Statements by Ron Paul on Terrorism,

the War on Terror, and National Security


Michael T. Griffith


Revised on 1/2/2008


-- “Terrorism is a very, very serious problem.  But if we don’t understand what causes it, we can’t solve the problem. . . .  If we do know where there is a group of terrorists planning to do harm to us, we should go after them. . . .   We should target our enemies and go after the terrorists.” (Ron Paul TV Special for Iowa, December 2007)


-- “Osama bin Laden and his accomplices have yet to be brought to justice. I believe it is time for us to redouble our efforts to punish those responsible for the terrorist acts of September 11. . . .” (Ron Paul Congressional Report for the 14th District of Texas, August 2007)


-- “GLENN BECK: But there is a -- there is a global movement within Islam that would like to see -- I mean, I’ll show you the pictures of it. I’ve -- you know, I’ve met with the people here in New York City. And, you know, I’ve -- I detailed them in a book that I just put out where I show the pictures of the Islamic Jihadist flag flying over the White House in, you know, in a Web site. They have every intention of taking this country and turning it over to Sharia law. . . .

“RON PAUL: . . . .  I think everything you said is true.” (Interview with Glenn Beck, April 18, 2007)


-- “We seem to have forgotten that our primary objective in the war on terror is to capture or kill bin Laden and his henchmen. One year ago, the desire for retribution against bin Laden was tangible. President Bush referred to finding him "dead or alive." And while the hunger for vengeance was understandable, the practical need to destroy al Qaeda before it mounted another terror attack was urgent. Yet we have allowed the passage of time and the false specter of an Iraq threat to distract us from our original purpose.” (“Will We Bring Bin Laden to Justice?,” September 23, 2002)

-- “Yesterday, Americans were awakened to find ourselves in a war, attacked by barbarians who targeted innocent civilians. This despicable act reveals how deep-seated is the hatred that has driven this war.

“Though many Americans have just become aware of how deeply we are involved in this war, it has been going on for decades. We are obviously seen by the terrorists as an enemy.  In war there is no more reprehensible act than for combatants to slaughter innocent civilian bystanders. This is what happened yesterday.” (“Statement on the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks,” September 12, 2001)

-- “We need more border guards, and I would provide the personnel by bringing our troops home, and we would save a lot of money—so you’d have the money and the personnel.” (Interview with Lee Rogers, June 22, 2007)


-- “Without some understanding why terrorism is directed towards the United States, we may well build a prison for ourselves with something called homeland security while doing nothing to combat the root causes of terrorism. Let us hope we figure this out soon.” (“War on Terror?”, October 30, 2001)


-- NEAL CAVUTO:  “So you only react when acted upon?”


RON PAUL:  “Or imminently. . . .  The President actually has authority to respond, without going to the Congress, if you’re under attack or there’s an imminent attack.” (Interview with Neal Cavuto, November 22, 2007)

-- “Letters of marque and reprisal: This constitutional tool can be used to give President Bush another weapon in the war on terrorism. Congress can issue letters of marque against terrorists and their property that authorize the President to name private sources who can capture or kill our enemies. This method works in conjunction with our military efforts, creating an incentive for people on the ground close to Bin Laden to kill or capture him and his associates. Letters of marque are especially suited to the current war on terrorism, which will be fought against individuals who can melt into the civilian population or hide in remote areas. The goal is to avail ourselves of the intelligence of private parties, who may stand a better chance of finding Bin Laden than we do through a conventional military invasion. Letters of marque also may help us avoid a wider war with Afghanistan or other Middle Eastern nations.

“End legal preferences for terrorist suspects: Congress should clarify all federal criminal statutes to insure that so-called "extralegal" preferences for criminal terrorist suspects are eliminated. In some past terrorist investigations, federal rules have been interpreted to require law enforcement to show something more than standard probable cause to obtain warrants. Law enforcement officials should never have to demonstrate anything more than standard probable cause when seeking a warrant in the war on terrorism.” (“Effective and Practical Counter-Terrorism Measures,” October 15, 2001)

-- “The terrible events of September 11th brought the issue of immigration reform squarely into the public spotlight. Most of the terrorist hijackers involved in the attacks were in the country illegally, having gained entrance using student visas that had later expired. The INS now admits that potentially tens of millions of aliens in the country are unaccounted for, many having simply disappeared after passing through customs. This in turn leads to fears that numerous terrorist cells may be operating within the U.S. and plotting future acts of terror. No amount of military might used abroad does us much good if the American people are not safe in their own communities.

