I watched last night’s GOP Presidential Debate on national security hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation and CNN with great interest.  It was the first debate focused solely on national security issues, and since the President is the Commander-in-Chief I think it is vitally important to know how he or she will fulfill that role.

A couple of observations.

  1. It was great to have the debate mainly by scholars who care and are knowledgeable of the issues.  From my perspective there were not any gotcha questions.
  2. Where this debate fell short is that most of the questions were directed toward the “frontrunners.”  That isn’t helpful to voters.

One of my favorite moments of the debate – the exchange between Congressman Paul and former Speaker Gingrich over the Patriot Act:


My opinion is that Gingrich won that exchange with the comment, “Timothy McVeigh was successful.  That’s the point.”

Thoughts on each candidate (in alphabetical order):

Michele Bachmann: Congresswoman Bachmann did well last night.  She was obviously knowledgeable of her subject material.  I thought she was particularly strong in her answer about Pakistan.  “They’re too nuclear to fail,” she said pointing out that they have six nuclear sites that are vulnerable to terrorists.  She had a good exchange with Texas Governor Rick Perry where, in my opinion, came out on top.  It is obvious she has a good grasp on that particular issue, thanks in large part, to her work on the House Intelligence Committee.

Herman Cain: Cain gave a good answer on dealing with illegal immigration, the rest was downhill from there.  He was completely out of his depth however.  His answer on whether or not he’s support Israel if they decided to attack Iran for instance – “Do they have a credible plan?”  Weak.  Regarding foreign aid to Africa, “I’d like to see the results.”  Didn’t he do any type of debate prep for this?

Newt Gingrich: He had a good exchange with Congressman Paul on the Patriot Act (see above).  He said that there is a difference between criminal law and law that applies to war.  Rebutting Paul he said, “I want to stop attacks, not prosecute them.”  He noted that he wants to preserve our right to be innocent until proven guilty, but he also wants to have every tool at our disposal.  Gingrich provided, in my opinion, a solid answer on Iran’s nuclear capability by pointing out that while they export oil they don’t have much of a capacity to refine it.  They actually have to import gasoline.  Gingrich said to cut their gasoline off and to sabotage their only refinery.  That would certainly get their attention and could be more effective than sanctions alone.

The wheels came off the bus, so to speak, when dealing with immigration.  While he wants to secure the border his support of the Dream Act and a pathway to legal immigration for some of those who are here illegally will not garner favor in the race for the nomination.  While I understand he isn’t advocating blanket amnesty and his plan for citizen boards to review cases of people who are here illegally I admit seems more practical than just saying to deport all of them.  It’s still not going to go over with the majority of the constituency he’s after and opens him up to criticism from his opponents.

Jon Huntsman: Why is he still in this race? He didn’t seem like he wanted to discuss national security as he kept bringing several of his answers back to the economy.  His answer on Afghanistan about drawing down troops to 10-15,000 with a Special Forces/Drone presence will likely be the future of military action in that region.  The question is how quick to get there.  I think the chief criticism of his position is that he wants to do it too quickly.  He spelled out the threat presence in Pakistan well which shows he has a grasp on why we should be concerned about them.

The final question about what future threat that each candidate is concerned about that isn’t receiving a lot of attention he gave a lame answer (again related to the economy) “joblessness.”  Before that he made an interesting comment about China’s potential to be a threat down the road dismissing the idea.  He acknowledged that they are a present threat, but from his perspective from having lived there and being an ambassador there said they have problems that will limit their capacity (I don’t remember his exact words).  From some studying/research I’ve done on China, many people don’t realize what damage they have caused themselves with their economic development.  While yes they have embraced capitalism, marrying it with Communism has led to some unintended consequences – massive corruption, greater poverty among the peasant class, a decline in their ability to feed themselves, and ecological problems that pose public health risks.  These will weigh heavy on the government.  If this continues they will be under tremendous pressure internally to provide reforms.  So it could eliminate them as a threat or it could make them incredibly unstable.

