Rand Paul

Wacko Isolationist Rand Paul Would Seek Congressional Approval to 'Destroy ISIS'


Rand Paul
Gage Skidmore

Sen. Rand Paul expressed support for using U.S. military power to battle ISIL, but only after receiving Congressional authorization.

After criticizing President Obama's lack of a plan for dealing with the terrorist group last Friday, Paul told the Associated Press that the correct first move is to ask Congress:

"If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."

The Weekly Standard reported Paul's comments while linking to an older story in which Paul expressed "mixed feelings" about bombing ISIL. That story ran under the very Weekly Standard headline, "Rand Paul Not Sure If U.S. Should Bomb Genocidal Islamist Terrorists in Iraq."

One gets the sense that The Weekly Standard is pouncing on Paul's comments as if to say, See! Even this nutcase libertarian isolationist is beginning to understand! But Paul's foreign policy views have never been as extreme as his neoconservative critics claim. The decision to deploy American military might should be difficult. Government leaders should be conflicted about it. They should also obey our Constitutional dictates, which require Congress, not the president, to declare war.

NEXT: Russian Bank Hires Former U.S. Senators to Fight Sanctions

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. “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

    Well, that would be nice; include congress in deciding where resources are to be spent.
    But they might say “no”.

  2. With heads coming off onscreen, I don’t think it would take much persuading of Congress.

    1. Which is what makes not doing it so absurd.

  3. Dear Robby,

    Please define neoconservative. Thanks.

  4. Why does this whackadoo racist libertarian hate the President so much. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is very clear: The President shall have the power to make and declare war.

    1. The President shall have the power to make and declare war


        1. Wouldn’t that constitute a threat against Boehner? Or were you referring to someone else?

      1. The kingdom and the power and the glory are his, forever and ever, amen.

    2. Problem being that, when this was written, a nation declared war against another nation, not a group, whose name we can’t even keep track of.
      An example. tough could be one intimately involved in framing the Constitution, and no fan of a strong federal government – Thomas Jefferson, who didn’t ask Congress to declare war but sent in the Marines to wipe out the Pirates on the Barbary Coast.

    3. Are you being sarcastic? It says “Congress”. Not “President”.

  5. Congress wants no part of having to put their vote on the public record.

    1. That’s a key point these days. Bunch of cowards like Feinstein and maybe Rodgers who want to go in guns blazing but don’t want their names on it.

      Paul would hopefully have the balls to follow through on this (don’t trust any politicians).

      Obama is trying to have it both ways, he wants to sort of stay out, but not really and he wants to act like he’s doing something meaningful – either pick the libertarian path, do nothing (which I agree with) and let the chips fall. It will get uglier, but the Middle East and their stupid dictators are reaping what they sowed.

  6. Way to dodge the REAL question.

    Which is: what do Millenials? think about this? Hmm?

  7. Wait, what does Congress have to do with kinetic actions?

  8. Vote? Seems like beheading adult white males isn’t engendering a strong enough fight/flight response from Neanderthalensis Americanus. Time to up the ante with videos of masked men tossing Christian babies into wood chippers. Boom! Boots on the ground. Leg tingles for all.

  9. What’s with the “ISIL” vs. “ISIS” stuff? Can’t Reason just get it wrong like everyone else?

    1. If we call them ISIS, then when we go to war, Barry can lead Operation: Defeat Islamo-Naziism (ODIN). So.

  10. So, actually following the LAW is “wacko” and “isolationist”? The President is SUPPOSED to ask Congress. CONGRESS is the body that declares war, not the President.

  11. So he would basically follow Bush’s precedent.

  12. What relevant people should be doing is applying to Congress for letters of reprisal. That would let the fox out among the chickens. They daren’t issue one, but not issuing one and not doing anything else makes the actual situation clear.

    The US (and every other nation state) restrains, as a matter of course, individuals from going to foreign lands and warring. It’s a fundamental part of the Westphalian system, one that is being flouted by the ISIS recruits coming from the West. It also illuminates, quite clearly, the real issues at stake. This is an attack on the foundations of the international system, a system which serves the US quite well.

    So somebody with legal training and some financial resources can do the nation of service by popping over to Congress, requesting such a letter, and advertising it. Bonus points if it’s a muslim (maybe a Kurd?) who does it.

  13. They should also obey our Constitutional dictates,

    “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

  14. First of all, a “Declaration of War” without a defined enemy territory/capital/leadership is bound to be a failure. As we’ve seen, killing Osama bin Laden did little to quell the Islamist radicalism that he and his ilk spawned. We could, I suppose, put a gun to Turkey and Qatar’s heads and tell them it ends now or we’ll declare war on them–but…

    Beyond that, what the isolationists (and Constitutional purists) don’t understand is that a “Declaration of War” means something specific–and with all the mutual defense and other treaties that the rest of the world is mired in, such a declaration would quite likely involve nothing less than another World War (as our last two declared wars have). And while we can claim the MAD deterrent to using nuclear weapons, I’m not sure the actors in the Muslim world would feel as constrained as our old Soviet nemesis. In short, don’t declare war unless you’re willing to take on the whole of Islam. And if you’re willing to take on all of Islam, then be prepared to use nuclear weapons.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.