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.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'][twitter-follow screen_name='jhseher']

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. Katie

    He didn't vote for going into Iraq in the first place, so there's nothing hypocritical about this guy. I don't agree with a lot of a his politics, but on this issue he's been right all along. We shouldn't have gone in there, we shouldn't have stayed there and we don't belong in there now.

    June 22, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Jerry Okmaura

    Let us be honest about this issue. No one knows exactly what should be done.

    June 22, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Pete/Ark

    @ beancounterz – during the Crusades , the Royals and Nobles ALWAYS went ...nobody would go without them ...

    June 22, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. columbus

    Rand Paul and his father are Libertarians, I really wish they'd break away from the GOP and help put the Libertarian party platform up front. It's a moderate party that can appeal to both conservatives and liberals, a lot of the fear factors against them come from Washington DC Inc., they can't afford a third party. But we can!

    June 22, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. EddyL

    What a surprise. But he'll want YOU to send YOUR son when the time comes. Right-wingers never serve in the military. Ask Romney and his tribe.

    June 22, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Dana

    As the wife of Vietnam veteran and mother of two who served in the Gulf, I agree with beancounterz. Congress is all too willing to send other people's children.

    June 22, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. John

    Bet he'd send him if Bush had asked!

    June 22, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    If you want to be a congressman or woman in this country then you should have to don the military uniform and fight for the freedoms that you have. Yellow cowards in DC make me sick when they say they won't send their sons or daughters but don't care enough about the people that do go and put it all on the line.

    June 22, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. scarf


    It sounds like its time to create a Congressional Division as part of our military first response force. This division will consist of Congressmen/women, and all family members who can pass a physical to enter the military. I suggest including 2 generations of family to have a large enough force. Anytime congress wants to send troops to a region, this "Congressional Division" will be the first troops on foot and will ALWAYS be at the front line of the fight.
    All in all, not a bad idea. But, I suspect its members would too gutless and empty-headed to stop a bullet, thus endangering the ground troops in the second wave.....

    June 22, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. cbp

    Senator Paul joins almost every other member of Congress whose children are not members of the military. They have left that up to those in the all-volunteer forces. Congress is now balking but it is Congress that backed the Bush Administration War in Iraq. We supported those in power who were members of one religious group. The Prime Minister has formed a government without members of other religious groups. This whole issue lies squarely at the feet of Bush and Cheney and those in Congress who failed to understand the people of Iraq and the MIddle EAst. They abandoned the fight in Afghanistan to enter Iraq and then had to return to Afghanistan. The war was fought for bogus reasons and now there is chaos. Surprise, surprise.

    June 22, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. Jaimondrow

    To all the people on here that are calling for charges against Bush and Cheney for Iraq: Why hasn't Obama and the Democrats done it? From 2008-2010 they had complete control of Congress and the White House. Obama still has control of the Justice Department.

    June 22, 2014 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    Agreed SweePee. It is however so humerous to watch many of the posters on here try to blame the current president in much the same fashion as Cheney did. Don't worry about facts, don't worry about history, just spout the party line. Truth-we invaded a sovereign nation on the basis of nothing but lies. Truth–we have destroyed that nation. Truth-We have made torture of prisoners legal and acceptable, so when it is used on our own children.....oh well. Truth–Two wars neither of which were budgeted for or even included in a budget. Truth–not one thing accomplished except for filling thousands upon thousands of graves. Truth, truth, truth, truth.....it just goes on and on.But the biggest truth is that W, the guy who started all this, not only destroyed their nation but left ours on the brink of total collapse. Gee, I wonder who kept it from totally collapsing? It sure has not been the GOTP.

    June 22, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Johnnybegood

    Americans are finally coming to their senses it seems. They are starting to understand the roles of Saddams and Asads and the inner working of muslim politics and the other islamic mumbo jumbo. if this continue...Happy days are here again world

    June 22, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Jim

    This is eerily similar to the Vietnam War. We sent 800 "advisers" into South Viet Nam and after they were attacked they became combat soldiers with many dieing. What was supposedly "American Interest " was in jeopardy. Now we hear the same old excuse, American Interest. Looks like we'll repeat that bad history to protect the wealth and preserve all those portfolios from Wall St investors.

    June 22, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Robert Davis

    First of all, Rand Paul, keep your son at home if you like...Your son is only one person... Take him to go see the Great Walls of China...This whole conflict is about presence. If U.S presence is not there in the Middle East, I know two bidders that would love to come in and stabilize the region for their own gains. "Yes, you guess right." It is Russia and China. We go over there. So, we don't allow another painful 9/11 happen to this beautiful country. That's what is wrong with a lot of our politicians in Washington is their lack of foreign policy. Maybe, politicians need to have military experience to truly understand what is going over there in Afghanistan.. Old men crying in Washington while young men are dying over there is a long lived saying. America better straighten up.

    June 22, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Bob

    Assuming his son is an adult big mouth has no say in it period.
    Next – Mr. mouth if you look around you will few politicians sons are or have been in any fighting war zone. Gee Wonder why.

    June 22, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. pat

    Bush,made this mess,now send him there to fix it

    June 22, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. jk sfl

    hey cheney , are your halburton secret NO BID oil contracts going up in SMOKE, to bad.

    June 22, 2014 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. m

    Good for Paul!!! A man with a brain!

    June 22, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  20. Sliversufer

    If you don't stop them now with boots on the ground, eventually they will win and then you will have an extremist state over huge oil reserves. Once this faction gets established within the cities they will be even harder to get ride of and begin to seriously threaten the U.S. If we strike hard right now and force a change in administration the U.S might have chance. World wide you might see a huge spike in oil and gas prices if they seize control of the region also who's to say they stop with Iraq.

    June 22, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  21. HorseMan

    We were incredibly arrogant and stupid thinking that sending our troops to invade the heart of the muslim world would be an easy "mission accomplished" and without consequences. We are and will be for a long time...paying for our arrogance and stupidity. We should NEVER allow again our liders to put their personal financial and political interests above those of the people of this country. I agree with sweetpee and beancounterz and we should sent all those criminals that started this mess...to the frontlines, and will not allow them back until they get it fixed. I doubt they will ever be able to, but then again I'm just fine with that.

    June 22, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I guess the only people who are happy are the Kurds--they came out ahead and on their way to forging a state.

    June 22, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. TM

    Senator, the only way to make sure that your sone doesn't get involved in "that mess", is to make sure that your party doesn't vote to send anyone else's son or daughter into "that mess".

    June 22, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Tom

    Thank God Dick Cheney is no longer in office.

    June 22, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. buckcameron

    Not something Republicans or their plutocrat bosses do. There won't be any Koch's or Walton's there either.

    June 22, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8