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'Ron Paul Was Right': Rep's Decade-old Afghanistan Remarks Resurface Amid Crisis

Newsweek logo Newsweek 8/16/2021 Jacob Jarvis
Ron Paul wearing a suit and tie: Then U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks during a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland on March 28, 2012 in College Park, Maryland. © T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images Then U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks during a town hall meeting at the University of Maryland on March 28, 2012 in College Park, Maryland.

Decade-old comments from former Congressman Ron Paul about the United States' involvement in Afghanistan have spread on social media amid the unfolding crisis in the nation.

"Ron Paul" became a trending topic on Twitter on Monday, with many writing "Ron Paul was right."

Some shared a speech Paul, who ran to be the Republican presidential candidate three times, made about Afghanistan in 2011 and in his 2012 farewell speech.

Paul, who had three stints in Congress, first representing Texas' 22nd congressional district and then its 14th, gave a speech in March 2011 in which he supported legislation advocating the U.S. military leaving Afghanistan.

"The question we're facing today is should we leave Afghanistan? I think the answer is very clear and it's not complicated, that of course we should. As soon as we can," he said. "This suggests that we can leave by the end of the year. If we don't, we'll be there for another decade would be my prediction."

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On leaving, he said: "The large majority of the American people now say it's time to get out of Afghanistan. It's a fruitless venture, too much has been lost, the chance of winning, since we don't even know what we're going to win, doesn't exist."

Later in his speech, he spoke against the "perpetual occupation of a country."

"We can't change Afghanistan," he said. "Even if you could, you're not supposed to. You don't have the moral authority, you don't have the constitutional authority."

The Taliban moved into Kabul on Sunday, just weeks after President Joe Biden announced the U.S. military would depart Afghanistan by August 31.

A Taliban official told the Associated Press it expects to announce the nation will change its name back to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, its official name when it was last under Taliban rule.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, while other citizens have made desperate attempts to leave. The United States airlifted diplomats from the embassy in Kabul.

The situation has ignited debate over the U.S. involvement in the nation and its foreign policy more broadly.

Another Ron Paul speech shared online was his 2012 farewell speech, in which he said: "Violent anti-Americanism has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of 'blow-back' is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result."

In other remarks from a 2009 speech, shared by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who is Ron Paul's son, he said: "What if our foreign policy of the past century is deeply flawed and has not served our national security interest? What if we realize that the terrorist threat is our consequence of meddling in the affairs of others and has nothing to do with us being free and prosperous?

"What if propping up repressive regimes in the Middle East endangers both the United States and Israel? What if occupying countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and bombing Pakistan is directly related to the hatred directed toward us?"

Newsweek has contacted the Ron Paul Institute to ask if the former representative has any comment on the current situation in Afghanistan and on his previous remarks resurfacing.

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