote the post. Because I don’t have much insight into Ron Paul, I invited my Libertarian friends to help shed some light on this subject and several did a very good job of that. But, as I read this comment from you, CT, I see the same vitriol that you are accusing the conservatives of doing. Coming from you, I find this surprising. It seems that you are saying the Dr. Paul is beyond repute and no one, especially conservatives, has a right to question his actions. I do not believe that you believe this. Yes, it is true that I believe that Conservatives and Libertarians are stronger together than apart.

      1. My apologies. Ron Paul definitely is not beyond criticism. If, in fact, troops will not be authorized to defend themselves when under attack as the description of the amendment suggests, and there are no other provisions attached, then I am vehemently opposed to his vote. I also think the rate at which he would like to draw down troops around the world would have a nasty destabilizing effect. There are many areas where I criticize his positions – not to mention the fact that I think he is a lousy communicator of difficult concepts to ordinary voters.

        As far as vitriol goes, I’ve gone back and read my comment several times, and I don’t see it. Passion, perhaps, but not vitriol. No capital letter yelling, no f-bombs, or any of that sort of thing. The “flushing down the toilet” comment was probably the worst, but I think I defended the statement fairly well by listing a series of policies implemented by conservatives in recent years that have helped get us into the mess we’re in.

        Again, if I went too far, Jim, I apologize. You have a wonderful blog and I enjoy our debates both when we agree and when we do not. You are correct that conservatives and libertarians are stronger together, which is something I’m accomplishing at the local level here in Ohio.

      2. I can’t tell you how relieved I am by your response, CT. If I misjudged your message, I too apologize.
        Today the Libertarian movement is maybe smaller and less influential than the conservative movement, however, I believe that the Libertarians could have a greater voice and influence inside the Republican Party than on their own. I know that the Libertarian movement is growing and I would not be surprised if Libertarians became the dominant voice in the Republican Party in the not so distant future. Just thinking…

  16. As follower of Ron Paul’s political philosophy, I would like to give my approximation of what the “no” vote on this amendment means. As a side note, I’m the libertarian that regularly contributes to The Bitter Americans with Shane, and I was directed to your article from our own “Thursday Night Links.”

    The bill in question would “require that the rules of engagement allow any military service personnel assigned to duty in a designated hostile fire area to have rules of engagement that fully protects their right to proactively defend themselves from hostile actions.” First, everyone knows that Ron Paul is a very strict constitutionalist. From what I understand, his “no” vote may be attributed to his constitutionalist philosophy.

    What you see, and many other people see when looking at a law like this, is just the idea. The idea – let the troops defend themselves. I guarantee you, Ron Paul, supports the IDEA whole heartedly. The “problem” with the legislative process, in order to maintain proper checks and balances of power, is that the IDEA must be executed within these boundaries. With that said, you MUST ask the question:

    Does Congress have the authority to dictate the rules of engagement for the military?

    Even though the Presidential War Powers Act has bastardized the system, what is supposed to happen is that after Congress authorizes and declares war, the Commander in Chief takes over. Where war is declared, the President then takes on the full military and executive power of the nation in waging war – thus the title, Commander in Chief. The President determines matters of military strategy, tactics, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, how resources are deployed, and whether and when hostilities will end.

    I don’t quote Alexander Hamilton often, but “Of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand. The direction of war implies the direction of the common strength; and the power of directing and employing the common strength forms a usual and essential part in the definition of the executive authority.” It is my opinion, that the rules of engagement are to be determined on a macro level by the Commander in Chief, and at the micro level by our military commanders.

    “I would really like to understand how any moral American could vote against this amendment to help protect our men and women in uniform.” This statement is exactly the result of what happens when politicians hi-jack a popular opinion, present it as legislation to their constituents and the media in this level of depth, then push it through congress even though it oversteps their authority and the balance of power. This craps on the very boundaries and processes set forth in the constitution. Legislation has become a soap box for our politicians to grand stand on and build up a ‘resume’ to present to the voters come election season. At the same time, it is used to unjustly defame the one Congressman who actually gives a #%*! about your Constitution, the legislative process, and the restrictions of powers of the government.

    Even with the handful of “Paultards,” “Paulites,” and “*$&^#%$ moron” comments, I’ve tried to make a pretty reasonable case. But to those commenters, I just want to say that to simplify a group of people you don’t understand by labeling them with a denigrating title so it’s easier for you to sort them out in your mind, doesn’t progress the discussion, and it doesn’t give you the disposition you should aim for as being a thoughtful and intelligent conservative.

    1. Yes!!! I thank you and I thank Shane for directing you here. This is the kind of response I was hoping for from a Libertarian. Your comment helps me tremendously to understand where Ron Paul is coming from. But, I can’t entirely let Ron Paul or any of the others that voted against this amendment off the hook. If as you say, Ron Paul is a strict constitutionalists, that doesn’t excuse him or anyone else for ignoring reality. The reality is that we as a nation, when it comes to war, ran off that constitutional track years ago starting with the “police action” in Korea. Ever since our Congress has abdicated their constitutional authority to declare war and our Presidents have pretty much taken us to war at will. The unconstitutional “War Powers Act” was a sham way for Congress to take back some of their constitutional authority. So, because we ran off the constitutional track years ago, I see little justifiable reason to use the constitution as an excuse not to vote for this amendment.
      Jim, thank you again for your thoughtful comment. I really do appreciate it.

