Lack of accountability on the whereabouts of the US troops was not very surprising, Paul believes, as it had become a “routine thing” over the past years. The situation, however, has alarmingly worsened during the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“The President had stated he wants to keep everything under his vest, because he doesn’t want people know, and he believes its proper policy,” Paul said. “The Constitution says he’s not allowed to send troops around the world without the people and the Congress knowing about it.”
Apart from the Constitution, there’s the War Powers Resolution, adopted after the Vietnam War clearly states that the US government “must report where the troops are,” Paul added. Despite that, the locations of some 44,000 of troops were simply reported as “unknown.”
“I have a suggestion for them, if they are interested in cleaning that mess, because it’s wrong. And that is that – bring the troops home. Than we can count them here at home. But it’s when they are in a 150 countries or more it gets very difficult,” Paul said. “Especially if they say this is secret, we can’t let the people know, we can’t let the enemy know where our troops are. So they put the American people in the category of the enemy, because we are not allowed to know.”
Paul said that a lack of interest from people on the issue of overseas deployments is part of the problem, giving the government free rein to damage US interests long-term by pursuing an aggressive foreign policy.
“The problem is for us to change the attitude to where the troops are, we have to change our foreign policy. That is one of our goals at the Institute – to try to say that our foreign policy is wrong, we are interventionist, we tell other people how to run their countries, we get involved in elections that we shouldn’t be involved in, we’re the policeman of the world. It doesn’t serve our interests.”
Americans should have a final say whether they want to see their troops intervene in yet another country, he argued.
“People are supposed to know what is going on. People are supposed to speak out, people are supposed to tell their members of Congress when we should get involved in hostilities.”
The current foreign policy has been lobbied for by the military-industrial complex, “big bucks” that profit from the campaigns. However, the US risks running out of the money it is “print[ing] like crazy,” if it continues spending it on lecturing others and waging wars overseas.
“Every country in the world is imperfect, including ours, but our immediate goal should be trying to improve ourselves and not to pretend that we can tell other people how to live and who should run their countries,” Paul said.