Ron Paul on Libya: We May Have Helped Radical Jihadists

"Short term victory for Empire, a loss for our American Republic”


Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), an official candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, slammed the US’s role in the downfall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime on Thursday. “The current situation in Libya may be a short term victory for Empire, but it is a loss for our American Republic,” Paul said.

Paul’s comments were made after anti-Gaddafi forces gained control of Tripoli on Monday and began a manhunt for Gaddafi. Although small pockets of loyalist forces remain in and around Tripoli, the downfall of Gaddafi’s regime represents a significant victory for the people of Libya.

NATO forces played a controversial role in the demise of Gaddafi’s regime. The US assisted NATO forces by enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya. After committing US forces to Libya, President Obama defended his decision by saying that failing to act would have carried “a far greater price for America.”

Paul was one of the first opponents of US intervention in Libya. In a Texas Straight Talk column, entitled “Enabling a Future American Dictator,” Paul argued that giving Obama the power to use US forces in Libya without Congressional approval and without an appropriate explanation within the time frame required by the War Powers Resolution was in violation of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers “believed war was not to be entered into lightly, so they resisted granting such decision making authority to one person,” Paul said.

On Thursday, Paul continued to argue that the US’s involvement in Libya is unconstitutional. “There is no doubt that Moammar Gadhafi is a bad guy, and that he has brought harm and misery to his country. However, our involvement in another country’s civil war is costly and unconstitutional,” Paul said.

To justify the US’s involvement in Libya, Obama argued that America’s role would be a limited one. Obama posited that the anti-regime forces in Libya needed the US’s help, because Gaddafi was attacking innocent civilians with Libya’s military forces.

However, Paul argued that it was far too costly to involve the US in its third war in under a decade. “The situation in Libya is a civil war contained within that country’s sovereign borders, and it presented no imminent threat to the United States,” Paul professed.

Paul also warned that the war in Libya may not be over, despite Gaddafi’s inability to hold on to Tripoli. “We face a situation where a rebel element we have been assisting may very well be radical jihadists, bent on our destruction, and placed in positions of power in a new government,” Paul said.

The Huffington Post reports that radical jihadists may very well be among the rebels that the US and NATO have been supporting. “Eastern Libya has been described by U.S. diplomats as a breeding ground for Islamist extremism,” David Wood writes.

At the end of his statement, Paul argued that the US’s main focus should be on reviving the economy. “We can no longer afford to police the world, in terms of both dollars and American lives. We will destroy ourselves if we do not stop, build a strong national defense at home, and focus on trade and commerce with the world instead of Empire,” Paul said.

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