Ron Paul: Why Escalate into Pakistan?

One wonders whether Holbrook has considered any possible consequences from the 1 million refugees fleeing the fighting now. Not that he cares…

Author: Scott Horton

Scott Horton is editorial director of, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton. He is a fan of, but no relation to the lawyer from Harper’s. Scott’s Twitter, YouTube, Patreon.

38 thoughts on “Ron Paul: Why Escalate into Pakistan?”

  1. In order for the criminal Military-Industrial outfits to continue to make huge killings,eg more profits on destruction and ruins of other nations and people.The more,and the bigger the wars are the bigger the financial killing would be.

  2. Good for Ron Paul. Like Scott Horton writes, Richard Holbrooke doesn’t care about the people we are causing to be refugees. Just to look at him in this video, causes my skin to crawl.

  3. In his reply, Holbrooke claims: “The reason we are in this area, not withstanding its immense difficulties, is because the people in this area attacked our country on September 11, 2001” [video above, see transcript]. If memory serves, Afghanistan was bombed and occupied because it was people there who were accused — a full inquiry was scuttled by the Whitewash (“(/11”) Commission — of carrying out a terrorist incident on American soil? Or wasn’t Iraq bombed and occupied because Saddam Hussein was hand in gloves with the people in Afghanistan who “attacked our country”? And so, now, it’s Pakistan’s turn; what next: the CIA will find out that Al Qaeda is in Iran, and then North Korea?

    You can’t lie to all the people all the time; but I guess, like much else, American exceptionalism applies here too!

    1. While most Americans now view President Bush’s Iraq War as a “bad war,” the common perception is that Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan was a “good war” (despite the fact that he went to war without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war). The notion is that the U.S. government was justified in invading Afghanistan and ousting the Taliban regime from power because the Taliban and al-Qaeda conspired to commit the 9/11 attacks.

      There’s just one big problem with that belief: it’s unfounded.

      The reason that Bush ousted the Taliban from office was that the Taliban regime refused to comply with his unconditional demand to deliver Osama bin Laden to U.S. officials after the 9/11 attacks.

      The Taliban responded to Bush’s demand by asking him to furnish evidence of bin Laden’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks. Upon receipt of such evidence, they offered to turn him over to an independent tribunal instead of the United States.

      Bush never explained why the Taliban’s conditions were unreasonable. After all, as federal judges in the Jose Padilla case, the Zacarias Moussaoui case, and many others have confirmed, terrorism is a federal criminal offense. Thus, while it’s not unusual for one nation to seek the extradition of a foreigner to stand trial for a criminal offense, it’s just as reasonable for the nation receiving the request to be provided evidence that the person has, in fact, committed the crime.

      Venezuela is currently seeking the extradition from the United States of a man named Luis Posada Carriles, who is accused of bombing a Cuban airliner over Venezuelan skies, a terrorist act that succeeded in killing everyone on board.

      Venezuela and the United States have an extradition agreement. Nonetheless, the U.S. government is refusing to extradite Posada to Venezuela. The reason? It says that it fears that Venezuelan authorities will torture Posada. (Another reason might be that Posada was a CIA operative.)

      But if fear of torture is a valid reason for refusing an extradition request from Venezuela, then why wouldn’t the same reason apply with respect to the Taliban’s refusal to extradite bin Laden to the United States? I think everyone would agree that if bin Laden had been turned over to the CIA or the Pentagon, he would have been brutally tortured, perhaps even executed, without ever being brought to trial before a fair and independent judicial tribunal.

      What about the Taliban’s request that Bush provide evidence of bin Laden’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks? That request is precisely what is done in extradition proceedings. When one nation seeks the extradition of a foreigner, the rules of extradition require it to provide evidence to support the request.

      What was remarkable about the Taliban offer was that there wasn’t even an extradition agreement between Afghanistan and the United States. The Taliban was offering to deliver bin Laden to an independent tribunal even though international law did not require it, so long as U.S. officials provided the same type of evidence that is ordinarily required in an extradition proceeding.

      Yet Bush refused to consider either the Taliban’s offer or its request for evidence. His position was effectively this: “We are the world’s sole remaining empire. We have the most powerful military on the planet. We have the capability of smashing you and removing your regime from power. You will comply with our demand, unconditionally and immediately.”

