Is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity a false flag operation designed to discredit its namesake and the liberty movement he launched? Connect the dots. On Thursday, the institute’s website republished a Paul Craig Roberts column expressing skepticism that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were really carried about by Muslim extremists.
“Clearly, France was showing too much foreign policy independence,” he wrote. “The attack on Charlie Hebdo serves to cow France and place France back under Washington’s thumb.”
The column also mentions “alleged Muslim 9/11” attacks and complains that “in Europe people are imprisoned for investigating the holocaust without entirely confirming every aspect of it.”
Curiously, this column was mentioned in few liberty-loving publications. But it was reported on by neocon outlets like the Washington Free Beacon, Weekly Standard and Newsmax. Bill Kristol tweeted about it. Liberal publications like Talking Points Memo, Salon and Right Wing Watch also ran with it. Within 24 hours.
Cui bono? Libertarians and constitutional conservatives don’t benefit from being associated with this latest form of trutherism. Neither do opponents of wars or defenders of civil liberties. Rand Paul’s political opponents sneeringly ask what he thinks of all this.
The people who benefit from this are liberals and neoconservatives who hate Ron and Rand Paul. The beneficiaries are those who want the respectable foreign-policy spectrum to stretch from Mitt “Double Gitmo” Romney to Hillary “I voted for the Iraq war” Clinton.
Come to think of it, Paul Craig Roberts himself wrote for the Wall Street Journal, which has employed and published known neoconservatives. He was an official in the Reagan administration, as was Bill Bennett, who employed Bill Kristol as his chief of staff, and Alan Keyes, who was Bill Kristol’s graduate school roommate.
If you don’t think this is sufficient evidence of a conspiracy, you are pitifully misinformed. That said, I’m just asking questions.
Alright, back from the ledge. The Ron Paul Institute’s executive director Daniel McAdams is no neocon. He has long worked on behalf of Paul and libertarianism.
Not everyone who disagrees with Paulites can be described as a liberal or neocon either. The father and son themselves disagree on some issues. Even without conspiracy theories, some will find a more libertarian approach to national security wanting.
But libertarian ideas are increasingly moving into the mainstream. There are even conservative voices questioning, however gingerly, the shoot first, ask questions later mentality that too often passes for foreign-policy thinking in Washington. Ron Paul, a backbencher for most of his career, and people inspired by him have played an indispensable role in all this.
Why move backwards into the intellectual and political ghetto? Ask this question, get the following answers.
“You’re just afraid of a non-interventionist foreign policy.” The Iraq war is widely viewed as a failure. People are tired of Afghanistan. After “kinetic military action,” Libya is teeming with jihadists. There needs to be a real debate about U.S. policy toward Iraq, Iran and Syria going forward that isn’t presumptively hawkish. Instead we are discussing the equivalent of whether libertarians believe the Battle of Hastings took place. How does this advance a less interventionist foreign policy? Actually signing Project for a New American Century petitions advocating more wars would probably be less harmful.
“We’re just trying to foster an open debate.” Would you support the publication of articles claiming Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are buried in Lew Rockwell’s backyard? Advocating sanctions on Iran? Soliciting John Bolton 2016 campaign contributions?
“We didn’t say that!” Have we not seen this movie before? Nobody will pay attention to reasonable civil libertarian points when they are buried in an unhinged screed about the Mossad and false flag theories. Ron Paul will obviously be tied to views he doesn’t hold if they appear on a website bearing his name. This is as predictable as, well, not being greeted as liberators in Iraq.
“You are a neocon!” Ron Paul voted to authorize the use of military force against “nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.” He said if he believed Iraq was really an imminent threat to the United States he “would support going to war, as I did when I supported President Bush by voting to give him both the authority and the necessary funding to fight the war on terror.” And his blowback arguments actually assume terrorism isn’t a false flag.
The case against descending into crazytown is actually perfectly non-interventionist. Sometimes when we try to advance our interests, we mistakenly set them back. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.