Short Term Thinking and Unintended Consequences of War
In 1999, Congressman Ron Paul addresses Congress on the issue of Defense Supplemental Spending. He describes how short-term thinking leads to unintended consequences such as backlash and retaliation and giving arms to people who turn out to be our enemies. This, in turn, leads to further aggressive action on the part of the United States. Each action we take has backlash and retaliation from enemies we make along the way. it is extremely predictable, and yet we do the same thing over and over and over. It would be one thing if we ever accomplished even our short-term goals in the process, but we seldom do.
The constitution states that the congress must declare war if it is declared. (Not the president!)
Constitutionally, the president has no authority to take aggressive military action unless congress has declared war except in the case of an imminent threat. Since WWII, every president has decided that every whim that comes along is a dire threat so that he can pretend to justify his actions.
Here are a few excerpts.
“It is not the prerogative of Congress to micromanage a war…”
“It’s is not the prerogative of Congress to micromanage a war… that is correct. It is the job of the congress to declare the war. But here we have a congress involved in diplomacy and micromanaging a war that hasn’t been declared.”
“The issue is how do you permit a president to wage a war, without us [addressing congress] declaring the war? Once we declare the war, it is true, we should not be talking about whether or not to use airplanes or foot soldiers or whatever – we do not micromanage, we do not get involved in diplomacy maneuvers. But today we have things turned upside-down. We have the president declaring war and we say nothing and the congress micromanaging the war that shouldn’t exist.”
“To say to the president, ‘Thou shalt not use these funds for a ground war’… well, he hasn’t had the authority to wage his air war! Why would he listen to us now? Could we trust him and say he’s going to listen to what we tell him? Of course not! He’s already fighting his air war, and he will continue to! He has set the standard, and not he alone! All our presidents from World War II have set the standard that they’ll do what they darn well please!”
“It is said that we must move in now to help the refugees. Have you looked at the statistics? How many refugees did we have before the bombing started? other say ‘We must move in because Milosevic is so strong.’ Prior to the bombing Milosevic was weak! You talk about unintended consequences! They are so numerous! What about the unintended consequence of supporting the KLA who is supported by Ossama Bin Ladin? How absurd can it get”
We Keep On Funding and Befriending People Who End Up Being Enemies
“You know, Ossama Bin Ladin was our good friend because he was a freedom fighter in Afghanistan and we gave him our weapons and supported him. But then, we found out that he wasn’t quite so friendly so we arrested or captured a few of his men and he retaliated by bombing our embassies. Of course, we retaliated by bombing innocent chemical plants as well as people in Afghanistan who had nothing to do with it. So where are we now? We are back to … deliberating over ‘Should we give weapons to the KLA?‘ I mean, the whole thing is absurd!”
“So the president comes and asks us for six billion dollars and in congresses infinite wisdom we give him thirteen! And yet we don’t declare war!”