Rand Paul: Let’s smash ISIS

posted at 5:21 pm on September 2, 2014 by Allahpundit

A few days old but more timely than ever.

Speaking to a ballroom later, some of the loudest applause for Paul came when he quipped: “If the president has no strategy, maybe it’s time for a new president.”

In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

John McCormack reminds us that Paul’s previous comment on ISIS was a lot more equivocal than that. (His op-ed last week on the folly of Obama’s interventionist ambitions in Syria offered no strategy on ISIS at all.) You can read the above as credulously or skeptically as you like. Maybe it’s proof that Rand really is more hawkish than his old man and that, after some initial ambivalence, he’s been convinced by the intelligence that crushing ISIS is the only way to defuse the threat. Or maybe he’s looked at the polls lately and noticed that the mainstream conservatives he’s hoping to woo in 2016 are swinging back towards interventionism. Maybe it’s a bit of both. There’s no reason to hold Rand to a different standard than his competitors. Show of hands: Who thinks Marco Rubio’s recent tough talk on comprehensive immigration reform is being driven purely by non-electoral considerations?

I’m curious about the libertarian reaction to all this, though. Because I’m lazy, I tend to assume their feelings about President Paul’s inchoate foreign policy are similar to liberals’ feelings about then-Senator Obama’s opposition to gay marriage. That’s unfair to Rand because it assumes that he’ll reverse himself on some of his current policy prescriptions if elected, a la O on SSM. It also assumes, again unfairly, that libertarians think he’s BSing them on foreign policy right now in the name of winning the presidency, a la progressives who supported Obama despite his gay-marriage position. Maybe there are lots of libertarians out there who share Paul’s belief that the time has come to bring down the hammer on ISIS; they’re not all as pacifistic as Ron Paul, after all. There are, I’m sure, others who disagree with Paul on intervening to stop ISIS but don’t consider his opinion disqualifying. All political movements learn to tolerate some heresy in their elected leaders. There’s no reason to think libertarians are different.

But as I say, I’m interested in feedback from our libertarian readers to get a better sense of how they’re feeling. Opinion on ISIS among the libertarian/paleocon pundits I read is mixed. James Antle seems skeptical of intervening now but allows that ISIS could become a graver threat worthy of action in the near future. Lucy Steigerwald takes the position that U.S. intervention in Iraq always, always, always makes things worse, therefore we should learn our lesson and stay out. Reason editor Nick Gillespie is harder to pin down so I’ll let him speak for himself:

Waking up would entail actually building an international coalition to deal with the situation in Iraq and Syria (the idea of the United States unilaterally going into Syria during its civil war would surely rank as one of our country’s great strategic blunders; it would either simply strenghten Assad’s regime, thus leading to expanded set of problems down the road, or create absolute chaos throughout the region, causing more problems immediately and in the future). And Obama also needs to lead on putting together a coherent, effective, and defensible policy for the war on terror—one that he can sell to Republicans, allies, and especially the American people who he has treated as an afterthought in all this. Despite the claims of hawks and ISIL itself, the terrorist group is hardly an existential threat to the West any more than al Qaeda was. It can and should be contained and squeezed down everywhere as much as possible (this is not something that mandates either an interventionist foreign policy or expansive security state at home).

An international coalition aimed at containing ISIS is okay, but the group isn’t such a threat to the U.S. that it requires destruction by American military action — or at least, that’s how I read that. And then, of course, there’s the most famous libertarian in America, to whom you can listen below. A taste:

A new US military incursion will not end ISIS; it will provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the US treasury. Just what Osama bin Laden wanted!…

A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.

There’s a slogan for Rand’s 2016 campaign: “Just what Osama Bin Laden wanted!”

Anyway, you tell me, libertarians: Is wanting to destroy ISIS militarily a firing offense by Rand? I’m guessing no, that it moves him a bit further from the “candidate I’m excited about” category to the “candidate I’ll reluctantly vote for because he’s better than all the alternatives” one. Paul can live with that, although it does leave him closer to the dreaded “candidate I can’t vote for in good conscience” category of which libertarians are so fond. What I’m asking is, how much space is left for Rand between categories two and three? Or am I mistaken, and there’s actually more support for intervening against ISIS among libertarians than I thought?


