Ron Paul’s supporters plan on another run for the presidency from the Texas Congressman, and some are saying that the mainstream has finally begun to embrace his ideas on economics and the Fed. On foreign policy and national defense, though, perhaps Paul is farther out than ever. In a radio interview on Tuesday, reported this morning in Politico, Paul said he would not have greenlighted the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, and would have worked with Pakistan to arrest him instead:
“I think things could have been done somewhat differently,” Paul said this week. “I would suggest the way they got Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed. We went and cooperated with Pakistan. They arrested him, actually, and turned him over to us, and he’s been in prison. Why can’t we work with the government?”
Paul also told WHO’s Simon Conway that the mission “absolutely was not necessary”:
“I don’t think it was necessary, no. It absolutely was not necessary,” Paul said during his Tuesday comments. “I think respect for the rule of law and world law and international law. What if he’d been in a hotel in London? We wanted to keep it secret, so would we have sent the airplane, you know the helicopters into London, because they were afraid the information would get out?”
For one thing, had we found him holed up in London, we would have been able to trust the British intelligence service to cooperate. MI-5 didn’t spend more than a decade helping to build up the Taliban and playing footsie with radical Islamists the way Pakistan’s ISI did, primarily as a bulwark against India. Moreover, as Paul should know, we tried trusting Pakistan once before on an opportunity to target bin Laden when Bill Clinton had a chance to target his compound. The ISI warned bin Laden, and to paraphrase President George Bush, we wound up sending a $10 million rocket into a ten-dollar tent to hit a camel’s butt.
I would have had no problem with capturing Osama bin Laden, or with killing him. He declared war on the United States and continued to pursue it until his last breath. Furthermore, I have no problem with us conducting a military mission in Pakistan to get him. Pakistan has proven themselves unreliable on high-level intelligence matters in the past, specifically on OBL, and we have had little cause to put any more trust in the Pakistani ISI ever since.
Paul has a few good ideas on fiscal policy, but is otherwise a nut. Insisting that we should have asked the Pakistanis to arrest bin Laden proves rather clearly that Paul lives in a fantasy world.
Update: I forgot to hat-tip Jammie Wearing Fool — my apologies.