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Rand Paul OpEd: How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS

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  • Rand Paul OpEd: How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS

    How U.S. Interventionists Abetted the Rise of ISIS
    Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little regard to consequences.

    By RAND PAUL
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:35 p.m. ET
    As the murderous, terrorist Islamic State continues to threaten Iraq, the region and potentially the United States, it is vitally important that we examine how this problem arose. Any actions we take today must be informed by what we've already done in the past, and how effective our actions have been.

    Shooting first and asking questions later has never been a good foreign policy. The past year has been a perfect example.

    In September President Obama and many in Washington were eager for a U.S. intervention in Syria to assist the rebel groups fighting President Bashar Assad's government. Arguing against military strikes, I wrote that "Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?"

    The administration's goal has been to degrade Assad's power, forcing him to negotiate with the rebels. But degrading Assad's military capacity also degrades his ability to fend off the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Assad's government recently bombed the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Raqqa, Syria.

    To interventionists like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, we would caution that arming the Islamic rebels in Syria created a haven for the Islamic State. We are lucky Mrs. Clinton didn't get her way and the Obama administration did not bring about regime change in Syria. That new regime might well be ISIS.

    This is not to say the U.S. should ally with Assad. But we should recognize how regime change in Syria could have helped and emboldened the Islamic State, and recognize that those now calling for war against ISIS are still calling for arms to factions allied with ISIS in the Syrian civil war. We should realize that the interventionists are calling for Islamic rebels to win in Syria and for the same Islamic rebels to lose in Iraq. While no one in the West supports Assad, replacing him with ISIS would be a disaster.

    Our Middle Eastern policy is unhinged, flailing about to see who to act against next, with little thought to the consequences. This is not a foreign policy.

    Those who say we should have done more to arm the Syrian rebel groups have it backward. Mrs. Clinton was also eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions. Her successor John Kerry was no better, calling the failure to strike Syria a "Munich moment."

    Some now speculate Mr. Kerry and the administration might have to walk back or at least mute their critiques of Assad in the interest of defeating the Islamic State.

    A reasonable degree of foresight should be a prerequisite for holding high office. So should basic hindsight. This administration has neither.

    But the same is true of hawkish members of my own party. Some said it would be "catastrophic" if we failed to strike Syria. What they were advocating for then—striking down Assad's regime—would have made our current situation even worse, as it would have eliminated the only regional counterweight to the ISIS threat.

    Our so-called foreign policy experts are failing us miserably. The Obama administration's feckless veering is making it worse. It seems the only thing both sides of this flawed debate agree on is that "something" must be done. It is the only thing they ever agree on.

    But the problem is, we did do something. We aided those who've contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The CIA delivered arms and other equipment to Syrian rebels, strengthening the side of the ISIS jihadists. Some even traveled to Syria from America to give moral and material support to these rebels even though there had been multiple reports some were allied with al Qaeda.

    Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London newspaper, the Independent, recently reported something disturbing about these rebel groups in Syria. In his new book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising," Mr. Cockburn writes that he traveled to southeast Turkey earlier in the year where "a source told me that 'without exception' they all expressed enthusiasm for the 9/11 attacks and hoped the same thing would happen in Europe as well as the U.S." It's safe to say these rebels are probably not friends of the United States.

    "If American interests are at stake," I said in September, "then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war."

    Those wanting a U.S. war in Syria could not clearly show a U.S. national interest then, and they have been proven foolish now. A more realistic foreign policy would recognize that there are evil people and tyrannical regimes in this world, but also that America cannot police or solve every problem across the globe. Only after recognizing the practical limits of our foreign policy can we pursue policies that are in the best interest of the U.S.

    The Islamic State represents a threat that should be taken seriously. But we should also recall how recent foreign-policy decisions have helped these extremists so that we don't make the same mistake of potentially aiding our enemies again.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/rand-...sis-1409178958

  • #2
    scathing.

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    • #3
      L0L.

      Not that a moonbat like Rand Paul has any credibility about, well, anything, but you have to chuckle at the way he lays the blame at the feet of the current administration without ever mentioning Bush and the boneheads who invaded and occupied Iraq in the first place.

      He's like some drunk asshole who hits you with his car and then tries to blame the paramedics when you expire on the operating table.

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      • #4
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        • #5
          <div style="background-color:#000000;width:520px;"><div style="padding:4px;"><iframe src="http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:arc:video:thedailyshow.com:5aee2c34-e08c-4f86-a1e5-fd1d9c48c73e" width="512" height="288" frameborder="0"></iframe><p style="text-align:left;background-color:#FFFFFF;padding:4px;margin-top:4px;margin-bottom:0px;font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:12px;"><b><a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/">The Daily Show</a></b><br/>Get More: <a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/">Daily Show Full Episodes</a>,<a href="http://www.facebook.com/thedailyshow">The Daily Show on Facebook</a>,<a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos">Daily Show Video Archive</a></p></div></div>

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          • #6
            Originally posted by L.A. BRONCOS FAN View Post
            L0L.

