Ron Paul tells Bill O'Reilly US policy, not Iran, is the real problem

When presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on The O’Reilly Factor Monday, host Bill O’Reilly repeatedly pressed Paul to agree that Iran is a dangerous enemy which will pose an imminent threat if the US leaves Iraq, meanwhile interrupting every one of Paul’s attempts to explain his own views on the negative results of US policy in the Middle East.
“Do you fear Iran intruding on the whole Persian Gulf if the United States — as you asked for in the debate last week — left the region?” O’Reilly demanded.
“I fear that they might want to do that, but I think our policy is leading to that,” Paul replied. “Our policy is doing everything conceivable to enhance Iran. Just the whole invasion of Iraq has helped Iran.”
“That may or may not be true,” retorted O’Reilly. “We have to assume that Iran is an aggressive nation, that it wants to injure the United States, and it’s going to use surrogates to do it. … When a country’s seeking a nuclear weapon that’s a danger to the USA … and you want to withdraw from the theater, that gives them carte blanche to do what they want, does it not?”
“I think you’re concerned about the wrong country right now,” Paul responded, citing both the Saudi origins of al Qaeda and Pakistan’s possession of nuclear weapons.
“I’m talking about Iran, Congressman,” O’Reilly broke in curtly. “I’m not talking about Pakistan. … You’re not directly answering the question, sir.”
“No, I do not fear them as you do,” responded Paul directly. “This has been the plan by the neoconservatives, to have this major overhaul, this revamping of the whole Middle East — precisely the reason the al Qaeda is growing. … Our national security is threatened because of our policy.”
“I see the Iranians as acting logically and defensively,” Paul went on. “We’ve been fighting the Iranians since 1953. We overthrew their government. … We were allies with Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s and we encouraged him to invade Iran…”
“We don’t need a history lesson,” O’Reilly broke in. “I just want to get this on the record. You don’t fear Iran, even though it can start a war, which it did last summer with its Hezbollah surrogates, and it’s stated that it wants to do damage to Israel … and is developing a nuclear weapon. You don’t fear them? … It’s policy in Iran to wipe out Israel, to attack USA.”
“It’s our policy of preemptive deliberate invasions of foreign countries and occupying these countries that has jeopardized our safety,” Paul said once again. “This blowback principle is what caused 9/11 and we have to come to realize it. If you keep living in this dreamland of saying that they attack us because we’re free and prosperous, believe me, we’re never going to …”
“If you think that if we withdraw off the Gulf, if we get our people out of there, there’s not going to be any more terrorism, then you’re living in a dreamland,” O’Reilly broke in again “You didn’t even want to go into Afghanistan and punish those people, did you?”
“You’re wrong on that. I voted for that. So you be careful on your quotes,” said Paul, pointing out that his complaint about Afghanistan is that the US didn’t capture bin Laden but got bogged down in nation-building instead.
Rep. Ron Paul has recently taken on a growing role as a spokesman for principled right-wing opposition to the occupation of Iraq and to pro-war conservatives like O’Reilly, and media sources report that CBS’s 60 Minutes is planning a segment on the congressman.