The speech Ron Paul has to make: If he wishes to win the GOP nomination
John McCain gave a speech last week at VMI defending the war in Iraq and urgingfor the U.S. to stay the course for final victory. While he never quite diddefine what final victory would look like, the speech was an important one totry and revive the flagging fortunes of his campaign. A vigorous defense of thewar and an attack on the Democrats may very well lift his poll numbers if, andonly if, a majority of Republicans continue to support the war by the time theIowa caucuses roll around. McCain is staking everything onthis.
Ron Paul is staking a lot on the war as well, his opposition to it. Running anunderdog campaign, it’s probably the only way he can win the GOP presidentialnomination by carving out this niche. Right now a majority of Republican voterssupport the war in Iraq, but only because of the“surge.”Forget thinking of thesurge as a military strategy. It is a political strategy. After the 2006elections, there were many Republicans ready to head for the exits in Iraq. ButBush II quickly fired Don Rumsfeld as defense secretary, shook up the generalstaff in Iraq, and announced the“surge”strategy. The end result is Republicansstay loyal to the President’s war policy because the President successfullysells it as a strategy for“victory”even if they can’t define what victory isor the means to achieve it. Again, militarily deficient but politicallybrilliant.
But there’s no Plan B if the“surge”doesn’t achieve whatever goals are set forit. Either it’s successful or everyone’s back heading for the exits once again.If nothing changes in Iraq from now until fall, it’s doubtful even Republicansare going to maintain support for a war that has no end in sight or any conceptof final victory either clearly defined or on the horizon. Republican votersdidn’t support U.S. involvement in similar wars in Korea and Vietnam when theyreached similar stages, why would they support the war effort in Iraq?Especially when it’s soldiers largely from rural and small and mid-sized towns,the kind of places that you would find a lot of Republican voters, who are theones doing the dying.
That’s what Ron Paul has to convey to the Republican voters in the upcomingprimaries and caucuses. His Congressional district in southeast Texas has manysmall and mid-sized communities like Victoria, Angleton, Bay Cityand LakeJackson. He should know from first hand experience what the Iraq war has done tosuch communities and if he can make that connection and share those feelings tovoters in small towns in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina who weary of thewar and all the upheaval its brought to their communities, then he can gaintheir trust, gain their support and gain their votes as well. He has to make aspeech from his gut as to how the war hurting thiscountry.
So Ron Paul needs to make a big speech about the war the way McCain just did toconvey his thoughts. I will happily deputize myself as a speech writer for thistask. The speech should go something like this:
“…My Congressional district in Texas includes a lot of small towns andmid-sized communities that have many of its sons and daughters in the militaryand serving overseas. For some its family tradition to be soldiers, sailors,Marines and airmen as their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers were.For some the military offers them a chance for patriotic Americans to servetheir country by answering it call to duty. And for some it’s a way to haveopportunities to broaden their horizons, see the world and become better peoplethrough their service.
But when our military is put in harms way, especially in Iraq, it can havedevastating affects upon our small towns. War robs such communities of its bestand brightest. It robs them of their leaders and upstanding citizens. Maybe hewas the class president, or the quarterback who led the local high school teamto the state title. Maybe she was the prom queen. Or maybe she was a sheriff’sdeputy, ormaybe he was the head of the local volunteer fire companyora skilled mechanic. Whoever they were, they’re loss is feltdeeply.
War leaves scars that are both visible and invisible. Maybe it’s the kid youknew on the track team that could run the 100-meter dash in 10 seconds flat andreturns back home with just one leg. Maybe they were votedthe mosthandsome in their class and yet return home disfigured from a head injury causedby an IED explosion to Humvee that wasn’t properly armored.Or maybe they’resomeone who comes back in physically in one peace butarementally andemotionally scared and can’t get the help they need from thelocal VA hospital. That person’s family and friends try their best to help buthe or she can’t be helped. Their life just spirals downward until they end theirlife suicide or drug addiction and they too, become another casualty of the war.
War can also break up once solid families. Maybe it’s that young family withchildren that you knew from church who’s husband, a National Guard member, hasbeen sent on several tours in Iraq. The wife can’t take being separated anymoreand they get divorced when he gets home. Or maybe it’s a family you know fromschool or club function whose members are bitterly dived over the war itself andwhose parents and children, brothers and sisters no longer speak to each otheror attend reunions or family gatherings togetheranymore.
No matter the conflict, it is the small communities that bare the brunt of war’sburden. In some wars like World War II they shoulder it well, because they knowthe purpose is clear, the sacrifice needed and the final victory is in sight.But in other wars, like the one in Iraq, that burden becomescrushing whenit is not shared equally around this country, when the purpose is no longerclear or has lost its meaning and when victory is not only invisible, but can’teven be explained. It becomes even worse when the reasons given for our smallcommunities to bare that burden turn out to be false or manipulated or thatinjuries and deaths that we’ve grieved for or dealt could have been avoided ifour men and women had better equipment or were properlytrained.
I say the damage to our small towns across this country from the war in Iraq hasgone far enough. It is long past time now that we find a way to withdraw ourtroops from the internal warfare and political intrigue that now envelops Iraqand bring them back home with the honor they deserve. There can be no middleground when it comes to war. Either go all out, all of us in this countrytogether, or stay out. We can no longer expect or demandsmall communitiesto carry the war effort upon its backalonewhile others safety stayaway and go about their lives as if the war is in some distant place away fromtheir comfort. It’s not their kids who are dying. It’s not their families thatbroken apart. It’s not their men and women who suffer debilitating injury. It’snot their jobs that go vacant or their businesses that go bankrupt and itcertainly not their war memorials that have new names carved intothem.
Either we fight as one nation or do not fight at all. That is the way a republicgoes to war and if you honor me with support to be President of the UnitedStates, I promise to you that is the way we defend our country in the future,all of us together as one , hand in hand, sharing the burden and sacrifice untilvictory is won. Thank you.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”