Retiring Texas congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) said Monday that President Barack Obama’s comments defending Israel’s right to defend itself were hypocritical.
On November 18, 2012, President Obama visited Bangkok, Thailand and while there was asked by a reporter whether he supported Israeli Defense Forces sending ground troops into Gaza, to which the president replied that he was in support of Israel’s right to defend itself.
“Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles; they were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated,” President Obama said.
He continued: “And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.”
But Paul found the statement to be hypocritical.
In a post on his official U.S. House website called “How to End the Tragedy in Gaza” Paul wrote that President Obama’s statement defending Israel’s right to defend itself “a statement that perfectly exemplifies the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy.”
“The US supported the Israeli side because, he said, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Paul wrote.
“Considering that this president rains down missiles on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries on a daily basis, the statement was so hypocritical that it didn’t pass the laugh test,” he continued. “But it wasn’t funny.”
The numbers vary from source to source, but recently the most cited study has been the NYU/Stanford study “Living Under Drones” whose findings go against the narrative that drones strikes in Pakistan are “surgically precise.”
The study cites data from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism that shows drone strikes conducted in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012 have killed between 474 and 881 civilians (including 176 children). Additionally, the study cites estimates of people injured through drone strikes, which range from 1,228 to 1,362 people.
Daily drone strikes are constantly on the minds of those who live in the country south of Afghanistan.
“Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning,” the Living Under Drones report notes.
“Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves,” the report continued.
Multiple inquiries to the White House National Security Council about this drone policy killing civilians in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen alongside militants and how the president’s statement in Thailand squares with those drone strikes were not returned.
On Wednesday, Paul alongside Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) introduced a house resolution to compel the Obama administration to release documents it reportedly uses “as the legal justification for the use of drones to assassinate people abroad,” including American citizens.
“No President can act as judge, jury and executioner, and any attempt to do so is in direct violation of our Constitution,” said Kucinich in a statement.
“According to a memorandum prepared by the White House Office of Legal Counsel, when the United States conducts such an attack it is legal,” he continued. “The Congress and the American people have a right to know this legal framework.”