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The Company Ron Paul Keeps

Meet Alex Jones.

Dec 26, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 15 • By JAMES KIRCHICK
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In a March 2009 interview, Paul entertained Jones’s claim that NORTHCOM, the U.S. military’s combatant command for North America, is “taking over” the country. “The average member of Congress probably isn’t a participant in the grand conspiracy,” Paul reassured the fevered host, essentially acknowledging that such a conspiracy exists. “We need to take out the CIA.” On Paul’s latest appearance on the Jones show, just last week, he called allegations that Iran had attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States a “propaganda stunt” of the Obama administration. In a January 2010 speech, Paul announced, “There’s been a coup, have you heard? It’s the CIA coup” against the American government. “They’re in businesses, in drug businesses,” the congressman added. 

Likewise, Paul’s insistence that America should be a “friend” of Israel is belied by public statements like one from a November 22 GOP debate: “Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?” This is an echo of Pat Buchanan’s 1990 claim that if the United States went to war against Saddam Hussein it would be on behalf of Israel, and that “kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown” would be the ones doing the fighting and dying. The assertion that American soldiers are risking their lives to protect Israel and not the United States is as false today as it was two decades ago. 

Last, Paul continues to be the favorite candidate of those who believe that the United States either orchestrated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or allowed them to happen in order to create the pretext for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s not hard to understand why. In a December 9 speech to supporters in Iowa, Paul had this to say: “Just think of what happened after 9/11. Immediately before there was any assessment there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq.”

Paul’s more mainstream supporters have always explained away his popularity with 9/11 “Truthers” as an unfortunate consequence of his altruistic, if at times naïve, libertarian ethos: The man just loves freedom so much that he’s loath to turn away backers who may think differently from him. To anyone who bothers to look into Ron Paul’s record, that claim is simply not credible.

James Kirchick is a fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to the New Republic.

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