South Carolina Citizens; my name is RJ Harris and I am a career army national guard officer having been four times deployed in the service of our Republic. I come to you today in SUPPORT of Ron Paul’s call for a return to George Washington’s foreign policy of Non-interventionism and peace through strength at home.
My family and I have lived on the sharp edge of the past several president’s interventionist foreign policies for nearly a lifetime. So I have seen first hand that most of the combat operations we have engaged in for the last twenty years has less to do with our defense and much more to do with the enrichment of the military industrial complex by way of our nation building operations. What most Americans don’t see is that for every soldier in the field there are more than three civilian contractors on the ground in theater in support and an entire legion of more contractors and defense companies working around the world in their support. To put one bullet down-range or engage in a single community outreach project under the direction of the military costs our grand-children hundreds-of-millions of dollars. I say our grand children because our nation is flat broke with our debt running by conservative figures above $15t. This debt has swelled to such gargantuan proportions that even Admiral Mullen’s, the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs, stated before he left his post that the national debt to China had become a national security issue.
Add to this that MANY of our top intelligence analysts who have worked around the world report to us that our covert operations create more terrorists than they kill by way of the collateral damage which comes with late night missile strikes on private homes which may or may not be the homes of those were are trying to bring to justice. And for those that question the validity of that statement I will report that I several times shared a meal and conversation with an Afghanistan contractor from a very influential local family who explained to me that he had lost more relatives, non-combatants all, to coalition forces than to the Taliban. And then consider that our military consists entirely of volunteers who have now been stretched to the breaking point with some soldiers being deployed in excess of 10 times down range in just the last few years. And I can also tell you first hand that many was the time that my own national guard unit went WITHOUT the training funds and mission equipment it desperately needed because those resources were being expended in defense of nations other than our own.
While I was in Afghanistan in 2010-2011, the Army Times and the Stars and Stripes reported that full spectrum combat operations training levels were so low that not a single Army division had engaged in them for nearly a decade. This because every Army resource was going into counter insurgency training in support of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Think about that…for nearly a decade our nation was being defended by an army which had not been training or equipping for combat operations to repel or defeat a sovereign foreign power. When one considers that the very point of having the Army and the National Guard in the first place is to defend this nation from a WWII level event, it seems almost criminal that it would be nearly exhausted as it is now to chase down individuals in counter insurgency operations in someone else’s country.
Considering ALL of this then it seems unfathomable that there would be even a single Republican Candidate in the field arguing that continuing this foreign policy is making us stronger for clearly it is doing the opposite. This current foreign policy of interventionism has bankrupted our nation costing us trillions of dollars and thousands of lives while stretching our all volunteer military resources to the breaking point. No WONDER the President has now announced that we cannot sustain support for a two-war defense…it’s because we have destroyed our defense capability through the debt caused by paying for interventionism. Unbelievably, every single Republican Candidate other than Ron Paul is calling on us to support MORE of this failed foreign policy and they have the audacity to claim that it is Paul who is weak on defense!?
Well I am here today to tell all those arm chair Monday morning generals that it is they who are weak on Defense, it is their policy which has broken our military and bankrupted our nation and that it is RON PAUL who understands that our volunteers signed up to defend THIS REPUBLIC and not every other nation in the world.
But I haven’t just built my support for Ron Paul’s foreign policy positions on my own lifetime of experience in that field which tells me he is right. Even more important than that experience is remembering that our first five presidents, who were all alive when the Constitution was ratified, ALSO ardently pursued a foreign policy of non-intervention abroad yet peace through strength at home and in international waters. And this was at a time when the most powerful nation in the world was still smarting over losing to us in the Revolution and the French were angry that we would not help Napoleon. These two greatest powers in the world at that time had both promised to bring war back to our shores for these slights and yet we did not send armies over to invade them.
George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson understood that we have our own borders to defend and our own nation to protect and that if we spend all of our blood and treasure fighting wars around the world there will be nothing left with which to defend OUR nation and we will have created MANY enemies in the process from which we would then need a defense. Glenn Beck has often said that we need a president to be the kind of leader that would ask before EVERY foreign policy decision, “what would George Washington do?” Well when George Washington was asked why he did not invade sovereign American Indian Nations in reprisal for their attacks on the frontier he responded that he would need a declaration of war or letter of reprisal to take our army outside the United States to fight! Now how often have we heard Ron Paul saying that THIS would be his standard before sending our troops into battle and we have heard this from NO ONE ELSE IN THE REPUBLICAN RACE!
For this and many others reasons it is clear to me that Ron Paul is the STRONGEST on defense of the presidential candidates in the Republican field and I hope that all of you in South Carolina who say you love the troops so much will listen to one of them today sharing with you that only President Paul can restore a Constitutional Military and a sustainable foreign policy. In my 2010 Congressional race, running on exactly these foreign policy arguments, I won the endorsements of EVERY Tea Party organization in Oklahoma. So don’t let the Republican chicken-hawks and remote control generals fool you into thinking we need more of this failed interventionist foreign policy. They are invested in it because it was them who convinced us to engage in it in the first place! So I encourage you in light of all this to take another look at the one living embodiment of a Founding Father in this presidential campaign and join me in supporting RON PAUL in South Carolina’s primary and beyond!
Before I close I have to respond to those who will chastise me for supporting a candidate from another party and or for me leaving a promising career as a GOP candidate in my own right to run for the Libertarian Party’s Presidential Nomination. To understand this action one need only realize that my PRIMARY reason for running for President in the first place was and is to ENSURE that the Citizens of this Republic have a Liberty Candidate on the ballot in 2012 no matter what happens in the GOP primary. If it plays out that, God forbid, the Thomas Jefferson of our time could not win in the Republican Party then it is critical that a candidate emerge from the Libertarian Party running on nearly the same platform as Ron Paul especially since Paul himself has said so often that he has no intention of continuing his race outside the Republican Party. George Washington admonished us all in his farewell address to place our love for the Republic and our Patriotism for our Nation well above that of any party loyalty. That is exactly what I am doing and I am asking you to do the same.