            Not that a moonbat like Rand Paul has any credibility about, well, anything, but you have to chuckle at the way he lays the blame at the feet of the current administration without ever mentioning Bush and the boneheads who invaded and occupied Iraq in the first place.

            He's like some drunk a-hole who hits you with his car and then tries to blame the paramedics when you expire on the operating table.
            I think at this point everybody has essentially agreed that the invasion of Iraq was an epic blunder.... Probably no relevant reason to include it is the analysis at this point...

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            • #7
              ISIS in Perspective
              http://nationalinterest.org/blog/pau...spective-11150

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              • #8
                It’s pure hyperbole to say that “the world” is on fire right now. For the vast majority of nations, there is no armed conflict, nor is there an extraordinary degree of disorder or violence. If we keep foreign threats to U.S. interests in perspective, we will find that U.S. interests are mostly not imperiled, and the U.S. itself is as secure as it has been in decades. The current freakout about how dangerous the world has become depends almost entirely on exaggeration of threats by politicians, alarmist coverage by the media, and a failure to appreciate how much less dangerous overall the world is today compared to previous decades.

                For that matter, the preoccupation with the foreign conflicts that are happening is almost entirely an elite concern. Those that are most inclined to panic and exaggerate dangers to the U.S. are also most likely to have an absurdly broad definition of U.S. interests in the first place, and the public doesn’t share that view.
                http://www.theamericanconservative.c...licy-election/

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by B-Large View Post
                  I think at this point everybody has essentially agreed that the invasion of Iraq was an epic blunder.... Probably no relevant reason to include it is the analysis at this point...
                  Everybody?

                  I've yet to see a single Bush supporter on this forum concede any such thing.

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                  • #10
                    Interesting how the Iraq invasion is ignored when discussing ISIS.


                    Syria Iraq: The Islamic State militant group
                    Under its former name Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), it was formed in April 2013, growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).

                    It has since been disavowed by al-Qaeda, but has become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria and Iraq.

                    Its precise size is unclear but it is thought to include thousands of fighters, including many foreign jihadists.

                    The organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Little is known about him, but it is believed he was born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971 and joined the insurgency that erupted in Iraq soon after the 2003 US-led invasion.
                    Image said to be of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released by Iraqi Ministry of Interior This rare image of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released by the Iraqi interior ministry

                    In 2010 he emerged as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became Isis.

                    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24179084

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                    • #11
                      Great points by Rand.

                      I agree "something" has to be done, but I hope the experts can make the right call and then stick to it.

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                      • #12
                        This is really the point, isn't it? Who exactly runs America? Whose interests are at stake? That's the question we have to answer first. We got into Iraq for a combination of reasons. One was the ideological wet dreams of the neocons like Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith etc. Another was oil. Before the invasion, Iraq's oil was nationalized and off limits. Now it's run by Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Shell. They are making hundreds of billions from the oil while America got stuck with the deficit for that war. Alan Greenspan stated it right out in the open. So did Chuck Hagel when he said, "People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are."

                        Remember when Cheney and Rumsfeld said the oil would pay for the invasion? Somehow that just didn't happen. The oil companies get the money and the American taxpayer gets stuck with the bill. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Another reason was because the military/industrial complex and its continuously more privatized operations saw the opportunity to make ****loads of money. Why else were the major media corporations on board? Hundreds of billions of public, taxpayer dollars were shifted into Halliburton's (Cheney's sometime employer) pockets, along with its subsidiaries, like KBR and other corporations like Bush's buddies over at Kuwait Oil.

                        The whole debacle fulfills the requirements of the Right Wing revolution: Shifting public wealth from government to the hands of private corporations, enriching those corporations while further weakening government through the burden of massive debt. It's in keeping with the main theme of privatizing public assets.

                        So, Rand Paul should clarify who he's talking about when he says that an interventionist policy is wrong. Wrong for who?
                        Last edited by Rohirrim; 08-28-2014, 08:32 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DenverBrit View Post
                          Interesting how the Iraq invasion is ignored when discussing ISIS.


                          Syria Iraq: The Islamic State militant group

                          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24179084
                          This guy argues that ISIS is just a new name for a very old movement within Islam: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alasta...b_5717157.html

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rohirrim View Post
                            This guy argues that ISIS is just a new name for a very old movement within Islam: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alasta...b_5717157.html
                            It's a good argument, but I'm not sure the State Dept read history further back than the last administration.

                            We have been floundering around in a region where we have demonstrated repeatedly that we don't understand their history or sensibilities.

                            But f*** it, they'll greet us with flowers and see us as liberators.

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                            • #15
                              Rand doesn't get it. If we go back into the region it won't be to implement a foreign policy principle. It will be to protect Exxon's oil.

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