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Might want to smash them real soon.

Bmore on September 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Sorry. Forgot to link.

Bmore on September 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

Works for me.

gophergirl on September 2, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I’d go with your mistaken. Having people be proud of lopping off heads tends to generate animosity towards them. From many sides.

DanMan on September 2, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Rand Paul: Let’s smash ISIS … (A few days old but more timely than ever) …

LOL. Hey, just wait a few more days, and Rand will walk back his comments – and then claim that he never made any such comments …

Pork-Chop on September 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Let’s break this down into easily understandable pieces. If you don’t agree with everything in a numbered, STOP reading – you are unlikely to buy into the conclusion:

1) The SCOAMF administration CANNOT build a coalition of the willing. Europe has effectively no offensive capabilities. The American public is tired of sending our grounds troops to be chewed up trying to pacify Muslim countries under highly restrictive ROE’s established by politicians.

2) America cannot afford a protracted war of attrition using “pinpoint strikes”. Each pinpoint strike costs more than the value achieved by limiting targets. The appeal of “precision strikes” is the limitation of collateral damages.

3) ISIS is worse than Hitler’s Nazi Germany. The Nazis occupied whole countries. They killed millions of innocents … but they were not engaged in a “religious conversion or death” campaign to establish a theocratic state. They were not beheading soldiers taken captive on the battlefield. ISIS is NOT trying to “win hearts and minds” – ISIS is looking to establish a caliphate of subjects who can be instantly executed for ANY wavering from their religious dogma. ISIS is engaged in a zero sum crusade.

4) Within any ISIS controlled area, the native population is arguably worse off than slave labor and better equated with Nazi concentration camps. The only freedom obtainable within ISIS controlled areas is for those who wholeheartedly become active ISIS fanatics.

5) The world now faces a “human cancer” engaged in asymmetric warfare. How large the cancer is seems to vary based on political will. Last week I saw estimates of > 50,000 ISIS fanatics. That number scared the hell out of people … so the narrative has now lowered it to ~ 17,000 … but the problem is cancer grows, spreads and eventually wins.

6) America has a much greater “fighting range” for full out warfare than ISIS. It is time to use it. The areas designated by the Secretary of Defense under ISIS control will be targeted for carpet bombing, napalm strikes, CBU’s & FAE’s, and other anti-personnel weaponry. The goal is very simple – massive reduction of the effective fighting personnel with the acceptance there will be civilian dead. A little comfort may be taken in the concept many of those who are innocent are slated for death by the fanatics in any case … but the bottom line is we are trying to spare the innocents not yet subjected to ISIS’s horrors. It’s simple, brutal math – the needs of the world outweigh the needs of the those already subjugated.

7) Nation states bordering the targeted ISIS controlled areas are REQUIRED to place ground forces into the affected areas to “clean up” and provide free access for the Red Crescent. There will be close monitoring of progress because there is an additional step that will be taken if required.

8) Any ISIS controlled area that is NOT cleaned up or is allowed to return to ISIS control will be “cauterized” through the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

Would this be done by an Obama administration? Of course not. This will have to wait for an ISIS attack by personnel they have sent across the OPEN Mexican border to bring the HORROR of war back to the public consciousness. Obama will be impeached when tens of thousands of Americans have died because of his reckless politics.

PolAgnostic on September 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Can we just actually destroy these people this time around and worry (if ever) about the nation-building once they are destroyed?

We weren’t nation-building in Germany while the Nazis were still in power nor were we nation-building in Imperial Japan.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Obama is not Yellow…………he’s chicken.

Looks like everyone in DC is more responsive than Valerie Obama.

JayTee on September 2, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Ask him to define “crush”

Then assess his statement.

Last year, Ford crushed* Chevy in revenue.

*No one at Chevrolet was injured due to the crushing

BobMbx on September 2, 2014 at 5:27 PM

‘American forces are on the ground here’: Kurds claim US commandos ARE fighting ISIS with them in northern Iraq, after Obama said no ‘combat troops’ would fight

But, we’re not at war ‘war-war’.

