Robbing Paul of the Truth

National Review

My first reaction to the Politico headline — most people’s reaction, I’m sure — was that Paul should not be elected or defeated, but institutionalized. Then I read what is actually posted there, and I saw no quote from Paul about a “staged terrorist attack.” I did see a summary by Politico blogger Dan Reilly that says Paul “clearly insinuated that the administration would not be above staging an incident to revive flagging support.”

So I listened to the interview, trying to find what Reilly describes. And I listened to it again. And again. And I heard nothing of the sort.

What I did hear was an unhinged radio host ask Paul a wide-ranging, minute-long, wacky question about terrorism, Bush the “dictator,” and neo-cons that ended with “How much danger are we in of some new Gulf of Tonkin provocation?” Paul begins his answer with, ”Well, I think we’re in great danger of it — we’re in danger in many ways.” But as he continues, Paul says nothing about a staged terror attack or the Gulf of Tonkin. Rather, he goes into his usual schtick, complaining about the “great danger” involved in the loss of “civil liberties” and the evils of U.S. Iraq policy. Then he speaks to the likelihood of a real terrorist attack — not a staged attack:“I would say that we’re in much greater danger than we’ve been, even four or five years ago, whether it’s overseas or even by terrorists here at home, because I just think the policies are seriously flawed.”

So he’s talking about Iraq as possibly making us more vulnerable to terrorism. Call him wrong or even crazy, but this is just standard Ron Paul. It is nothing like a black-helicopter accusation that the government is planning a phony terror attack. If you actually listen to the exchange, the closest Paul comes to saying anything like what’s in the Politico summary comes when he faults the administration’s Iran policy:

“Right now there is an orchestrated effort to blame the Iranians for everything that’s gone wrong in Iraq. And we’re quite concerned, many of us, that the attack will be on Iran and that will confuse things and jeopardize so many more of our troops.”

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