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Why the military like Ron Paul

Some commenters on this blog got more than a little sniffy when I had a few critical things to see about Ron Paul the other day. I stand by my remarks, which actually were hardly the sort of fire-eating stuff that some people come up with, but I’ll happily repeat my respect for his genuine good points, as I see them.

David French, over at National Review, has an interesting item reflecting on why, of all GOP candidates, and of Obama himself, Ron Paul gets more respect in financial terms from the serving military. Here is the final paragraph:

“I know there are many other reasons why troops support Ron Paul (quite a few embrace libertarian economic principles), but this post is an attempt to explain his support within a national-security framework — how some of the most hardened warriors I know enthusiastically embrace a man whom others say is soft on national security. They don’t see him as soft. They see him as realistic. I disagree (strongly), but it’s an argument that won’t be defeated by ridicule, and it’s an argument grounded in a cultural reality that few Americans have experienced.”

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7 comments to Why the military like Ron Paul

  • lucklucky

    It is a good question. I think the appeal is that military think that Ron Paul isn’t political correct.

  • Paul Marks

    There is a big difference between saying that there is nothing much that America can do about the Islamist threat (both radical Sunni like the Taliban and Muslim Brotherhood, and offshoots – and radical Shia such as the “hastener” regime in Iran) and saying there is no threat – and that America is just attacked because of its interventionism in the Middle East.

    Ron Paul’s actual policy suggestion (retreat to the United States itself) may or may not be correct – but his understanding of the enemy is quite WRONG.

    The “Islamists” (for want of a better term) would still want to destroy the West even if there were no American forces anywhere near the Middle East.

    Muhammed was not created by American interventionism. The United States did not even exist in his time.

    And the United States is not responsible for more than a thousand years of attacks from the followers of Muhammed.

    However, I repeat, Ron Paul’s actual policy (retreat to the United States) may be CORRECT – even though he has no understanding whatever of the enemy.

    After all – what has either the Iraq or the Afghan war achieved?

    In Iraq there is a Shia regime – allied to the “hasterner” regime in Iran.

    And in Afghanistan we are told that the “Taliban” is “not an enemy” and the goal is “talks” with them.

    Such “talks” could only lead these Islamists back to power – indeed the present government in Afghanistan is partly Islamist already (should anyone contest that – find out what happens to a Muslim in Afghanistan who rejects Islam).

    So the wars have been basically pointless – a vast waste of money and LIVES.

  • K

    Not referring to comments here, but in general it’s been eye opening to watch conservatives who have had the race card played on them constantly by the statists turn around and use it on Paul.

    Apparently, nobody has any answer to the question “Why can’t we be more free?” other than “Racist!!”

    To be clear, I’m not a Paulist. I disagree with his concept of what constitutes a free nation’s legitimate self defense.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Junior military members, being on the bottom of the heap, are often very aware of the bad aspects of government power. Senior members, not so much. It’s always amusing to see the consternation of conservatives when yet another retired flag officer enters politics as a nominal conservative (because, after all, everyone knows the military is conservative) and turns out to be in favor of ‘government everything’.

  • Mike James

    What was reasonable policy in the age of musket warfare, horse cavalry, and fighting sail might not be prudent in an age of ICBM’s, Muslims being allowed to actually board airliners, or laboratories breeding frightening viruses ripped from a Stephen King novel.

    In other words, bad actors reap the fruits of science and technology along with everyone else, and now there is greatly reduced lead time to head off greatly increased threats. There might not be any choice in the future but to engage as far away from our shores as possible.

    I hope I’m wrong, of course.

  • MattP

    Junior military members, being on the bottom of the heap, are often very aware of the bad aspects of government power. Senior members, not so much. It’s always amusing to see the consternation of conservatives when yet another retired flag officer enters politics as a nominal conservative (because, after all, everyone knows the military is conservative) and turns out to be in favor of ‘government everything’.

    PersonFromPorlock gets it largely correct, in my opinion. I retired from the Navy after 20 years as a mid-grade officer. Flag and General officers are already to a great extent politicians. Especially if they work in Washington DC or its environs. It’s something of a mistake to say they enter politics when they retire; they already had one foot in the political arena for several years. They just formally enter elective politics. When they do it’s after spending their entire adult lives in a top-down, authoritarian society. It’s a mistake to think such people would normally be “limited government” types. Not as a rule.

