Rand Paul Speaks Out on Iraq

Rand Paul spoke to Eliana Johnson of the National Review. He also wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

The points he made for Johnson (according to her) are as follows:

  1. President Obama’s claim that we need to worry about ISIS establishing “safe havens” in Syria or Iraq from which they will attack the US is “a bit of a stretch.”
  2. The target of ISIS are the Shiites, not the United States or the West.
  3. It is not plausible that Congress thirteen years ago gave the President power to go to war in Iraq on his own authority.
  4. He doesn’t see how, after giving “all that money” to support the Iraqi Army, we now are supposed to send troops (“advisors”) into Iraq. Why should U.S. soldiers fight and die for what Iraqi soldiers are willing to surrender?
  5. Rand Paul does not believe the John McCain pretense (which Johnson ascribes to “most foreign policy experts”) that, if we had kept a residual force in Iraq, ISIS would not have attacked. On the contrary, the only difference is that Americans might have died along with the Iraqis.
  6. Rand Paul knows that Dick Cheney and John Bolton are raising funds to “stamp out Paulite thought” in the Republican Party, but Paul thinks his popularity springs from the fact that Republicans are largely fed up with the wars. His personal charisma has nothing to do with the acceptance of his ideas in the Republican base.

I won’t summarize Rand Paul’s Wall Street Journal editorial, but I will quote the part that I think most people in the mainstream have refused to touch:

This administration, through bad decision-making that I specifically warned against, has already indirectly aided al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria—the very group some now propose to counter with U.S. troops.

That is exactly right. We have been trying to overthrow Bashar al Assad in Syria, Iraq’s neighbor. In the process we have armed or helped others arm Sunni extremists. We have destabilized Iraq.

We need to get out of the region and never look back. Our military and our air power should be used to protect the United States, not settle a war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.