Senator Rand Paul: Why I’m Voting No on Syria

If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate

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Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Senator Rand Paul listens during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill on Sept. 3, 2013, in Washington

I supported the decision to go to war with Afghanistan after our nation was attacked on 9/11. Colin Powell wrote in his autobiography: “War should be the politics of last resort. And when we go to war, we should have a purpose that our people understand and support.” I believe that he had it right. America should only go to war to win.

War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test. Even the State Department argues that “there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.”

The U.S. should not fight a war to save face. I will not vote to send young men and women to sacrifice life and limb for stalemate. I will not vote to send our nation’s best and brightest to fight for anything less than victory. If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate.

(MOREViewpoint: Obama’s Irony Is McCain’s Agony)

If American interests are at stake, then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war.

Bashar Assad is clearly not an American ally. But does his ouster encourage stability in the Middle East, or would his ouster actually encourage instability?

Are the Islamic rebels our allies? Will they defend American interests? Will they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist? Will they impose Shari‘a? Will they tolerate Christians, or will they pillage and destroy ancient Christian churches and people?

The President and his Administration have not provided good answers to any of these questions. Those who seek military action have an obligation to publicly address these concerns before dragging our soldiers into another Middle Eastern war. Shooting first and aiming later has not worked for us in the past, and it should not be our game plan now.

(MOREOn Syria: Be Clear, Then Hit Hard)

In 2007, then Senator Obama stated that no President should unilaterally go to war without congressional authority unless there is an actual or imminent threat to our nation. James Madison argued this same position. Our Founding Fathers understood that the Executive Branch was the most prone to war. That is the constitutional position.

President Obama’s new position, though, is that while he requests congressional input, he doesn’t necessarily need Congress’s approval. The President and his Administration view this vote as a courtesy vote. Even though only 9% of the American population supports this intervention, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, and even if Congress votes against it, the President still believes that he reserves the right to involve our soldiers in another country’s civil war.

But Mr. President, that is not how our Constitution works.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 gives Congress — and Congress alone — the power to declare war. If Congress does not approve this military action, the President must abide by that decision.

There is no debate more significant for a legislator than the decision to engage in war. We must hold our leaders accountable.

MOREDiplomacy With Iran Key to Ending Syria War

SEE ALSO:  The Big Surprise of Martin Luther King’s Speech 
 
748 comments
Charlie-White
Charlie-White

Speaking as a VETERAN we are not the world police force... The United Nations and other agencies must enforce those LAWS or disband!  Atrocities have existed since the Dawn of Man and will continue  til Man's Twilight... The very ACT of WAR is for the preservation of OUR way of LIFE if an ENEMY is ATTACKING us... If we attack them we are the ENEMY ... nuff said

KcVeach
KcVeach

I agree with the senator. I do feel bad about the predicament of the Syrian people, however I do not see any cause for us to go to war and more than likely cause regional instability.  I think a diplomatic approach such as the recent one to rid syria of its chemical weapons will be hard and take time, but in the end will save thousands of lives that war will cost.

RichardStehr
RichardStehr

Maybe another reason for Rand Paul being against attacking Syria is that both he and Bashar Assad are ophthalmologists.

DavidLM
DavidLM

Here, here!


Well said, by the Senator from Kentuky.

gnick
gnick

gnick355,a

I am totally opposed to striking Syria with no

intent to win.  Rebels are not our friends.

SteveBlake1
SteveBlake1

No one is addressing the real issue. What gives us the right to commit an act of war against a country that has not attacked us?

 The use of chemical weapons is a breach of International law and needs to be addressed by the ICC and the Security Council after the UN report is in. According to the UN Charter, signed by the US, the only legitimate use of force is in self defense or with Security Council approval. If everyone abided by that rule there would be little warfare. That is a pipedream but the US should be setting the example for peace. Isn't what the President is proposing also a breach of International law? The United States should not be acting as if the law needs to be enforced against other nations but doesn't apply to us.

jag57
jag57

I'm against an attack on Syria; so far I haven't seen any definitive proof of who used chemical weapons.  It doesn't seem logical Assad would use chemical weapons, since he was wining the war, he had much to lose by the outrage it would cause.  Muslims have been killing each other since the time of Jesus, so we shouldn't get involved in any Middle East war.  

