The United States hasn’t learned much in the 10 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) argued Tuesday.
Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican presidential candidate, voiced criticism of U.S. foreign policy just days before the 10th anniversary of the coordinated terrorist attacks that resulted in almost 3,000 deaths.
“I don’t think we’ve learned a whole lot because our foreign policy hasn’t changed,” Paul told a guest host on Lou Dobbs’s radio show.
Paul has long been a critic of U.S. foreign policy, particularly the military engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq undertaken in the years following the attacks. Republican President George W. Bush initiated those wars, which have extended into President Obama’s term, and Obama has sought to set timetables for withdrawal from both engagements.
Paul cited the work of two University of Chicago professors, Robert Pape and James Feldman, who produced research arguing that U.S. occupation of foreign lands (and not religious extremism) is the biggest driver of terrorist attacks.
“The statistics are overwhelming that this is the case,” the Texas congressman argued. “They also show that when [the U.S. military leaves], suicide and terrorist attacks against us are dramatically diminished.”
Paul has long been a minority voice in the Republican Party on issues of foreign policy. He was critical of Bush’s foreign policy at a time when other GOP figures were supporting the military engagements abroad.
In terms of its political implications, Paul’s stance certainly distinguishes him from most of his competitors for the GOP presidential nomination. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), for instance, questioned in a speech Tuesday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars whether U.S. troops were being withdrawn from Afghanistan too hastily.
Paul’s foreign policy views have always been a point of contention between his supporters and analysts and media members who question whether his positions would make him too unpalatable to the broader Republican primary electorate to win the nomination.