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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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Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-20-2014, 09:35 AM  
Taco John Taco John is offline
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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, 03:25 PM   #46
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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
I am well aware. The reason I included it was because of the next portion of the article I posted. Regardless, "inspired" doesn't even give an accurate portrayal of the situation. They originated from al-Qaida. And from what I'm reading the break came due to a power struggle, not fundamental differences. The over all goal is still the same.

And then there is the third portion of the article I shared; Ansar al-Islam, a group "linked" to al-Qaida that has not been disavowed. And they are at the very least co-operating with ISIS. From the article you provided ISIS is the only group to have ever been disavowed. So al-Qaida is involved in this insurgency in one form or another. Mark my words.
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:26 PM   #47
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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.
Staggers the imagination, does it not?
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:55 PM   #48
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I guess I'm supposed to believe that the neocons are going to be thoughtful and nuanced this time around...
I didn't realize Obama was a neocon........
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:03 PM   #49
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I love how they're calling green-berets "advisors."
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:45 PM   #50
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A divergent thought....we should do zero but maybe consider arming both sides as long as they keep killing each other

But to Rands point he is 100% correct
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:12 PM   #51
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We have sacrificed enough blood and treasure. Let Iran, the Kurds, the ISIS, and whomever beat themselves bloody against each other.
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Old 06-20-2014, 05:30 PM   #52
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I love how they're calling green-berets "advisors."
You are aware that is precisely one of the specialties of Army special forces, right?
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:00 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
He added that "the government in Baghdad is not an American friend, and action against ISIS will not advance U.S. interests."



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**** em'.

Cut the money off and let them rot.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:15 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
I guess I'm supposed to believe that the neocons are going to be thoughtful and nuanced this time around...
You're either for us or against us!

/nuanced neocons
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #55
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Obama's leading from nowhere - you can't even really call it leading from behind - has left us with no good options. I've no doubt the situation will deteriorate even further while he stalls until after the election, I mean, while his foreign policy advisors "study the situation" and "weigh their options" etc.

He's already telegraphed his move to Al Queda, as he did with the withdrawal in the first place, with his statements that "military force alone can't solve this" and that the Sunni and Shia just need to learn to drop this 1,500 year old conflict and place nice with each other because he told them to. Much like his spiritual predecessor Jimmy Carter said to the friendly government in Iran, sorry boys but you're on your own.

He's always trying to rule by decree in foreign policy, as if the force of a personality and delivering speeches could shape world events. When it comes to actual leadership and resolve, he's outclassed by pretty much everyone. Putin, Syria, these Al Queda militants, a mob in Benghazi, the cadre of goat herders who got him to trade 5 leaders for 1 deserter... everyone
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:55 PM   #56
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He's already telegraphed his move to Al Queda, as he did with the withdrawal in the first place, with his statements that "military force alone can't solve this" and that the Sunni and Shia just need to learn to drop this 1,500 year old conflict and place nice with each other because he told them to. Much like his spiritual predecessor Jimmy Carter said to the friendly government in Iran, sorry boys but you're on your own.
Yeah, we should of continued to prop up the Shah who was a tyrant instead of working with the ayatollahs who were for democracy and human rights. Those ayatollahs who were quickly put under house arrest and sanction when Khomeini no longer had use for them. As Khomeini basically labeled democracy and human rights western and anti-Islamic.

See this is the problem you don't understand when it comes to foreign policy when you support murderous tyrants who abuse their population, that population in their minds conflate that support with other ideas like freedom, capitalism rights for all, and other Western liberal ideas.

South and central America are a good example. The population there is very socialist because we spent half a decade propping up any strongmen that was anti-Soviet no matter what they did to the population. The population conflated anything American as bad including our freeish market capitalism.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:06 PM   #57
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Gotta say... That's what leadership looks like. I especially loved this part:

"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."
That's the most self-damning line in the whole article. What he's saying is that a President Rand Paul would have lost Iraq too.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:10 PM   #58
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Mostly disagree. We should support whichever side makes the most sense to us, which is pretty much universal.
That's the right answer.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:29 PM   #59
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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...
There are more sides than just two, right?
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:38 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by GloucesterChief View Post
Yeah, we should of continued to prop up the Shah who was a tyrant instead of working with the ayatollahs who were for democracy and human rights. Those ayatollahs who were quickly put under house arrest and sanction when Khomeini no longer had use for them. As Khomeini basically labeled democracy and human rights western and anti-Islamic.

See this is the problem you don't understand when it comes to foreign policy when you support murderous tyrants who abuse their population, that population in their minds conflate that support with other ideas like freedom, capitalism rights for all, and other Western liberal ideas.

South and central America are a good example. The population there is very socialist because we spent half a decade propping up any strongmen that was anti-Soviet no matter what they did to the population. The population conflated anything American as bad including our freeish market capitalism.
What happens when you abandon people who trusted you to help them achieve freedom and security to murderous tyrants who abuse their population?
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