Ron Paul: Republicans Should Stop ‘Abusing’ America’s Military

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CLUTE, Texas — In a recent weekly column, former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul questioned the promises of Republican presidential candidates who have vowed to “rebuild” the U.S. military if elected.

“Despite what appears to be total disagreement among them, there is one area where they all agree,” Paul wrote on Sunday. “They all promise that if elected they will ‘rebuild the military.’”

The leading GOP candidates have been unambiguous in their support of the military-industrial complex. “Almost a decade of irresponsible defense cuts has slashed the number of combat personnel, seriously degraded their combat readiness, and shrunk the size of our Army, Navy and Air Force below any reasonable standard,” declares Sen. Ted Cruz’s website, under the tagline “American Resolve: Rebuilding America’s military.”

And in an August appearance on “Fox and Friends,” Donald Trump was asked what he would do first, if elected. “I want to build up the military so nobody messes with us,” he said. “I would bring it (military levels) back to where it was at the height because we’re in such trouble.”

In his column, Paul took issue with the notion that the U.S. military has been weakened by cuts:

“Have the useless weapons programs like the F-35 finally been shut down? No, the United States still spends more on its military than the next 14 countries combined. And the official military budget is only part of the story. The total spending on the US empire is well over one trillion dollars per year. Under the Obama Administration the military budget is still 41 percent more than it was in 2001, and seven percent higher than at the peak of the Cold War.”

The U.S. military has more military bases in foreign countries than any other nation. U.S. troops are found in at least 160 countries, at a cost of over $150 billion annually. And after spending $1.5 trillion in development, the F-35 remains a costly and useless boondoggle.

“The best way to really ‘rebuild’ the US military would be to stop abusing the military in the first place,” Paul wrote.

While agreeing with Republican candidates that the military must be reformed, he suggested he “would rebuild it in a very different way” if he were in their shoes. He explained:

“I would not rebuild it according to the demands of the military-industrial complex, which cares far more about getting rich than about protecting our country. I would not rebuild the military so that it can overthrow more foreign governments who refuse to do the bidding of Washington’s neocons.”

Instead of further investment in empire and expensive weaponry, Paul, who has been a consistent opponent of U.S. foreign wars, including, notably, his repeated and outspoken opposition to the Iraq War, instead suggested a different use for U.S. forces.

“The purpose of the US military is to defend the United States,” Paul wrote. “It is not to make the world safe for oil pipelines, or corrupt Gulf monarchies, or NATO, or Israel.”

The best way to “rebuild” the U.S. military, he suggested, would be to end policies that promote empire and imperialism over peace and global stability:

“We must adopt a policy of non-intervention and a strong defense of this country. The neocons will weaken our country and our military by promoting more war. We need to ‘rebuild’ the military by restoring as its mission the defense of the United States, not of Washington’s overseas empire.”

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