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Why Can't We Talk About All Our Wars?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When Congressman Ron Paul questioned al Qaeda's motives for attacking the U.S. in Monday night's "Tea Party" debate, he drew the ire of his political opponents and a chorus of boos from the Florida crowd.

Moments like this make me afraid for America.

It's been 10 years since Sept. 11 and many Americans still haven't had a serious conversation about why we might have been attacked and why we're fighting a war on multiple fronts. In fact, the single line of reasoning that "the enemy hates our freedom" is still trumpeted throughout the nation.

This echoes the strategy employed in WWII Nazi Germany.

Hermann Goering -- Hitler's Reichsmarschall -- infamously spoke the following words to an interviewer -- from prison -- during the Nuremberg war crime trials:

Goering: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece.

(continued) Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Interviewer: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Consider these words when deciding whom to vote for. Also, consider these two questions:

  • Would this candidate allow any form of harm (economic, social, physical) to inflict America if it meant scoring a personal or political gain?
  • If not, does this candidate have the wherewithal and strength of character to ask the same question of his or her peers?

Paul may or may not be a viable presidential candidate, but the congressman is undeserving of the scorn he has received for trying to have a real discussion about geopolitical issues that affect every American.

I invite you to watch this video from the floor of the House of Representatives, recorded in 2002:



The Economist wrote that if the media were to take Ron Paul's candidacy seriously, they would have to "wrestle with a charged set of geopolitical and economic topics they would rather continue helping Americans not understand."

It's time for Americans to take it upon themselves to discuss uncomfortable issues, disregard puffery and vote for integrity -- whomever that vote might be cast for.

-- Written by John DeFeo in New York City

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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