Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is blaming his own party for the rise of the Islamic State group.
The freshman senator from Kentucky said Wednesday that the GOP’s foreign policy hawks “created these people.” That assertion led potential 2016 rival Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, to say Paul was unqualified to be president.
“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately,” Paul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He continued: “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved – they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”
Citing Iraq, Syria and Libya, Mr. Paul added that “everything that they’ve talked about in foreign policy, they’ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”
Speaking of gall, and a word of political advice, an aide might want to remind Senator Paul which party’s nomination he is seeking. Republicans who begin their campaigns assailing other Republicans rarely succeed—especially when the accusation is culpability for a would-be caliphate that uses executions, slavery, extortion, rape and general terror to enforce oppression in the Middle East and North Africa, and whose ideology inspires jihadists world-wide.
More to the point, even President Obama now largely refrains from blaming George W. Bush for all the world’s ills, albeit with an exception here and there for old time’s sake. Maybe even he recognizes that the statute of limitations has expired for Republicans who haven’t run the executive branch for seven years and have had no perceptible influence on Administration policy.
Mr. Paul is intelligent enough, and his misreading of recent Middle Eastern history is so flagrant, that he might be trying to deflect attention from his own misjudgments. In Mr. Obama’s second term, the U.S. has largely followed Mr. Paul’s foreign-affairs preferences to the letter, and the result has been more chaos and disorder.
The origins of the Islamic State are al Qaeda in Iraq, or the post-Saddam Hussein insurgency that suffered a near-total defeat amid General David Petraeus’s surge and the Sunni Awakening. The weak guerilla remnants of that organization survived on the peripheries of Iraq and Syria between 2008 and 2011 and then filled the security vacuum that Mr. Obama left behind by withdrawing all U.S. forces.
The Islamic State’s revival was also aided by its sanctuary over the border in Syria as that country revolted against the rule of Bashar Assad. Far from supplying arms to the rebels, Mr. Obama explicitly rejected U.S. intervention in 2011. CIA Director Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton again advocated aiding the rebels in 2012, but Mr. Obama refused again.
As for the U.S. bombing of Assad, Mr. Paul can’t blame ISIS on something that never happened. Mr. Obama briefly considered bombing in response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons, only to panic at the last minute and toss the decision into Congress after a stroll on the South Lawn. The ensuing Perils-of-Pauline political melodrama, in which Mr. Paul joined the Paulines who opposed any U.S. intervention, guaranteed little was done.
Mr. Paul seems to think he can win the GOP nomination on an anti-interventionist platform, though we think he’d be better off focusing on his domestic agenda. But if he wants to run as an Obama Republican on foreign policy, he shouldn’t also adopt the Obama trick of rewriting history. It reflects poorly on his judgment as a potential Commander in Chief.
Rand Paul should be criticizing his own father’s nutty position on foreign policy instead of criticizing other Republicans. That’s what people like me are supposed to do.
His only hope of winning the Republican nomination and even the presidency was to convince Republican voters he’s not in line with his father Ron Paul who seems to think too much like Obama on foreign policy.
This is the end for me and probably a lot of others. I could never support him for president after this, and the fact that he has already shown a tendency to let snarky media Democrats goad him into saying stupid things. A viable Republican candidate has to understand that Democrat media accomplices are experts at getting Republicans to cooperate in their own destruction, so they have to in turn become experts at taking upside-down questions from these miserable creatures and turning them right side up to expose their false premise.
This example is currently afloat: Knowing what we know now Governor, would you have recommended going into Iraq in 2003? Jeb Bush got this question and just said, “Yes.”
That was a stumblebum answer because he missed a glorious opportunity to turn this intended negative trap into a positive for himself with something like this: “Well, if we had known then that Barack Obama was going to be elected President and would cut and run without leaving enough troops behind to keep the victory we and the Iraqi people achieved, if we had known then that America would eventually be in the grips of this man and his disastrous and cowardly foreign policy, then I guess I’d have say we probably would not have gone and devoted so much in American resources, not to mention the lives of 4,000 of our best men and women in the military, if we had known that Barack Obama was going to become president and wreck everything we accomplished.”
Wouldn’t you like to see a Republican take a stupid question from a pseudo journalist like say, George Stephanopoulos, a question intended to give the Republican a chance to make himself look like a fool, and turn it back on the political hack “journalist,” just once?