Rand Paul

Rand Paul Sets the Record Straight: Yes, He Absolutely Would Bomb ISIL

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Rand Paul
Gage Skidmore

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.

NEXT: Steve Chapman: Ignorance Fuels the Calls for War

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  1. So, anything new going on in Rotherham?

    1. Just a bunch of up-for-grab Millenials there.

  2. Look, it’s a big leap from where we are now that Paul is talking about presenting the case to Congress and asking for a declaration of war (or an AUMF, which is mostly the same thing, if validly drafted). That’s something no one currently in government thinks is necessary. Which is a huge blow to the concept of limited government.

    1. Precisely. Can we even have the pretense of requiring Congressional approval to send troops to overseas theaters and THEN debate whether or not it’s a good idea in this instance?

    2. “I would have called Congress back into session?even during recess…. He should have asked for authorization for military action…”

      If everyone else in Congress were saying the same thing, then we could debate Paul’s purity, but looking at this he stands out as particularly libertarian, in contrast.

  3. Rand. Buddy. I like you (well, for a politician anyways), but we already have a President Airstrike — we don’t need another. The fact is, we shouldn’t be doing one damn thing without knowing what the likely outcome will be and if this outcome conforms to a general strategy for the region. While I’m not a non-interventionist (whatever that means), this should not be our fight so long as we don’t know who the winners and the losers are.

    From a humanitarian point of view, we were partly responsible for the current state of affairs and it would seem that we are awful at creating rights-respecting governments in the region, even under the paltry standard of such that we enjoy here at home. Unless we want to stay there for the next 50-100 years to run their affairs for them, we aren’t going to be able to do much to change either the region’s hatred for Western freedoms or their antagonism towards our efforts to implement them.

    1. I tried to say in the last article.

      What we need is President Coalition Builder. Not the kind of coalition Bush built were we were the lead element of a multinational task-force.

      Rather, a coalition where the other nations in the Middle East supply the ground troops. If Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan are so worried, okay – we’ll coordinate, supply some airpower, etc…

      Many Cold-War battles were fought by proxies. When did we get so stupid that we have to get big American task-forces bogged down in Third-World battles? Let the other assholes in the neighborhood do the fighting.

      1. *Rather, a coalition where the other nations in the Middle East supply the ground troops. If Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Jordan are so worried, okay – we’ll coordinate, supply some airpower, etc…*

        HAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, some foreign armies are going to do a better job than the Iraqi army who was supposedly defending their home turf.

        You guys crack me up.

        1. I’m laughing for a different reason. There are so many militant islamists in those countries that those countries could never take appropriate action so wildly unpopular amongst their own subjects.

          1. Maybe. Or maybe when they realize we aren’t going to help them without their overt active participation, they will come around.

        2. I saw the Iraqi and Saudi armies in action first hand in ’91. The Saudis were a lot better then and I bet they still are.

          The Turks are first rate, better than most European armies.

      2. *Many Cold-War battles were fought by proxies.*

        And we lost [or drew] every single one of those battles, too.

        1. But won in the end?

          1. The US didn’t “win” the Cold War through military action – it won by having an economic system that promotes growth over collapse.

            1. “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

              It’s a great line and certainly truth though Yamamoto isn’t recorded anywhere as saying it.

              Regardless of the provenance of the quote, Yamamoto believed that Japan could not win a protracted war with the United States.

              Because Economic Might = Military Might. And we still won.

            2. Yes – but those battles were important. They were an economic drain the other side could not afford – and in the case of terrorists – it gives them a good chance to get killed at home rather than coming here to do it.

              1. IMO, the greatest economic drain on the USSR was communism, but hindsight is easy.

                Given terrorism is almost always a response to perceived repression and occupation, I strongly suspect that if our troops weren’t over there, they would have no motive to come over here.

                As long as our troops are over there, however, the region will never have a shortage of terrorists willing to try to come here.

                1. Radical Islam is just as pro-economic growth as Stalinist Communism.

                  If oil didn’t literally bubble out of the ground in some places in the Middle East, they would still be riding camels between water holes and killing each other with muskets. And nobody would care.