“Immigration policy must now be considered a matter of national security. America has the same sovereign right to defend itself against enemies when the enemy attacks us from within. Common sense tells us that we currently should not be admitting aliens from nations that sponsor or harbor terrorists, or from nations with whom we are at war.” (“Sane and Sensible Immigration Policies After September 11,” January 7, 2002)

-- “I, like many, have assumed that the driving force behind the suicide attacks was Islamic fundamentalism. Promise of instant entry into paradise as a reward for killing infidels seemed to explain the suicides, a concept that is foreign to our way of thinking. The world's expert on suicide terrorism has convinced me to rethink this simplistic explanation, that terrorism is merely an expression of religious extremism and resentment of a foreign culture.

“Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win, explains the strategic logic of suicide terrorism. Pape has collected a database of every suicide terrorist attack between 1980 and 2004, all 462 of them. His conclusions are enlightening and crucial to our understanding the true motivation behind the attacks against Western nations by Islamic terrorists. After his exhaustive study, Pape comes to some very important conclusions.

“Religious beliefs are less important than supposed. For instance, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, a Marxist secular group, are the world's leader in suicide terrorism . The largest Islamic fundamentalist countries have not been responsible for any suicide terrorist attack. None have come from Iran or the Sudan. Until the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iraq never had a suicide terrorist attack in all of its history. Between 1995 and 2004, the al Qaeda years, two-thirds of all attacks came from countries where the U.S. had troops stationed. Iraq's suicide missions today are carried out by Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis. Recall, 15 of the 19 participants in the 9/11 attacks were Saudis.

“The clincher is this: the strongest motivation, according to Pape, is not religion but rather a desire ‘to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory the terrorists view as their homeland.’” (“Suicide Terrorism,” July 14, 2005)

-- “We are still by far the greatest military power on earth. But since we stubbornly refuse to understand the nature of our foes, we are literally defeating ourselves.

“In 2004, bin Laden stated that al-Qaeda's goal was to bankrupt the United States. His second in command, Zawahiri, is quoted as saying that the 9/11 attack would cause Americans to, ‘come and fight the war personally on our sand where they are within rifle range.’

“Sadly, we are playing into their hands. . . .

“We have totally failed to adapt to modern warfare. We're dealing with a small, nearly invisible enemy – an enemy without a country, a government, an army, a navy, an air force, or missiles. Yet our enemy is armed with suicidal determination, and motivated by our meddling in their regional affairs, to destroy us.” (“Defund the War,” March 22, 2007)

-- John Stossel: “What should government do?

Ron Paul: “Protect our freedoms. Have a strong national defense. Look at and take care of our borders. Have a sound currency. (Interview with John Stossel, December 12, 2007)

-- JUDY WOODRUFF: “Do you think that, if the U.S. left Iraq, pulled out of that region altogether, that the Islamic extremists would no longer be a threat to the United States? Is that what you're saying?

REP. RON PAUL: “It wouldn't be that simple, because just moving away, you'd still have the problems and the resentments. They're not going to dissipate overnight.

“But I'm talking about a noninterventionist foreign policy. The founding fathers taught us about it, no entangling alliance. Don't get involved in the internal affairs. If you eventually did that in the Middle East, yes, we would be less vulnerable.” (Interview with Judy Woodruff, October 12, 2007)

-- Tim Dickinson: “In a recent debate, you blasted Mike Huckabee for supporting the war, saying we're only staying in Iraq "to save face." But wouldn't leaving Iraq be a propaganda victory for bin Laden?

Ron Paul:  “Everything is much worse if we stay. Right now they're very content to bleed us in Iraq. Bleed us financially and by killing Americans. We lose lives, we spend money we don't have, it furthers our financial crisis. The longer we're there, the stronger Al Qaeda gets. Our being there is the greatest incentive ­ conceivable to help Osama bin Laden. The evidence is very clear. There's more Al Qaeda now than before.  Which means we're in greater danger of being hit by terrorists than before.  Besides, who are the people telling us there'll be problems if we leave? The same ones who said it would be a cakewalk. What kind of credibility do they have?” (Interview with Tim Dickinson, November 14, 2007)

-- “I think we should have one purpose [in our foreign policy], and that is to protect America, to do whatever is in our national security interest, and to take the advice of the founding fathers: don't get involved in these entangling alliances, and don't get involved in the internal affairs of other nations.