Those that say chemical weapons haven't been used since WW 1, I remind them of the murder of 80+ men, women, and children, where chemical weapons were used in the attack in Waco, in 1993, perpetrated by Janet Reno.


DianePelletier
DianePelletier

I am against attacking Syria.  While it is tragic 400 children were murdered there that is nothing compared to the thousands of American babies that are murdered up to 9 months pregnant all over the United States.  President Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Hilliary are all enablers of these murders.  There hands are full of blood hypocrites hypocrites hypocrites!!!

hawkman1792
hawkman1792

I agree with you Rand Paul; we should not go to war just to save face for Obama. It was his egotism which put America in that position in the first place and the best thing Congress can do to rectify the situation is to deny him the power to attack, and absolutely proceed with impeachment proceedings. 

Insufficient evidence has been presented to declare Assad's regime responsible; in fact, sources outside American media indicate that it was actually the rebels who committed this crime, and it is the rebels who stand to gain the most benefit from an attack by the U.S. We need to deny them the opportunity to take advantage of the president's incompetence.

BillJarett
BillJarett

Obama created this problem with his unconstitutional unilateral war against Libya that turned the country and it arsenal over to Al-Qaeda. Then the CIA at the Benghazi Annex funneled the arms and Al-Qaeda "rebels" through Turkey and Jordan into Syria to try the same thing there. CNN revealed that the CIA is obstructing justice by preventing its agents from the Annex from testifying to Congress. He should have been already impeached for that Constitutional crime alone.

Rand: YOU NEED to lead a talking filibuster bringing up these points and warning the President he WILL be IMPEACHED if he launches another war of choice without the VOTED consent of Congress.


TruthWFree
TruthWFree

I support you, Rand Paul...and impeach Obama if he tries anything.  Obama is clearly going against the Constitution and our citizens' desires.

hgurian1
hgurian1

If we do not strike, we are sending the wrong message to both N. Korea and Iran. I do not agree with you. Unfortunately, Obama is over his head.

BSF1
BSF1

I am usually totally against what Senator Paul stands for, but this time he got it right!!!  What a travesty! The Muslin Brotherhood is responsible for 9/11, but we are suddenly supporting them.  We originally hailed the Syrian government as the legitimate government, now they are our enemy.  Who are we going to bomb? What are our targets?

Yeoflittlehope
Yeoflittlehope

Senator Rand Paul does give me some hope.  Is there actually someone in Congress listening to the people?   WE should not be sticking our nose into another country's war.   I don't want to sacrifice one American to fight in this war.  Ask yourself, what if it was my son or daughter that was sacrificed, for something we cannot  win?  And by the way, WE ARE BROKE!

NancyBrown
NancyBrown

Senator Rand Paul stated my feelings and thoughts very succinctly. I have been very impressed with his thoughtful

questions--most of which have NOT been answered.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

WRITTEN IN CAPS FOR THE BENEFIT OF SENIOR CITIZENS....I CARE FOR THE OLD THE POOR AND THE DEFENSELESS

                          A      M     E     N

VALENTINE, WORLD HISTORIAN, MILITARY HISTORIAN, POLITICAL HISTORIAN, COMEDIAN...LOL

Hihoze
Hihoze

The Washington DC'vers are NOT & will NOT LISTEN to the people they pretend to represent.  They want WAR to look good, we want peace because it's good.  They want to redistribute our wealth.  We want to redistribute their power.  They want control of our lives, we want to live in liberty.  They want control of the world,  we want control of our families.  It is time for something other than another DonkeyPhant, Nationalist & Washington DC'ver.  It's time for a Libertarian.  It's time we had More Madison &  Less Marx.   It's time for a change.   

scott482002
scott482002

I stand with Rand....on this issue. Not another American life should be lost fighting someone else's war.

