Column: Paul's 9/11 theory should be considered
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Published: Friday May 18, 2007
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Ron Paul's assertion in this week's Republican presidential debate that American foreign policy in the Middle East invited the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 should not be dismissed, lest Americans continue to ignore the lessons of history, a CNN contributor wrote in an opinion piece Friday on the network's Web site.

"As Americans, we believe in forgiving and forgetting, and are terrible at understanding how history affects us today," wrote Roland S. Martin, who also hosts a talk show in Chicago. "We are arrogant in not recognizing that when we benefit, someone else may suffer. That will lead to resentment and anger, and if suppressed, will boil over one day."

After Paul, a Texas congressman, asserted that terrorists attacked the US "because we've been over there" bombing Iraq for a decade, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he'd never heard such an assertion and pounced on Paul and demanded a retraction of the statement.

Paul's performance at the debates has rankled some GOP faithful, who have said he should not be allowed to participate in future debates. Supporters of the outspoken, quirky longshot have responded in force, inundating Republicans unfriendly to their cause with angry phone calls, according to The Hotline's On Call blog.

Martin said the emotional response from Giuliani and the crowd at the debate belies a full understanding of the implications of America's military interventions around the globe.

EXCERPTS FROM MARTIN'S COLUMN

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Granted, Americans were severely damaged by the hijacking of U.S. planes, and it has resulted in a worldwide fight against terror. Was it proper for the United States to respond to the attack? Of course! But should we, as a matter of policy, and moral decency, learn to think and comprehend that our actions in one part of the world could very well come back to hurt us, or, as Paul would say, blow back in our face? Absolutely. His real problem wasn't his analysis, but how it came out of his mouth.

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As Americans, we believe in forgiving and forgetting, and are terrible at understanding how history affects us today. We are arrogant in not recognizing that when we benefit, someone else may suffer. That will lead to resentment and anger, and if suppressed, will boil over one day.

Does that provide a moral justification for what the terrorists did on September 11?

Of course not. But we should at least attempt to understand why.

Think about it. Do we have the moral justification to explain the killings of more than 100,000 Iraqis as a result of this war? Can we defend the efforts to overthrow other governments whose actions we perceived would jeopardize American business interests?

The debate format didn't give Paul the time to explain all of this. But I'm confident this is what he was saying. And yes, we need to understand history and how it plays a vital role in determining matters today.

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FULL COLUMN AVAILABLE HERE