Last week, libertarian critics of the pro-war impulse to do something about ISIL thought non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul largely agreed with them. It's now clear that this is not the case. In a just-posted column for Time, Paul clarifies his absolute support for bombing ISIL:
This administration's dereliction of duty has both sins of action and inaction, which is what happens when you are flailing around wildly, without careful strategic thinking.
And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.
If I had been in President Obama's shoes, I would have acted more decisively and strongly against ISIS. I would have called Congress back into session—even during recess.
This is what President Obama should have done. He should have been prepared with a strategic vision, a plan for victory and extricating ourselves. He should have asked for authorization for military action and would have, no doubt, received it.
Paul also spells out precisely what kind of military action he wants:
The military means to achieve these goals include airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Such airstrikes are the best way to suppress ISIS's operational strength and allow allies such as the Kurds to regain a military advantage.
We should arm and aid capable and allied Kurdish fighters whose territory includes areas now under siege by the ISIS.
Since Syrian jihadists are also a threat to Israel, we should help reinforce Israel's Iron Dome protection against missiles.
And for good measure, here is some right-wing immigration stuff that Paul supports:
We must also secure our own borders and immigration policy from ISIS infiltration. Our border is porous, and the administration, rather than acting to protect it, instead ponders unconstitutional executive action, legalizing millions of illegal immigrants.
Our immigration system, especially the administration of student visas, requires a full-scale examination. Recently, it was estimated that as many as 6,000 possibly dangerous foreign students are unaccounted for. This is inexcusable over a decade after we were attacked on 9/11 by hijackers including one Saudi student who overstayed his student visa.
I was previously inclined to write off Paul's contradictions on ISIL as merely part of his effort to be everything to everyone for the sake of eventually winning the presidency. But there is no contradiction now: Paul has an opinion, it just isn't an extremely libertarian one.