RandyTownsend
RandyTownsend

With no clear "national interest" at stake, Congress should refuse to authorize a military incursion of any kind in Syria. The killing of innocent civilians has gone on for years and not just in Syria, yet Obama felt no compulsion to act so it's obviously not the killing he objects to. Not one single US life should be wasted on that pitiful excuse for a country. Like most, I couldn't care less what goes on over there. STAY OUT OF SYRIA.

robertdcrook
robertdcrook

Rand Paul doesn't seem to be concerned about the morality of going to war as much as he seems to be concerned only that the U.S. will win the said war and will gain something from it. That is amoral at best and immoral at worst. 

I am anti-war, but Paul and I come to that through very different beliefs, values and logic, which is why I just can't support him and his fellow so-called Libertarians, who strike me as only crypto-fascists, and often not very crypto-...


RichyBocaz
RichyBocaz

US interests not American. America is a continent not just one country.


RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

Straight to that preach Mistah Rand Paul.. :- We are NOT going "to WAR"... I repeat:- we are not !!.... We are going to "correct" them goons.... Now if you do not understand matters of punishment than don´t wack us about the ears... You do not belong in politics... neither in religeon...  Donah..//

brainsplus2
brainsplus2

There's no such thing as just bad guys and good guys anymore. This is the only way to penalize crimes against humanity. That's what we're talking about.- NOT going to war. This is NOT engaging in an all-out campaign against Syria. We are tired of war. This isn't what's being asked for. Let's keep from OVERstating what this limited engagement will be.

marinskym
marinskym

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” – VP Cheney

“There is no doubt who is responsible for this heinous use of chemical weapons, the Syrian regime.” – VP Biden

“We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.” – SoD Rumsfeld

“We know where the rockets were lauched from and at what time. We know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.” – SoS Kerry

http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2013/08/iraq-redux.html

briteleaf
briteleaf

I can't believe that I find myself in agreement with a right wing radical republican who is OWNED by corporate campaign funds. NO MILITARY ACTION. NO WAR.

xalf18
xalf18

I would suggest the same strategy Harry S. Truman used, "Containment".  Surround Syria and do not let anything or anyone in or out of the country.  Would our involvement in Syria benefit either Syria or us???  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys????  In Afghanistan, with all the money and military support we have given--including troops-the people still regard the Taliban as the heroes and the Americans as the villains.  We have seen what happened in Egypt and Iran, to name just two countries in which the bad guys hold sway.

panchasenior82
panchasenior82

This is a specific attack absolutely necessary to punish the perpetrator of the use of a lethal chemical weapon.  No one should turn a blind eye to the horrors of sarin. Rather we should stand up to bullies.

Pancha Chandra Brussels.

AlanWilliams
AlanWilliams

I just want to say thank you to Kentucky once again for producing a congressmen that actually has some common sense.  Thanks guys!

ThomasHickman
ThomasHickman

Well hell, I wonder how he felt about the war in Iraq ? What was the reason we went after Saddam Hussein?

daena.vassar
daena.vassar

Yes, our President is only debating whether it will be feasible to assist defenseless Syrian civilians, given that we can, being the greatest functioning democracy on the planet.  Think of it as humanitarian.  Ofcourse it would not be just humanitarian if the budget were to overshoot the 100-odd million they are proposing (unlike the daily bleed of the Iraq war against "Al Qaeda").

For all of Colin Powell's posturing, he was completely useless towards his principles in the end, wasn't he? Railroaded by a Republican government that had no moral backbone, only a mania for war.  The Bush government lied the biggest lie, in our history.

So Senator, what you say, is just more useless drivel.