Evidently, Obama has put the cart ground troops before the horse strategy.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:28 PM

At-a-boy.

MT on September 2, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Works for me.

gophergirl on September 2, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Amen

Lord Whorfin on September 2, 2014 at 5:30 PM

Sorry. Forgot to link.

Bmore on September 2, 2014 at 5:23 PM

That is not good. Not at all.

KCB on September 2, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Amazin’, how congresscritters seem to have lost sight of the fact that Congress has the power to declare war. Oh, well, what’s responsibility so long as the perks keep comin’.

PersonFromPorlock on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

That would require massive bombing all over the middle east. Maybe even nukes. Either go big or go crawl into a hole. You can’t half-ass this one.

HotAirian on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Rand will have to break the heart of the Ronulan groupies if he wants to be taken seriously by the rest of the country.

chris0christies0donut on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

6) America has a much greater “fighting range” for full out warfare than ISIS. It is time to use it. The areas designated by the Secretary of Defense under ISIS control will be targeted for carpet bombing, napalm strikes, CBU’s & FAE’s, and other anti-personnel weaponry.

I have absolutely no faith that there is any leadership now or in the foreseeable future that is willing to initiate any of these actions.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

Obama is doing that with drones.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Rand is smart enough to know that ISIS is coming after us. we have to stop them over there.

gerrym51 on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Can we just actually destroy these people this time around and worry (if ever) about the nation-building once they are destroyed?

We weren’t nation-building in Germany while the Nazis were still in power nor were we nation-building in Imperial Japan.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM

Something … something… John Kerry… something … 21st century…

:D

chris0christies0donut on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Amazin’, how congresscritters seem to have lost sight of the fact that Congress has the power to declare war. Oh, well, what’s responsibility so long as the perks keep comin’.

PersonFromPorlock on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I believe the president can ask that congress declare war- fat chance with the current officeholder.

Lord Whorfin on September 2, 2014 at 5:35 PM

But as I say, I’m interested in feedback from our libertarian readers to get a better sense of how they’re feeling.

I consider myself libertarian (not registered as such).
While I don’t support the use of the US military to tailor a world to our liking (although such a world would be better than the present one), I do support protecting our true national interests militarily.
ISIS has made it unmistakably clear that they are intent on destroying us if at all possible, and to otherwise do us as much harm as they can. It takes no high-falutin’intelligence assessments or shadowy undercover ops to know this; they overtly declared this to be their intention (in impeccable British boarding school English) as they were sawing the heads off two of our compatriots.
I would support military intervention if its stated purpose was to completely destroy ISIS. I am against the dithery “contain” and “roll back” kind of half-assed feelers Obama is putting out; he wants to act without really making any kind of painful commitment.

jbspry on September 2, 2014 at 5:36 PM

That would require massive bombing all over the middle east. Maybe even nukes. Either go big or go crawl into a hole. You can’t half-ass this one.

HotAirian on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

It is easy to say that, but impossible to implement.

You would also have to expect the American people to raise the black flag on those who are already here and are willing to engage in jihad. will never happen

Americans will be like all of the other subservient sheep who will meekly allow the Orcs to torture and decapitate even family members.

We are all armchair commandos, but will you actually ruthlessly kill the jihadi, his friends, his family and the guy who made his sandwich here in this country? If not, then do you think “massive bombing” only kills the bad guys but leaves the Coptic Christians, “non” and other innocents?

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM

some tell this amnesty shill to stfu.

renalin on September 2, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Perhaps they’ll hide low for awhile. Lots of these guys have to get home to US and England to start Fall semester.

Buddahpundit on September 2, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Can we just actually destroy these people this time around and worry (if ever) about the nation-building once they are destroyed?

We weren’t nation-building in Germany while the Nazis were still in power nor were we nation-building in Imperial Japan.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:26 PM

I supported Dubya and the GWOT & Iraq incursion.

That said, I’ll be damned if I ever go all in on anything other than a nuke strike again.

