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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%
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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.

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Old 06-20-2014, 12:31 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Raiderhader View Post
All I can do at the moment because I have to get back to work -


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/c...quest-of-iraq/
Couple things: calling something "Al Qaida inspired" is not the same thing as them being "Al-Qaida." In truth, Al-Qaida has denounced ISIS, and consider themselves rivals, vying for the same population of followers

Secondly, there are PLENTY of people in Washington (including in the media) that are willing to ignore this distinction and conflate the two organizations, despite the reality of the current dynamics. They do this, of course, for a reason: they believe that the 2003 authorization covers presidential action on the war without the need to consult congress so long as it is "Al-Qaida" that they are attacking. Any media you post has to be run through a dishonesty filter. Washington Post, more times than not, fails that filter test.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:43 PM   #32
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Let me get this straight: we shouldn't support whoever opposes a group that al-Qaeda thought was too uncontrollable?



Sounds reasonable.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:44 PM   #33
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So Donger is really for intervening but pussy foots around the issue.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:45 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
Let me get this straight: we shouldn't support whoever opposes a group that al-Qaeda thought was too uncontrollable?



Sounds reasonable.

LOL So you're triangulating an opinion finally. So then your answer is we should team up with Iran, and be Iran's air force...
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:46 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
So Donger is really for intervening but pussy foots around the issue.
He's not really educated about what's going on. He's still finding his footing.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:49 PM   #36
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LOL So you're triangulating an opinion finally. So then your answer is we should team up with Iran, and be Iran's air force...
Why do you care about Iran? I thought the neo-isolationists say that Iran isn't a threat, no?
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:53 PM   #37
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Why do you care about Iran? I thought the neo-isolationists say that Iran isn't a threat, no?
Why do I care about Iran? How can you ask that? Because you want our soldiers (many of whom are my friends, relatives, and kids I've watched grow up) to die in a proxy war for them.

I don't care about Iran. I'd just as soon see them bogged down fighting ISIS, than see friends and relatives shed any more blood on foreign sands.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:02 PM   #38
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Why do I care about Iran? How can you ask that? Because you want our soldiers (many of whom are my friends, relatives, and kids I've watched grow up) to die in a proxy war for them.
I do? Wow, news to me.

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I don't care about Iran. I'd just as soon see them bogged down fighting ISIS, than see friends and relatives shed any more blood on foreign sands.
So, which is it? You don't care about Iran or you do?
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:22 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Donger View Post
So, which is it? You don't care about Iran or you do?
I already answered this question.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:24 PM   #40
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I already answered this question.
You only care about Iran if they are killing our troops?
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:25 PM   #41
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Why is it that anytime a poster says something should be done about an event happening outside our borders, the isolationists automatically leap to "You want us to invade!" Didn't we just go through this with Ukraine? Not all diplomacy is a Hobson's choice. Do all isolationists have the sense of nuance of a knife switch, or what?
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:28 PM   #42
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Why is it that anytime a poster says something should be done about an event happening outside our borders, the isolationists automatically leap to "You want us to invade!" Didn't we just go through this with Ukraine? Not all diplomacy is a Hobson's choice. Do all isolationists have the sense of nuance of a knife switch, or what?
Or, more dramatically, "You want our boys to die!1"

It's easier to put one's head in the sand and pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, I suppose.
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:34 PM   #43
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I guess I'm supposed to believe that the neocons are going to be thoughtful and nuanced this time around...
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:05 PM   #44
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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.
I hope this analysis you've read is better than the financial analysis materials that you read.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:06 PM   #45
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Couple things: calling something "Al Qaida inspired" is not the same thing as them being "Al-Qaida." In truth, Al-Qaida has denounced ISIS, and consider themselves rivals, vying for the same population of followers

Secondly, there are PLENTY of people in Washington (including in the media) that are willing to ignore this distinction and conflate the two organizations, despite the reality of the current dynamics. They do this, of course, for a reason: they believe that the 2003 authorization covers presidential action on the war without the need to consult congress so long as it is "Al-Qaida" that they are attacking. Any media you post has to be run through a dishonesty filter. Washington Post, more times than not, fails that filter test.
http://antiwar.com
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