It’s bad enough that mainstream conservatives like Gov. Sarah Palin and Erick Erickson have endorsed Ron Paul’s son Rand in Kentucky’s Senate race. But now that two more major conservative leaders—Dr. James Dobson and Sen. Jim DeMint—have done the same, the Right should be very troubled by the mainstreaming of the Paul family’s near-total abandonment of America’s national defense.
In particular, both Pauls might as well be de facto press secretaries for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The national defense page on Rand’s website only mentions Iran once, calling it “a serious threat” in this ad, but not saying what he’d do about it. Campaigning for his father in 2008, however, Rand said that “our national security is not threatened by Iran having one nuclear weapon,” (hat tip: Lisa Graas) and defended their pursuit of nukes, blaming America for tension between the two nations:
He [Ron] thinks the buildup for war with Iran’s already begun, and all the discussion of saying they’re responsible for a lot of these weapons—there haven’t been any congressional hearings, there’s been no [inaudible] knowledge other than people claiming these are Iranian weapons.
Unfortunately, the “people claiming” Iran is giving weapons to America’s enemies happen to be the Pentagon. Given what we know both about Iran’s generosity with conventional weapons and their desire for nuclear ones, no politician can responsibly ignore the very real possibility that Iran would share whatever nuclear weapons it develops with jihadist groups. That Rand downplays the threat is, at best, a sign of deadly naiveté.
The other point is, that Iran feels threatened because we got troops in Iraq, and we have troops in Afghanistan, and we don’t wanna say the guy isn’t a, I think, loose cannon, their president, but we don’t want to—we have to understand their perspective that they feel threatened.
Sure, that must be the answer—it can’t possibly have anything to do with Ahmadinejad’s stated desire to destroy Israel, his jihadist sympathies, or a good old-fashioned desire for power. Nope, they’re obviously terrified of the country that couldn’t even stand up for Iran’s disenfranchised voters, and the president who downplayed the Iranian threat on the campaign trail, who has bent over so far backwards to appease them that he released the “Irbil Five,” Iranian commanders responsible for hundreds of American deaths (presumably using those weapons that didn’t really come from Iran), and who didn’t object to Iran’s seat on the UN Women’s Rights Commission.
Rand is, of course, following in the footsteps of his crackpot father. In 2007, Ron claimed that the U.S. government was going to manufacture a phony crisis that would give them an excuse to invade Iran. As Ace (of Spades HQ) observed, Ron had no problem suggesting “that the US will phony up a fake attack by Iran on our troops (probably killing Americans, as we may have done on 9/11) in order to have a pretext to bomb the mullahs,” ensuring that “if Iran actually does fire on American warships, his supporters will know it’s actually all a contrivance by the US government,” yet it’s completely beyond the pale to notice Paul’s flirtations with the 9/11 Truth movement?
In January 2008, Ron reacted to a confrontation between US and Iranian ships in the Strait of Hormuz by taking Iran’s side: “It reminds me of what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin. We went to war there, then, later on, found out there was a lot of false information.” At the time, Gov. Mitt Romney responded by noting that “Congressman Paul should not be reading as many of Ahmadinejad’s press releases.”
In his own words, Ron “wouldn’t do that much about” Iran getting nukes, and to rationalize that position, he has disgracefully told several lies on Iran’s behalf. Allahpundit’s October 2009 deconstruction of Tehron Paul’s spin demands to be read in full, but here are a couple of the worst examples:
3. An excellent point: He notes that U.S. intel apparently knew about the secret Qom site even before the infamous 2007 NIE declaring that Iran had halted its weapons program was released. Not so excellent: The conclusion he draws from this, apparently, is that the Qom site is nothing to worry about rather than the much more likely conclusion that evidence of Iranian weaponization was withheld from the NIE in a politicized bid to deny Bush any reason to take military action against Iran. Oh, also? No mention here that classified portions of that very same NIE declared that Iran had an estimated 10 to 15 secret nuclear sites. How come, Doctor?
4. “What does the law say?” wonders our hero, declaring Iran innocent of any international violations. In fact, IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei acknowledged just this morning that Iran had broken the law. (In Paul’s semi-defense, this clip was recorded three days ago.)
5. He asserts that the IAEA has never found Iran’s nuclear program to be at fault, which (a) overlooks point 4 above and (b) ignores the fact that the IAEA has been credibly accused by western intel agencies — and not just America’s — of suppressing evidence that incriminates Iran in order to avoid military conflict. In fact, ElBaradei himself is an Iranian stooge of such longstanding that we’ve been writing about it since practically day one of Hot Air. The fact that even he’s been forced to get tough-ish is all the proof you need that Tehran’s in flagrant violation of its international commitments.
Prominent Republicans might have been drawn to Rand Paul’s candidacy out of a misguided infatuation with Washington “outsiders,” but by embracing them, they are also embracing something very different. Rand and his father represent nothing less than a rejection of the Right’s commitment to engaging and assessing the world as it really is, rather than as we would like it to be, and an embrace of the Left’s belief in appeasement and anti-Americanism. If we abandon one of the last differences that remain between Right and Left—our moral fortitude & intellectual seriousness when it comes to protecting America from her enemies—we will have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are unworthy to resume the reins of leadership. Once again, the words of an actual “true conservative” are worth repeating:
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness.”
– Ronald Reagan