                  1. I could not agree more.

                    1. Another century or so should resolve this problem.

                2. terrorism is almost always a response to perceived repression and occupation

                  This is clearly not the case with Islamic terror. They hate us for our freedoms.

                  1. We stupidly assume terrorism we invented sometime after WW2. It was used to spread Islam through the North Africa in the 7th and 8th century. The weapons are new, the methods aren’t.

        2. And we lost [or drew] every single one of those battles, too.

          Wrong. America won most of those battles ex Contras

      3. There’s something to this, but of course it would require a more stable clique of allies than the false friends we have in the Middle East.

        1. Maybe we just convince them that there is more fertile ground for jihad further north. They already stated liberating Chechnya as one of their goals.

  4. Rand Paul is a politician first, libertarian second news at 11.

    1. Eh, my read is that he’s pretty sincere on this one. I don’t agree with him, but it’s justifiable from a libertarian perspective to go to war with a state which has declared and acted in a hostile fashion — it’s just not particularly wise, in this case.

      1. It’s fair to say ISIL has violated the NAP.

        1. It’s fair to say ISIL has violated the NAP.

          Sure. Now the question is, is going to war the best option available and what will be gained? Are we willing to reinvade and occupy Iraq for half a century and incur the wrath of surrounding countries who feel threatened by our presence and will create yet more groups opposing us?

          Or

          Should we pick up our toys and go home? And leave this shithole to those that want it?

          Life is too short for this bullshit! I’m 49. My country has been at war for half my life. Time to be a bit more selective about what’s worth fighting for.

      2. I have to agree, and I tend towards non-interventionism as much as the next guy.

        ISIS seems positively determined to pick a fight with us, though. At some point, even a non-interventionist starts to entertain the notion of some punitive firestorms.

        1. Because playing whack-a-mole has worked out so well?

          What is needed is an actual strategy for dealing with ISIS and all the threats that are exactly like it worldwide. Until we own up to the fact that our huge military complex is woefully inadequate in dealing with these assholes ISIS and everyone like them will continue to tweak our noses and gain strength until they actually do become a real threat to US interests.

          1. “our huge military complex is woefully inadequate in dealing with these assholes”

            Yet, you seem to be willing to entertain no other approach to the problem.

            Why is that?

            1. You’ll have to point out exactly where I advocate for an invade-and-bomb strategy. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

              1. What is your point then?

                1. I’m still waiting.

                  1. OK fine:

                    “This is the problem with libertarianism to me. There is this thing out there called the real world and in this real world are bad guys that wish us ill. No amount of appeasement for the sake of holding fast to the NAP will change that.”

                    You want a “strategy” for taking out the “bad guys” that doesn’t involve invasion, bombing, or appeasement.

                    Nice sentiment. What is it you are advocating in fact?

                    1. Still waiting.

                      What is needed is an actual strategy for dealing with the threat that ISIS does or may possess.

                      The problem is we have a hammer, and when you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail. Clearly the actions we took in Afghanistan and Iraq failed to adequately deal with the problem. Given that, doing the same thing in rump Iraq/Syria is highly unlikely to solve anything. That much is abundantly clear to me.

                      To extend the hammer/nail analogy further, our own military complex is not yet geared toward dealing with these kinds of threat aside from with hammers. That has to change first – until then nothing will change.

                      Traditionally, threats like ISIS were dealt with by counter-insurgency or with the installation of strongmen. Both are politically unviable at this point.

                      Hence the need for a different strategy.

                    2. What is your suggestion?

            2. Wouldn’t poison be simpler, cheaper, stealthier, and more effective? Troops are so…obvious. As are air strikes. But if everybody there just dies or at least gets very sick, and nobody can tell why, isn’t that a lot better? It can be Allah’s will, punishment for ISIS being bad.

              1. Maybe the best way to do it is to poison their food & drink for a while, then admit it & say, “If you want non-toxic food & drink, we have some over here, but you have to be really nice to get any.”

                To those who say using poison is illegal, I ask how much the fine is. Chances are, it’s a bargain.

