Former congressman Ron Paul is attributing the current crisis in Iraq to failed American foreign policy and warns the worse has yet to come.
In a video statement posted to the Ron Paul Channel website on Thursday, the former representative for Texas and three-time presidential hopeful blamed decades of policy decisions made by both the right and the left for situation in Iraq, where Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have seized no fewer than two major cities in the country’s northern region this week.
“But the real irony here is that Iraq had no Al-Qaeda in it when we went into Iraq, because right after 9/11 a story was concocted and based on lies and misinformation that Al-Qaeda was in Iraq, that there was weapons of mass destruction — all those things that motivated the people and the propaganda to get the support, and Congress went along with it and started spending all that money,” Paul said.
More than a decade later, the ex-lawmaker added, the repercussions are still being seen. Military aid and other supplies have been provided to the Iraqi people since the US first became involved, he said, and now weapons and even helicopters have fallen into the hands of rebel fighters — the same forces that the US is considering attacking, President Barack Obama acknowledged this week.
“Not only did they pick up a lot of weapons and guns and equipment, but they end up getting Black Hawk helicopters. And this is money that the taxpayers paid and we gave it to the Iraqis. They were supposed to be trained in taking care of and protecting their country, and here the Al-Qaeda is taking over the country,” Paul said in the 11-minute video uploaded to his site this week.
Elsewhere in the clip — aptly titled American Foreign Policy in Iraq is ‘Ridiculous’ — Paul condemned what has become standard practice for the US as being “stupid” and “dumb.”
“There is an alternative to this,” he said. “We don’t have to continue to do the dumb things that have been done for so long. It’s time that we just rised up [sic], used good policy and came to our sense. So in that sense, there is always a chance that things will get much better. But I think the American people ought to realize how bad things are. How much worse they are, tragically, before we even went into Iraq.”
Paul’s latest remarks come just days after he spoke out against American foreign policy in an op-ed published on his website in response to a recent speech delivered by Obama at West Point military academy.
“President Obama spoke at length about the US role in promoting democracy around the world, but why does it seem that the US government only recognizes elections as free and fair when the US-favored candidate wins?” he asked.
“There is much to disappoint in Obama’s big foreign policy speech. It represents a continuation of the policy of ‘do what we say and we will subsidize you, disobey us and we will bomb you.’”
On Thursday this week, Pres. Obama told reporters that he had not rule out any options with regards to the escalating crisis in Iraq, and Baghdad has requested that the White House authorize military assistance by way of airstrikes. Later in the day, outgoing press secretary Jay Carney said the administration was not considering a boots-on-the-ground option.
“The odds of troops going in there are still pretty slim, although I don’t consider that an impossibility,” Paul added during his own address.