Hihoze
Hihoze

The Decline & Fall of America continues under a 100 years of arrogance and endless wars conducted by the PROGRESSIVE politicians (DonkeyPhants & DC'vers) who pursue global sameness & dominance.  The Marxist Progressives in BOTH PARTIES have not succeeded in bringing peace to the world, they have only succeeded in destroying every single nation they were allowed to run.  It's time for a Libertarian like Rand Paul.  It's time for some real hope and change.  America needs MORE MADISON & LESS MARX....the decline continues....

ff_emt
ff_emt

@hgurian1 No "like" from me;  the only thing we can agree on is that øvømit is in over his head - and has been since first squatting in the White House.

Ayep
Ayep

@hgurian1 one more time incase you missed it, NOT OKAY MORON. 

Ayep
Ayep

@hgurian1it is uneducated morons like you that give the politicians the okay to do something like this. Go educate yourself. There is NOTHING okay with taking action in Syria. Nothing. Terrorists on BOTH SIDES WE DON'T EVEN NEGOCIATE WITH TERRORISTS LET ALONE ARM THEM AND HELP THEM IN WAR!

jag57
jag57

@Hihoze Are you saying you would not support Rand Paul for President?  I think Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz, which are supported by the Tea Party are as good as we can expect.  I would also like to see Colonel Allan West as Vice President.

I have nothing against Libertarians; Ron Paul was a Libertarian, when I first met him in May of 1990.  I will only support someone that has a chance of wining.  Howard Phillips that was in the debate on starting a 3rd Conservative Party, launched the US Taxpayers Party, in 1991, which became the Constitution Party, but it never did get any traction.  I believe in RINO hunting, leading up the the Primary, to build the Republican Party.

BillJarett
BillJarett

@robertdcrook  The crypto- fascists are the ONE Party establishment run by and for the multinational banks and "free" trade corporations.

dh730
dh730

@RichyBocaz At last, someone who recognizes Mexicans and Canadians as Americans.  Americans also consist of those living in both Central and South America.

dh730
dh730

@brainsplus2 How many collateral damage casualties are you willing to accept with the limited cruise missile strikes? One innocent child, ten, 100, 1000?  Do you want the dictator targeted?  

Ayep
Ayep

@briteleaf Are you kidding? You think you have a problem with rand and cooperations while Obama is your president? Jeeze. 

Stand_With_Rand
Stand_With_Rand

@briteleaf He doesn't accept money from lobbyists ya goon.  You're programmed to hate anyone with an (R) next to their name and have absolutely NO CLUE what a constitutional conservative is.


And at the same time you STILL defend Obama???


ROFL....well, I guess there's still a few rednecks who defend Bush too so why am I surprised?

brainsplus2
brainsplus2

@AlanWilliams Don't remind me of the ignorance the U.S. stands for in one so small-minded as Rand Paul. The man's a plague on history's lessons.

Stand_With_Rand
Stand_With_Rand

@ThomasHickman He and his father were both outspoken against Iraq war, but at the time Rand was only a physician and had not been elected to Congress yet.

dh730
dh730

@daena.vassar Did you forget who was president when WW II, Korea, and Vietnam started?  Mighty easy to forget the past.

RobinDonaldDeVallon
RobinDonaldDeVallon

@Hihoze This is Europe... the area most of you hail from.. A figurine like RP could never exist here... From the only Navajo on Gran Canaria.... Donah..//

Ayep
Ayep

Wow, you should look in a mirror, then re read your comment you dumbass. 

Stand_With_Rand
Stand_With_Rand

@brainsplus2 @AlanWilliams That made absolutely no sense.  You didn't say ONE single substantial thing other than insults.

You can't debate him because you dont know a SINGLE thing about his policies or platforms.

You attacked using the typical go-to talking points of liberals who think its best to ignore the law of the land and continue to raise the national debt and convinced that it's all okay.


Congress has the lowest approval rating in our natoins history and Dr. Rand Paul is actually DOING HIS JOB.....I guess you prefer the status quo Harry Reid, John Boehner types who say one thing and do another....or Bush / Obama, 2 more who say one thing and do another.