Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein interviewed several of bin Laden's top lieutenants. Hussein outlined al-Qaida's strategy of seven phases -- the first one beginning as an "awakening" for Muslims worldwide following the Sept. 11 attacks. The plan culminates with the "definitive victory" of "one-and-a-half billion Muslims" and the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate by 2020.
Bin Laden, in his 1998 fatwa against the United States, said: "The killing of Americans and their civilian and military allies is a religious duty for each and every Muslim to be carried out in whichever country they are. ... We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill Americans."
Paul expects countries and stateless actors to play nice and fair if the United States plays nice and fair. If every country played nice and fair, we would not need a military. He even said Iran would be justified in blocking the Strait of Hormuz -- through which 20 percent of the world's oil demand travels -- in response to Western economic sanctions imposed to deter Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Do all libertarians feel as Paul does on foreign policy? Most do, but certainly not all. Is there room for a "9/11 libertarian" -- one who thinks we are at war against a ruthless, determined Islamofascist enemy that could not care less about the Geneva Conventions?
Look in the encyclopedia under "libertarian." If a picture of Republican Nobel economics laureate Milton Friedman is not there, it ought to be. President Ronald Reagan considered him a giant in the conservative movement. Over 50 years ago, Friedman argued the then-radical case for education vouchers. Friedman said the money for education should follow the child, rather than the other way around.
Friedman took no position on the Gulf War, but had no Ron Paul-like ideological objection to it. As for the Iraq War, Friedman opposed it. But there was dissent in the Friedman household. Friedman's wife, also an economist and co-author of their seminal economics book "Free to Choose," supported the Iraq War.
What about a Paul third party candidacy, since he is not seeking re-election to the House? He would likely siphon more votes from the GOP than from President Obama -- and do greater damage to the GOP nominee than Ralph Nader did to Al Gore in 2000.
It is quite extraordinary what the rumpled, unpretentious 76-year-old OB/GYN has already achieved. Many Republicans now agree: If the GOP listened to Paul on domestic and economic issues, their "brand" would look a lot better.
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