      1. “Yet Bush refused to consider either the Taliban’s offer or its request for evidence.”

        That’s because there was no evidence and the reason that there was no evidence is because 911 was an inside job, just like Operation Northwoods (google it), the attack on the USS Liberty and the Gulf of Tonkin.

        Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with it. No way was some guy on a dialysis machine in a cave in Afghanistan able to do something like that.

        9/11 was an operation conducted by the governments in Washington and Tel Aviv which was wildly successful in its objective of terrifying the population into supporting the loss of liberties and the elite’s plans for war abroad. It was the catalyzing event, the new Pearl Harbor that the Israel-firsters had planned all along. The dancing Israelis were all Mossad agents celebrating the success of the plot.

        If the American people ever awaken from their coma and begin to understand what has been done, there will be a Second American Revolution.

  4. You know Obama isn’t going to do much good, with people like Clinton, Emmanuel, Ross, and Holbrooke as his key advisors.

  5. Good job Ron Paul! I am one lefty who appreciates your anti-interventionist philosophy. Lets let the rest of the world be for a while and focus on our very serious problems at home.

  6. I should be corrected if I am wrong. However, it seems to me that just a few months before the Talaban transmogrified into the terrible “terrorists” that American now claims that they are, America was handing them millions of dollars.

    Equally it seems to me that when America asked the Talaban to hand over Osama Ben Laden, that they merely asked for proof, as any reasonable people would, of the guilt of OBL and they would hand him over. The Americans never did provide them with proof and the Taliban refused to hand him over…… Bombs away! Talaban now are the enemy!

    Come to think of it, I have never ever seen any proof that OBL masterminded the 911 attacks and I seem to recall a video where he denied it all. The video is now nowhere to be found.

    Tru;y, WHERE is the proof El Qaida did all this sophisticated planning from their caves in Afghanistan? Ben Laden is NOT even on the FBI most wanted list and never was…… very curious!

    Holbrook, you pathetic liar, the Taliban never attacked America!

  7. “President Obama reviewed the situation and came to the conclusion this was the right thing to do?” Is he the only decision maker, because if so, we don’t need the Congress to sit around nodding yes to all these invasions of sovereign countris.

    Holbrooke is a poor choice for ambassador to the Middle East. He thinks it’s okay to preach about bringing democracy, but in reality, it is only on our terms to those countries.

    All we are doing is recruiting more military for the Taliban and AlQaeda, not making it safer for the US, but making it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start trouble, then say we’re fixing it for our own good. What rubbish!

    Ron Paul is the voice of wisdom and reason for us, but few Americans know that. They prefer a rock star president – articulate, but wrong.

  8. Wars are the bail-out or stimulus packages for the Military-Indusrial complex.

  9. • I believe that if the US, which controls the Afghan border, cannot stop Taliban from crossing in and out of Afghanistan, Pakistan cannot do that either.
    • I that if, after seven years of American and NATO war and occupation, Taliban still practically control half of Afghanistan and regularly attack within an hour of Kabul, Pakistan’s effort to bomb and fight the same people within its border may not be fruitful.
    • If the British in the 19th, and the Soviets in the 20th century could not succeed in their Afghan campaigns, despite being right on the border of Afghanistan, the US has little, and Pakistan has yet smaller, chance of succeeding through just military means.
    • If Pakistan descends into chaos like Afghanistan and Somalia, it will be the worse human disaster then we have seen in the recent past since it is the 6th largest population in the world bordering one billion Indians which are ultimately affected by what happens in Pakistan due to its one thousand miles open borders with Pakistan.

    It is about time that the peace movement start speaking against the Afghan war. it is not a good war.

    1. I believe that if the US, which controls the Afghan border, cannot stop Taliban from crossing in and out of Afghanistan, Pakistan cannot do that either.

      Hell, the U.S. can’t control it’s own friggin’ border. Does any adult with a functioning brain stem really believe that it can control someone else’s border halfway around the world?

  10. Pakistan is and has been the most unstable country on earth. They have the lowest per capita income and the largest amount of young uneducated unemployed men. This is a powder keg waiting to blow and we have now set the fuse.

    Why did we set the fuse? Because we could and it would give us yet another excuse to defend the elite’s right to plunder.