Ron Paul: Congressman Paul doesn’t believe in national security he believes in criminal justice.  While I’m sure his supporters cheered at his answers and some present did.  He did nothing to assuage those who have concerns with his ability to be the Commander-in-Chief and deal with present threats we have.  This is why he has a ceiling to his support.  While I agree with him that we can’t be the world’s policeman, and I am also concerned by the amount of foreign aid the U.S. doles out.  I’ve said before that I believe his position on terrorism is naïve, nor would it be proactive.  His administration would be one that would respond to successful attacks, not do what needs to be done to try to prevent them.  The position if we just leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone doesn’t mesh with history.  Ask Thomas Jefferson how leaving the Barbary Coast alone worked out.  Same mindset that was active in the Muslim world then is present today.

Rick Perry:  You know we seriously need to be serious about getting serious about Rick Perry, seriously.  I didn’t count how often Governor Perry said the phrase, “we need to get serious about…” but he said it a lot.  What does that mean?  Color me unimpressed.  Romney schooled him on Syria.  Bachmann won her exchange with him on Pakistan.  His comments on China, while I understood what he was getting at, seemed disjointed.  He did have a good answer to sanctioning Iran – to sanction the Iranian Central Bank, but that, in my opinion was his only real bright spot.  He was ok on immigration answers, but nothing that impressed me.

Mitt Romney: Regular readers of Caffeinated Thoughts know that I’m not a fan.  That said, Governor Romney did very well.  He was Presidential, and he had a good grasp on the topics at hand.  He was further to the right on immigration than Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.  He made Perry look foolish in promoting a no-fly zone over Syria.  His comments on American exceptionalism were spot on.  His provided a good rebuttal to Huntsman on Afghanistan.  His answer to the question related to future threats was good.  He agreed with Senator Rick Santorum that we need to be concerned with what is going on in Central and South America noting the increased presence of Hezbollah in the region.  There are a number of things about Romney that I’m concerned about.  His position on national security and foreign policy is not one of them.

Rick Santorum: Senator Santorum was asked perhaps three, maybe four question during the entire two-hour debate.  It was poorly moderated by Wolf Blitzer.  That said he gave solid answers as this is an area of strength for him.  Regarding the profiling question he pointed to what the Israelis do that makes sense in trying to eliminate threats – “We should be trying to find the bomber, not the bomb.”  He reiterated that we are at war, and reminded those watching of what Lincoln had to do during the Civil War.  He made a great point that Islamic terrorists just want to wait us out.  I think his comment about agreeing with Ron Paul fell flat, but the point he was making was good.  We are not fighting a war on terror, we’re fighting a war on radical Islam.

I feel Senator Santorum missed an opportunity when discussing foreign aid.  Instead saying he is in favor of sending aid to Africa he should have spelled out what criteria their should be and how he would work to make sure the aid was received by those it was intended for.  He did point out that it should go to those who would be our friends, so he doesn’t favor sending aid to those who are hostile to us.  He answer about the future threat in Central and South America with the growing socialist movement was excellent.

Winner: Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann – Romney had a solid debate, no gaffes, and demonstrated a good handle on the subject matter.  Bachmann didn’t “wow” me, but it was solid and she came across as capable and knowledgeable.  Also AEI and Heritage staff are winners for asking excellent questions.

Honorable Mention:  Rick Santorum – Santorum also could be in the winner’s column, but being asked so few questions makes it difficult for me to do so.  This is an area of strength for him so I’m disappointed that he was practically ignored most of the evening.

Mixed Bag: Newt Gingrich – if it weren’t the immigration segment he would have won outright.  He provided definitely more substance than Romney.  If it weren’t for the substance however I would consider him a loser for the immigration segment because his “pro-amnesty” position is all anyone will really remember.  We’ll see how this debate impacts him.

Losers: Wolf Blitzer and CNN – lousy job moderating and spreading the questions around.  Allowed too much back and forth.  Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Perry – none are prepared to be Commander-in-Chief in my estimation.