The Donks pissed away the gains against AQ, Iraq etc and did so in such a nasty way I really don’t ever want to support a Donk initiative about anything.

Let those fluckers stew in their own juices.

Sorry, just to pissed off be reasonable any more.

Bruno Strozek on September 2, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Pulling out completely, removing every single US dollar from the entire region, never stepping foot there again and developing our own internal energy, starving these ‘people’ right back to the Stone Age they infested a mere year ago would be sweet revenge.

You know, if we had an American president.

Tard on September 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Obama is doing that with drones.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Drones can’t carry the massive ordnance needed to eradicate them.

darwin on September 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Who thinks Marco Rubio’s recent tough talk on comprehensive immigration reform is being driven purely by non-electoral considerations?
Hahahahahahah….gasp…hahahahahah sorry …stifling laugh.

Bakokitty on September 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

He misspelled islam.

CurtZHP on September 2, 2014 at 5:45 PM

PolAgnostic on September 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM

use tactical in point 6 (neutrons like the old lance) and strategic in point 8.

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

PolAgnostic on September 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM

Given your instruction, I stopped quickly. The administration can put together a coalition, it will mainly be symbolic, similar to the slightly less symbolic one Bush 43 put together.

Just think, Saudi Arabia can’t wait to sign on.

———————————————————-

As for what libertarians think about Rand’s warmongering (heh) I’d suggest ZeroHedge is the definitive intertubes home of the libertarian base.

Meremortal on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Obama is doing that with drones.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Except for the special ops in Northern Iraq, you meant.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Obama is doing that with drones.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

its really easy to tell who has served and who hasn’t isn’t it guys?

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Nothing in the Libertarian handbook says a nation has to absorb a first strike when the enemy has declared itself at war with it. When the enemy has the capability to inflict a costly first strike and has the intent to deliver it, Libertarians don’t believe in national suicide.

richardb on September 2, 2014 at 5:49 PM

its really easy to tell who has served and who hasn’t isn’t it guys?

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

You don’t even actually have served to know that we haven’t bombed ISIS more than 100 times in the last week or two without any boots on the ground feeding intelligence back to planners. Maybe, weedisgood thinks ISIS lists its locations in the global telephone book or something.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Smashing them is at very least a strategy.

Carpet bomb Syria. It is a total mess anyway.

petunia on September 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Drones can’t carry the massive ordnance needed to eradicate them.

darwin on September 2, 2014 at 5:44 PM

From what I’ve read, being on the receiving end of B-52 carpet bombing is a time to seriously contemplate one’s past sins and request forgiveness.

butch on September 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

“We are all armchair commandos, but will you actually ruthlessly kill the jihadi, his friends, his family and the guy who made his sandwich here in this country? If not, then do you think “massive bombing” only kills the bad guys but leaves the Coptic Christians, “non” and other innocents?

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM”

Have you followed gun ownership trends at all the past 7 years? I’d wager there are a lot of us willing to ruthlessly kill the jihadi, his friends and his family. A LOT of us. Perhaps even 3%. Or more.

Harbingeing on September 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Or maybe he’s looked at the polls lately and noticed that the mainstream conservatives he’s hoping to woo in 2016 are swinging back towards interventionism.

I’m not swinging back toward interventionism, but I will not let a declaration of war by ISIS go unanswered. This goes hand in hand with a Constitutional duty, obligation, promise, to protect citizens of this country and the best way to do it is to crush those groups who violate the rights of our citizens and stamp them out once and for all as a lesson to others.

Dusty on September 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Obama is telling his mentally challenged base what they want to hear, and then he’s doing the opposite.

We have special forces fighting in Iraq. There’s no question. The Kurds say we do, and suddenly the Islamic State is experiencing defeat after defeat.

Also, the Kurds are getting weapons like the TOS-1, a thermobaric missile launcher that’s so destructive that it’s only been used in combat twice. The Kurds got twenty five of them. They kill with flame and pressure.

Azerbaijan probably supplied them, paid for by the US.

I’m very critical of the Iraqi army, but watch this video of an Iraqi soldier discovering the body of his father, an army commander killed fighting the Islamic State.

