Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) told Meet the Press’ David Gregory Sunday morning that he didn’t see the U.S.’s interest in engaging in military operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Here are some excerpts from the interview on Sunday:
Gregory: ISIS is a terrorist organization, has been billed by many as a clear and present danger to the United States as a terrorist actor, do you see that?
Paul: I look at it on a personal basis, I ask, do I want to send one of my sons or your son to fight to regain Mosul? And I think, well, these are nasty terrorists which we should wanna kill them, but who should want to stop them more? Maybe the people who live there. Should not the Shiites the Maliki government? Should they not stand up? And if they’re ripping their uniforms off inflating, if they don’t think Mosul is worth saving how am I going to convince my son or your son to die for Mosul? I know they are bad terrorist, and yes, we should prevent them from exporting terror, but I’m not so sure where the clear-cut American interest is.
Gregory: Well, is the clear-cut American interest to protect America if these are terrorist who designed to hit America?
Paul: Well, I think if they are, then maybe we shouldn’t be funding their allies and supporting them in Syria. You see they are emboldened because we’ve been supporting them; it could be that Assad could have wiped these people out months ago. So what we do is we get in a confusing situation and I personally believe that this group would not be in Iraq and would not be as powerful, had we not been supplying their allies in the war as well as our allies are funding these people. They probably have weapons that were bought with Saudi Money or Kuwait money or Qatar money. A lot of the radicals have been getting arms and money from these countries.
Gregory: So do you support the President who says like you do look, the Iraqi should stand up and fight them but he also wants to send 300 advisers there to help out?
Paul: I don’t question the 300 advisers for this reason. I’m not sure exactly where they’re going and what they’re doing. I do think that we have an embassy there and we’ve got a thousand, two thousand people there, that yes, we have to defend our embassy. So I’m not going to nitpick the president and say “Oh, you shouldn’t send in a certain amount of advisers” and the military decisions are protect the embassy. It to me is very important. I’ve been talking a lot about Benghazi and how we didn’t protect them. So I’m not going to get involved to criticize the president for trying to protect our embassy there.