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  1. In the case of the Barbary Pirates war, it was a defensive act, not an occupation, and not long term nation building.  You will find Ron Paul’s perspective on national defense in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    Everyone else besides Paul on that debate stage favors waterboarding torture, undeclared war, and assassination by drone strikes (by executive order only).  It is good to know with whom you stand, Pastor Vander Hart.

    You believe in Jesus Christ, you just disagree with him on that that “love thy neighbor” thing.  Right?

    In an earlier time you would be called a Pharisee; but really, you’re just another Neocon water carrier.  Not to worry though, someone else will have to fight the wars you tacitly endorse.

    The church has given us men like Dietrich Bonheoffer; and you would settle for being a party establishment hack.  I am sure pro-choice Romney appreciated your kind remarks.

    1. Jay, along the lines of making friends and influencing people……..  I can remember not questioning any number of things…. until I did.  

    2. Jay, thanks for slandering my character.

      I don’t endorse war or torture – actually I’ve spoken against waterboarding – I don’t think obtaining a FISA warrant for a wiretap and torture are one in the same.  Because I don’t believe that military action should be taken off the table doesn’t mean I want war.  I’d rather see diplomacy and sanctions work.

      That “‘love your neighbor’ thing” you obviously don’t understand the difference between an individual and a nation-state.  While no, we shouldn’t involve ourselves in unjust wars, a government’s role is to bring justice and to protect its citizens – see Romans 13.

      A Pharisee?  How is that?  Do you even understand what they stood for?  I don’t expect people to earn salvation through works and self-righteousness.

      I think you also forgot that Dietrich Bonheoffer was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler – how does that fit into your worldview?

      By the way, I’ve have been a leading critic of Romney here in Iowa, but I’m not so in love with my candidate that I can’t point out areas of agreement with other candidates.

      1. Pastor Vander Hart,

        You do not see how you have slandered Paul’s character, abilities and motives?

        Perhaps you also should re-evaluate your own understanding of the difference between an individual and a nation-state.  Should we be able to do collectively what would be a sin for us to do individually?  Is there absolution in the approbation of the mob?

        An unjust war is not made just by the sanction of the state.  Bonheoffer was engaged in just war, quite apart from the sanction of the state.  Paul has spoken extensively about Augustine’s just war doctrine.

        You may not endorse torture, but you are writing quite generously (and uncritically) about people who do support waterboarding torture.  That may not make you guilty, but it does not absolve you from complicity.

        Paul or Romney is not the issue.  These candidates will come and go; but I am shocked by what I hear in some of these debates.  After this election we are still accountable to Christ.  I long for the day when men who advocate torture, eagerness war, and assassination (of 16 year old civilians!) will be called to account from the pulpits.

        I think you are a good person, but you are far off in your estimation of these candidates.

      2. “I think you are a good person, but you are far off in your estimation of these candidates.” 

        I don’t think he’s even a good person.  How can he justify killing millions, because they are just collateral, because they are different?  Is my life worth more than the millions of Iraqi civilians?  Is it okay to take away everyone elses liberties just to make you feel safe, when we’ve been bombing these people and starting these wars for decades?.. 

        Yahweh has left the local church and now it is now marching towards facism, not understanding the real enemy is not the muslims. 

  2. Ron left himself open for Gingrich’s gambit on McVeigh, but it was just a gambit.  I think Ron Paul won that exchange by saying we could stop a lot of crime with a police state, we could stop crime putting cameras into every bedroom and living space in every home.  How far are you willing to go for an illusion of security?  You do know they now have TSA type devices that fit in a van that can give xray type images through the walls of people’s houses., right?  How much should innocents have of lack of privacy and subjugation to lack of due process while they mine for suspects of someone who did something wrong?

    This is a major issue to me, personally.  I think we have gone too far.  It isn’t unusual after an attack, we incarcerated Japanese in camps in WWII as well, but with declared wars, they eventually end, and things go back to normal.  If this war on a tactic anyone can use is to go on forever, what diminishment of our Constitution should we be willing to live with forever?  And shouldn’t it require a constitutional amendment since ‘due process’ was a long settled standard for a warrant under our Constitution, until they passed the Patriot Act?