    When I was in school in the 70’s my poli sci teacher said WWIII would be fought over the energy resources in that region. Was he a psychic or a just brilliant. NO he just used his brain and ask us to do the same. It’s not rocket science it’s economics! Wherever there is money to be made the elite will plunder. Any excuse will do and if they don’t have one they will make one up. Religion and security is just a means of getting the ignorant to do their bidding.


  11. Fact check: Pakistan’s per capita income is the same as of India around $900.

  12. Malik, You may be right but what is your point? Is it not a powder keg? I am not putting down the people of Pakistan, I am just saying it’s a hornests nest and we should not poke it.


  13. Brad
    I do agree with your main point.
    The ever-extending war is not going to stop just in Pakistan as Bombay terrorism revealed. It might engulf India with a billion population since there are open borders between the two countries. India also has several ongoing insurgencies including Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura etc. The whole situation can be really dangerous.

    I wonder why most peace movements are so silent on Afghan war issue. Do they still believe it its a good war?

    1. “I wonder why most peace movements are so silent on Afghan war issue. Do they still believe it its a good war”?

      Great question. The only thing I can come up with is the misguided belief that war is the answer. You know the whole, We need to kill them over there before the come here BS.

      I come across a ton of short sighted thinking even within the anti-war movement. However, they don’t even come close to the ignorance on display on sites such as Youtube. It actually blows me away to see how low the level of comments get on that site. All I can say is WOW! Even the people who go on and ask questions on C-span stump me with thier nonsense. I don’t know how many times I have watched and then asked myself why would this person ask a question or a make a comment when they can’t even put one decent sentence together?


      1. “I wonder why most peace movements are so silent on Afghan war issue. Do they still believe it its a good war”?

        Many think the war against Afghanistan,and now Pakistan is the good war.

    1. It’s all about the Bengamins! Money,money,money,money–MONEY! Lots and lots of Money in dope, as long as it stays illegal.


  14. The Taliban didn’t attack us. They are NOT good guys, but they did NOT attack us. Hence the Bush administration’s emphasis on ‘regime change’ was misguided at best. Now were stuck there in a losing war with no exit strategy. We are not going to win this war. I see no favourable long-term outcome. The increasing destabilization of Pakistan is also very worrisome. A combination of arrogance, misguided priorities and mission creep have placed us in a very bad position. We need to begin extricating ourselves from this mess.

    1. Andy,
      I agree – but, I’ll go further. Why are the Taliban NOT good guys. Because they want to interpret the Koran literally? Because they want sharia law instead of our legal (corporate friendly) legal code? Because they want to live in the Seventh Century? Big deal – we have the same kind of fundamentalist mentality here interpreting the Old Testament as a scientific textbook. To be consistent, shouldn’t we worry more about the ignorance here in Oklahoma, than about the ignorance in the Swat Valley?
      And yes, I’ve heard about 9/11. But, until someone tells me the whole truth about that incident, I am not about to pursue some sort of half-assed vengeance on illiterate herdsmen 12,000 miles away.

      1. I agree – but, I’ll go further. Why are the Taliban NOT good guys. Because they want to interpret the Koran literally? Because they want sharia law instead of our legal (corporate friendly) legal code? Because they want to live in the Seventh Century?

        Of course the answer to this rhetorical question is “Because they refuse to bow down and grovel at the feet of the Amerikan Empire.”

      2. No. I would think it would be self-evident why the Taliban are not good guys. Their harsh treatment of women, religous intolerance, like destroying those historic and irreplaceable Budhha statues for example. I could go on. On the other hand Afghanistan hasn’t known much in the way of civil rights or parliamentary democracy. I would say that the Taliban – or something very much like them – are probably going to be that country’s “natural” (for lack of a better word) government. However, odious as they may be, none of this justified America attacking them. They did not attack us. That was the basic gist of my post, which I think was lost on you.

        1. A question why almost everybody well aware of and remember the destruction of “those historic and irreplaceable Budhha statues”,but I doubt many remember or cared at that time the destrucion of hostric and irreplaceable” the Babri Masjid
          by religious Hindus in India,the largest democracy in the world .That act did not generate much reaction from world leadrs nor was much condemened.

          “A vast crowd, perhaps 150,000 strong, had gathered and was listening to speeches given by BJP and right-wing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leaders.

