By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 11, 2007 5:05 PM
Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul said today that he could see no possible reason to ever launch military action or initiate a war, vowing instead to battle efforts he said are undermining the individual liberties of people in America.
In an interview with Washingtonpost.com's PostTalk program, the Texas congressman said he could see "no reason" to justify military action if he were elected president. He compared the United States to a schoolyard bully and said the country has no reason to flex its muscles overseas.
"There's nobody in this world that could possibly attack us today," he said in the interview. "I mean, we could defend this country with a few good submarines. If anybody dared touch us we could wipe any country off of the face of the earth within hours. And here we are, so intimidated and so insecure and we're acting like such bullies that we have to attack third-world nations that have no military and have no weapon."
Paul has been intensely opposed to the war in Iraq and to a potential attack against Iran during his campaign for the presidency. During this week's GOP debate in Dearborn, Mich., he once again became red-faced as he blasted the Middle East war effort.
"The thought that the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the United States is preposterous," he said Tuesday night. "There's no way. This is just war propaganda, continued war propaganda, preparing this nation to go to war and spread this war not only in Iraq, but into Iran, unconstitutionally. It is a road to disaster for us as a nation."
But during the PostTalk interview, Paul said he does not believe he is too angry to be president.
"I certainly don't want to come across angry," he said, "although I do get pretty annoyed when I see blatant abuse of the rule of law and blatant ignoring of the Constitution and that is annoying because I see the republic fading away."
Paul, an outspoken libertarian with only three percent Republican support in the latest Washington Post-ABC news poll, said that he has been pleasantly surprised by his campaign's ability to raise more than $5 million in the third fundraising quarter that ended last month. But he credited a groundswell of support from people who like his limited government, anti-war message.
He said he has never made a single call to a supporter asking for money, and said he will spend the fruits of his newfound largess campaigning in New Hampshire, South Carolina and other states where voting takes place early next year.
"I didn't raise $5 million," he said. "A lot of people sent me a lot of money that added up to $5 million."
He also expanded on his answer during the debate that he would not necessarily support the GOP nominee if he does not win. He drew a sharp distinction between the Republican party and its current leadership under President Bush.
"I feel like I'm sticking up for the Republican principles," he said. "I've chastised the other candidates on the stage. You don't represent the Republican base.... The Republican party is in shambles. We lost desperately. You won't change your ways."