    1. Obama is a little more contemporary; he prefers extrajudicial killing by drone strikes.  However, Cain, Gingrich, Romney, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum are more old fashion; they’re all marching with the Imperial Japanese Army.

      “This wasn’t a Prisoner of War camp, it was a secret interrogation center called Ofuna where high-value captured men were housed in solitary confinement, starved, tormented and tortured to divulge military secrets.  Because Ofuna was kept secret from the outside world, the Japanese operated with an absolutely free hand.  

      “The [U.S. and British Servicemen] in Ofuna, said the Japanese, weren’t POWs; they were ‘unarmed combatants’ at war against Japan, and as such didn’t have the rights that international law accorded POWs.  In fact, they had no rights at all.  If captives ‘confessed their crimes against Japan’, they’d be treated ‘as well as regulations permit.’ Over the course of the war, some one thousand Allied captives would be hauled into Ofuna, and many would be held there for years.”
      Source: Hillenbrand, Laura; Unbroken, A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Chapter 19, Random House, 2010.

  3. Also, we did try (as supporters of Ron Paul) to send questions to CNN to ask Ron Paul how he WOULD deal with threats, because he has excellent plans, including nuclear submarines and letters of marque, etc which are far more targeted and less expensive than trying to swat a fly with a tactical nuclear bomb.  Unfortunately, none of those questions were asked.  His Face The Nation interview, however hostile it was, did get some of it out, but not enough.  (It is on youtube if you want to look for it.  I don’t know if I am allowed to post youtube links.)  That is something we supporters wish he would make clear.  

    That and the fact that his plan to balance the budget in 3 years preserves social security for those who have paid in, lets those under 25 opt out, shores up medicare (the future would still have to say if it is shored up enough), block grants welfare to the states to deal with as they see fit, lives up to veterans benefit promises and preserves student loans for the time being until something better can be found that doesn’t turn kids into indentured servants when they get out of college.   Yet it still cuts a trillion dollars from THIS YEAR’S spending, not from a future increase above this year’s spending.  (Romney’s does the latter, yet even so, raids medicare.)

    1. You can include a YouTube link – it’ll automatically go to moderation, but when I see it I’ll approve it.  The only comments I don’t approve are ones with profanity or that are personal attacks.  People can disagree with me all they want and as long as they don’t attack me personally – Jay, by the way, is walking a fine line.  I don’t appreciate my character being impugned, but I don’t want to delete his comment and have people howl about censorship.

      1.  I don’t appreciate my character being impugned, but I don’t want to delete his comment and have people howl about censorship.

        Probably the best solution is the modern translation of Proverbs 23:9:  “Please don’t feed the trolls!”  🙂  When posters display trollish behavior, their comments don’t deserve to be dignified with a response.  Otherwise, they know exactly where their next meal is coming from.  😉

  4. Shane,
    So you would agree that we should have a camera in every home, then?

    You are for warrant-less searches?

    Do you really think that a KGB-like police state will keep us safe?

    Eventually, sadly, there will be another successful attack.  After this event, how many more freedoms are you willing to give up?

    Please use your God given brain and think about it to it’s conclusion.

    1. If you really think that we have a KGB-like police state here I’d say you and I have a different perspective on reality.

      And no, I’m not willing to give up more freedom.  If there is another attack, and I agree with you there probably will be (nobody can bat 1.000), a lapse could be for any number of reasons.  The Patriot Act is just one aspect – border security, port security, etc all need to be addressed as well.

      1. part of the Patriot Act that I detest is the reporting requirements if you move $10K of your own money – it needs to be reported…when you read more articles about these new monitoring systems being put up in different cities, more cameras I’d say that we Citizens are being harassed and overly monitored due to another “ism” – heck did they ever release all the local security camera films around the Petagon on 911? I think that evidence has been sealed. We need a Doctor in the Capital to stop this road to serfdom. Please reconsider Shane and learn more about Dr. Pauls positions. You’ll see the light sooner or later. Peace to you and vote for Congressman Paul.

      2. If you really think that we have a KGB-like police state… ”

        No Shane, this is not what I think, you have twisted my question to you, into a statement of what my beliefs are.