          2. Restoras is correct. Our current military has been tuned to deal with actual wars fought against actual nation-states who (more or less) play by the generally accepted nation-state behavior for conducting wars. ISIS/ISIL is not a traditional nation-state and are practicing asymmetrical warfare. I highly recommend Martin van Creveld’s The Transformation of War which deals with this very topic.

            Oh, and Square, patronizing bullshit like “this thing out there called the real world” won’t get you very far, here. Unless you’re just trolling, of course.

            1. “this thing out there called the real world”

              That was Restoras’ line, not mine.

              1. Oh, yeah, so it was. Pro-tip: HTML tags – learn them, use them when quoting anything longer than a single line. To do otherwise puts you in Bo Cara, Esq territory.

            2. For some reason, there seems to be a sense that I’m advocating some kind of military action.

              I’m not.

              I’m being called out by Restoras as both an appeaser and a warmonger. Not sure how that makes sense.

              Just trying to figure out where he’s attacking me from and why.

              1. Also, stop with the passive-aggressive acting out.

            3. I highly recommend Martin van Creveld’s The Transformation of War which deals with this very topic.

              I suggest Clausewitz:

              “…it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigour in [the] application [of force]”

              IOW, if you aren’t prepared to fight a total war. you probably shouldn’t be there. You cannot beat an enemy with limited warfare when he is prepared to go the full nine yards.

        2. ISIL seems pretty confident that if they start a fight with us, we’re going to come out worse for it. Based on the last decade and a half, I’d say the evidence is on their side.

          My dilemma is that I see some kind of military intervention as 100% justified and possibly even necessary, but that the intervention that we need and the intervention that we’ll get ain’t exactly ever been similar.

    2. Purity Test Fail! Off with his head!

    3. If he wants to be president, he has to be a politician.

  5. Looks like Rand Paul Day today. Did anyone poll Millenials about this?

    1. No. They were too busy eating deep dish pizza and giving each other circumcisions.

      1. Wrong, they were too busy growing ridiculous lumberjack beards on top of their prison-pallored, kewpie doll baby faces.

      2. High five for keeping the Great Old Ones alive.

    2. The Reason staff is perplexed that their darling is failing Teh Purity Test. Lot’s of running around those offices right now trying to justify their continued support of him.

      1. Or, perhaps a re-evaluation of strict isolationism.

        1. It does present a conundrum.

  6. my buddy’s step-mother makes $75 every hour on the internet . She has been laid off for six months but last month her pay check was $12324 just working on the internet for a few hours. why not find out more…..

    ============== http://www.netjob70.com

    1. You know, not everyone is qualified or willing to work in prostitution.

    2. How exactly do you pronounce your handle? Is it “Vick Britpee”? “Vike Brightpie”? Or “Larry Dumbrowski”?

      1. “pee pee, hahaha”

        -My two year old.

    3. I was wondering what a netjob goes for these days. Thanks.

  7. Honestly, this should hardly come as a surprise. Paul didn’t claim to be a non-interventionist. In fact, as I pointed out a number of times, his stated framework sounds a lot more like conservative realism. It only looked like non-interventionism because the comparative landscape is hyper-interventionist.

    1. Agreed. His dad is a non-interventionist; his son (even when he was campaigning with his dad) always sounded more like an uneven quasi-realist/Just War type to me.

      1. This is the problem with libertarianism to me. There is this thing out there called the real world and in this real world are bad guys that wish us ill. No amount of appeasement for the sake of holding fast to the NAP will change that. It’s like all those economic models that depend on the assumption that all human beings always act rationally. As long as they do the models work great. Here’s your Nobel Prize! But take that out and a) welcome to the real world, and b) the model doesn’t predict shit.

        1. If they’re aggressing against us, the NAP allows retaliation.

        2. “in this real world are bad guys”

          “Bad guys” are a comic book thing, not a real world thing.

          In real world conflict it is important to understand the whys of the conflict, not to just chalk it up to “bad guys” and sent the Avengers out to right the world.

          1. So they are good guys who want you to convert to their somewhat quirky medieval religion. And if you don’t, they will cut off your head, toss your wife into the street, make your daughters and sons into sex slaves, and generally take all your stuff.

