Friday, 09 February 2018

Rand Paul Says Bring Troops Home from Afghanistan — Then Have a Parade

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After President Trump recently expressed a desire to hold a massive military parade in the nation’s capital, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed the president’s vision in a statement: “President Trump is incredibly supportive of America’s great service members who risk their lives every day to keep our country safe. He has asked the Department of Defense to explore a celebration at which all Americans can show their appreciation.”

Predictably, Trump’s call for a large-scale military parade drew mixed reactions from both the public and members of Congress.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.; shown) who shares the noninterventionist philosophy of his father, former Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), penned an opinion piece for Fox News on February 7 carrying the headline: “Bring home our troops and, yes, throw a parade.”

Paul stated that he is not against a victory celebration. So he proposes that we declare victory in Afghanistan, bring home our 14,000 troops, and hold a victory parade. 

While some self-described “conservatives” believe that an interventionist foreign policy and stationing thousands of U.S. troops overseas makes for a strong America, noninterventionists/constitutionalists such as Senator Paul and his father believe that the U.S. military exists only to defend America — not the rest of the world — and that our troops should never be sent into war without a congressional declaration of war, as the Constitution requires.

Paul wrote in his article:

We defeated the enemy in Afghanistan. We killed or captured the terrorists who planned, plotted, or aided in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. We killed the ringleader, Usama bin Laden. We disrupted the terrorists’ camps where they plotted and trained. We dislodged the Taliban government that aided and abetted bin Laden.

We just don’t know how to appreciate a good thing. A big part of our foreign policy failures is not knowing when and how to declare victory. So, why not a parade? Bring the troops home and declare the victory that should have been declared years ago.

The only reason victory is elusive in Afghanistan is that presidents continue to have an impossible definition of victory. If victory is creating a nation where no real nation has ever existed, then no victory will ever occur.

Paul concluded his article, “So, by all means, a parade — yes! As long as it is a victory parade heralding an end to America’s longest war.”

ABC News cited statements from other members of Congress who voiced an opinion on the idea of a military parade, including Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is regarded as a hawk on foreign policy and a supporter of a strong military. Graham said, “I have no desire to go to a Soviet hardware display. To me that’s cheesy and weak. What would be appropriate is to have the men and women on display for the nation to say thank you and their families and to have a parade of honor and of thank you.”

Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) said the world already knows that the United States has the strongest military in the world, and that there’s no need to demonstrate that point. “I don’t think it’s a particularly good idea,” Kennedy said of the parade. “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.”

And Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who has a noninterventionist/constitutionalist mindset similar to Paul’s, said he would support a military parade held to commemorate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from conflicts around the world: “I’m all for a parade if it’s to celebrate bringing our young men and women home from these unauthorized wars overseas.”

Photo: AP Images

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