        I’m glad you don’t want to give up any more freedom.  Now how about getting back the freedoms that were taken from us after 9/11.

        The (un) Patriot Act moves us in the wrong direction, and renewing or expanding it makes it worse.

        I pray for you that your eyes will be opened to see that every tiny erosion of our rights will add up to big problems for us and our children over time.

        Do you think God wants our government to spy on it’s own citizens?

  5. I’m sorry, I must be confused…you are a CHRISTIAN minister right?  You know, I left organized religion (Catholic) long ago because of the hypocrisy that surrounded me.  Funny how some things never change.  You evangelicals are really something, especially those that call themselves “leaders”.  You prance around chastising all using Jesus as both your justification and your weapon yet you have great difficulty with understanding his true message and guidance.  Instead you live in fear.  What’s up with that?

    The rationalizations that go amongst you people on are stupefying.  Jesus is lord and protects all who accept him as their savior, yet you seem to quiver in your boots. And then there is what you allow with your thoughtless lack of faith and understanding.

    Evangelicals seem to love seeing our government support Israel with money and weapons.  Why is that?  Is it because you are all pro-choice and have no problem with States who murder the unborn?  You would have us send money, fungible upon deposit, to pay for Israel’s State funded abortion on demand program?  And now, here at home, you advocate the loss of my inalienable rights which were provided by God, because you have no faith in Jesus to protect you?


  6. Actually, Ron Paul is doing the MOST to prevent attacks. He wants to change our foreign policy of intervening and trying to pick winners and losers from afar, so that we’re less likely to get attacked in the first place. I’d say that’s preventative. As for the Patriot Act and the Timothy McVeigh example, I think Ron Paul’s right on that too. Have you ever seen the movie “Minority Report”? Obviously that’s extreme, but that’s the direction you’re headed if you want to completely prevent crime. And it doesn’t work. The Patriot Act is not very small-government conservative. But then, I think most of those candidates speaking last night are not truly small-government conservatives. Only when it’s in their interest. No wonder people are frustrated with the politics of both parties.

  7. Comparing the Barbary Coast Pirates to our current  terrorist threat is deeply flawed. The Barbary pirates were thieves on the high seas. I don’t recall any text from  history stating that the Barbary pirates came over to the US to sabotage and kill civilians because Americans were free.  Also, I don’t recall America supporting dictators along the Barbary coast that were torturing and killing their citizens. 

    1. You are assuming that is why they come here – I think that makes no sense at all.

      But we are just asking what is the best way to go after them, not saying they are like pirates.  War on a country to get a band of nomads isn’t even successful.  In the end Obama went after OBL with a small band like Paul suggested weeks after 9/11 — only Paul’s way would have been Constitutional. All the Afghanistan war in between bought us nothing and was expensive and damaging.

    2. You honestly believe 9/11 happened because Americans are free? Where did this belief of yours originate?  It certainly was not the stated intention of the 19 Muslims who went on that suicide mission that day. Seeing as how we have killed literally 100 Muslims for every American killed on 9/11, i would say we have reaped more than our fair share of revenge, wouldn’t you?

      1. I think the poster is making the point that if the author of this deeply flawed editorial is making the case that the Barbary Pirates are working under the same mindset as current Islamic terrorist, then the author should also see that the pirates were NOT motivated by American freedom, culture or prosperity. They were motivated by something quite different… financial gain, plain and simple.

        Furthermore, the pirates were not engaged in suicide attacks – far from it. In addition, the present day terrorist have only one significant similarity to the Barbary pirates. Namely, neither groups motivation was/is based on American freedom, culture or any other such thing. The pirates were opportunistic thieves and kidnappers, preying  on all who happened close by (including other Muslims, by the way, Shane!). The pirates did in fact justify some of their behavior based on Islamic teachings and certain fatwas issued by their own corrupt clerics. But that is a far cry from present circumstances. The present tensions are viewed by a great many Muslims as justified under a broad scope of Islamic teaching. It is understood as a defensive Jihad, not an offensive Jihad to spread Islam, recover former Islamic territory or subdue non-Muslims.  Shane has not a clue of what he is talking about. 