I’d like to help that family.

A Chair of Some Kind on September 2, 2014 at 5:53 PM

weedisgood thinks ISIS lists its locations in the global telephone book or something.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

heh… come on you know it doesn’t think :)

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Libertarians don’t believe in national suicide.

richardb on September 2, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Except when it comes to vice like drugs, abortion, sodomy, gambling. Then a long, drawn out, costly and painful suicide is preferred.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Obama is doing that with drones.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

its really easy to tell who has served and who hasn’t isn’t it guys?

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM

It’s also easy to tell who plays a lot of Xbox in his parents’ basement.

CurtZHP on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Except for the special ops in Northern Iraq, you meant.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Doesn’t matter where. The Drone targets can be expanded.
That’s good enough.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

And then, of course, there’s the most famous libertarian in America, to whom you can listen below. A taste:

A new US military incursion will not end ISIS; it will provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the US treasury. Just what Osama bin Laden wanted!…

A lack of strategy is a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the president will finally stop listening to the neocons and interventionists whose recommendations have gotten us into this mess in the first place! Here’s a strategy: just come home.

Talk about sticking your head in the sand. Even ostriches are indignant at Crazy Ron.

Bitter Clinger on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

First bash Rand Paul using rhetoric that makes little sense
compared to Rand Paul’s own statements and op eds. Use his
dad’s words against him. Keep calling him a libertarian when
he has continuously stated he is a conservative; in fact, ran
as a conservative in the senate election he won, etc. etc.

Then post a positive article about Chris Christie, Jeb Bush or perhaps Mitt Romney.

Okay, I got it!

Amjean on September 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

“We are all armchair commandos

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM”

not all of us.
some of us have tried multiple times to get DAV status changed to allow re-up.
and if I didn’t tear some discs after the last time I would try again. I would be a liability now.

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 6:00 PM

I have absolutely no faith that there is any leadership now or in the foreseeable future that is willing to initiate any of these actions.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

The President has to go to the American people and explain in stark terms, including video, what these people stand for. Ask them to call/write their congressperson and tell them what needs to be done. Then go to Congress for authorization.

It would be good to have other nations on our side but who can you trust?

Vince on September 2, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Doesn’t matter where. The Drone targets can be expanded.
That’s good enough.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Can a drone carry a nuclear weapon? Then I’m fine with drone attacks.

If not, it’s not good enough.

Meople on September 2, 2014 at 6:03 PM

allahpundit is still trolling herself over Rand and his foreign policy, she’s as nervous as the democrats about him. at what point will she figure out that father and son have different views? 2015? 2016?

burserker on September 2, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Libertarians don’t want to occupy and build nations. They know it doesn’t work. Bush didn’t understand that. He went from talk of killing bad guys, to talking about building nations in about a week.

IF ISIS is a threat, you can deal with them from the air.

HugoDrax on September 2, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Democrats are seeing the Light:

Syrian civil war
31m

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to intro bill authorizing strikes against Islamic State in Syria when Senate returns from recess next Monday – @martinmatishak
see original on twitter.com

https://twitter.com/martinmatishak

canopfor on September 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Nah, when Paul says it I don’t buy it. Now he’s sticking his finger in the wind and saying whatever just to get more support, when all he’s doing is sounding like an opportunistic politician.

Just like the rest of them.

Diluculo on September 2, 2014 at 6:04 PM

Have you followed gun ownership trends at all the past 7 years? I’d wager there are a lot of us willing to ruthlessly kill the jihadi, his friends and his family. A LOT of us. Perhaps even 3%. Or more.

Harbingeing on September 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Weapons and bravado don’t impress me. When I see the sign-up sheet at Fun Houses filled, and long waiting lists for places like Gunsite and Thunder Ranch then I will be a believer.

As it is right now, it is downright embarrassing going to the range and seeing overweight, out of shape, wanna-be commandos dressed in black and cammo hunkered over geegaw laden ARs resting comfortably on sandbagged rests and blasting away at their targets like it is a road sign.

