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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 06-21-2014, 04:44 PM   #61
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Pat was wrong about Iraq dont listen to him.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:51 PM   #62
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Pat was wrong about Iraq dont listen to him.
Not sure what you're talking about.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:48 PM   #63
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:04 PM   #64
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What happens when you abandon people who trusted you to help them achieve freedom and security to murderous tyrants who abuse their population?
At some point they have to stand up and take it for themselves. We can't hold their hand forever. If they don't want to defend it why should we expend the money and blood to do so?
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:20 PM   #65
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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.

The Iraq war was lost when it was "authorized" rather than "declared." That was the difference between winning and losing. There was never electoral buy-in on that war. No congress creatures had to stick their neck out. And so the American people weren't bought it.

THIS is why we keep losing wars. If America cared about the Iraq war, and actually felt like they were invested in it, we would win the war decisively. But Americans don't feel bought in. They feel like this was Bush's war, and these are the obvious results of a bad decision.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:24 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
The Iraq war was lost when it was "authorized" rather than "declared." That was the difference between winning and losing. There was never electoral buy-in on that war. No congress creatures had to stick their neck out. And so the American people weren't bought it.

THIS is why we keep losing wars.
I could have sworn that congress authorized Bush to act in 2002.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:41 PM   #67
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:56 AM   #68
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Come on guys!

We're ONE MORE WAR away from solving all of the middle easts problems. Just ONE MORE.

Look, every time we do this it helps a lot. There is never any unpredicted blowback that grossly outweighs the benefits.

One more war. If we just keep blowing stuff up we can kill all of the world's problems. It will work this time.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:17 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taco John View Post
The Iraq war was lost when it was "authorized" rather than "declared." That was the difference between winning and losing. There was never electoral buy-in on that war. No congress creatures had to stick their neck out. And so the American people weren't bought it.

THIS is why we keep losing wars. If America cared about the Iraq war, and actually felt like they were invested in it, we would win the war decisively. But Americans don't feel bought in. They feel like this was Bush's war, and these are the obvious results of a bad decision.
The Iraq war was "lost" when the very specific reason we went in there was proven to be a lie. WMD. That was our mission. When it turned out there weren't any, there was no "winning".

Then Bush had to change the "mission" to spreading liberty or whatever nonsense, which cannot be "won" anyway.

The only people who "won" were private contractors getting rich off the American Tax payer.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:33 AM   #70
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Come on guys!

We're ONE MORE WAR away from solving all of the middle easts problems. Just ONE MORE.

Look, every time we do this it helps a lot. There is never any unpredicted blowback that grossly outweighs the benefits.

One more war. If we just keep blowing stuff up we can kill all of the world's problems. It will work this time.
We'd be better off sticking our heads in the sand and hoping the rest of the world will respect our interests!
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:34 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
The Iraq war was "lost" when the very specific reason we went in there was proven to be a lie. WMD. That was our mission. When it turned out there weren't any, there was no "winning".

Then Bush had to change the "mission" to spreading liberty or whatever nonsense, which cannot be "won" anyway.

The only people who "won" were private contractors getting rich off the American Tax payer.
Ignorance is your calling card.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:36 AM   #72
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I could have sworn that congress authorized Bush to act in 2002.
They authorized it twice actually. All of the democrats asked for a second vote because they largely voted against it the first time and wanted to change that precisely because the public was very much bought in.

Nothing Teej said there comes remotely close to actual history.
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Old 06-22-2014, 08:45 AM   #73
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Ignorance is your calling card.
You have no defense on being completely wrong about everything on Iraq, so you turn to this.

/whats the interest on 2 trillion dollars patty?
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:20 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
The Iraq war was "lost" when the very specific reason we went in there was proven to be a lie. WMD. That was our mission. When it turned out there weren't any, there was no "winning".

Then Bush had to change the "mission" to spreading liberty or whatever nonsense, which cannot be "won" anyway.

The only people who "won" were private contractors getting rich off the American Tax payer.
If you have evidence that Bush lied about WMD (i.e., he knew that Iraq had disposed of everything), please post it. If you don't, I'd suggest that you cease making claims that he did.

Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:27 AM   #75
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They authorized it twice actually. All of the democrats asked for a second vote because they largely voted against it the first time and wanted to change that precisely because the public was very much bought in.

Nothing Teej said there comes remotely close to actual history.
Actually, that authorization was unConstitutional because the Congress transferred their constitutional authority or power over to the executive branch to "decide" when he could use military action--in this case the start of an aggressive war.

That's what was wrong with that resolution. Congress cannot just transfer their own Constitutional powers. They get to "decide" and the president executes the war.

TJ argument is that there was not an actual "Declaration of War" by the Congress.

I love how we have those on the right enforcing UN resolutions when they don't even like the UN as our membership erodes sovereignty and does an end run around the Constitution. I thought the Constitution and a strict construction was what the right claimed to support. Guess not.
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