    I’m going to put a disclaimer here: I’m skeptical as to what extent Ron Paul has more military support than any other candidate. The “employer” field is optional on every contribution form (all online) I’ve ever used. I have contributed, even when I was in the military, and I never filled in that field. I think most other military members don’t so they go “uncounted” so to speak.

    If you do fill that block in no one checks. I strongly suspect that many of his supporters are in the reserves (if you’ve been following the news, a young reservist is in trouble for jumping up on stage in uniform; it’s illegal to imply military support to a political campaign by wearing the uniform). It’s a fact of life that many reservists join for the benefits, and don’t really want to deploy. Many who list US military as an employer might be a civilian employee of the DoD, a contractor, or some other person who makes a living by supplying services to the military establishment. The link to the military can be tenuous, or non-existent. No one will ever know.

    Still there’s no doubt that Ron Paul does have support among active duty military.

    Now, I could never support Ron Paul because frankly he’s a loon. Even Paul Marks, who wrote a newer post on the US debates says while he often agrees with Paul’s positions he makes a lot of factual errors. True. But that’s because he doesn’t have a firm grasp on the facts and, worse, believes not only that he does but he’s the only one who does.

    He thinks we’re attacked by Muslims because we keep “bombing their countries all the time.” I gather he’s never read any of al-Qaeda’s fatwas. They have a list of grievances going back to the loss of al-Andalus. You’d have to be crazy to think they’re mad at us because of Afghanistan, Iraq, or even our support for the creation of Israel in 1948. But, he believes it.

    He’s not a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution. Again, he’s a nutcase. His ideas about what amounts to a legal war constitute a suicide pact. He thinks we can’t use military force unless Congress “formally” declares war, and that there some exact combinations of words that has to be used or the whole thing is invalid.

    That’s not being a strict constructionist; that’s just crazy. Had he been around to share his ideas with the guys who wrote the Constitution, they’d have looked at him like he slipped his leash and ran off from an asylum. They didn’t think we needed to declare war when we were attacked; war already existed. Anyone who has some sort of link to reality would know that. We fought two “undeclared” wars with the presidency, and a majority of Congress, populated by guys who wrote the Constitution. They simply passed laws authorizing, say, ships’ Captains, to use whatever force that the existing state of hostilities required. In other words, an “authorization for the use of military force” just like they gave GWB. We certainly didn’t need one at the start of WWII, after we had been attacked by Japan and Italy and Germany declared war on us. FDR asked that Congress declare, not war per se, but that

    since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

    Congress chose to declare war, but it was totally unnecessary. It wouldn’t have altered the reality of the situation, and any sort of statutory language that recognized existing reality would have sufficed. Ron Paul thinks merely recognizing existing reality is illegal; you have to use the secret handshake.

    That said, I don’t believe that whatever amount of support Ron Paul receives from those in the military is irrational. As PersonFromPorlock points out, junior personnel are at the bottom of the heap. There awareness of the “bad aspects” of government power are sometimes justified, sometimes not. That’s a discussion for another day.

    But they know what it feels like to be, figuratively speaking, urinated upon.

    Again, if you’ve been following the news you’ll know that some of our Marines are in trouble for urinating on some freshly killed Taliban corpses. The outcry from our media and our left calling for their heads on a platter is deafening. (And far more insane than anything Ron Paul has ever said.)

    These are the same people who censored reports so that they wouldn’t show video of people jumping to their deaths on 9/11 (it might inspire “hate”). When our troops were stripped and dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, when civilian contractors get killed, hung from a bridge and burned, when Americans get decapitated, or gutted, it may get some coverage. But it’s usually followed by lecturing articles, shows or documentaries about how insensitive WE are to these noble cultures, we just don’t understand them, etc. We’re wrong.

    They pee on some bodies and it’s like they desecrated the Holy of Holies.

    Ron Paul is for most young people a protest vote. If the troops want to exercise a protest vote against all that, I’m the last man on this Earth who is going to denigrate them for doing so. Ron Paul may be crazy. But the troops aren’t. The people figuratively urinating on them and who are out for their blood are far more dangerously crazy.