On October 10, 2001, Congressman Ron Paul led the effort in Congress to give President Bush the tools he needed to capture, dead or alive, Osama bin Laden and the other terrorists responsible for September 11th. Dr. Paul introduced on that day H.R. 3076 - The September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001.
If passed, that legislation would have given President Bush an additional weapon against bin Laden. If Dr. Paul's legislation had passed in 2001, it is likely bin Laden would not still be at large six years later.
But today, John Bresnahan of Politico.com describes Congressman Ron Paul's effort to capture Osama bin Laden as "wacky." Wacky? Let's see.
Letters of marque and reprisal would:
- Improve chances to capture Osama bin Laden and others more quickly.
- Decrease the risk of American military being wounded or killed.
- Decrease the risk of a larger war developing.
- Decrease the number of innocent civilians killed.
- Reduce the cost of U.S. military operations.
Article I, Section 8, Clauses 10 and 11 of the U.S. Constitution grant Congress the power to offer a bounty and appoint stealth warriors, private companies and individuals, to capture or kill an enemy such as Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists, as well as seize their property.
In 2001 when Congressman Paul introduced his legislation to grant letters of marque and reprisal against Osama bin Laden, he said, "The founders and authors of our Constitution provided an answer for the difficult tasks that we now face. When a precise declaration of war was impossible due to the vagueness of our enemy, the Congress was expected to take it upon themselves to direct the reprisal against an enemy not recognized as a government."
Dr. Paul's marque and reprisal legislation did not pass in 2001. But Osama bin Laden is still at large. Therefore, Dr. Paul re-introduced his legislation a few days ago.
In a letter dated July 21, 2007, Dr. Paul states:
I opposed giving the president power to wage unlimited and unchecked aggression. However, I did vote to support the use of force in Afghanistan. I also authored H.R. 3076, the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. A letter of marque and reprisal is a constitutional tool specifically designed to give the president the authority to respond with appropriate force to those non-state actors who wage aggression against the United States while limiting his authority to only those responsible for the atrocities of that day. Such a limited authorization is consistent with the doctrine of just war and the practical aim of keeping Americans safe while minimizing the costs in blood and treasure of waging such an operation.
Ron Paul's leadership is wise -- not wacky.
Chairman, Ron Paul 2008
"Ron Paul brings back a wacky post 9/11 bill" by John Bresnahan, The Politico, 07/30/07