Rand Paul: Why I'm Voting "No" on Syria


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the pages of to explain why he will vote no on war—whether missile strikes or something more "kinetic"—with Syria. Here's a snippet:

War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don't think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that "there's no military solution here that's good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution."

The U.S. should not fight a war to save face. I will not vote to send young men and women to sacrifice life and limb for stalemate. I will not vote to send our nation's best and brightest to fight for anything less than victory. If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate.

Read the whole thing.

Beyond the clarity of his position, I admire the senator's credibility, which is iron-clad on this.

In a world where Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals frequently flip sides to establish or maintain fleeting partisan advantage, I don't think anyone worries that Paul will sing a different tune if and when a Republican starts literally calling the shots. That's hard to say for Syrian war supporters such as Nancy Pelosi, Robert Menendez, and other Democrats who were against Iraq but are all for this. And it's hard to trust that many newborn non-interventionists in the GOP are staking their positions out of principle (for more on that, read Matt Welch's "This Time It's War").

NEXT: China Takes Russia's Side on Syria at G20

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. This is the sort of stuff true patriots are made of. Fuck the slavemakers and the adventurists.

  2. “”””or when American interests are attacked or threatened.”””

    Here is the problem part, American interests have been defined so broadly that almost anything is included. Sort of like the Interstate Commerce Clause which has been defined so broadly that growing food in your own back yard for your own use can be considered to be effecting Interstate Commerce.

    In fact I bet that Obama or any other Presidnet could get some politicians and judges to agree that the Syrian Civil War effects the commerce of the USA so we should invade.

    1. So far Rand Paul hasn’t indicated that he has such a broad view of what constitutes an “American interest”. I’d like to hear him get specific about that, though. Does it include property held by US citizens overseas?

    2. They are the sole supplier of Damascus Steel… oh wait.

    3. I first read that as the Spanish Civil War. And there’s no doubt that today we’de be told that war was central to America’s survival or some such bullshit.

    4. Beyond the clarity of his position

      DJF is right, and Paul’s position is not clear at all.

  3. In spite of my deliberate resistance, because he is a pol, Paul keeps winning me over. Is it possible that we are not completely fucked?

    1. Oh, it’s more than possible — it’s just that it’s a little likelier that it’ll all get a lot worse before it gets better.

    2. Avoid delusion and assume complete fuckedness.

    3. In spite of my deliberate resistance, because he is a pol, Paul keeps winning me over. Is it possible that we are not completely fucked?

      Despite his most valiant efforts, Cicero ended up being forced to kill himself while in exile.

      1. It was Cato the Younger who killed himself rather than submit to Caesar.

        Cicero was murdered by soldiers sent by Mark Antony.

        1. Ah! Mea culpa!

          I blame my mix-up on pre-coffee.

  4. Rand, what part of “my military” don’t you understand? – BHO

  5. How about a counterpoint where Senator Jeff Flake explains why he voted to go to war with Syria?

    1. All of the Dreaded Cosmotarians are probably off Team Flake by now, so run and tell that to takimag.

      1. Shouldn’t the Cosmos support Obamawar like all the other kewl kids in DC do?

  6. So Flake flaked? I guess it was inevitable. Please tell me it’s not true!

  7. Paul seems like he is the only Republican who understands politics. Not a SINGLE Obama supporter will switch their vote to a Republican in 2016 just because he voted for Obama’s Syria fiasco. But there are some principled anti-war Obama supporters who would vote for a Republican in 2016 who didn’t vote for it over a pro-war Dem.

  8. “The U.S. should not fight a war to save face.”

    Rand Paul’s right on the money, here, but he did leave something unsaid.

    The face Obama is trying to save isn’t America’s. It’s Obama’s. America’s reputation would be whatever it is even if we didn’t attack. America will actually loses face if we attack Syria unnecessarily or if our attack has no meaningful effect.

    The only person who saves face by going through with this attack is Barack Obama…and the U.S. should not fight a war to save [Barack Obama’s] face.

    Oh, and the idea that U.S. foreign policy should change depending one what suits Barack Obama’s personal vanity is practically treasonous.

    1. “Saving face” (or synonymously, ‘honor’) is about the stupidest argument for going to war.

      From the Teutoberger Wald to Poitiers to Dien Bien Phu, ‘honor’ has caused more military catastrophes than other issue.

  9. It would seem that, with more than half the US population opposed to the war (and even the supporters rather lukewarm), this would be a good time for a “Call your Congresscritter” campaign by those opposed.

  10. BO says his friend Albert Cada needs our help.

  11. I’d like to unquestioningly support Rand Paul (well, no I wouldn’t really, but humor me here); but how can he be for Afghanistan intervention and not for Syrian intervention? Unless, that is, he had a revelation on the road to Damascus.

    1. The original attack on Afghanistan was due to the fact that the Taliban Government at the time was openly harboring Bin Laden and had allowed him to stage the 9/11 attacks from bases in Afghanistan.

      The fact that what should have been nothing more that a punitive curettement was turned into a futile exercise in “nation building” does not mean that the original Afghan mission was wrong.

  12. What if stalemate is our interest?

    1. BO says he’s interested in bombing Syria.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.