  8. You shouldn’t be endorsing fighting a war at all, you claim to be a Christian. There is no radical Islamic threat to you or your family. You are delusional and theologically completely off base. Where in ANY New Testament teaching do you find justification for killing innocent civilians as has been done with your tax dollars and in your name in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.?  Cite me the chapter and verse, because under the guidance of the Holy Spirit I can quote for you chapter and verse our Lord and the Apostles Peter and Paul REFUTING your stance, Mr. Hart-less. Matthew 5:39. 1 Peter 3. Romans 12.  You have grieved the Spirit of the Lord with your hypocrisy and your fear mongering. You are not fit to lead a church, and I pray you do not do so.

    1. I don’t “claim” it.  I am a Christ-follower, and I have never advocated the killing of innocent civilians.

      Are you pro-slander?  Disagree with me if you want, but if you challenge my salvation and walk with the Lord I will blacklist you from commenting on this blog again.  Try to have a reasonable discussion without the personal attacks.

      1. Pastor Vander Hart,

        You’re right.  No one should challenge your salvation, but I would appreciate you posting a link to your anti-waterboarding writing that you mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

        Given how glowingly you have written about some of these waterboarding advocates, skepticism on the part of your readers is somewhat understandable.

  9. “The position if we just leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone doesn’t mesh with history.”

    Typical… so typical. Your analysis of Ron Paul’s foreign policy and national security positions is as shallow as clear mountain stream – but not nearly so pure. Paul is a far greater student of history than you are, sir. This is abundantly obvious in your reference to Jefferson’s dealings with the Barbary pirates. I would be happy to engage you in a written, on line debate Concerning that issue. Ron Paul’s political philosophy (including his foreign policy and national defense views) is far closer to Jefferson than yours.

    I pray that my God and yours will open your eyes, if not your mind.

  10. Ron Paul is the only Veteran among them, though I believe Perry served in the National Guard. The fact that the troops donated more than 2x the support to him as the rest of the GOP candidates combined in the third quarter should be taken in to account in assessing his approach to foreign policy. After all these are from folks on the ground in harms way. And the human cost on returning Veterans is incalculable. The VA recently estimated the suicide rate among Veterans is one every 80 minutes – about 20% of all suicides in the US. The candidates vying on stage to sound more hawkish than the other sounded almost childish to me – like schoolyard bullies.  Ron Paul understands that keeping 900 bases in 130 countries is weakening the defense of the US as it makes us the pariah sate of the world. And it’s bankrupting the nation. 

    Also the idea of Gingrich and Romney that it is possible for our government to identify who is a likely terrorist and so suspend “innocent until proven guilty” rights is a very dangerous notion. As there is really nowhere to draw the line as to who is a suspect and who is not. That is a police state.

  11. Ron Paul was the only one who made sense.  But if you don’t understand the business cycle or foreign relations and what our own CIA describes as blow back, you would write this article.

  12. If you agree we can’t be the policeman of the world and shouldn’t be handing out trillions of dollars in foreign aid, I guess you do agree with Ron Paul’s foreign policy.  RP gets more donations from the military than all the other candidates combined.  Stand up and be a man.  Support the troops.  Vote Ron Paul.

  13. The Barbary Pirates, ah yes, the pirates that were capturing African people and shipping them off to the new world  as slaves. No wait, wrong pirates, those must have been European Pirates. I say splinters and logs…splinters and logs. As Forrest Gump said, “sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks”. Dropping bombs on innocent people isn’t going to cure what ails our country, no matter how long we do it.

  14. So, Shane, are all of us US citizens to be treated as suspected terrorists, by default now, and lose our Freedom and Liberty because of McVeigh’s and Bin Lauden’s crimes? All of us? Because that is what is exactly what is happening in America today with the growth of the police state, TSA searches, etc. justified by the excuse of preventing another attack. Just throw away the Bill of Rights and the Constitution so we can feel “safe”…?? NO!! I am not willing to give up my Liberty and Freedom for an illusion of security so you can be deluded into believing you are warm, fuzzy and SAFE on your sofa.