            I can see how you wouldn’t want to be too judgmental about them.

            1. Fathom this:

              The world is not made of “good guys” and “bad guys.”

              Me pointing this out is not a declaration that ISIS are the “good guys.”

              1. Yes it is. ISIS is evil, end of story.

                1. Apparently not according to square, and not only that but the Nazi’s weren’t evil as well, just misunderstood.

                  1. Now you’re just flailing.

                    Do you have an idea to express or are you just here to insult people?

                    1. Pot, meet kettle…

                    2. Sorry I am not ‘flailing’ at all.

                      You said:
                      “Bad guys” are a comic book thing, not a real world thing.

                      So, this implies the you believe there are no bad guys in the real world despite countless examples challenging otherwise, up to and including the examples I provided. Fine.

                      You go on to say:
                      it is important to understand the whys of the conflict

                      This implies, correctly, that there are often nuances to understanding a conflict between two actors, and that misunderstandings can lead to conflict.

                      Ergo, the Nazis weren’t bad guys but instead were just misunderstood.

                      I disagree. You logic ignores that humans in general and groups of humans in particular do commit unspeakable acts of cruelty, hatred, depravity, malice, and indifference. Human history has shown this repeatedly and continues to the present day. You know, bad things done by people – or just bad guys.

                      Just not to you, to you they are ‘misunderstood’.

          2. Oh jeez. It’s illustrative, dumbass. If you don’t have the ability to read a little nuance into statements like that hang out a bit more before you jump in and look like an idiot.

            The Jews of Europe would disagree with you.
            The Armeinians in Turkey would disagree with you.
            The residents of Nanking would disagree with you.
            All of Cambodia would disagree with you.

            Do you want me to go on? Because I can and history is on my side. And while you are right it is important to understand the ‘whys’ it is also important to understand the ‘whos’ as in the human element and that human proclivity for violence, cruelty, malice, and depravity. Ignore it and you’ll never solve the problem.

            1. Pardon me for being a dumbass, but what are you advocating, exactly? Do you have a point?

              1. You’re not sorry at all.

                Restoras|9.4.14 @ 1:42PM|#

                Totally agree. There has to be a strategy that doesn’t involve troops on the ground and nation-building.

                The easiest place to start is funding. Where are they getting their money?

                and

                Restoras|9.4.14 @ 2:25PM|#
                Hence the need for a different strategy.

                1. I understand you have declared the need for a different strategy.

                  And?

                  1. Still waiting.

                    I am a financial analyst, not a military strategist so no I do not have an alternate strategy. There, I said it. Of course, neither does our own military and political establishment outside of bombbombbombinvade. I also recognize what hasn’t worked in the past – do you?

                    Apparently, to you the fact that I do not have my own cogent and surefire strategy means that I am precluded from commenting on and expressing views on the current situation in the middle-east regarding ISIL – and presumably everything else that I am not an expert in. Is that what you are suggesting?

                    1. Calm down. You’re the one who started poking me, not vice-versa.

                      What is that you think I am advocating exactly that hasn’t worked in the past?

                    2. So, I am allowed to comment and express views on matters even if I am not an expert and have an alternative solution? Why thank you so much! I feel so much better!

                      You don’t seem to be advocating for anything much different than what has been done in the recent past in the ME. That’s fine by me, it just won’t work.

                      Oh, and still waiting.

                    3. “You don’t seem to be advocating for anything much different than what has been done in the recent past in the ME”

                      Then you’re not paying attention. I’m probably one of the most consistent non-interventionists around here.

                      I am taking umbrage with your assertion that libertarians don’t have a notion of how to deal with the “bad guys” in the world.

                      I’m still trying to figure out what you mean by that.

                      And I’m still waiting.

                    4. I have seen no evidence that they do know how to deal with it. I’d happily consider any that you might have.

                    5. But you seem to be saying that nobody knows how to deal with it.

                      Why pick on libertarians?

