Rand Paul

American Lives on the Line in Paul vs. Perry Foreign Policy Spat

And positioning for a presidential run, too.

|

In a let's-try-this-again OpEd for the Washington Post, Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) slapped at "isolationists" in general, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in particular. He called them out for supposedly ignoring a threat that he suggests is more dangerous than the plotters that brought us the horrors of 9/11.

Paul struck back with an equally high-profile piece, setting the ground for a debate over foreign policy, political positioning, and the acceptable risks U.S. government officials should be taking with the lives of American military personnel.

Wrote Perry:

Unfortunately, we live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further.

That's why it's disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq. The main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world.

In the Islamic State, which came to prominence in Syria and now controls ample territory, weapons and cash in both that country and Iraq, the world is confronting an even more radicalized version of Islamic extremism than al-Qaeda. This group is well-trained, technologically sophisticated and adept at recruitment, with thousands of people with European passports fighting on its side, as well as some Americans.

The opinion column brought the unsuccessful 2012 Republican presidential wannabe—and his new eyeglasses—renewed attention in the lead-up to the 2016 race for the White House. While carefully disclaiming any interest in the fight, Sen John McCain (R-Ariz.), himself a one-time presidential contender, weighed in on Perry's side.

"Sen. Paul is part of a wing of the party that's been there ever since, prior to World War 1, in our Republican Party. And that is a withdrawal to fortress America," he told CNN.

Peter Beinart of National Journal and The Atlantic pointed out to CNN that Paul might be skeptical of military interventionism, but his views aren't isolationist by any traditional understanding of the term at all. The Kentucky senator actually supports continued military alliances and engagement with the world.

But Paul was capable of defending himself—which he did at Politico just days after Perry's broadside.

I ask Governor Perry: How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country — a nation the Iraqis won't defend for themselves? How many Texan mothers and fathers will Governor Perry ask to send their children to fight in Iraq?

I will not hold my breath for an answer. If refusing to send Americans to die for a country that refuses to defend itself makes one an "isolationist," then perhaps its time we finally retire that pejorative.

Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans don't want to send U.S. soldiers back into Iraq. Is Perry calling the entire country "isolationist" too?

The let's-intervene-and-consider-the-consequences-later crowd left us with more than 4,000 Americans dead, over 2 million refugees and over trillions of dollars in debt. Anytime someone advocates sending our sons and daughters to war, questions about precise objectives, effective methods and an exit strategy must be thoughtfully answered. America deserves this. Our military certainly deserves this.

Polling does, in fact, find strong support for staying the hell out of Iraq after years of bloody intervention in that unfortunate country. Republicans, Democrats, and independents all view the Iraq war as a mistake.

A June YouGov poll found majority support among the American public only for defending the U.S. embassy there.

On CNN, Beinart speculated that Perry was targeting GOP donors with his piece, since Paul's views tend to square with those of the Republican rank and file.

The toll in Iraq from March 2003 to April 2014 includes 4,489 U.S. troops, 3,455 U.S. contractors, 12,096 Iraqi military and police, 318 allied troops, and at least 133,000 Iraqi civilians.

The reason for Perry's targeting of Rand Paul is no secret. Despite Perry's failed 2012 campaign, he still seems to harbor presidential ambitions—and at this point Paul is, by far, the front-runner for the 2016 GOP nomination.

NEXT: NJ Cable News Anchor Blames 'Anti-Cop Mentality' in Inner Cities on 'Young Black Men Being Raised Without Fathers'

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Perry sees an opportunity to take up the Hawk mantle when McLame retires. Whatever. Stay the hell out of others’ business. On all levels. Rick. Richard. DICK.

    1. I’m sure Rick will take up whatever mantle can fund his campaign and requires little or no intellectual engagement.

      1. Little or no intellectual engagement is want voters like.

  2. Oh. First?

  3. its awesome,,, Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. http://www.Fox81.com

  4. A long time family friend recently passed away. He was career military and had served in Korea and Vietnam. His father and brothers were career military also and one died in battle.
    He would tell you both those wars were a complete waste. When Bush and Kerry ran against each other he had hatred for both for supporting the unnecessary war in Iraq.
    Later he said he just wanted to make sure none of his grandchildren went into the military to be used as political pawns.
    I always had a lot of respect for this man, his service and his integrity. All I can tell Rick Perry is no, no and hell no.

    1. Sounds like he rightfully didn’t respect his “service”. These two wars in particular featured a heavy contingent of slave soldiers to boot. There is no service here, just bondage and murder.

  5. The Kentucky senator actually supports continued military alliances and engagement with the world.

    I hate it when we accept their false premises. Military action is not “engagement with the world” anymore than being neighborly means breaking into your neighbors house and shooting his family.

  6. If you’re going to claim Paul is the frontrunner, don’t use a Zogby poll as supporting evidence. Please. As Reason is based in California, its editors should know better than to trust that pollster. If they ran a poll asking if people like ice cream, I wouldn’t trust the results.

    Also anointing a potential presidential candidate as a frontrunner nearly 5 months before the midterms is stupid.

  7. Looks like we are getting the same deceptive jive we saw against Ron Paul awhile back. Even Fox ‘News’ was in on it.

    The biggest lie against Ron, “He’s an isolationist!” is what Perry brought back. Seems like if one is accused these days that’s all it takes. That’s because people don’t do research.

    If Rand or Ron Paul are isolationists, so were the US Founders. The Paul’s have the same foreign policy that the Founders had. Look it up.
    Also look up the very important difference between isolationist & non-interventionist. That is must have knowledge.

    If you take a real good look at Perry, you’ll find he’s a ex Dem who is now CINO.

    At YouTube look for

    9-11, war and why Ron Paul’s foreign policy is right

    also find

    Michael Scheuer on Ron Paul

    I know Rand is part of the subject of the thread, not his Pops, but I have a feeling they are not that far apart on foreign policy.

    SamFox

    1. Rick Perry is fuming mad that Rand Paul is doing so well in the polls as a presidential potential, because god damn it, this was supposed to be MY chance! Then you god awful, child molesting libertarians swoop in and steal it with your silly consistent logic and constitutionally defensible positions!

  8. “On CNN, Beinart speculated that Perry was targeting GOP donors with his piece, since Paul’s views tend to square with those of the Republican rank and file.”

    A very insightful comment from Beinart. The GOP statists depend on campaign cash from the military industrial complex, that is provied they support more warfare spending. This in essence represents the conflict between the statists in the GOP, and the libertarian/Tea Party representatives who are a small minority of the GOP.

    The former depend on selling us out for campaign cash to get elected (typically supported by those who vote for the Republican ticket regardless of the candidate, e.g., McLame). The later are supported by the voters, who are tired of being lied to by the GOP statists who say one thing, then support the Democrats’ spending and socialist schemes (they did vote to fund Obamacare) with their votes. Often voting for the socialist schemes and spending, saying they don’t have the votes to defeat it (so they bizarrely vote for it – showing they really support it).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.