    Paul is a non-interventionist…not an isolationist. There is a HUGE difference. North Korea is an isolationist nation and Ron Paul is not suggesting we act in this manner by any means. He advocates a stong military for DEFENSE not pre-emptive strikes. This is the Christian “Just War Theory” that America strictly adhered to until the Wilson administration. It is the only way to be beholden first to GOD, and still engage in war. I am amazed that I have to remind you of this point. We must not be so afraid of terrorism that we lose our principles along with our Liberty, Freedom and humanity. Furthermore, how is it acceptable for us to demand American soverignity and yet take it from other nations at the point of a gun? What ever happened to the Golden Rule? I, for one, applaude his Christian ethics and thoughtful approach to war.

    I have heard some argue that Iran is an obvious case, proving that non-interventionism is not working. That is far from the truth as most Americans do not realize how much we have intervened in Iran over the last 60 years! Just look at the history of U.S. intervention in Iran: From 1908 to 1953 Iran had a democracy.  To aid the Brittish to regain control of Iran’s oil, in 1953 the newly formed CIA orchestrated a sucessful coup  called operation Ajax (deposing the democratically elected Prime Minister) and placed a monarch, the Shah, a horrific authortarian, into power. The Brits talked Eisenhower into assisting with the coup by using the excuse that Iran was being influenced by the Soviet Union – a cold war excuse to get Eisenhower on board.  This connection has since been disputed.  Decades of oppression of the Iranian people ensued and in 1979, a successful revolution occurs, and Khomeni comes to power. The 440 plus day Tehran hostage crisis occured at the US embassy to prevent the CIA from overthrowing their revolution. Next, the US supports Iraq financially and with weapons, in it”s war against Iran in which 500 thousand Iranians died, this further fuels hatred of America. Khomeni turns out to be just as authortarian as the Shah and Iranian people are enslaved to this day by an authortarian theocracy. Do you feel the Iranians might be justified in their hatred of the US? We have been experiencing what the CIA calls “blow back.” Now please tell me again how well our US interventionist foreign policy is working? How does continuing policies such as this keep America safe??? And this is just one country we meddled in…there are many more, but it is this country and our interventism here, and it’s blow back, that is placing the world on the verge of WW III. We better wake up and wake up soon, to the reality of the deadly future we are creating.

    I am a typical Ron Paul supporter, inspired to self- educate, by Ron Paul, a man you describe as naive about the middle east and foreign policy…you may want to rethink that position. 

    Extremism in defense of Liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

    1. “My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel the old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden.

      “I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.’”

      Source: Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, 1960

  15. Pastor, I think it’s time you travel to Iraq and see for yourself what
    lies did to the innocent.
    Also don’t forget the 911 attacker’s were from Saudi Arabia not Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Jesus was a man of peace, not war !

  16. The power of God is not in the local church, it’s crippled because it’s been infiltrated…  The purpose of life is to seek God, the church is trying to establish traditions and religion. 

  17. Beware, blind guide, of the “yeast of the Pharisees“, you hypocrite.  David asked to be preserved for, “thy Name sake”.  What do you think you should  be preserved for?  More war propaganda?  Do you really think the Prince of Peace is pleased with that?  Is this loving your enemies?  I’m not talking about self defense, but aggressive, pre-emptive war which is what all these clowns besides Ron Paul want.  Hypocrite.  

  18. I wonder if the author is aware of the Moroccon-American Treaty of Friendship (1777)- the oldest unbroken treaty in American history, and the first to recognize American independence? He mentions the Barbary pirates as if these were just typical Muslims, not the renegades that they were. I guess the Spanish and English pirates during that time were representative of typical Christians.

    The bottom line is this. You can’t invade, conquer, destabilize, assassinate, fund coups, support dictators, steal resources, kill civilians, and build nations to suit your desires…without some serious resistance. U.S. foreign policy is a disaster. Not just for those directly effected (people in those countries attacked and U.S. soldiers and their families), but also for the American people. How does the author suggest we continue this course while we are in a debt crisis and are essentially bankrupt?? If we don’t address the National Debt, there will be a catastrophic collapse and all these military adventures will have to come to a very abrupt halt. And it won’t be pretty here at home.