                    6. Nobody does know how to deal with it, at least not from what I’ve seen. Why is that a problem to point out?

                      I don’t think expressing what I believe (correctly or incorrectly) as a flaw or difficulty in libertarianism qualifies as ‘picking’ on it. It is a human construct and will contain flaws and inconsistencies just like every other human construct. Have you been around for an open border immigration thread, or abortion thread? People here with libertarian leanings disagree on these issues – and that is a good thing to me, at least if we can disagree honestly (which I admit is hard to do) because then we can reach an acceptable compromise that will hopefully make the movement (if that’s what it is) more palatable to more people.

                    7. You’re the one who started poking me, not vice-versa.

                      Well, no, no he wasn’t. You’re the one who called his claim “comic book thing, not a real world thing”. That sounds an awful lot like a poke to me.

                    8. It started farther up the thread, with my statement that the USSR collapsed all by itself.

  8. You know, since Obama is not using the Presidency at the moment, maybe he should step aside and give Mr. Paul a chance.

    1. He prefers to think of it as a hobby. Something to do between fundraisers when the weather is too lousy for golf.

  9. I know I’m putting my decoder ring at risk here, but I have less than zero problems with retaliation against ISIL. The case for invasion is extremely weak, but they’re dangerous enough that some action makes sense. I would prefer to start with bounties on ISIL leaders (alive preferred, with an understanding that they would be tried, not Guantanamoed) and a standing guarantee of a cruise missile or two for each American killed.

    There’s plenty of room to work between “do nothing” and “occupy until they’re a stable Israel-style democracy.”

    1. Totally agree. There has to be a strategy that doesn’t involve troops on the ground and nation-building.

      The easiest place to start is funding. Where are they getting their money?

      1. Oil, looting banks, ransoms.

      2. Getting Europe to stop paying ransoms would be a good start.

        1. No kidding. But Europe doesn’t have any other means of dealing with the problem and securing their energy dependence on Gulf Oil. So until that changes…I expect more of the same.

          1. Nuclear energy. Not a total solution, but would certainly help. Suck it, Greens.

    2. ISL?

      FAE, MOAB, FOAB ASAP.

      Q.E.D.

  10. If they’re going to kill Americans, it’s time to bring out the death-robots, hammering them enough to let the Kurds and Iraqis beat them, without these embarrassing defeats.

  11. And while my predisposition is to less intervention, I do support intervention when our vital interests are threatened.

    I guess our definition of vital interests is somewhat different, Rand.

    1. Intriguing, but we’re prosecuting people who are doing that but fighting on the side we don’t like, or the side which turns out to be the one we don’t like.

  12. Here is the thing that people seem to be missing about this. ISIL has formed an army and control a large territory. They are no longer a “terrorist” group, they are a government of a de facto nation. And that nation has openly declared war on the US.

    You guys are right that it is not in the US interests to fight every Islamic insurgency group. Insurgency groups are the people in the areas they operate problem not ours and when they are our problem they are a law enforcement and immigration problem. The Bush administration was dead wrong to think that the way to fight radical Islamism was to try and make the middle east into the US’s mini me.

    Where you guys go off the rails is that you refuse to admit that once those insurgency groups form armies and governments and rule territory, they do become our problem.

    1. Here is how you deal with ISIL. You use what is left of the Iraq government and Army the way we used the Northern Alliance in October of 2001 in Afghanistan and you launch a massive and I mean instant thunder oh my God the gates of hell have opened up air campaign. When that happens, I suspsect the Iraqi Army will find it in their interests to start coming to work again. You then let the Iraq Army retake its territory and find and kill any their leadership you can’t bomb and sending whatever is left fleeing back to Syria.

      You then tell the people of Syria that you wish them luck in their civil war against Assad but they need to understand that if overthrowing the Assad regime results in a radical Islamist state that threatens the West, you will back to do to them what you just did to ISIS. I will bet you anything that the Syrian resistance suddenly gets a hell of a lot more moderate.

      1. I will bet you anything that the Syrian resistance suddenly gets a hell of a lot more moderate.

        Oh lawd. Really? You really believe this?

      2. The Northern Alliance had a vested interest in the success of the outcome as they had been battling the Taliban for…years? I’m not convinced anyone in Iraq has an equivalent vested interest. I am on board with how you think about Syria.

