Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with David Axelrod during an event at the University of Chicago, on April 22, 2014.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks with David Axelrod during an event at the University of Chicago, on April 22, 2014. Andrew A. Nelles/AP

Rand Paul’s Iraq Plan: More Obama, Less Cheney

Rand Paul’s noninterventionism toward Iraq may be the Republicans' best chance to retake security supremacy -- and the White House. By Molly O’Toole

As Iraq’s security has crumbled, the Republican chorus of criticism for President Barack Obama’s foreign policy has been largely unified, and predictable -- save for one unlikely defender: Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky and likely candidate for his party’s nomination in 2016 has emerged from the rubble of Iraq’s security situation as one of the lone Republican voices echoing the administration’s calculated caution toward the crisis.

“Were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there?” Paul said Sunday of Bush administration leaders who sold the Iraq War, deeming them responsible for the current chaos in Iraq. “They didn't really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out. And what's going on now I don't blame on President Obama.”

GOP hawks have continued calls for immediate military action, placing blame on the White House for its eagerness to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, while keeping a duplicitous distance from the Republican administration that invaded in 2003. Other possible contenders for the 2016 GOP nomination have toed the party line.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has called for air strikes, told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell on Sunday that he disagreed with Paul’s assertion that air strikes in Iraq would essentially operate as air force for Iran by effectively supporting the Shiite government’s suppression of Iraq’s Sunni minority, calling it “an exaggeration.”

“To do nothing and allow [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] to establish a base of operation like what al-Qaeda had before Afghanistan, places us in a very dangerous position from a counterterrorism point of view and puts Americans' lives on the line down the road,” said Rubio, who has attempted this year to strengthen his national security credentials, eying the GOP nomination in 2016.

So far, much of the Republican response to Iraq’s security crisis has been represented by the same neocons who started the war, with former-Bush administration pundits dominating the news shows and former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, writing in the Wall Street Journal last week: "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."

The current crisis in Iraq also is creating strange bedfellows of some Democrats and conservatives, who traditionally take a hands-off approach to foreign policy, akin to the  “we can’t do it for you” stance Obama has staked out in recent days.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., one of 23 senators who voted against the Iraq War, called the Cheneys' criticism of Obama’s approach “sick.”

“When you really look back at the record, it was Vice President Cheney and Condi Rice, working for George W. Bush and Rumsfeld and all those folks -- it's just like, you know, a nightmare come back to haunt me, just frankly -- who were basically telling us, get right back in there again,” Boxer said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” Sunday . “The American people don't want it. The president doesn't want us in. The saner voices in the Senate and House don't want it.”

While Republicans may be hesitant to be seen as siding with the Democrats on Iraq, Paul has argued that the roots of noninterventionism tie back to the GOP . And the Tea Party's recent electoral coup indicates it's not dead yet. Relying on the same national security policy that lost the White House in 2008 is hardly a strategy for 2016, and Republicans looking for electoral opportunities in Iraq's troubles -- as both parties inevitably are – may need to align themselves behind Paul’s libertarian national security strategy, rather than the embattled neo-conservatism of the Cheneys.

“Here's my point, is that, can one generation bind another generation? Can the people you elected in 2002, who voted to go to war in 2002, does that bind us forever?” Paul asked Sunday, continuing, “If we're going to go to war … We need to have a consensus that, yes, it is worth dying to regain Mosul even though the Shiites and the people who live there are not willing to fight for it.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.