A Foreign Policy of Freedom Could Have Saved 1,437 Americans' LivesSubmitted by pjkeag on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 02:46
Ron Paul's foreign policy is a major problem for many Republicans. They have been convinced that our actions abroad are justified because of the threat of terrorism and tyrannical regimes throughout the world. In 2007, when the Republican candidates faced off in several debates, only one candidate was talking about the consequences of our foreign policy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the other Republican candidates formally endorsed the military-industrial complex, Dr. Paul stood alone, scorned and laughed at by his rivals, ignored by the media, and unable to spread his message to the ones who were most likely to appreciate it -- Democrats and Independents.
At the same time, the Democrats were also battling for their party's nomination. You would hear many of the candidates speak about ending the wars, bringing the troops home, and adopting a more humble foreign policy. Democrats were so peaceful, in fact, that their eventual nominee (and some people's current president) received a preemptive prize for peace. Talking, apparently, walked. As the Republicans supported the sitting president and his failed agenda, the Democrats were making it clear to voters that they would be different than President Bush. How has that worked?
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to President Obama less than one year into his presidency and, according to The Nobel Foundation's site recognized "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." 
In the two years since President Obama received such recognition, there have been 108 fatalities in Iraq and 863 in Afghanistan.  While this total of less than 1,000 troops may seem small compared to the 5,317 lost before 2010, it is still unacceptable and hardly worthy of a Nobel Laureate in Peace. President Obama's first year in Office saw 149 deaths in Iraq and 317 in Afghanistan. 
While I am not a person to support counter-factual history, I take Dr. Paul at his word that he would have brought the troops home as soon as possible. While we will never know how many troops' lives would have been spared with a Ron Paul presidency, let's just imagine that it could have been 1,437, or the number of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2008 became 2009.
These numbers are dwarfed, of course, when compared to how many U.S. troops died in Vietnam, Korea, World War II, and World War I, but these numbers are not just numbers. These numbers represent American sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. These numbers represent 1,437 families who have had to live in the absence of their loved ones. These numbers represent our fallen troops' friends as well. Perhaps those numbers are acceptable to President Obama and those who believe the war propaganda, but they shouldn't be.
A funny thing happens when Americans ask if wars like these are necessary, if the loss of life, regardless of how many have died, is justified. Leaders always point to counter-factuals when forced to provide excuses for their poor decisions. Those who object to occupying and protecting other nations are seen as heartless and the war supporters often say, "Yeah, if we had stayed out of World War II, we'd all be speaking German." While the wars and engagements abroad may be less popular now due to economic turmoil at home, the loss is not purely economical, but also extremely personal. And, rest assured, not only for the friends, families, and communities of those 1,437 troops who have died since 2009, but also for those who have died at our hands and, as Dr. Paul has often discussed, these people will not appreciate Obama's "efforts to strengthen international diplomacy" or see more "cooperation between peoples." Instead, they will see the United States as an enemy and, if given the opportunity, they will treat the United States as such.
So, we've lost many of our men and women to these wars since Republicans laughed at their "isolationist" competitor and Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But, we've also caused the deaths of thousands, motivated their loved ones and communities to unite against us, and spent billions and billions of dollars in the process, all the while moving closer and closer to a society that looks a lot less free and much more like those we allegedly bombed to save. Make no mistake about it, we are responsible for each and every death from this point forward because we, as Americans, have allowed these wars to continue, expand to other nations, and jeopardize our liberty, our prosperity, and our credibility in the realm of international diplomacy in the eyes of those people seeking cooperation.
1 - "The Nobel Peace Prize 2009," http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/.
2 - See "Iraq Coalition Casualties: Fatalities By Year," http://icasualities.org/Iraq/ByYear.aspx for Iraq and, for Afghanistan, see "Coalition Military Fatalities By Year," http://icasualities.org/OEF/index.aspx.
3 - Ibid.
4 - Ibid.