Rand Paul blasts Clinton, Obama policy on Syria
August 28th, 2014
01:25 PM ET
4 years ago

Rand Paul blasts Clinton, Obama policy on Syria

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul continued his recent blitz against Hillary Clinton as a “war hawk,” blasting the former secretary of state for having a “shoot first” foreign policy.

In an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, the Kentucky Republican highlighted Clinton’s advocacy to arm Syrian rebels when she was the nation’s top diplomat.

The militant Islamist group known as ISIS originated from the Syrian opposition forces, and Paul argues that those who sought to arm the rebels and help unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have done more harm than good.

“We aided those who've contributed to the rise of the Islamic State,” he said.

The Obama administration didn’t agree to send weapons until after Clinton left office, and it only sought to aid moderate elements among Syria’s opposition groups.

There’s been no clear indication, however, that U.S. assistance to Syrian rebels have directly benefited ISIS in a significant way.

Paul, who labeled Clinton a “war hawk” in a recent interview with NBC News, said Clinton was “eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions.”

“We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria,” he continued. “That new regime might well be ISIS.”

CNN reached out to Clinton's spokesperson for comment but did not receive a response. Adrienne Elrod, spokesman for the pro-Clinton group Correct the Record, argued in a written statement that Paul's "belief in extreme isolation" is "wrong for our country, our people and our place."

While the United States has conducted air strikes against ISIS in Iraq, the administration has now taken steps that signal it could take similar action against ISIS in Syria.

Falling in line with his non-interventionist views, Paul said it would be “more realistic” to recognize that while some regimes are bad, they may be helping keep stability in a country.

“There are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but...America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe,” he wrote.

While he didn’t offer any specific solutions moving forward, he detailed how he would handle the solution in a separate interview.

“If I were in President Obama’s shoes at this time, I would have called Congress back, I would have had a joint session of Congress, and I would have said ‘this is why ISIS is a threat to the United States, to the stability of the region, to our embassy, to our diplomats, and this is why I’m asking you today to authorize air attacks,’” he told the conservative news outlet Breitbart.

Filed under: Iraq • Rand Paul • Syria
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. soaked sock puppet

    I will debate, but I won't do the Smith/Rudy thing, too exhausting just watching! Good day Tom, wherever you are.

    August 28, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Dean

    Paul is correct. Obama and his administration are not intelligent enough to handle the tough foreign issues that the U.S. faces.

    August 28, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Repubican neo-conservatives who are mainly esablishment Republicans must be wringing their hands in anguish. Strong US presence and militrary intervention have been the corner stone of Republican foreign policy for decades. Looks like Sen Rand Paul and liberal Democrats agree on something.

    August 28, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |

    Hillary gets a pass on this very same thing but because it's a REPUBLICAN denouncing it he must be wrong.

    August 28, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Shan

    First off, the question must be asked: Did Paul plagiarize once again; or did he truly write this opinion piece?

    August 28, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. rs

    Tom l

    Let's take Rand Paul and the repubs out of this entirely. Do you feel comfortable with how things are going in Syria? Do you feel fine that ISIS is being handled well. Do you feel Obama and this administration has any part in the growth of power with ISIS? How about when he referred to ISiS as JV? Was that a smart assessment or a misread? Just curious if you have any criticisms of the administration.
    Silly word games Tom. Iraq is what it is because we started an elective war on it. Sure, it is the "we broke it, we bought it" mess we were warned of back in the Bush the first days by Cheney himself. As to Syria- the President asked for Congressional approval, and the GOP lost interest. Frankly Tom, I am way more worried about the anti-American actions of the GOP than the Islamic State. IS hasn't threatened a government shutdown for example.You will notice (as you're an active participant in their act), that the GOP has yet to offer advice, counsel, a plan or a solution to anything in the recent past- just whiny, baseless criticism- often with a topping of insane conspiracy for good mix.
    No, all in America may not be perfect, but it is far, far better than when the GOP was in charge.

    August 28, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. sonny chapman

    This guy lacks Real Life Experiences. Lived in a Never, Never Land but spouts off Know It All Opinions on everything.

    August 28, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. smith


    Rand Paul is full of his own self. If Hillary or Obama were shoot first ask questions later many more US soldiers would be dead in Iraq and Afganistan. The Bush administration and Republicans created this mess. If Hussein was left in power and Iraq; the region would not be in chaos and billions of dollars lost on two wars we did not and could not win. At least Hussein had control of his own people

    So by your logic what we did in Yugoslavia, Libya, Egypt, Ukraine, Somalia, and now attempting to do in Syria is wrong? You are aware we either were involved or supported overthrows of the those nations leaders. As for ISIS, if we would have let Assad be he would have crushed ISIS. Obama, Democrats, and Republicans were all wrong on Syria.

    August 28, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. rs

    Tom l

    soaked sock puppet says:
    August 28, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm
    Tom, where’s your criticism for the Republicans, they were clamouring for our giving weapons and money to these guys, we know these guys, ring a bell, please, your quiet on every post regarding the Republicans poor advice, hypocritical, at best.

