“I think when we go to war, we should go to war as a last resort. We go to war when it’s clear-cut enough that you’re going to tell my son or your son that they know exactly what it is that we’re fighting for. I think it’s confusing to our GIs to ask them to be killing people in one country that they’re aiding in another country.”
No—Senator Paul is not suggesting we ignore Iraq. In fact—he is on record supporting limited U.S. involvement—and possibly airstrikes, but he is exercising his signature forethought and restraint that is sorely missing in many of his colleagues.
Senator Paul offers a stark contrast to the predictably hawkish appetites of fellow Congressmen such as Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.). It must be noted that—although these men receive a lion’s share of media attention—they do not necessarily represent the Congress as a whole and they certainly do not reflect the majority of Americans. A recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that nearly 75 % of Americans are opposed to sending troops into Iraq. Americans are hard pressed to find a reason to go back down this rabbit hole.
After all, the reason that the U.S. invaded Iraq to begin with was based on a falsehood that Saddam Hussein was hiding “WMD’s.” It’s hard to return to a cause that never existed in the first place. Perhaps the old adage applies here. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
What do we have to show for our eight years in Iraq? Trillions of taxpayer dollars spent, an Iraqi government that has failed to unify the country, and most importantly—the loss of thousands of Americans who were sent to do the impossible. And—to add insult to injury—when confronted by the Islamist insurgents, the American-trained Iraqi soldiers are running away.
Senator Paul explains: “I would say, after 10 years, it is appalling that they are stripping their uniforms off and running. And it concerns me that we would have to do their fighting for them because they won’t fight for their own country, their own cities. I am thinking that it is time that they step up.” (Des Moines Register)
That’s just it—why should we send our men and women to help people that refuse to defend their own country? These fierce jihadists are driven by ideology and determined to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, and the Iraqi army is responding by running away naked.
The U.S. stepped into a sectarian war that has been waged for generations, and there is no end in sight. Why should American soldiers be sent in to prop up an unpopular government? ISIS is bad news—even al-Qaeda has denounced them as too extreme. That is really saying something.
The American people are sympathetic towards the plight of others around the world—but as we move away from the fervor created post 9/11, people are looking inward. Americans are concerned more about what is happening here and less concerned about intervening in situations abroad.
It is Rand Paul’s caution, restraint, and an unwillingness to send American men and women back to Iraq that best reflects American sentiments. Yes, Senator Paul recognizes the need for limited U.S. involvement, but not at the expense of more American lives. What do you think of Paul’s position on the Iraq conflict? Leave a comment below. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Adam Michael Hamilton
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