Yesterday on Good Morning Tri-Cities, my friend and illustrious host of the morning show, Matthew Hill, stated that he liked many of Ron Paul‘s policies, but strongly disagrees with his foreign policy.

Dr. Paul advocates a foreign policy that can be summed up as “take care of your home first.” He does not believe that we should be “policing the world” or exacting “regime change,” and does not favor “preemptive strikes.”

Matthew, on the other hand, favors “preemptive strikes” and, thus, the Iraq war.

While Matthew and I agree on many – if not most – political matters, this is where I disagree with him.

The idea of a preemptive strike by one country on another is sticky at best. In a perfect world with perfect intelligence and a clear admission from another country that they intend to attack us, a preemptive strike might be acceptable. We do not, however live in a perfect world. Intelligence is wrong. Evil-doers don’t admit they’re doing evil. Our leaders sometimes have impure motives.

I, for example, am allowed by law to protect my home. I own several guns and would have no problem using them if someone were to break into my home and attempt to attack me or my family. I cannot, however, shoot someone (or exact a “preemptive strike” against another sovereign) for merely standing in the middle of my street, staring at my house, while pointing a gun at my front door. For all I know the guy might not be looking at my house at all – there could be a giant black bear in my front yard about to attack said “scary-looking man” and my killing him for preparing to protect himself from a vicious bear attack would be a tragedy. And a crime.

The same could be said for a country who is facing what appears to be an imminent threat from an enemy nation. All intelligence could point to an attack on our soil. Missiles could be pointed in our direction. The evil dictator in charge of said country could look really mean and scary. For all we know, however, Mr. Evil Dictator could be planning an attack on Mars. Or he may think that we’re about to attack his country so he’s building up his arsenal. Or he could just be a nut-job with no intention of attacking us but who wants us to think we’re about to be attacked.

The idea of preemptive strikes is simply too dangerous for me to accept. I want a president who takes war so seriously that he will not attack another nation unless the situation is so dire that it merits laying waste to that nation. This notion of “surgical warfare,” where we swoop in, blow up a few key targets, and then move in to build schools is simply too “easy,” and it puts us in quagmires such as Iraq. If the intelligence isn’t solid enough to merit wiping another nation off the face of the planet, then we don’t need to go to war.

Our generation, of course, will tend to look at this issue through “Iraq-colored glasses.” We could argue about Iraq until the sun comes up, but the fact is that I find preemptive strikes philosophically very troublesome. One can never know another’s intentions, no matter how solid the intelligence appears to be, and I am not willing to attack another nation (or shoot a guy standing in the middle of my street) until I am for absolutely certain that it is warranted. Until an attack has actually occurred, it’s hard to be that certain.

So, let’s add to the list another reason why I support Ron Paul for president. I have no doubt that, given an attack on our soil that can be definitively linked to a particular nation, Dr. Paul would lay waste to whomever attacked us. He would not, however, drag us into a war based on faulty intelligence and a policy of preemptively striking whichever nation is ticked off at the US on that particular day.

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