    You just can't answer the questions on their own merit even though my questions specific asked to leave the repubs out. I have many many criticisms of the Republicans. However it is now Obama who's in charge. Let's just remain focused on Obama and his decision. Do you feel that they have been good ones? How about just answering the questions I laid out?
    Give it up Tom, you're not the grand inquisitor handing out tough questions that everyone must jump to. You're just being predictable anti-government you- asking the same inane questions, slightly re-arranged over and over and over.

    August 28, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Lynda I read your comments to smith and all I can say is WOW. God bless you and your family. And how wonderful to be able to pull yourself up by your boot straps. No wonder we became friends. We're more alike than I would have ever known. We get it. Many never will. Enjoy that wonderful cabin my friend!! 😊😊😊

    August 28, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. PaulCat

    Rand Paul talks loud and says nothing

    August 28, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. yolanda

    @Gurgyl, I see that you didn't mention bad service on domestic flights today. I take it that you're happier with the food and drink service ?

    August 28, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. Bill

    Poor, irrelevant Aqua Buddha. I sure hope he runs for the GOP nomination. It will be even more entertaining than Gov. Oops and 999 in the 2012 race.

    August 28, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    @soaked sock puppet
    "Got it, for the most part I do agree with his actions, and Isis has grown since his initial assessment, I don't think we can act alone anymore after the wars, and little interest shown by others yo engage with us on intervention. That good?"

    You may not be familiar with this process, sock... but answering tom i's questions leads to more inane questions... he will never answer yours, but will send you home with homework to do on his (until you catch on). He lives to carry water for the righties and old paul here is his hero, because he fancies himself a libertarian and tea bagger. I'm not saying he isn't either, but I've seen him defend the righties to the death time after time, but then wants you to believe because he was against the war in Iraq (so he says, I wasn't around here when the neocons lied us into that, but I have a sneaking suspicion his posts still sounded like hannity talking points even back then) that somehow proves he's in the 'middle'.
    Now before old tom gets all bent, let me just say I feel the same way about rand here... rand has plenty of principles and will tell you just how principled he is, only problem... his principles change with the wind (and his audience). The closer we get to '16, the more old rand here shapeshifts and morphs into an establishment candidate... I'm very interested to see if old tom makes the change, too... or if he loses faith in his hero (my bet is on complete metamorphous... or complete denial. He has mastered that craft.).
    Anyway... just letting you know what your in for regarding the questions (also... tom is right. Always right. Even when shown to be wrong, proven wrong, admits to being wrong.... he cannot take it... he will make himself right by the end of the day even if he has to twist himself into something resembling a malaria germ to get there... he WILL be right).

    (key the... we all know what)

    August 28, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Bubba

    I can't get over how much Paul looks like Beaker from the Muppet Show. But then every GOP Member is a caricature of one joke or another. Most are like cartoon characters (except for Ryan):
    Perry is Yosemite Sam
    Rubio is Marvin Martian
    Christie is Peter Griffin
    Jeb is Eek the Cat
    Ryan is not interesting enough to be a cartoon character. Ryan is more like a Sock Puppet.

    August 28, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. soaked sock puppet

    Yeller, at this point I'm wondering what he does/has done that would require a skill such as that. He has a certain way about him, I don't get an independent out of his remarks either.

    August 28, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Harry

    Is this Rand Paul so stupid or he is pretending it for future insanity acquittal ???

    August 28, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Yolanda – Stop trying to be so irrelevant, and tackle a major issue once. While Rand takes a bite of burger and runs away from dreamers, we now know how he will deal with world leaders. Head in the sand, Rand?

    August 28, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. soaked sock puppet

    And I would guess a control freak the way he wanted to focus on the Democrats while the article was about a Republican p.o.v., and trying to immediately establish his opinion as fact, and project from that position, but, I try to have respect for those I believe have common goals, a better America, we can disagree on how, its what makes us, us.

    August 28, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  20. Democrat Junk

    It's hard to blast a policy that does not exist. If it does exist, we the people are unaware of it. Its floating around in the POTUS"s mind.

    August 28, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Listening to Randroid try to talk policy is like listening to your cat try to explain how to solve a Rubik's Cube.

    August 28, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Pander Bear

    And Rand Paul's solution to this is what exactly? More mindless criticism?

    August 28, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. rs


    Paul is correct. Obama and his administration are not intelligent enough to handle the tough foreign issues that the U.S. faces.
    I don't know.
    The Russian economy has taken quite hit since the sanctions were put in place over the Ukraine;
    Syria gave up their gas and WMDs once the threat of military action was made;
    Libya gave up on Qaddafi, and the "mastermind" of the consular attack in Benghazi has been captured;
    OBL is buried at sea;

    I mean- for the most part the President's policies have played out well with minimal insertion of American troops- certainly light years away from the last President. Has everything worked well? Maybe not, but in the vacuum created by the GOP's non-solutions and mindless carping and whiny approach, the President comes off as a foreign policy genius by comparison.

    August 28, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Democrat Junk
    It's hard to blast a policy that does not exist. If it does exist, we the people are unaware of it. Its floating around in the POTUS"s mind.
    You mean the policy that has kept another 9/11 from happening on US soil and has captured or killed terrorists abroad?
    Maybe it is your lack of understanding and not the POTUS.

    August 28, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. sonny crapman

    sonny chapman
    This guy lacks Real Life Experiences. Lived in a Never, Never Land but spouts off Know It All Opinions on everything.

    You're talking about Obama right?

    August 28, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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