Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) criticised former Vice President Dick Cheney and blamed “those who supported the Iraq War” for the current crisis in the country in an interview with NBC’s David Gregory Friday.
Gregory asked Paul about the op-ed co-authored by Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz that blasted President Barack Obama’s handling of the Iraqi crisis and his foreign policy as a whole.
Paul said the same questions raised by Cheney in his op-ed could be asked of those who supported the original decision to invade Iraq. He also said he didn’t blame Obama for the current crisis, pointing the finger at Cheney and other supporters of the Iraq War for the current Middle East chaos — and for “emboldening Iran.”
“I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War,” Paul said of Cheney’s op-ed. “You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won?
Paul went on to note many current Iraq War supporters also are concerned about the situation in Iran.
“They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out. And what’s going on now — I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East,” said Paul. “I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry.”
Over the past week and a half, insurgent Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have made major advances in the country. Last week, ISIS took control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and its leader has boasted the group intends to march to Baghdad. The militants also are battling for control of the country’s biggest oil refinery.
Paul said the increasing sectarianism fueling the current conflict in Iraq is a direct consequence of the war. And that, he said, has “emboldened Iran,” which has recently become involved in the crisis to support the Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
“What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran,” Paul said. “Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before — before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.”
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