    2. You don’t waste your time fighting insurgency. You let these idiots launch all of the insurgent campaigns they want. But what you never let them do is ever succeed in forming a government with those campaigns. When they do that, you show up and help the locals who hate them take back over. Sure, they will back to fighting the jihad and launch a new insurgenc campaign, but so what? Gradually those insurgent campaigns will get less and less popular as people realize there is no point in overthrowing the local thug if doing so means the US Air Force shows up and kills your new government and puts the old one back in. So those insurgent campaigns will either disappear or adopt an ideology less threatening to the West. Thus, the Al Quada ideology will slowly die.

      That is a strategy. Trying to rebuild every Muslim country in the image of the US is not a strategy. And neither is doing nothing and hoping they go away.

      1. I agree with this in general – these guys are a nation with an army now, not a terrorist group, and they seem hell-bent on picking a fight with the US.

        I’m not against harming ISIS at all, as they are inviting it aggressively.

        I do question how long we can continue toppling emergent governments and whether we can reasonably expect any productive outcome from continuing to do so.

        And to reiterate, I’m legitimately torn on this one, so I’m just throwing it out there.

        1. You just adjust what you consider a “productive outcome”. If a productive outcome is a peaceful and decent society, then forget it. We are not going to create that. But if a productive outcome is a place that whatever it does isn’t hell bent on harboring terrorists and attacking the west, I think that can be achieved.

          We have to be realistic. We are not going to stop the Suni Shia civil war. We are not going to be able to prop up various local thugs to keep the mob in its place anymore. All we can do is make sure that whoever is in power doesn’t want to wage war against the West. And if we can get that, the rest of it is the Middle East’s problem not ours.

          1. We have to be realistic. We are not going to stop the Suni Shia civil war. We are not going to be able to prop up various local thugs to keep the mob in its place anymore. All we can do is make sure that whoever is in power doesn’t want to wage war against the West. And if we can get that, the rest of it is the Middle East’s problem not ours.

            I agree with this 100% but as always the devil (bad guy!) is in the details.

          2. But it seems that the local power players in the region have defined a “productive outcome” as a place that does harbor terrorists bent on attacking the west as longs they are not focused on [insert local power player country here].

            Isn’t that why we keep going around in circles on this whole thing?

      2. Sort of an ideology-specific Congress of Vienna approach?

        I could deal with that.

        1. A bit. But even more lose than that. I don’t really care if Iraq or Syria or any other country stays as it is. They can divide it up however they want, as long as no area is ruled by people pledging to or actually making war on the west.

  13. Think I’d cut Rand some slack on this. Rand’s going to try and get elected President, and pure distilled libertarian does not get elected President.

    The fascists and communists know this about their own brands – indeed know little else – which is why they spend an inordinate amount of effort convincing the electorate they are not those things. And Americans believe it, which is why we keep electing commies and fascists (see the current communist in the White House for latest example).

    Libertarians have never figured that out, which is why libertarians never get elected. Rand Paul’s viability to win is predicated on him figuring that out, and so far so good.

    1. To win a national election you have to appeal to the majority of the country. Ideological purity won’t do that. The country is too big and too diverse. Moreover, sometimes the other ideologies have a point. No ideology is perfect or ideal for every situation.

      1. To win a national election you have to appeal to the majority of the country voters.

  14. Such airstrikes are the best way to suppress ISIS’s operational strength and allow allies such as the Kurds to regain a military advantage.

    Letting them sell their damned oil might help, too.

  15. There is no such thing as “Non-Interventionism” in Foreign Policy

    Thanks for playing.

  16. Is Reason really really going to get all butthurty and teary-eyed over Rand not being a full member of The Cult of Noninteverventionism? Sorry, the real world doesn’t respect noninterventionism anymore than it does socialism. They are both crocks. Bombing ISIS to help Kurdistan was a good idea and one of Obama’s few decent moves as prez. I’m ambivalent about further action but it might be a good idea. Not so crazy about bombing ISIS in Syria-the Syrian government created this thing and we shouldn’t be helping them. Allowing the Kurds to buy oil and lifting all weapons export restrictions to them would be much better, and so would bullying the Iraqi government into allowing flights into Kurdistan.

