I appreciate the attention THE HOYA has given to Ron Paul in light of his growing popularity and successful fundraising. However, I’d like to clarify and refute a few points from Stephen Kenny’s column (“Why Ron Paul Matters,” THE HOYA, Oct. 30, 2007, A3). Unfortunately, the author, while praising Paul’s fiscal policies and adherence to the Constitution, overlooks what recent history and current experts have told us about the war in Iraq. The 9/11 Commission Report concluded that a policy of intervention and occupation in the iddle East leads to blowback. Al-Qaeda was not present in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion. Now Al-Qaeda has flooded the area and will continue to wreak internal havoc as long as U.S. troops remain.

The proposed surge is a hasty solution, which cannot and will not be sustained in the long term. Furthermore, as of Oct. 18, Paul has received the most donations from members of the military than any other presidential candidate. Unlike most candidates who have not served, he served as an Air Force flight surgeon in the ’60s. A third of his military financial support comes from the Air Force. Another third comes from the Army and a quarter from the Navy. Clearly, his experience and understanding of the war resonates with the men and women who are actually serving in battle overseas. I’d also like to clarify that Paul is not an isolationist; he is a non-interventionist. He supports trade and diplomatic relations with all and entangling alliances with none. History shows that the United States has met little success by intervening in the Middle East. Under Reagan, American forces suffered suicide bomb attacks in Lebanon, during which Reagan pledged not to pull out. Less than a year later, Reagan ordered a withdrawal. Under LBJ, American involvement in Vietnam increased from 16,000 to 550,000 soldiers (similar to the “surge” tactic). It goes without saying that this didn’t work either. Paul has spoken repeatedly about how trading with a country (Vietnam today) has a far more positive impact in terms of stabilization than meddling in the internal affairs and politics of another country. Kenny’s claim that withdrawal is impractical and dangerous is a peculiar stance in light of what foreign policy experts and military forces are telling us.

Pearl Hahn (COL ’08)

Nov. 2, 2007

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