          Among those present were LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, now senior figures in the BJP-led government.

          Trouble first broke out in the space below us when young men wearing bright yellow headbands managed to break through the barriers.

          Journalists beaten

          The police stood by and watched, while some men wearing saffron headbands and appointed by the organisers to control the crowd did try to stop them.

          They soon gave up, however, and joined the intruders in beating up television journalists, smashing their cameras and trampling on their tape recorders.

          Many Hindu activists wore saffron as they approached the site

          Encouraged by this, thousands charged towards the outer cordon of police protecting the mosque…”

        2. Uh okay, I still don’t see how this refutes my basic points. A) The Taliban didn’t attack us. Neither did India. Are our troops in India? B) The Taliban are a bunch of bad guys. So may perhaps, these guys be. So what? Where is American strategic foreign policy interests in any of this? In Toronto, THOUSANDS of Tamils have practically shut down the downtown streets with their human chain protests. They want America to intervene in Sri Lanka. Why should American soldiers die for Sri Lanka?

        3. As an educated and knowldgable person that you are,I am in agreement with most of your points.I am only reminding you of the hypocracy and double standards that is the halmark of the US media.I doubt that very many people in the US know about the points I mentioned above.But boy ask them about the people In Iraq,Afghnistan,Iran,or the Palesnians and they are such experperts.They would count to you in so many ways how awful and evil those people are.It serves the agenda of the US government and media to keep consantly harpring on the issue of the Taliban treatment of women,or the opium,or what have you in order to keep the support for the war up.Many Americans support the war in Afghnistan simply and solely based on the issue of women.The women of Afghnistan are being used in very senster way.
          The same can be applied to issue of the so called threats of Iran’s ,non existing,nuclear weapons.Many think Iran aleardy have nuclear weapons,and have the capblities to strike Los Angeles!But how many Americans know about posesstion of nuclear weapons.Because they are not being told about.

        4. It is the (willful?) ignorance of ordinary Americans that sadly enables so much of this. Your average American – unilingual, not well-travelled, lacking historic sense and empathy – just doesn’t understand or appreciate what is being done around the world, supposedly in their name.

        5. But how many Americans know about posesstion of nuclear weapons.Because they are not being told about.

          It should read,But how many Americans know about”Israel” posesstion of nuclear weapons.Because they are not being told about.

        6. Sadly it doesn’t take very much to fool the American sheeple. Look how the Bushites used 9/11 as a “bait and switch” to attack Iraq. Iraq was no more responsible for the 9/11 attacks then Canada was. The American people are almost childlike in their gullibility.

  15. What is the source of information that we are getting about the Tilibans?It is same source that told us about those mythical WMDs in Iraq.

    The propganda against the Talibans started well before 9/11,when they refused to hand over a gas pipeline contract to an American company.Before that the US did not care what they did.It is the typical method that the US has followed for a long time.The US did not consider Sadam a bad guy for a long time until he started to show indepence of the US and nationalistic ambitions.

    Many people in the US forget that it took the US a very long time to reach to this point from 1776.But they expect other countries,or people to reach that point in a record time!

    Finally,the notions that the US is there to help the people of Afghnistan ,or as in this case to protect the women of Afghnistan ,implying the macho nation of women being weak and the Americans are coming ontheir whire horses to rescue them,that nothing but an utter non-sense and never true.The US quickly abandoned Afghnistan after the deafeat of the Soviet Unions,and it will do the same this time around.

  16. Apparently, it has been forgotten that the Taliban govt, which the US recognized as the legitimate goverment of Afghanistan was perfectly willing to cooperate with the US on the issue of bin Laden before the invasion. All they required, which is general international policy, was an extradition hearing presenting enough evidence to support turning bin Laden over; like was done with Pinochet or this current camp guard wanted by Germany. And what was the sticking point? The US did not have any hard evidence to present either for extradition or for trial — and still doesn’t which explains why the FBI hasn’t charged bin Laden for 9/11 to this day.

    Many media accounts from 2001 have been long ago deleted, but these two are still there thankfully. And as long as they are, attempts to rewrite history will be stymied.

    Bush rejects Taliban offer to hand Bin Laden over

    U.S. rejects Taliban offer to try bin Laden

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