“But even if the attack comes from our foreign policy that is ill-advised, we still can't ignore it.  That's the reason you still have to go after Al Qaeda. You know, some people would like to say, "Oh, he blames our foreign policy, so therefore he won't go after Al Qaeda."  No, that is not the case. . . .  I added one other thing, besides going after Bin Laden: I reintroduced the notion that the early presidents used, and that was the letter of marque and reprisal. Instead of declaring war against a country that wasn't responsible in a precise manner, the letter of marque and reprisal allows a way of targeting an individual or individuals who are stateless, who don't belong to a particular country.  They used this when they went after the Barbary pirates in the early years. . . .  We didn't declare war against Libya--we went after the pirates.  Now, we should go after Al Qaeda.  But we also have to understand what their true motivation is and why they would be willing to sacrifice their lives to come over here and bomb us, and I think that is important as well.” (Interview with Chuck Baldwin, August 30, 2007)

-- “I fault the lack of respect for the 2nd Amendment as a partial cause for 9/11. If the airlines had assumed their responsibility, they might have, might have felt the need to have, some guns in these cockpits, and maybe the terrorists wouldn't have even attacked us. But by federal law we weren't even allowed to have guns in the cockpit, and we were told not to resist.  So the federal government created some of the conditions that made it more inviting for the terrorists to attack us. The 2nd Amendment can go a long way toward protecting us.” (Interview with Chuck Baldwin, August 30, 2007)

-- USA Daily Staff: “How can the U.S. government wage a war against terrorism yet remain completely defenseless against the potential threat of being infiltrated by foreign terrorists and saboteurs?

Dr. Ron Paul:  “It can’t.  We claim to be fighting a war to protect our national security when we’ve left the back door unlocked at home.  If we were truly worried about national security, we would first secure our borders, and oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.  This is especially important given that a number of the 9/11 terrorists were in our country with expired visas—we cannot be complacent, or we run the risk of jeopardizing our nation’s safety. I have a six-point plan for defending this country’s borders, and strict enforcement of visa rules is one of the most important measures we can take to prevent infiltration by terrorists. (Interview with USA Daily staff, November 14, 2007)

-- “General William Odom, who directed the National Security Agency under President Reagan, recently wrote an article titled “Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran,” claiming that cooperation between Washington and Tehran “is the single most important step that could be taken to rescue the US from its predicament in Iraq.” I believe we can restore such cooperation with Iran through diplomacy, trade, and travel, rather than threatening a nuclear strike.  Our extension of economic sanctions against the Iranian people amounts to sheer war propaganda, and we’re losing out opportunity to pursue a peaceful option the more we shut them out.  We need to re-open the doors to diplomacy with Iran, by removing sanctions and actually talking with them—as we did with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.  President Reagan was “the Great Communicator,” and we need to hearken back to his policy of communication to prevent war with Iran or any other country that seeks to obtain nuclear weapons. (Interview with USA Daily staff, November 14, 2007)

-- “I’m certainly troubled by oppressive actions by the Chinese Communist Party in the wake of the 2008 Olympics.  Communist China continues its brutal legacy of egregious human rights abuses, especially as we have seen recently against Tibet’s Buddhists.  The persecution isn’t just against religious minorities, either—how many tens of thousands Chinese citizens have been displaced as the government razed hutongs in Beijing and rice paddies in the western provinces?  Communist China, though increasingly globalized, has not accepted basic tenets of freedom that we hold dearly in America, such as property rights and freedoms of religion or association.  The truth of the matter is that the United States is heavily subsidizing these actions through taxes, but the 2008 Olympic Games itself receives no federal subsidies from the US government.  The United States Olympic Committee is a private organization funded by civilians and corporations, and the decision to boycott the Beijing Games would best be left to them.” (Interview with USA Daily staff, November 14, 2007)


Michael T. Griffith holds a Master’s degree in Theology, a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, and two Associate of Applied Science degrees.   He also holds an Advanced Certificate of Civil War Studies and a Certificate of Civil War Studies.  He is currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Ancient and Classical History from the American Military University in Virginia.  He is a two-time graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.  He is the author of six books, five on Mormonism and ancient texts and one on the JFK assassination.