    I just noticed that the author is a pastor. I’m wondering what the Christian justification for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are exactly. I believe the only way those could be justified is by blinding yourself to the actual destruction they have caused….both to the families directly effected and in the way of our increased National Debt. Is spending money that doesn’t exist really a Biblical approach?

    I really hope people that are truly trying to do the right thing and serve God wake up soon, and see how they’re being used and deceived.

  19. Let us take your comments about Ron Paul one by one.
    “Congressman Paul doesn’t believe in national security he believes in
    criminal justice.” 
    Nonsense. Of course Ron Paul believes in National Security. But he also believes that there are distinctions to be made between a Constitutional view of war and foreign relations, and criminal acts perpetrated by individuals or groups disconnected from nation state entities. That is the point. The founders inserted into the Constitution the power to issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal in dealing with these circumstances. Instead, the Federal government has gone the non-constitutional route of undeclared war, prolonged occupations and nation building… all of which is counter to the founders wisdom. Ron Paul is answering these questions with the wisdom of the founders.
    “While I’m sure his supporters cheered at his answers
    and some present did.  He did nothing to assuage those who have concerns
    with his ability to be the Commander-in-Chief and deal with present
    threats we have.  This is why he has a ceiling to his support.”
    I see this quite differently. If Paul has a low threshold of possible supporters, it is not because of his poor ability to deal with current threats. It is because of the electorates poor understanding of the root causes of these threats. More on this in a moment.
    “While I
    agree with him that we can’t be the world’s policeman, and I am also
    concerned by the amount of foreign aid the U.S. doles out.  I’ve said
    before that I believe his position on terrorism is naïve, nor would it
    be proactive.”
    Here we need a little clarification… What do you mean by naive? What is your understanding of Paul’s position on terrorism? When Paul argues that Islamic terrorist are motivated by American foreign policy in the Muslim world, is that factually in error? Is Michael Scheuer (former head of the CIA’s Ben Laden Unit) naive when he says the exact same things as Ron Paul on this issue? Is Robert Pape (an expert in this area who advises the US military) naive in his book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, which argues that the principle motivating factor in suicide attacks is foreign occupation? Is the timing of the events of recent history only a coincidence? Is the fact that suicide terrorist of the Islamic faith only began their attacks against us after American military forces were stationed in Muslim territories only an inexplicable accident? Is it not odd that Islamic history, by and large, has demonstrated a strange propensity towards internal scrabbles and warfare, with little or no regard to foreign nations, until such nations involve themselves in Muslim nations – then suddenly Islam becomes more fervent and less divided in dealing with foreigners? You are not actually dealing with Ron Paul’s position at all. You are merely calling him naive while displaying a profound lack of understanding yourself.
    “His administration would be one that would respond to
    successful attacks, not do what needs to be done to try to prevent
    Hogwash! The most proactive way to prevent further attacks is to rob the terrorist of their main means of recruiting potential Jihadist! And the fact of the matter is that the principle means used to inflame Muslim hatred towards the U.S. is American foreign policy and the effects those policies have on Muslims. And, interestingly enough, a return to the founders vision of a non-interventionist foreign policy would serve those purposes far better than a hawkish interventionist mindset the other GOP candidates favor, as do you apparently.
    “The position if we just leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone
    doesn’t mesh with history.”
    What is naive is not Paul’s understanding of these issues, but your understanding of Ron Paul’s positions.
    “Ask Thomas Jefferson how leaving the Barbary
    Coast alone worked out.  Same mindset that was active in the Muslim
    world then is present today.”
    Having studied Islam for years as a Christian concerned with missionary outreaches in the Islamic world, you display a profound ignorance of both Islamic history and culture.

  20. The Patriot Act would not have stopped the Oklahoma bombing. That was a ridiculous retort by Gingich. Content-free red meat for the uncritical masses.

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