I do smile when I see the almost invisible, yet fit septuagenarian at the 400m range clover-leafing his target with regularity.

OTOH, I am a firm believer in doing drills in firearms, archery, krav maga, melee weapons, etc. Want to impress me as one who is taking this seriously? Don’t ride the golf cart down to post targets on the 200m range. Run your ass down there and back and then punch one inchers. Most dudes would get a heart-attack somewhere along the way.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Except for the special ops in Northern Iraq, you meant.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Doesn’t matter where. The Drone targets can be expanded.
That’s good enough.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Dude, did you miss the significance of what I wrote? I meant that we already have boots on the ground and any expansion of drone strikes will follow further expansion of ground troops.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 6:11 PM

At the end of 2008, thanks to the “troop surge” in the Sunni Triangle in 2007, the area of Iraq now controlled by ISIS was largely pacified, and the U.S. had some 15,000 troops in the area, which is about equal to the number of ISIS fighters there now. But if our troops were still there, would ISIS have dared to invade the Sunni Triangle in the face of better-armed and better-trained U.S. soldiers? If they had, most of them would probably be dead by now, and the remainder would have given up ISIS as a lost cause.

But enter President Cut-and-Run with Judgment to Lead, who told everyone (including our enemies) that he would end the war in Iraq by withdrawing American troops in 2011. This was the perfect invitation to ISIS to fill the power vacuum–without U.S. backup, Iraqi soldiers in that area either ran for cover or joined ISIS. The ISIS takeover of northwestern Iraq can be blamed squarely on Obama, who invited ISIS in and left that part of Iraq defenseless.

Military strategists have known for centuries that it is much easier to defend fortified territory than to take it from an enemy.
But the great Egobama of Smart Power don’t know much about history, which began before August 4, 1961, despite what His Majesty believes.

Steve Z on September 2, 2014 at 6:11 PM

An international coalition aimed at containing ISIS is okay, but the group isn’t such a threat to the U.S. that it requires destruction by American military action — or at least, that’s how I read that. And then, of course, there’s the most famous libertarian in America, to whom you can listen below. A taste:

They are coming to America,if they are not here already.

A new US military incursion will not end ISIS; it will provide them with the recruiting tool they most crave, while draining the US treasury. Just what Osama bin Laden wanted!…

The best recruiting tool is being able to engage in Jihad without opposition.

Basilsbest on September 2, 2014 at 6:12 PM

I’m interested in feedback from our libertarian readers to get a better sense of how they’re feeling.

Well, since you asked…

I consider myself a libertarian-minded conservative. Rand Paul is currently my favorite potential candidate for 2016.

Now, I might not fit the mold, as I was a supporter of the initial invasion of Iraq. I have since changed my mind about that on the grounds that while Saddam Hussein was a monster, what we have right now is even worse. I’m not convinced the cost in money and lives trying to fix Iraq’s problems has been worth it.

I’ve never accused Bush of lying about WMDs, and I’ve never accused him or Cheney of opportunism (Halliburton, etc.) or believed they had anything but honorable intentions regarding Iraq. But I do think they seriously miscalculated the scope of what it would take to stabilize the area, and overestimated the American public’s patience with it.

I do think that we need to reduce our global military footprint a bit, not entirely, but some. Just because we shouldn’t have to be the ones who always pay to save the world, and get spat on by the international community while doing it. As much as I despise Obama, I don’t blame him for wanting to pull out of Iraq. That’s what the American public demanded. Hard to blame him for actually keeping a promise for once, even if it did open the door to ISIS. It was going to happen sooner or later.

On the other hand, ISIS is a humanitarian nightmare. And as much as I don’t want to get involved in another foreign war, the case can be made that “we broke it, we bought it.”

So long story short, I’m fine with Rand Paul saying this. What he needs to do, however, is the one thing that Bush didn’t do — set firm, concrete conditions for victory. Vague statements about “when the Iraqis are ready to take over” aren’t going to cut it this time. Anybody who wants to go back to war in Iraq has to tell us exactly how long our commitment is going to last.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with just turning ISIS into glass.

