An American military hero is murdered and Ron Paul says he got what he deserved. His exact words were “…he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” What is disturbing about Ron Paul’s statement in the aftermath of the Chris Kyle slaying is not so much what he said. After all Ron Paul made a political career out of saying outlandish and even stupid things. Who can forget his statement during the presidential debates to the effect that Iran would not be a rogue state bent on the destruction of Israel if only the United State would be nicer to its leaders? What is disturbing and a little frightening about Ron Paul’s unpardonable statement is that this man not only served in Congress for 15 years, but made a respectable showing as a presidential candidate.
At least for a while, Ron Paul had enough diehard supporters to be viewed as a viable presidential candidate in the Republican primaries that were eventually won by Mitt Romney. How could a man responsible enough to be a physician, long-serving Congressman, and viable presidential candidate make so irresponsible a statement about a former Navy SEAL who served our country with distinction? Paul’s statement is an insult not just to Chris Kyle and his fellow Navy SEALS, but to all of America’s military personnel past, present, and future.
America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guard personnel do not “live by the sword.” They pick up the sword and go in harm’s way only after our pinstriped diplomats and elected officials such as Ron Paul have failed to prevent war. Further, whenever American military personnel are forced to wield the sword in battle, they place their lives on the line to protect not just their families and friends, but even those who are unworthy of their protection—unappreciative Americans such as Ron Paul. During the Republican primaries, Ron Paul liked to point out that he served in the military. He did, and I appreciate his service. However, because he served one would think he would have a better sense of what military service means and a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices warriors such as Chris Kyle make for our country. Further, although I honor Paul’s service as an Air Force physician, delivering babies is not in the same league as engaging in close combat against an enemy who is willing to die in order to kill you.
Until I read Ron Paul’s absurd comment about Chris Kyle, I had never met anyone who has served in a support capacity in the military who did not honor and respect the warriors who serve in the combat arms and do the life-and-death work of taking the fight to the enemy. It seems that Ron Paul, having served in the military, would be more sensitive to the sacrifices of our warriors who serve in the combat arms. Ron Paul’s military service involved carrying a scalpel, and yet he was quick to belittle a warrior who carried a sword. Had Paul spent time in harm’s way as Navy SEALS do every day when deployed, he might have a different perspective on the courage, sacrifice, and devotion to duty of warriors such as Chris Kyle.
As insensitive and hurtful as his remark about Chris Kyle was, Paul’s insulting attitude is not limited to just Kyle or even the Navy SEALS. It applies to every man and women in uniform and every veteran who ever wore the uniform. If Paul’s statement were valid, it could be made about every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or coast guardsmen who comes home from battle in a flag draped coffin. By Paul’s definition, any individual who takes up arms in the cause of freedom gets what he deserves if he dies in action. In Arlington National Cemetery and everywhere else America’s warriors are interred, the souls of heroes cry out, “Shame on you Ron Paul.”