Senator Rand Paul, who has been vocal in his opposition of the US missile strike on Syria, hit out at advocates of the action, including his long time rival John McCain, this past weekend, equating their support of military action with “stupidity”.
“Anybody who wants to talk to Putin about a political settlement and helping Assad go away, anybody who wants to talk about that, myself include, will be called by the McCains of this world a friend of Vladimir Putin.” Paul explained in a CNN appearance when asked if there was a political solution to the strife.
“So, as long as we have that kind of stupidity involved in the debate it makes it very hard to get to what many thinking people have said, that the answer in Syria is ultimately a political solution,” Paul told host Michael Smerconish.
Paul was also responding to comments made by McCain earlier in the week, when the long time Senator described Rand Paul as someone who doesn’t “have any real influence” in the Senate, and that “he’s wrong on every other issue that I know of that has to do with national security.”
McCain also said that to describe US involvement in Libya, Iraq and Syria as ‘disastrous’ is “a very different version of history.”
Elsewhere during his interview, Senator Paul doubled down on his belief that the US should not be intervening in Syria.
“As horrific as those attacks were, and as heart-rending as the pictures and the atrocity and the children dying are, I don’t believe that there was a national security interest of the United States,” Paul declared.
Paul said that without “a vote in Congress,” Trump’s missile strikes in Syria were an “inappropriate way to start a war.”
“We have to decide when we are going to intervene as a country, when we are going to put our young men and women, put their lives on the line. And we don’t, frankly, do it for every atrocity in the world,” Paul exclaimed.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t have great sympathy, but we have to debate when and where we go to war. That’s what our founding fathers asked us to do,” he added.
Paul also argued that anyone who argues that a post-9/11 environment gives the President the right to circumvent Congress is “dishonest” and “not intellectually serious.”
“I mean, the generation of 9/11 certainly shouldn’t bind us to a forever war in the Middle East. I think it’s absurd,” Paul added.
The Senator also argued that the situation in Syria is a complex one that cannot be solved by military intervention.
“There can be an endless supply of enemies.” Paul said, asking “who takes over next? Are they better than the current occupant? So are the radical Islamic rebels — the radical Islamic rebels in Syria — better than Assad?”
“There are also two million Christians … in Syria, being protected by Assad, and they fear the Islamic rebels taking over. So there’s a complicated decision-making process as to who are the good guys in the war,” Paul explained.
In a further interview on Fox News, Paul reiterated that Congressional authority for ‘acts of war’ must be sought and that the action in Syria will likely lead to “more death” and “more refugees.”
“War has caused these refugees to flee and has caused these deaths, so, will more war accelerating or accentuating the current war with our involvement, will there be less refugees and less death? I would say there will probably be more death and more refugees.” Paul asserted.