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View Poll Results: Agree or disagree?
Agree completely 22 61.11%
Mostly Agree 8 22.22%
Uncertain 1 2.78%
Mostly Disagree 3 8.33%
Disagree Completely 2 5.56%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-20-2014, 09:35 AM  
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Rand Paul: America Shouldn't Choose Sides in Iraq's Civil War

America Shouldn't Choose Sides in Iraq's Civil War

Obama has made mistakes but so did Bush by invading. There's no good case for U.S. military intervention now.

By RAND PAUL

Though many claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan on foreign policy, too few look at how he really conducted it. The Iraq war is one of the best examples of where we went wrong because we ignored that.

In 1984, Reagan's Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger developed the following criteria for war, primarily to avoid another Vietnam. His speech, "The Uses of Military Power," boils down to this: The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the U.S. or its allies are involved and only "with the clear intention of winning." U.S. combat troops should be committed only with "clearly defined political and military objectives" and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives and with a "reasonable assurance" of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress and only "as a last resort."

Much of the rationale for going to war in 2003 did not measure up to the Weinberger Doctrine, and I opposed the Iraq war. I thought we needed to be more prudent about the weightiest decision a country can make. Like Reagan, I thought we should never be eager to go to war. And now, 11 years later, we are still dealing with the consequences.


Today the Middle East is less stable than in 2003. The Iraq war strengthened Iran's influence in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Sunni extremists backed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have filled the vacuum. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken over the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and is on the march to Baghdad.

While President Obama said Thursday he will not send "combat troops," he said he is sending 300 military advisers and he has 275 servicemen to guard the U.S. Embassy. Few are advocating for boots on the ground but many are calling for airstrikes.

Let me address both of these. First, we should not put any U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, unless it is to secure or evacuate U.S. personnel and diplomatic facilities. And while we may not completely rule out airstrikes, there are many questions that need to be addressed first.

What would airstrikes accomplish? We know that Iran is aiding the Iraqi government against ISIS. Do we want to, in effect, become Iran's air force? What's in this for Iran? Why should we choose a side, and if we do, who are we really helping?

This administration, through bad decision-making that I specifically warned against, has already indirectly aided al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria—the very group some now propose to counter with U.S. troops.

For the small group calling for boots on the ground—how can we ask our brave men and women to risk their lives for a country the Iraqis aren't willing to fight for themselves? Iraqi soldiers are stripping off their uniforms and fleeing this fight. We shouldn't ask our soldiers to put their uniforms on to take their places.

No matter what the administration is planning, I also insist that it go through Congress. President Obama declared this war over and even asked Congress to rescind its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, something I agreed with. If he or others want a new war or military action, they need a new approval, from Congress, or I will oppose them.

The U.S. spent eight years training the Iraqis and nearly a decade of war has brought us to this point. Those who say it was a mistake to leave are forgetting that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government was demanding we leave in 2011.

Those who say we must re-engage in Iraq are also forgetting an important part of the Weinberger Doctrine: "U.S. troops should not be committed to battle without a 'reasonable assurance' of the support of U.S. public opinion and Congress." To attempt to transform Iraq into something more amenable to our interests would likely require another decade of U.S. presence and perhaps another 4,000 American lives—a generational commitment that few Americans would be willing to make.

Many of those clamoring for military action now are the same people who made every false assumption imaginable about the cost, challenge and purpose of the Iraq war. They have been so wrong for so long. Why should we listen to them again?

Saying the mess in Iraq is President Obama's fault ignores what President Bush did wrong. Saying it is President Bush's fault is to ignore all the horrible foreign policy decisions in Syria, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere under President Obama, many of which may have contributed to the current crisis in Iraq. For former Bush officials to blame President Obama or for Democrats to blame President Bush only serves as a reminder that both sides continue to get foreign policy wrong. We need a new approach, one that emulates Reagan's policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary acts fully and decisively.

Too many in Washington are prevented by their own pride from admitting their mistakes. They are more concerned about saving face or pursuing a rigid ideology than they are with constructing a realist foreign policy.

David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush and a strong advocate for the Iraq war, said recently that "the United States overestimated the threat from Saddam Hussein in 2003. Without an active nuclear-weapons program, he was not a danger beyond his immediate vicinity. That war cost this country dearly. The United States failed in its most ambitious objective: establishing a stable, Western-oriented government for all of Iraq." He added that "the government in Baghdad is not an American friend, and action against ISIS will not advance U.S. interests."

Other advocates for the Iraq war need to examine the evidence and make rational decisions based on it. That's something lacking throughout Washington. Leadership means admitting our mistakes so we can correct them. We will do ourselves no favors if we simply recommit to the same mistakes and heed the advice of those who made them in the first place.