    1. “Allowing the Kurds to buy oil and lifting all weapons export restrictions to them would be much better”

      Assuming, of course, that they’re recent conversion from evil to good holds . . .

      1. And by “they’re,” of course I meant “their.”

      2. …what? What ‘conversion’? The Kurds were always good.

        1. You must be under 40.

          1. Yes, but I still consider myself incredibly old. You’re being a little mysterious.

            1. There was a good article recently on the head of the PKK’s recent conversion to not being a bloodthirsty communist terrorist.

              When I was young, the Kurds were Reds, and Saddam was the Shield of the West.

              Sort of goes back to my good-guys bad-guys comment. Who’s on the eternally Good side and who’s on the eternally Evil side has a way of being a little fluid . . .

              1. Awwwww…Squarey believed everything he was told by morally bankrupt politicians, and then comes here and accuses us of being naive. First the PKK is not equal to all Kurds any more than Israel represents the interests of all Jews worldwide. Yes, the PKK were at one time somewhat commie-aligned, and that’s totally understandable in the context of the geopolitics of the time when the Western democracies were uninterested in their plight and the commies siezed the opportunity.

                1. You’re coming into this discussion late, and I don’t think you’re reading carefully.

                  1. He’s very quick to render moral judgement.

                    1. And I do not stand alone here in that regard, Cyto.

                  2. No, tonio is right = the PKK never represented “The Kurds” writ-large so much as a militant backlash against turkish repression. If they had commie leanings it was probably because that was the best way to get funding/guns if you were a rebel army for the last half-century.

                    Actual Kurdistan politics have been divided between the Barzanis (KDP) and Talibanis (PUK) for decades now

                    I don’t know what you’re taking about conflating the two

                    1. Starting to sound like a Mario Puzo novel…

              2. Nice backpeddle.

              3. “When I was young, the Kurds were Reds, and Saddam was the Shield of the West.”

                WTF? Saddam nationalized the Iraqi Oil industry and signed an alliance with the Soviet Union after he came to power. Saddam was never the Shield of the West. Iraq was a Soviet satellite until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

                Indeed, during the Gulf War, the Iraqi Army was completely equipped with Soviet hardware.

    2. Did he bomb ISIS? I heard he took out two trucks.

  17. There is an historical precedent for this – The Barbary Pirates. They were our first military action against a sub-national group. And we should have been preparing for threats from these sorts of groups since at least 2001, probably far longer.

  18. I personally don’t know enough to make an informed decision. To me, ISIS looks like a ragtag band of misfits no one has stood up to, including the Iraqi army. I don’t think they’re a threat.

    However, deciding to attack isn’t necessarily a non-libertarian position. If my neighbor is taking target practice with the intention of shooting my family once his skill level is up it is not an act of aggression to shoot him first. I don’t have to wait for him to kill one of my children before I think it is okay to start fighting.

    Most fights you’re in started before you first get punched. If you think you might be in a fight, you’re in a fight.

    I’ve been a bouncer in my own bars. When someone looks the other way and steps back, I pretty much know a sucker punch is on its way. It has happened to me so many times. He steps back and looks away, I step back and wait for the big looping punch to miss me by the distance I stepped back. The fight for me begins when I see the action taken by him that will ultimately hurt me. I don’t wait for the first punch to land before I react.

  19. Well, I’ve always thought, since he appeared on the public scene, that Rand Paul was the best American politician after his father, a strongly-principled libertarian in a conservative cloak. And that may be where his heart is, but he is clearly a politician first, and only after that, a conservative-libertarian rather than a true libertarian. He clearly doesn’t understand the non-aggression principle, or maybe a better way to say it is that he doesn’t accept it. Like all conservatives, he is a killer ape, able to find a pretext to justify his murderous impulses on the undefinable ground of “national security”. I don’t know if he is positioning himself to run for President in 2016, but, if he does, I will speak out against his election. He has always been someone I had high hopes for, but who left an oddly bad taste in my mouth. I guess the aftertaste is the stronger version now.

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