Dorothy Rabinowitz’s Attack on Ron Paul, Part 3
by Jacob G. Hornberger
One of the most disappointing aspects of Wall Street Journal editorial member Dorothy Rabinowitz’s attack on Ron Paul for his foreign-policy views pertains to the motives of those who are driven to commit terrorist attacks on the United States. While repeatedly pooh-poohing Paul’s emphasis on U.S. foreign policy for being the motive behind the 9/11 attacks, Rabinowitz failed to reveal her own thinking on the subject. That’s truly a shame because she passed up an opportunity to give people a glimpse into the interventionist mind on this important subject.
Does Rabinowitz take the same line that many U.S. officials took immediately after the 9/11 attacks: that the terrorists were motivated by hatred for America’s “freedom and values“? Was it their disdain for rock and roll, religious liberty, gun rights, and freedom of speech that drove them to commit those suicide attacks?
Alas, we don’t know because Rabinowitz didn’t reveal her thinking on the issue. Instead, she simply mocked what libertarians, including Paul, have been saying ever since the 9/11 attacks — that what the U.S. government had been doing to people in the Middle East produced so much anger and rage that it ultimately manifested itself in acts of terrorism.
Let’s examine some of those aspects of U.S. foreign policy and ask ourselves what Rabinowitz would say about their possible effect on people in the Middle East.
Let’s consider, for example, the brutal sanctions that the U.S. government and the UN (at the behest of the U.S. government) imposed and enforced against Iraq for more than 10 years, which contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.
What would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that the sanctions didn’t really do that? Would she say that the brunt of the sanctions fell only on Saddam Hussein and his inner circle? Would she deny that people in the Middle East attributed the deaths of the children to the sanctions? What would she say about the two high UN officials — Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponek — who resigned in protest against what they called genocide?
Or would she say that even though hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died as a result of the sanctions, people in the Middle East didn’t really get angry about it? Would she say the same thing that U.S. officials said about Asians during the Vietnam War — that people in the Middle East simply don’t place the same value on human life as Americans do? Would she say that friends and relatives of the deceased children would have been okay with the deaths given that the sanctions were meant for a good purpose — regime change in Iraq?
Alas, we just don’t know what Rabinowitz would say about that because, for whatever reason, she chose not address the issue in her attack on Ron Paul.
In 1996 — five years before the sanctions were finally lifted — U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright — was asked by “Sixty Minutes“: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?“
Albright responded: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.“
Did any U.S. official, including President Clinton, condemn Albright or correct her? Nope. Presumably their mindset was the same as hers.
So, what would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that “Sixty Minutes“ misquoted Albright or took her words out of context? Would she say that Albright forgot to deny that half-a-million children had died as a result of the sanctions? Or would she say that people in the Middle East, including the parents of the children, would not actually get too upset over such a statement by the U.S. government’s official spokesman before the UN?
Again, we don’t know what Rabinowitz would say because she remained silent on the issue in her attack on Ron Paul. What a shame because it would have been fascinating to gain a glimpse of the interventionist mindset on this important issue.
Or consider the unconditional foreign aid, both cash and weaponry, that the U.S. government has long provided the Israeli government. No matter where one falls on the divide between Israel and the Palestinians, everyone agrees that there is tremendous anger and hatred among many Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims over the existence of the Israeli state and what they consider has been horrible mistreatment of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. Therefore, doesn’t it stand to reason that such anger and hatred would apply to the foreign regime that unconditionally provides cash and armaments to the regime that such people hate?
What would Rabinowitz say about that? Again, we just don’t know.
What about the U.S. government’s stationing of troops near Mecca and Medina? Everyone knows that those are the holiest lands in the Muslim religion. Most everyone also knows that many Muslims hold that non-Muslims are infidels. Thus, wouldn’t it stand to reason that such Muslims might get angry over the stationing of people whom they consider infidels near lands that they consider sacred?
What would Rabinowitz say about that? Again, we just don’t know.
Do you recall the sex-abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison? There was a batch of videos that the U.S. government ordered to be kept secret from the American people and the people of the world. Apparently the videos contained things so horrific that U.S. military officials felt that disclosing them would incite people in the Middle East to attack U.S. troops.
Doesn’t that imply that people in the Middle East can get full of rage over U.S. government misconduct in that part of the world?
What would Rabinowitz say about that? Would she say that the U.S. government was behaving in a silly manner in keeping those videos under wraps because it is inconceivable that people in the Middle East might get angry over the misconduct of U.S. troops in the region?
Again, we just don’t know because Rabinowitz failed to tell us.
Indeed, I can’t help but wonder how Rabinowitz would respond to the fact that the anti-American terrorists themselves, time after time, have pointed to the bad things the U.S. government has done in the Middle East as the root of their anger.
Go back, for example, to Ramzi Yousef’s angry tirade to the federal judge at his sentencing hearing for his role in the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Or Osama bin Laden’s fatwah against the United States. Or the Ft. Hood bomber. Or the Detroit bomber. They all point to U.S. foreign policy as the source of their rage, not hatred for rock and roll, religious liberty, freedom of speech, or any other of America’s “freedom and values.“
What would Rabinowitz say about that? We just don’t know.
Or maybe Rabinowitz would say that motive just doesn’t matter. Maybe she would say that once the terrorists attacked on 9/11, all that mattered was the wreaking of vengeance.
But wouldn’t that be a short-sighted view? Establishing why someone did something might be important in establishing policy that avoids such conduct in the future, which might go a long way in avoiding any more loss of innocent life.
Consider a real-life example of where establishing motive was important. After Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, libertarians pointed to what had motivated McVeigh to commit his act of terrorism — the federal massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco.
Statists, who wanted no examination into what the feds had done at Waco (or at Ruby Ridge), leveled the same type of nasty attack on libertarians that Rabinowitz has leveled on Ron Paul. Trying to shut down any public discussion of the federal wrongdoing at Waco, the statists accused libertarians of being justifiers. “You people are justifiers,“ they cried. “By pointing to McVeigh’s motive, you’re justifying his conduct and you’re sympathizing with him.“
But notice something important about Waco and Oklahoma City. Thanks to the spotlight that libertarians shone on Waco (and Ruby Ridge), there have been no more Waco-type massacres of American citizens by U.S. officials and, consequently, no more Oklahoma City type of retaliatory terrorist attacks.
The principle is no different with U.S. foreign policy and anti-American terrorism. Dismantle the empire and end the interventionism, and the anger and rage that motivates foreigners to retaliate with terrorism disintegrates, which, by the way, would also eliminate the excuse for taking away our rights and freedoms here at home in the name of “keeping us safe.“
While we’re on the subject of motive, is it possible that Rabinowitz’s motive in leveling her superficial attack on Ron Paul was to dissuade Americans from examining and questioning U.S. foreign policy, including such things as sanctions, foreign aid, invasions, coups, occupations, kidnappings, support of dictatorships, torture, secret prison camps, indefinite detention, kangaroo military tribunals, out of control spending and debt, TSA porn scans and body groping, the PATRIOT Act, telecom immunity, sneak and peek searches, and all of the other deadly and destructive anti-freedom things that interventionists hold dear?