Last year, before I worked for the Ron Paul campaign, I spoke to Virginia candidate about his upcoming race. He was searching for a campaign manager and thought I might be a good choice. As part of the interview process, he asked me for a writing sample. I wracked my brain, but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to send him. At the time, I was working primarily on fiction and didn’t want to send him my work. After all, if I couldn’t convince an agent to publish the work, how could I impress him with the same material? Alas, much of my political writings were outdated, a remnant from college. Therefore, I decided to create something new…something that highlighted a very important topic to me, U.S. foreign policy.
I labored for a handful of hours on the piece and then submitted it to the candidate. After he was finished reading it, he asked if I had ever had this work, or something on the same topic, published. I told him that I hadn’t but, intrigued, I asked him why he wanted to know. His reply was quite blunt. He told me that if I had, he would certainly not consider me for the position. It was not so much how it was written (although I think I can improve upon it), but rather the beliefs that I held. Nevertheless, he later offered me the position assuming I agreed to not discuss this issue further, but I declined to accept.
Well…I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. Here is my writing, as it was sent back in 2007 (with one and only one spelling correction) in all its scandalous glory. Enjoy.
“Although I know that I differ greatly with other Republicans that I know, (and my position could cost me personally) I feel compelled to write about the important issue of the conflict in Iraq. Although I think that just about everyone agrees now that the military strategy was mishandled, the larger question we should be asking is, should we have been over there in the first place? I think the answer is no.
If the reader is to recall, after 9-11 and the conflict in Afghanistan, Americans awaited news of the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Certainly any person responsible for the horrid attacks on the world trade center and related targets must be held accountable. As the sweeps of the caves of Afghanistan proved, Osama was a difficult target to catch. It was, during this time, that strong rhetoric from the White House called for the removal of Saddam Hussein. They claimed that he was a threat to national security for he possessed weapons of mass destruction which he was intending to use on the United States, and that he aided to some extent in the 9-11 attacks. If these arguments were correct then certainly one could make the claim for an attack on Iraq. There was just one small problem. As I suspected then, and most everyone now knows, these two premises for conflict proved to be false. Once this realization was made public, the reasons for conflict supposedly changed, stating that instead we wished to free the people of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam and work to protect the free world and democracy. Although these goals sounded lofty, neither is a proper use of our military.
I believe that it is an extraordinary act for a man to lay down his life for his country as our soldiers do, and, in accordance, we should not and must not ask him or her to do so lightly. If, and only if, our people are truly in danger, should this request be made. As events planned out, it was shown that such was simply not the case in Iraq. Although perhaps sounding harsh, the life of just one American soldier is worth more than the supposed freedom of the Iraqi people. That is not to say that I do not support the freedom of the Iraqi people, because I do, but such a movement must come from within, not be delivered by a foreign power.
On another point, one can point to the Constitution rightly claiming that it is our government’s responsibility to protect the citizens of this nation from all threats. One cannot find where it is allowed the same power in regard to the citizens of another sovereign nation. I do not understand how supposed conservatives can embrace the policy of nation building when such a power, to the best of my knowledge, is not enumerated by the Constitution. Are we not strict constructionists? Do we not believe, with a couple exceptions, that the best government is that which governs least? Do we not understand that a continued policy of foreign interventionism, such as the one in Iraq, vilified the United States in the eyes of many, had the potential to create new enemies, and ultimately served the opposite goal of weakening our security? In September of 2000, before 9-11, President Bush spoke against the policy of nation building. I think he phrased it well when he said, “I just don’t think that its the role of the United States to walk into a country to say, ‘We do it this way, so should you.'” It was greatly unfortunate that, as a result of the crisis, this earlier wisdom was abandoned.
Therefore, for the precious lives of our soldiers, the moorings of the Constitution, and the desire for greater security and peace, I believe that most Republicans and all conservatives should have been against the conflict in Iraq before it even began.”
So what do you think? Shocking isn’t it? Despite the fact that a significant majority of Americans agree with my viewpoint, holding such beliefs makes one a quasi-pariah in the Republican ranks. To give you some additional information, the candidate from above mentioned that my writing was more akin to a Democrat that a Republican. Now, I can’t recall the last time that I heard a Democrat call for a limited, constitutional government, but maybe I just missed that somewhere along the way. Let us not forget that the first conflict which called for making the world “safe for democracy” was waged not by a Republican, but by a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson. Nevertheless, I know that a great number of Republicans, even many who consider themselves conservatives, hold a differing viewpoint that I do on the issue of foreign policy, but I think it is quite sad that they are not open to discuss this issue either openly or in private. You think not? For example, several months ago while at a Harrisonburg GOP function, Bob McDonnell stated that Republicans disagree all the time, but if we agree at least 80% of the time, we should be united and work together. He then went on to say that we must continue to support the war in Iraq. Was his discussion about unity merely empty rhetoric? Come on Attorney General…I agree with you on more that 80% of the issues, why must I be forced to sit quietly in the corner? Is this issue not up for debate? Have the neo-con hawks kicked the rest of us out of the party? Oh well. Life goes on I suppose. The fight for the party as well as the fight in Iraq goes on. We can’t let them win that easily.