By Paul Brown
On December 14, 2008 President George W. Bush signed the US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). At the time I was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps, and I was in Iraq. I got to watch firsthand as our already restrictive rules of engagement became some how more restrictive. In front of my eyes, the war was ending, but the enemy we had fought so long had not actually been defeated. Truth be told, there was never any real chance that we would win, not when our elected leaders and their appointees chose not to commit to winning at all costs. Of course, a similar story has played out in Afghanistan . . .
as it did in virtually all of the major conflicts in which we have engaged over the last 70 years. US goes to war. US decides the war’s not worth winning. US leaves war. It happened in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and it will happen again in Syria or wherever else we decide to go next if we continue going to wars we do not commit to winning at all costs. Of course, readers at TTAG are no stranger to the concept of total war and limited war, especially if you read my last piece on the issue.
So to say I am sick of sending our troops to die overseas in conflicts we do not commit to winning is the understatement of the year. I’ve written a book, I’ve given speeches on the matter, and I’ve talked about the concept with virtually anyone and everyone who will listen, but last year I decided that something else needs to be done.
Ultimately the people in Washington seem to be absolutely clueless about warfare and the plight of warriors in these conflicts, as evidenced by their voting records. I am running as a Republican for US Congress in the primary against an established incumbent, who will have been in office for over 20 years at the end of this term.
He voted to send funding to the Syrian rebels, a lot of which went to ISIS (as usual, history repeats itself). He and the rest of congress have refused to bring up a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to vote on, this is despite the fact that we have not passed one since 2003.
Why is this important? As it stands now, we have around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, over 3,000 in Iraq, as well as others in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and elsewhere. They are engaged in a struggle for their lives at the whim of the President, without true acknowledgement, or responsibility from Congress. The men and women in Congress are willing to sit back and say, “I believe the troops should stay over there,” or “I think we should bring them home,” but they are unwilling to put their name on an official vote to that effect.
Forgive me if you think this sounds harsh, but if you (a member of Congress), aren’t willing to put your name on an official vote about whether the troops should be at war or not, then you are a coward. Men and women are dying and being gravely injured for this nation, for our liberty, and for our security, and you can’t even risk a little political backlash by taking an official stance on whether or not they should be at war? Shame on you.
So there’s that.
But that’s not all. Just as my experience (and that of my family and friends) in the US military has driven me to seek change in the way it is employed, so it has driven me to see that we do a better job running the nation in general. These men and women have not only died for our liberty and security, they died believing that America is a great nation, one worth defending. It is a great nation, but if we don’t make some big changes, it may not always be.
Our national debt currently stands at close to $20 trillion. That is unacceptable, and it’s driven by chronic out-of-control spending that has been ok’d continuously by both parties. Immigration is a mess. The Department of Education was founded in 1979, and since that time the quality of education has plummeted, while the cost has skyrocketed. Similar results exist for healthcare since the government became more involved in that in 1965.
And then there are guns. You didn’t think I would forget that, did you?
Enemies of the Second Amendment lie in wait at the federal, state, and local levels, and they all smoothly declare that they, “aren’t against the Second Amendment.” That “no one wants to take away your guns,” all the while doing literally everything in their power to fight against the Second Amendment and take away our guns. To fight these efforts we need people in office who truly understand guns and the issues surrounding them.
It’s one thing to say, “I’m pro gun,” and do a photo op with a shotgun at a range. That’s not me. I’ve been shooting since I was eight. My dad, a Marine Corps infantry officer, considered marksmanship and proficiency with a rifle an important skill for any man, and he saw to it that I began early. I joined the Marine Corps at 19 and shot Expert on the M16A2 (iron sites) in Boot Camp.
In 2007 I purchased my first handgun, and in 2008 I purchased my second and went through the Texas Concealed Handgun Licensing process for the first time. Currently I hold carry licenses from Texas, Virginia, and Utah (though I am a big proponent of Constitutional Carry).
In 2013 I started a gun store called Liberty Rifle Company, LLC in Northern Virginia. It was a small venture, but I learned a ton in the process. It was also around that time that I began writing about gun issues. I wrote four articles for The Washington Times, which you can find at these links here: one, two, three, four. I also wrote three articles for TTAG: one, two, three.
My most recent article was in the Marine Corps Times, and was a response to another Marine who called for veterans to push for gun control. You can read my rebuttal here. I am a NRA life member, as well as an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor. While I ran my gun store I also taught Virginia Concealed Handgun Courses.
As I mentioned, I am pro-Constitutional Carry. I am unequivocally against any new restrictions on purchasing firearms, and am in favor of the repeal of virtually all current restrictions. For example, I believe we should repeal the 1934 National Firearms Act, and the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act (or at least the portion that restricts the manufacture of full-auto firearms for civilians), and the Brady Law of 1993. And instead of finding new ways to restrict our rights, the Federal government should be going after states and localities that do so, and ensuring that our right to keep and bear arms is not infringed.
In keeping with my stated values of integrity, and accountability, I will not make up anything about my opponent. I have not known him to oppose gun rights, and he cites a few examples on his website where he has fought for gun rights. However, I know of no statements from him one way or another on issues such as open carry, constitutional carry, NFA repeal, or Brady Law repeal. My guess (though I could be wrong) is that he is ambivalent at best, and opposed to all these things at worst.
I think it is fair to say that when I win I will be one of, if not the most pro gun-rights Congressman in the nation, as well as one of (again, if not the most) knowledgeable on firearms in general. I will defend the Constitution and represent the people of District 32 and the interests of the people of the United States of America with every fiber of my being.