  17. As you say, our government has been derailed from being on track with the constitution for some time now. Ron Paul is rather hard headed when it comes to his guiding principles and constitutionality. If you’re looking for someone who goes with the flow of the current course of government, Ron Paul is not your guy. In his mind, he swore an oath to the Constitution, and from what I see, is one of the few politicians who actually takes that seriously. Rather than adapting his philosophy to the changes of the times (often the excuse liberals use for discrediting the Constitution), he is try to put us back on the right track. I appreciate the integrity he displays when he votes down something so incredibly popular such as this, something that would be so easy just to “go with the flow” on and avoid this kind of controversy. It makes conversations such as this happen, when people look at the votes and ask… hmm…why did he do that?

  18. Instead of speculating – just ask him….. I’m sure it has something “stupid” to do with the silly constitution, rule of law, or individual rights. Don’t wait for an answer though, it is much better to make up something and follow your Bush Clones. I’ve pulled the lever straight republican for 25 years (primaries, locals and general elections) – Other than Newt or Ron Paul; the field is full of fools…..

    1. Here at Conservatives on Fire and at all of the conservative blogs I follow, we try our best to vet every candidate; be that Romney, Bachmann, Perry, or Paul. I don’t have a direct line to Ron Paul, which is why I invited Libertarians to help shed some light on why Ron Paul voted the way he did on this amendment. Several Libertarians did just that and it was very helpful. You, Kevin, are not among them. By your own admission, you were a blind shallow thinking voter for 25 years and it appears nothing has changed. Your preferred candidate can do no wrong and no one should dare to question his actions. But, don’t feel bad, the conservative movement has its share of blind shallow thinkers as well.

  19. I am in full agreement with you, Jim. I like Ron Paul’s view on the Fed and on economics but I disagree with him when it comes to foreign policy. He claims that he is not isolationist but I disagree. His position on foreign policy is too utopian for me. His vote goes against our troops and that is abhorrent IMO. But, maybe he is so stuck in his “principles” or beliefs in thinking that the troops should come home that he won’t vote for anything to do with the wars/military actions because that might alienate his hard core libertarian base? I don’t know….

    Teresa (Teresamerica)

    1. With the possible exceptions of Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, I’ve never heard of any American that likes war. But, what people like Paul seem to ignore is that there are bad people and bad governments in this world. And, bad people and bad governments do bad things.
      Thanks for your comment, Teresa.

  20. Random thoughts after reading the post and comments …

    As I read you post, the first thing that popped into my head was “What is the language of the whole bill, and what was attached?” It’s never as cut and dry as the American Thinker author wants us to believe, no matter who we’re talking about. For example, the Employee Free Choice Act has nothing to do with choice or being free. And the PATRIOT Act, far from being patriotic one could easily argue, is treasonous.

    Without looking into it at all on my own, I think Jim provided a reasonable answer.

    Principled … Do you teach your children not to be principled? Is being an unprincipled Christian something to aspire to? Is a lack of principle the key to success? Why, then, do we praise politicians for lack of principle? Isn’t it fair to sa that’s what’s got us into this mess?

    Conservatives have to make a choice: Foreign wars or domestic economic recovery coupled with more liberty. No candidate offers both. They can’t. It’s impossible. We get one or the other. The choice is yours.

    Derbyshire is right. Short of a massive invasion of Iran, it’s utopian grand-standing to pretend “we” can stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Pretending that “we” are the “deciders” is ridiculous.

    Speaking of utopianism … Isn’t the progressive idea of (yes, progressive) “spreading democracy” down the barrel of a gun a utopian fantasy? Sounds a lot like Marx’s “permanent revolution” if you ask me.

    Nobody, I repeat, nobody could successfully conquer the United States. Period. The logistics are mind-boggling alone. The only way Sharia or communism or any of that crap takes hold in America is from within.

    Losers in a war change the lifestyles and traditions. Winners continue and expand theirs. The War on Terror has changed our American traditions and lifestyles drastically. My 69-year old mother gets molested at the airport and conservatives who used to hate the state now worship their “commander-in-chief.”

    I supported the current wars for many years, but the constant lies wore me down. But what really got me, and I’ve written about this on my blog, was the slimy vitriol spewed at fellow Americans who were against the war. It bothered me deeply. Same goes for all the “Paultards,” “Paulites,” and “*$&^#%$ moron” crap. A little snark is fun. Name-calling is pathetic.

    Ron Paul is the only liberty candidate out there. Oh, we wish there were more, but there’s not. When people attack Paul dishonestly and/or resort to name-calling, people like myself don’t hear (or read) an attack on a politician, but an attack on our personal liberty itself. So excuse us for not lying down helplessly as conservatives ridicule that very thing they claim to want, but that we are actually committed … liberty.

    It’s time for conservatives to put up or shut up. You either “miss GWB” or want limited gvernment. You can’t have it both ways.

    Who is this guy? Doesn’t he have his own stinkin’ blog? 😯

  21. The reason Paul voted against it (I believe, I haven’t heard his explanation), is because it is the Commander in Chief who decides what the rules of engagement, not the Congress.

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