As contemptible as this is, I’ve got two good reasons to spare you a harangue about it. One: I’ve already written that harangue, and after the summer coup in Tehran and another year of cheat-and-retreat on their nuclear program, it’s truer now than it was then. And two: Thankfully, this old crank’s isolationist denialism is so fringe on the right that not even mainstreamers who are sympathetic to his broader agenda, like Glenn Beck, will go near it. It’s almost not worth bothering about. But suffice it to say, in the unlikely event that the three-percent rEVOLution ever commands the foreign-policy agenda of the GOP, I’ll run — not walk — into the Blue Dogs’ arms.
As Paul spoke passionately about ending all military operations and keeping government out of people’s “lifestyles,” a lone heckler began to shout, “Tell her!” Bachmann remained serene, hands folded in her lap, facing Paul. Bringing up Obama’s announcement that Iran had secret underground nuclear facilities, Paul announced that he had had enough of “fear-mongering” for the sake of the “military-industrial complex.” Bachmann, who once advocated nuking Iran, kept her eyes trained on Paul as her heckler repeated, “Tell her! Tell Michele! Tell her!”
A few more choice quotes from Think Progress:
We should never go to war if they’re telling us a lie about what’s happening. … We took the position, over my strong objection, we took the position that we had to have regime change in Iraq.
What they’re getting ready to do is put very, very strong sanctions on Iran. … But sanctions, and blockades, and prevention like this is an act of war.
I’m not sure what “lie” it is we’re being told about Iran, but then this is a guy so eager to see American “lies” at work vis-a-vis enemy powers that he’s been known to accuse the feds preemptively of telling them. Anyway, the point to take away about his Iran shtick is that it’s not an argument about strategy, i.e. “They’re a threat but non-intervention is the best way to stop them.” It’s an argument about facts, i.e. “There is no threat,” which it has to be because once he admits that Iran is dangerous his isolationist “solution” becomes impossible to sell. In that sense he reminds me of opponents of waterboarding, forced to insist that coercive interrogation never ever works because once they admit that it does, their absolutist opposition is politically dead on arrival. Conservatives complain frequently about Paul’s penchant for blaming America — and here, too, in the blockquote above, he’s already laying the groundwork to say “we started it” if and when Iran tries something — but his foreign policy, such as it is, leaves him with no other choice. The only way isolationism works is if literally any form of intervention against an enemy is morally wrong and just cause for disproportionate reprisal. Which is another way of saying it doesn’t work. Happy viewing.