Mr. Paul is a Republican senator from Kentucky.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...war-1403219558
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:46 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Then why is the US and allies like SA funding that side that is our enemy? Sounds like TREASON.
The answer to your question is an obvious one: look to who is running the government right now. The same person who released those five terrorists. The same person who has as much as advocated regime change in Iraq. The same person who has sided with the Muslim Brotherhood on more than one occasion. The same person who is sitting back while the Soviet Union is being rebuilt.

This isn't a hard situation to understand (though certainly hard to stomach) if you look at the entirety of the picture and not just one portion of it.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:47 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Mostly disagree. We should support whichever side makes the most sense to us, which is pretty much universal.
What does this even mean? Which side makes the most sense to us?
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:49 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Raiderhader View Post
One side is back by this country's sworn enemy, al-Qaida, but we shouldn't choose sides. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Not choosing a side in this situation is choosing a side.

I really wanted to like Rand but, he keeps letting me down.
ISIS is not Al-Qaida. If they were, this thing would be a lot more clear cut legally.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:50 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Iran's been helping them anyway...and we're considering it.

I mean they're both Shias.
Because we left them high and dry.

I get that the nation is tired of war. But it is nothing short of irresponsible to have walked away from Iraq before they were strong enough to take care of themselves. Because of that decision, we now have a much worse situation that most certainly is of U.S. interest.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Cochise View Post
Convenient time for him to opine, after he offended most of his base by coming out for amnesty for illegals.

LOL You're adorable. He didn't come out for amnesty, but I love the fact that you keep saying it. It's hilarious.

Who did he piss off again? As far as I've seen, his base is not pissed off at all, and have known about Rand's position for years because it's always been the same one.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:50 AM   #21
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Isolationism -- alive and well in the 21st century...
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
ISIS is not Al-Qaida. If they were, this thing would be a lot more clear cut legally.
I said they were backed by them. And they are.

So is the Taliban and that clear cut legal fact didn't stop us from giving them five of their very nasty buddies back.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
Isolationism -- alive and well in the 21st century...
However you want to label it, the American people want to take a pass on this one.
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:57 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Raiderhader View Post
I said they were backed by them. And they are.
All I can say is you're clueless if this is what you think, and you should maybe crack a browser and read up.

I've read a shit ton of analysis that says they're not - because frankly, they don't need Al-Qaida. AQ is pretty well defunct and doesn't really have much to offer to an organization as well heeled as ISIS.

Quote:
So is the Taliban and that clear cut legal fact didn't stop us from giving them five of their very nasty buddies back.
You have a very dysfunctional understanding of the conflict. It's like you're stuck in 2003 and haven't really followed the changes that have happened in the last 10 years.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:06 PM   #25
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What does this even mean? Which side makes the most sense to us?
The side which hates us less or likes us more.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:07 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
The side which hates us less or likes us more.
So is that ISIS or Iran?
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:18 PM   #27
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So is that ISIS or Iran?
I'd say that it's both.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:20 PM   #28
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I'd say that it's both.
LOL


Great thanks!
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
All I can say is you're clueless if this is what you think, and you should maybe crack a browser and read up.

I've read a shit ton of analysis that says they're not - because frankly, they don't need Al-Qaida. AQ is pretty well defunct and doesn't really have much to offer to an organization as well heeled as ISIS.



You have a very dysfunctional understanding of the conflict. It's like you're stuck in 2003 and haven't really followed the changes that have happened in the last 10 years.
All I can do at the moment because I have to get back to work -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
The well-branded al-Qaeda-inspired group has been prevalent in the news since Mosul fell last week, yet for all the headlines, ISIS is apparently only one group of many currently fighting the Iraqi army.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
Aki Peritz, co-author of “Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns that Killed Bin Laden and Devastated Al Qaeda,” noted that JRTN’s status as a Sufi group makes its cooperation with ISIS striking. An “issue is that they are a Sufi group, which is unique in the insurgent firmament. I say unique since al-Qaeda basically considers Sufis heretics, so it’s odd that they’d be working together,” Peritz said.
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Originally Posted by Article
“Ansar al-Islam is an al-Qaeda linked, Iraqi Kurdish jihadist group that was founded in 2001 when two smaller Kurdish jihadist groups merged operations together,” according to Aki Peritz. “For a while, AAI (which changed its name to Ansar al-Sunna, then changed it back) were for a time on par with AQ I… they carried out the worst single attack on U.S. personnel during the entire war — they snuck a suicide bomber into the mess hall at FOB Marez in 2004, killing 22 U.S. servicemen and contractors.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/c...quest-of-iraq/
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:29 PM   #30
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Isolationism -- alive and well in the 21st century...
Lo1! No wonder you misread so many posts into strawman arguments.

It's not even remotely isolationism. Most of us support trade with the world--not for America to be a hermit nation like 19th century Japan.
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