Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why Rand Paul is Right: Republican hawks DID create ISIS

Kentucky U. S. Sen. Rand Paul's recent indictment of foreign policy hawks in his own party for "creating ISIS" has the neoconservatives in deep denial about their role in creating the mess which is now the Middle East. And of course their apologists were deployed this weekend to the news shows to explain how "strange" and "delusional" were Sen. Paul's remarks.

The normally lucid Charles Krauthammer said, "You know, sometimes, Ron Paul’s ignorance really astonishes me." [He meant "Rand"]

So, first, let's ask ourselves this question: "If George Bush II had not invaded Iraq (at the behest of Republican hawks) for what we now know were completely specious reasons, would ISIS exist?"

If you answer "Yes" to this question, then you are delusional: Your answer is strange and your ignorance should astonish even yourself.

If you answer "No," then you are in complete touch with reality.

Now of course, the particular part of Paul's remarks his critics are honing in on is the remark about where ISIS got many of its arms: “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS,” he said.

I think that's true too. But if you look at the full context of this remarks, you will see that his indictment is more far reaching than this and is directed at the failed policy of Republican neoconservatives that goes back "for twenty years."

I remember well the evolution of the Bush administration's position after 9/11 and in the months leading up to the Iraq War: The campaign started out as an effort to punish the people who perpetrated the attack on the Twin Towers and those harboring those who perpetrated it. That's why we went into Afghanistan.

Then, the agenda got much bigger: The Bush administration then decided it would go after all terrorists everywhere, whether they had been involved in 9/11 or not. In fact, by early 2001, so bloated did the administration's cause become that he announced in his State of the Union speech: "My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers."

Seriously. Go back and read the whole thing. Ridding the world of evil-doers. All of them.

And then there was the missionary cause of democracy which we were going to force everyone else in the world to acknowledge as superior. Or else. No one said it outright, but if you parsed the rhetoric of the time, you could have concluded that we were waging war on non-democratic forms of government as well.

It was this absurdly broad target that put Saddam Hussein in the cross-hairs. Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. Nothing. But he was an evil-doer. One of the many in the world whom we were going to destroy. So we did.

And that action created the modern Middle East crisis.

Someone on one of the Sunday programs attempted the argument that Paul had the chain of causation wrong. Okay, here's the chain of causation, and it isn't even terribly complex: The elimination of a strong and stable (if evil) government in Iraq, produced an unstable and weak government (if morally benign) in a Iraq. An unstable and weak government in Iraq was both the necessary and sufficient condition of the terrorist groups that began to thrive thereafter in Iraq. One of these groups is ISIS.


If there is a flaw in this chain of reasoning, could someone please point it out to me?

Since the "victory" in the Iraq War, it has all been downhill, with the possible exception of the Surge. But the other night, Fox's Meghan Kelly, claimed that we had "won" after the Surge. And she's criticizing Rand Paul for not making sense? That is about as bone-headed a comment as I can possibly imagine. The only way the benefits of the Surge would have lasted is if we had kept Surging into perpetuity―at a huge cost in money and manpower.

That may have kept Iraq stable for a while. But winning means you get to come home. If we had "won" with the Surge, then why wasn't it okay for Obama to bring the troops home?

The very fact that people like Kelly criticize Obama for giving away what we gained with the Surge is an indication that whatever we gained through the Surge was hardly permanent and certainly could not be described as a military victory.

So now we have a race for the presidency that features Democrats who were in favor of the Iraq War who now realize it was a mistake and Republicans who were in favor of the Iraq War who now realize it was a mistake.

What a choice.

And the only exception to that is Rand Paul. On the biggest issue of the past in regard to the Iraq War―whether it should have happened in the first place―Rand Paul is the only one who was right―just as his father (and presumably he too) was the only was who was right on the economic crisis of 2008 (He was the one congressman who accurately predicted the result of the housing bubble. His prediction was spot on).

That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for Rand Paul for president (I'm going to vote for the candidate who is the least cowardly in their defense of traditional marriage), but it does mean that the people who are now criticizing him on his remarks about ISIS (Krauthammer, National Review, Commentary magazine―former Iraq War cheerleaders all) are the very people who were wrong on the biggest issue in relation to the Iraq War―whether is should have happened in the first place.

If you didn't get that right, you forfeit your right criticize Rand Paul on anything related to the Iraq War. Go away. Find someone to criticize who has a worse track record than you on the issue, not a better one.


Anonymous said...

Well said. I still remember, with horror, that State Of The Union speech where George W talked of spreading democracy throughout the world. Let's see, America lost 58,000 men in Vietnam and that Communist nation has most favored nation trade status with the U.S. Then there's China and Saudi Arabia and on and on and on. We're tired and broke and over extended and our homeland has serious problems. Screw a bunch of couch sitting neo cons who never served and neither will their kids.

Singring said...

Bernie Sanders was against the war from day one. Not a Democrat, but running in the democratic primary.

Is also disingenuous to pretend Bush was actually after evil-doers. He (or rather Chaney) was after oil and military contacts. The evil -doers stuff was just for selling it to the people.

KyCobb said...


This is a first, I think. I am in almost 100% agreement with you on everything you just posted about the Iraq War. The only quibble I have is your description of the post-wat Iraq government as "morally benign." In fact Maliki pushed the interests of Shiites at the expense of Sunnis, which helped pave the way for ISIS.

Martin Cothran said...


To mark another first, I think you're right.