Ron Paul's convention
By W. Gardner Selby
Published on Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
Ron Paul told supporters at a Sunday rally at the University of South Florida Sun Dome that the Republican National Committee had newly offered him a full hour to speak at the party’s national convention -- on Monday night.
There are no scheduled convention proceedings Monday night, due to Tropical Storm Isaac.
"Just kidding," Paul quickly said of his described speaking invitation. He remains among speakers not penciled in for the shortened convention.
You might say Sunday's rally was Paul's convention.
And the Lake Jackson congressman, who this year made his second run for the GOP presidential nomination, was frequently interrupted by message-friendly chants including "President Paul" and "End the Fed," per Paul’s desire to end the Federal Reserve System, and "Bring Them Home," reflecting his calls to end U.S. military engagements in other countries.
Paul, who does not seek re-election to the House, also tucked in a couple of comments previously Truth-O-Metered.
Stressing non-interventionism, Paul turned to his campaign's backing from members of the military. "It’s the best test of my support coming from -- more so than anybody else -- the military for our foreign policy" positions, he said.
In July 2011, we rated as True a claim by Paul in an interview that according to recent quarterly campaign finance reports, "I got twice as much as all the other candidates put together on the Republican side, and even more than (President Barack) Obama got, which tells me that these troops want to come home as well because they know exactly what I'm talking about." At the time, we concluded that Paul’s military-connected contributions for the second quarter of 2011 more than doubled such contributions to all the other Republican presidential candidates—and they also exceed Obama’s.
Later in Sunday's hour-plus speech, Paul said: "We're spread too far around the world. We're in 140 countries. We have 900 bases."
In September 2011, we rated Mostly True a similar Paul statement. He said in a September 2011 GOP presidential debate: "We're under great threat, because we occupy so many countries. We're in 130 countries. We have 900 bases around the world."
We initially found at least one member of U.S. military in 148 countries, though in 56 of the countries, the U.S. had less than 10 active-duty personnel. These include such obscure locales as Mongolia, Nepal, Gabon, Togo and Suriname. By contrast, the U.S. had disclosed only 13 countries outside the United States and its possessions that were host to more than 1,000 personnel: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan, Bahrain, Djibouti, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
And according to a Pentagon report, the U.S. had 662 overseas bases in 38 foreign countries, which is a smaller number than the 900 bases Paul cites. Yet, we noticed, the list omitted several nations integral to active operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it’s conceivable that the number of sites approaches 900.
The Pentagon "is very reluctant to label anything a ‘base’ because of the negative political connotations associated with it," Alexander Cooley, a political scientist at Barnard College and Columbia University who studies overseas bases, told us. "Some of these facilities, such as the Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, may not be officially counted as ‘bases,’ but it is the most important U.S. facility in central Asia, staging every U.S. soldier transiting in and out of Afghanistan and conducting refueling operations."
Still, caveats were in order. Of the 662 overseas sites listed -- that is, those outside the active war zones -- all but 32 were either small sites (with a replacement value of less than $915 million) or sites essentially owned on paper only. For instance, the sole site listed for Canada was 144 square feet of leased space -- equal to a 12-foot-by-12-foot room. That’s an extreme case, but other nations on the list -- such as Aruba, Iceland, Indonesia, Kenya, Norway and Peru -- had just a few U.S. military buildings, many of them leased. Some of the sites were unmanned radio relay towers or other minor facilities.
Paul on Sunday urged supporters to heed their own interests, which he said would serve liberty. Paul earlier intoned: "The worst thing we can do is remain silent."
Fie on silence, all of you in politics.
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