Paul: 'ISIS Exists Because of the Hawks in Our Party'
GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said today that ISIS essentially exists because of his colleagues.
Paul was responding on MSNBC to comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that ISIS exists because of the party's noninterventionists who didn't want to intervene in Syria early on.
"I would say it's exactly the opposite. 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. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS' job even easier," he said. "They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved -- they loved Hillary Clinton's war in -- in Libya. They just wanted more of it."
"But Libya's a failed state, and it's a disaster. Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran. So everything that they have talked about in foreign policy, they've been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have, somehow, the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise."
Paul also predicted that Jeb Bush would have problems because "the Bush legacy on war will destroy any hope we have of getting independent vote."
"I'm asking some difficult questions of Republicans. Do you think the invasion of Iraq made it more stable or us more safe? We now have ISIS to contend with. Do you think the invasion of Libya made us more safe?" he said. "The interesting thing is people want to paint me as out of step with the Republican Party, but when you get outside the Beltway and go to America, the rest of America, I think is more in line with what I'm saying, because I think we do have to defend ourselves. I'm all for doing something to stop ISIS. I was all for going after 9/11 to go after bin Laden."
"You know, I think the ultimate answer is getting Arab coalitions and boots on the ground that will stop them. You need Turks fighting. Turks need to have their army up on the board, and they need to fight... Also, Assad does really need to leave. When Assad leaves, there needs to be a government that we could support. Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS that hawks in our party have been arming."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement calling Paul's comments "a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief."
"We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position," Jindal said. "It's one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being commander in chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it."
The governor, who is contemplating a presidential run, said the senator's "illogical argument clouds a situation that should provide pure moral clarity."
"Islam has a problem. ISIS is its current manifestation. And the next president's job is to have the discipline and strength to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth," he added. "It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it's time for the rest of us to say it."