Two potential Republican presidential candidates have released dueling op-eds on the Iraq War.
On Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry published a piece in the Washington Post arguing against “isolationist policies” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perry’s op-ed was largely a rebuttal to a piece Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul penned in the Wall Street Journal last month wherein he made the case the Iraq War went against the conservative principles of President Ronald Reagan.
Perry claimed Paul’s position was “curiously blind” to the danger of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
“It’s disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what’s happening in Iraq,” Perry wrote. “The main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world.”
Perry described Paul’s positions as “isolationist” and focused on “inaction.” He also disputed Paul’s claim Reagan would have supported his stance.
“His analysis is wrong. Paul conveniently omitted Reagan’s long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity,” Perry wrote. “Unlike the noninterventionists of today, Reagan believed that our security and economic prosperity require persistent engagement and leadership abroad.”
Perry cited Reagan confronting “Soviet communism” in “every theatre” as proof of his point. He also tied Paul to Democratic President Barack Obama by arguing the senator’s “brand of isolationism” would “compound the threat of terrorism even further” than Obama’s foreign policies, which Perry said “have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria.”
“Paul is an articulate advocate for his views, which are shared by many on the left and some on the right. But in today’s world, with today’s threats, we still cannot ‘take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost.'” wrote Perry. “That was President Reagan’s warning. Sen. Paul would be wise to heed it.”
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