June 22nd, 2014
10:45 AM ET
9 years 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.

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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.

β€œIt’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. J. Mark Lane

    I don't often agree with things Rand Paul says, but on this one, he is spot on, imo.

    June 22, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Erick Holmes

    When a passenger plane carrying his son chrashes into a skyscrapper, or a bomb goes off in a building him and/or his family are in and wounds or kills them, he'll see the reality. ISIS loves morons like him. Send him off.

    June 22, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. PJ

    Dick Cheney got us into this mess. I wish someone in the GOP would admit that. We should never have invaded the country in the first place. I don't blame Bush, Jr.....I blame Cheney who controlled Bush at the time.

    June 22, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. sophomorocat

    If the Shia and Sunni want all-out war to determine the patriarchy of a new caliphate then let 'em.
    As long as they're busy killing each other they'll have less spare attention for the rest of the world!

    June 22, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. behaviorquest

    Like Jon Hunstman, Rand Paul will prove to be too intelligent for the Republican Party so they will nominate another loser and fall by the wayside once again. They just don't learn that you cannot nominate idiots and expect victory even here in the US!

    June 22, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Donny

    This is all Bush's fault.

    June 22, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Kenoscope

    He may not be willing to send his son, but he is more than delighted to send everyone else's sons and daughters.

    June 22, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. g

    Mccain armed them let Mccain go the weapons back

    June 22, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. nemo0037

    Poor dope. Paul, you still don't get the GOP. They always send OTHER people's sons to die in gawd-forsaken deserts!

    June 22, 2014 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. chui

    Cheney is coward war monger , who when it his turn to spill some of his blood for this kind of self righteous wars had other plains and git fiver deferments. He and Bush cooked up a fraud war on Iraq with falsified and manufactured evidence and his and Bush victory for BS democracy is all hog was BS, The man is a war criminal like the Nazis.

    June 22, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. breed7

    Ah, a true patriot.

    The Republicans will get us into unnecessary wars, but then refuse to send their children to fight. As long as it's just the kids from poor families fighting, war is great!

    June 22, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Gloria in NW

    I am far from a conservative, but I'm siding with Rand Paul on this one. I heard him speak this a.m., and he made a lot of sense. Personally I think we should bring back the draft, and pass a law that says all children appropriately aged children of congresspeople should serve along with everyone else. Then everyone in the country might think harder about the wars we support. We made a mess the Middle East by taking out Saddam Housein. Yet he was a horrible person, but he kept the lid on sectarian violence. I believe it was Colin Powell who said of Irag "We break it, we own it." We sure broke it, and one of the unintended consequence is that no matter what we do now we may find ourselves in the middle of a religiously driven civil war. So now we have to ask ourselves how many more people do we want to be responsible for killing, and for what. There are no good choices now.

    June 22, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Larry38363

    I guess if he is unwilling to send his son into battle he certainly can't be Commander In Chief!

    June 22, 2014 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Rich

    I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Rand Paul. We should not send troops to Iraq again. We've done enough damage and this is their civil war, not ours.

    June 22, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    So "Rand" is not willing to send his son to Iraq? Must be nice to be a congressman and have a choice, while the rest of us lose sons and daughters at the whilm of the U.S. government.. Another congressional "privilege" that adds to the irresponsibility and venality of the U.S. Congress.

    June 22, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. aaron

    Nothing new here. After they started the Iraq invasion, Michael Moore jumped all the Congressmen he could, asking them to sign up their kids for the war. They scurried away from the cameras like cockroaches when the lights come on. The same ones that start the wars are the same ones who put exemptions like college in place to avoid sending their children to fight. Their goal is to get richer without sacrificing any of their close kinfolk.

    June 22, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. AmericanMike

    Sounds like the best plan I've ever heard for Congress in 200 years!!!!!

    June 22, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Andy_raleigh

    Interesting, Paul is making it sound like military response is is based on parental guidance. I have a nephew who is a Marine and a combat vet. I pray a lot for his safety and that he has been provided the training and tools needed to do his job. "I would not send my son" sounds to me like an elitist who has decided his son is too good. Mr. Paul how supporting our troops maybe your son could empty bed pans at a VA facility. It seems they are over running.

    June 22, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Margaret

    I am not quite sure but didn't a lot of major Republicans want us to arm the Syrian rebels? In any case I do agree I don't want our service men and women back in Iraq. About that vacuum in the middle east, what would Mr. Paul have done differently? Send troops, don't send troops, arm this group, don't send arms, send money (always a bad idea), bring the refugees to U S, or don't let them in. Tell us clearly, exactly what it is you think we should do!

    June 22, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. annieL

    If more fathers were like Rand Paul, we wouldn't have nearly so many wars, maybe even NONE! Fathers and mothers should NOT support any cause of war that does not deserve the life of their children and they should stand up and say so. I don't agree with Paul on anything else, but he's right about this.

    June 22, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. lucy two

    Just like all Republicans, always willing to send someone else son/daughter to fight .And the reason way nis the YELLOW streak down the backs of all Republicans

    June 22, 2014 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. SkepticalOne

    We are where we are new because Bush's war destabilized Iraq. Paul is right in saying that we shouldn't send troops in but he is pointing the finger of blame in the wrong direction.

    June 22, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Gretchen

    This comment about staying out of a civil war in another country is the FIRST time I agree with Sen. Rand Paul. He actually is right on target about not being in Iraq fighting in their skirmish. All this blabber from the republicans about fighting in another war, killing Americans while we are at it and spending god knows what in arms providing who knows what people there in Iraq is not necessary for the US to be involved in. President Obama, take notes on what Sen Paul is saying because a majority of the American public agrees with him.

    June 22, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Joseph

    Time to exit that area.
    Get Out NOW !!!!!!
    We tried, it didn't work.
    There is nothing we can do to help.

    June 22, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. pavitrasarala

    Geez, Rand, careful there. You may actually frighten much of the American public for a change by saying something with which they'll agree with you.

    June 22, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
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