Iraq is in disarray and the threat posed by Islamist militants there has placed the United States at greater risk than before, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said in an interview set to broadcast Sunday morning.

Paul said the question of whether the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was justified is an “important” one and not merely “hypothetical,” offering the latest input on an issue that has been difficult for the Republican presidential field to navigate in recent days.

“I think when [Saddam] Hussein was toppled, we got chaos,” Paul told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” according to a transcript provided by the network. “We still have chaos in — in Iraq. I think it emboldened Iran. I think — we now have the rise of radical Islam in Ira, as well.”

Paul, who is running for president, was asked whether his position on Iraq puts him at odds with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a White House rival who has said that “the world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn’t run Iraq.”

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