Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has repeatedly demanded that the president seek congressional authorization for taking action in Syria, and now that President Obama is doing so, Rand is ready to give it, right?
In an op-ed written for Time, Rand himself said he would have called Congress back from recess and asked for authorization to initiate strikes in Syria and arm the regional opposition, but Rand son of Ron is now opposing the president’s request because he doesn’t think we should arm ISIS.
Yes, you read that right.
Senator Paul told the Huffington Post that he opposes the president’s request to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels because he “believes arming the same side as ISIS was and is a strategic error.”
The good news is we aren’t doing that. We aren’t arming “the same side as ISIS.”
In the request submitted to Congress, the White House asked for the “authority to train and equip appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian armed opposition to help defend the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian regime.”
It should be obvious, but apparently it isn’t obvious for Rand. “Appropriately vetted” rebels who are dedicated to defending Syrian civilians against ISIS is not “the same side as ISIS.”
Rand’s ridiculous position becomes a little more clear once you understand that he believes taking any action to oppose Assad is a mistake.
In an op-ed written for the Wall Street Journal on August 27th, Rand said we shouldn’t support rebels in their fight against Assad because we need Assad to destroy ISIS for us.
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.
In the same Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rand also repeated his conspiracy theory that we’ve already armed the rebels and that doing so created ISIS in the first place. And how did we arm them? Through Benghazi, of course.
One week after Rand denounced “the interventionists” for blundering in Syria in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, he wrote the op-ed for Time in which he called for decisive action.
As President Obama said last night, we “cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost.”
Rand Paul disagrees. He believes we should maintain Assad’s legitimacy for convenience. He also seemingly believes that every single rebel in the region is a member of ISIS.
Over 191,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011 according to the U.N.