June 22nd, 2014
10:45 AM ET
6 months ago

Paul: 'I'm not willing to send my son' into Iraq

Washington (CNN) - One U.S. lawmaker firmly believes the United States should keep its sons and daughters out of Iraq's increasingly tangled and bloody conflict.

"I'm not willing to send my son into that mess," Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on Sunday.

Appearing on "State of the Union," Paul acknowledged that while the chaos in Iraq intensifies by the day, he believes advances by jihadist Sunni militants on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite government forces do not pose an immediate threat to U.S. national security. Though he refused to rule out some kind of U.S. assistance, Paul said absent that threat, President Barack Obama's administration should not send ground troops to assist al-Maliki's government.

"Let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," Paul said.

He painted the current security situation as a battle between a "feckless" ally in al-Maliki and "allies of al Qaeda" - the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, an al Qaeda splinter group. Paul said he doubted the jihadist fighters would contemplate action against the United States in the middle of their campaign to take Baghdad.

"I don't believe that ISIS, right now, is in the middle of a battle saying, 'Hmm, I think we're going to send intercontinental ballistic missiles to America,’" he told Crowley.

In an interview Friday with CNN's Kate Bolduan, Obama pressed Iraqi leaders to find a political solution to governing their nation. But as 300 U.S. military advisers head to the war-torn nation, Republican critics like Paul are laying the blame for the current crisis at the feet of the Obama administration.

"I think there's chaos in the Middle East, and the chaos is because we've created a vacuum," Paul said. "One of the reasons why ISIS has been emboldened is because we've been arming their allies."

While the Obama administration has reportedly dispatched weapons and other military assistance to moderate opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria, details remain murky about just where those resources may have ended up.
Paul says some Sunni militants who were among the Syrian rebels, more radicalized than the administration anticipated, are now blitzing Iraq's major cities with U.S. weaponry.

“It’s now a jihadist wonderland in Iraq precisely because we got overinvolved - not because we had too little involvement,” Paul said.

"We are where we are because we armed the Syrian rebels. We have been fighting alongside al Qaeda," he added.

He said any further action in Iraq should be put to a vote in Congress.


Filed under: Iraq • Rand Paul
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. Henry

    Only fools send their loved ones to Iran to be killed or horribly maimed. All the yellow ribbons will not compensate them for their foolishness.

    June 22, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. someone

    Al maliki doesn't want to step down soon, the kurds are anable to take over, give them a dictatorship Democracy...4 years for each party set in the constitution...the only vote the people have to make is who in thier political party they want as a representative during those 4 years...son 4 years for the kurds, 4 years for the sunni, 4 years for the shia...at the same time during any of those 4 years, they all have to have high officials representing their parties...so if the Kurds are president then the someone else is vice president or prime minister...in a way that is always inclusive government by dictatorship. when this plan fails give dictatorship to the most inclusive of the three...the Kurds...

    June 22, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. Mike in Texas

    Whenever I hear Neo Cons talk about military might and such I think of the song "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival or CCR as you may know them. The song criticizes jingoism (look up the word if you don't know what it means) and those who support the use of military force without having to "pay the costs".

    June 22, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Christopher E. Skoog

    Right you are SweePee! It's high time the draft-dodging war monger in question put his life on the line for a change.

    June 22, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. Big_D

    I see why some people would like Rand with a line like this. I wonder what he thinks of his fellow Republicans that are saying things like we should have still had an occupation force in Iraq. People should realize this group is about 5,000 and one A-10 could completely eliminate them in five minutes. Don't bet on ISIS too quick.

    June 22, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. SteveInMN

    The guys in the pix are all carrying AKs. I don't think we sent them any of those....

    June 22, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. CrazyGod

    But I'll bet it's okay for OTHER people's sons to go into that mess, huh?

    June 22, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Gunderson

    I see all the Summer Soldiers are now coming out of the woodwork. When we were attacked on December 7 1941 the nation did not turn away. When we were attacked on 911 the Nation did not turn away. Talk about hyppiricrates. Even Hillary has Flip-Flopped. Your next leader?

    June 22, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. alex

    At least one congressman gets it.

    June 22, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. John Paul Jones

    I would not send my son either.......................

    Vietnam Vet 69-70

    June 22, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. dejahathoris

    What a two-faced idiot.

    Any congressperson who voted FOR that mess in the first place should be the first to have their family members sent over.

    June 22, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Rod

    Mr Beancounterz- Most of us agree whole hardly in your statement. Someone needs to remind Mr Paul that his republican party started this war and now the gutless wonders want someone else to finish it!!

    June 22, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. TV

    Where is that politician named John McCain?. He was criticising Obama left and right for not arming syrian rebels with more powerful weapons. Now see what is happening. Let "allah" take care of the mess in middle east. Rest all, shut your mouth and rebuild this country.

    June 22, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. areyousaying

    "Let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," Paul said.

    Too bad no one thought of that in 2003.

    June 22, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Old favorite

    For those suggesting our Military shouldn't go..if sent, remember, ours is an all volunteer Army today. Not like Nam.. If you don't intend to fights as directed, then you shouldn't sign up.. Simple.. If you want free stuff... Sign up fir snap, Medicare and welfare.. But don't taint our veterans with... Picking and choosing your situation... Sorry... You signed up... You do as told... It's not a game...it's your job, right or wrong... In your mind

    June 22, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. rbs

    Mission accomplished.....

    June 22, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Ron

    Well, the doves in the Republican party (Paul and other libertarians) criticize Obama for being "over involved," while the hawks in the Republican party criticized Obama for not being involved enough. None of them will have the guts to admit that their President and Vice-President got us there in the first place–under false pretext. And then lied repeatedly to the American people, for example, Cheney said Iraqi oil would pay for the war, the Iraqis would welcome us as liberators, and the war would be over in 6 weeks. Now, it's all Obama's fault. Let's see, since Obama is half Black, I'm sure they can come up with a way to blame him for the American Civil War.

    June 22, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    Obama has absolutely no notion of what to do in the Mideast and I offer the following:

    Stay the H- out of Iraq.

    June 22, 2014 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. txan

    Now the note by "beancounterz" is the best idea I have heard in a while. I suggest "Mouth McCain" takes the point in his squad.

    June 22, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    How is it 2-faced to say that he doesn't want his son dying in a bloody civil war overseas? I'm pretty sure a lot of us feel the same way. I sure as hell do. How does that make someone 2-faced? If you're going to make inflammatory statements like that, at least provide some actual reasoning for it.

    June 22, 2014 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  21. morebs

    it's funny how people are always saying that the dems voted for the war as if they forgot gw's speech at the congressional hearings. "if you are not for us you are for the terrorist". these same people need to read everything that was said by the repubs during the hearings. there are statements that were made during the hearings by the repubs that they are doing the same things now that they said American "patriots" shouldn't be doing as regards for the sitting president. that is why I have lost all respect for them.

    June 22, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    Time for the Clearance Clearwater Revival song of the 60s. It ain't me!

    June 22, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. gahh

    The Iraq war was Bush's mess, all Obama did was end it, and how many American soldiers are alive today as a result? Bush imagined himself the Great Messiah, who was going to force democracy on the Middle East, whether they wanted it or not, using our soldiers.

    June 22, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. Pink Haze

    To: beancounterz – Well said. In fact I think John McCain should be the very first person in line.

    June 22, 2014 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. macira

    I like Rand Paul better as he talks. We started this mess by invading Iraq.
    Most of Paul's stuff I don't agree with but on this I do.

    June 22, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
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