4/10/2005

"Who's better off?"

From a speech to the US House by Representative Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas:
...This willingness to give up hard-fought personal liberties has been especially noticeable in the atmosphere of the post-September 11th war on terrorism. Security has replaced liberty as our main political goal, damaging the American spirit. Sadly, the whole process is done in the name of patriotism and in a spirit of growing militant nationalism. These attitudes and fears surrounding the 9-11 tragedy, and our eagerness to go to war in the Middle East against countries not responsible for the attacks, have allowed a callousness to develop in our national psyche that justifies torture and rejects due process of law for those who are suspects and not convicted criminals. We have come to accept pre-emptive war as necessary, constitutional, and morally justifiable. Starting a war without a proper declaration is now of no concern to most Americans or the U.S. Congress. Let's hope and pray the rumors of an attack on Iran in June by U.S. Armed Forces are wrong.
A large segment of the Christian community and its leadership think nothing of rationalizing war in the name of a religion that prides itself on the teachings of the Prince of Peace, who instructed us that blessed are the peacemakers-- not the warmongers. We casually accept our role as world policeman, and believe we have a moral obligation to practice nation building in our image regardless of the number of people who die in the process. We have lost our way by rejecting the beliefs that made our country great. We no longer trust in trade, friendship, peace, the Constitution, and the principle of neutrality while avoiding entangling alliances with the rest of the world. Spreading the message of hope and freedom by setting an example for the world has been replaced by a belief that use of armed might is the only practical tool to influence the world-- and we have accepted, as the only superpower, the principle of initiating war against others. In the process, Congress and the people have endorsed a usurpation of their own authority, generously delivered to the executive and judicial branches-- not to mention international government bodies. The concept of national sovereignty is now seen as an issue that concerns only the fringe in our society.
Protection of life and liberty must once again become the issue that drives political thought in this country. If this goal is replaced by an effort to promote world government, use force to plan the economy, regulate the people, and police the world, against the voluntary desires of the people, it can be done only with the establishment of a totalitarian state. There's no need for that. It's up to Congress and the American people to decide our fate, and there is still time to correct our mistakes.

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