Ron Paul is “the best-known American propagandist for our enemies”, writes Dorothy Rabinowitz in a recent Wall Street Journal hit piece. To support the charge, she writes that Dr. Paul “assures audiences” that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 “took place only because of U.S. aggression and military actions”. It’s “True,” she writes, that “we’ve heard the assertions before”, but only “rarely have we heard in any American political figure such exclusive concern for, and appreciation of, the motives of those who attacked us” – and, she adds, he doesn’t care about the victims of the attacks.
The vindictive rhetoric aside, what is it, exactly, that Ron Paul is guilty of here? It is completely uncontroversial that the 9/11 attacks were a consequence of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The 9/11 Commission Report, for instance, points out that Osama bin Laden “stresses grievances against the United States widely shared in the Muslim world. He inveighed against the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, the home of Islam’s holiest sites. He spoke of the suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of sanctions imposed after the Gulf War, and he protested U.S. support of Israel.”
Notice that Rabinowitz doesn’t actually deny that the 9/11 attacks were motivated by such U.S. policies as these. Rather, Ron Paul’s sin is that he actually acknowledges this truth. The fact that other political figures choose to ignore or deny this fact hardly reflects poorly on Dr. Paul. Refusing to bury one’s head deeply up one’s arse, as Rabinowitz is so obviously willing to do, is hardly a character trait to be faulted.