Rand Paul Is Not An Isolationist, Dick Cheney

Rand Paul Is Not An Isolationist, Dick Cheney

Lashing out at Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney accused him of being an isolationist. Citing Paul’s hesitance in getting involved in the current problems in Iraq, Cheney rattled off a string of barely coherent opinions that showed a complete lack of understanding regarding the issues we’re facing in the Middle East.

First and foremost, let’s be clear: Rand Paul is not an isolationist. He has never argued that American foreign policy should go back to what it was after World War I — where America basically ignored all events happening past its shores. What he has advocated for is the government adhering to the Weinberger Doctrine. In regards to the war in Iraq, Paul stated:

“Much of the rationale for going to war in 2003 did not measure up to the Weinberger Doctrine, and I opposed the Iraq war. I thought we needed to be more prudent about the weightiest decision a country can make. Like Reagan, I thought we should never be eager to go to war. And now, 11 years later, we are still dealing with the consequences.” (WSJ)

The Weinberger Doctrine itself, released in 1984, is a guideline for when America should consider going to war. Stated simply:

  • 1. The US should only commit forces if in the vital interests of the US or its allies and only as a last resort.
  • 2. The US should not commit unless the objective is to win (a lesson learned from Vietnam) and there is a clear, attainable objective.
  • 3. The US should only commit with a “reasonable assurance” of support from both Congress and the American people.

Cheney, it seems, sees little difference between isolationism and the Weinberger doctrine.

Really, Mr. Cheney? You find the American people’s opinion on when and where we ask our young men and women to die irrelevant? You do know this is a democracy, right?

The sheer indifference Cheney gives to the will of the American public is only matched by his bizarrely twisted understanding of current events in Iraq. In a clip on Hardball he was even seen invoking 9/11. Let’s get something crystal clear, Mr. Cheney. 9/11 was horrible. 9/11 set us on a long, hard road defending this country against a new kind of enemy. And 9/11 taught us to be more vigilant of sometimes distant threats.

But 9/11 isn’t some mystic mojo you rattle at us that gives you a free pass for anything: Not our liberties when you tap our phones; not our right to trial when you hunt us with drones; and certainly not our right to decide when we go to war.

Cheney was quoted as saying, “If we spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we’re going to miss the threat that is growing and that we do face.” There’s a famous saying — those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. Mr. Cheney, I’m sure you don’t want Americans looking back at your poor decisions and what it cost us in American lives.

But Rand Paul will not let you off the hook so easily. You see, he is something you could never truly understand — he is a public servant. Yes, Mr. Cheney, as baffling as it might sound, those in government are servants of the American people — not its rulers. Try repeating that a few times and see if it sinks in. I doubt it will.

Do you think Dick Cheney needs a couple lessons on foreign policy? If so, leave us a comment below. Or send us a tweet giving us an example of someone who really is an “isolationist” (so we can pass it along to Cheney.) Also, follow us on Facebook to receive regular updates.

(Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

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