Caiwyn on September 2, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Libertarians don’t believe in national suicide.

richardb on September 2, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Except when it comes to vice like drugs, abortion, sodomy, gambling. Then a long, drawn out, costly and painful suicide is preferred.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

oh look, nanny stater Bloomberg got a HA account

burserker on September 2, 2014 at 6:13 PM

In an emailed comment, however, Paul elaborated by saying: “If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

Rand Paul is a chickenhawk. He would call a joint session of Congress to tell them that ISO is not America’s problem.

Broadly speaking though, I agree with Paul’s approach (just not the way he interprets the Constitution). Congress should go on the record before committing American troops overseas. The War Powers Act allows Congress to hide in generalities.

Happy Nomad on September 2, 2014 at 6:14 PM

I actually think Ron Paul makes a valid point to the extent that part of ISIS’s strategy is to provoke an American attack that would (a) probably he half-hearted or inconclusive, and (b) good P.R. for jihadis. After all, that was Hamas’s strategy against Israel, and ISIS, unlike Hamas, has been riding a wave of popularity. Which is why – given our own squeamishness about inflicting casualties – we need to have something more to show for whatever we do than a pile of rubble, a bunch of dead Sunnis and a happy Iran.

If for example we helped build up a genuinely secure and operational Kurdish state, that at least would hold out a realistic promise of being a positive and permanent development.

No devastation we are likely to wreak on Arabs in the name of righteous retribution is likely to create anything permanent, other than bloody grudges.

Seth Halpern on September 2, 2014 at 6:17 PM

It’s US or THEM. Why? Because ISIS and the rest of the groups like them won’t accept any other outcome, ever.

Pin-prick type drone / air strikes are meaningless. Glass them all.

Then when the few of them that are left, stick their heads up out of the hole they were in, THAT’S when you shove a hellfire down their throats from the drone circling above.

Meople on September 2, 2014 at 6:23 PM

It’s hysterical how the seasoned Ron Paul worshippers are throwing their idol under the bus in an attempt to save their new Great Libertarian Hope, Rand. They even call him a conservative, as if that will save him.

Reminds one of the left changing ‘liberal’ to ‘progressive’.

Meremortal on September 2, 2014 at 6:26 PM

amazing how many f’ing idiots think airpower alone can win a war.
all airpower has ever done is soften the area to allow boots to take over and win.
nation building my ass….

dmacleo on September 2, 2014 at 6:31 PM

That depends on what your definition of ISIS is.

exhelodrvr on September 2, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Maybe it’s proof that Rand really is more hawkish than his old man and that, after some initial ambivalence, he’s been convinced by the intelligence that crushing ISIS is the only way to defuse the threat. Or maybe he’s looked at the polls lately and noticed that the mainstream conservatives he’s hoping to woo in 2016 are swinging back towards interventionism. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

The two are not, after all, mutually exclusive…

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Anyway, you tell me, libertarians: Is wanting to destroy ISIS militarily a firing offense by Rand?

No.

But the first thing I want to know, is the question David Petraeus famously asked: “Tell me how this ends”…

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

He sure did throw away his Libertarian principles quickly.

A couple of beheadings was all it took.

So, it really was all about pot wasn’t it? Toke on, dude.

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Rand Paul: Let’s smash ISIS

Will Rand Paul be banned from Hot Air?

davidk on September 2, 2014 at 7:08 PM

. Perhaps even 3%. Or more.

Harbingeing on September 2, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Heh.

davidk on September 2, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Nice to hear somebody, anybody, say this.

formwiz on September 2, 2014 at 7:28 PM

“Is wanting to destroy ISIS militarily a firing offense by Rand?”

The Constitution gave congress the authority to declare war and raise armies to defend the United States of America. ISIS has declared war on the United States, has summarily murdered its citizens, and is making credible threats (and plans) to attack within the United States.

Were the President to convene congress and ask for a declaration of war, and the congress to approve such a declaration, then it is within Constitutional authorities for the U.S. to use its military to go to ISIS’ center of gravity (Syria/Iraq) in order to destroy them (in defense of the U.S.), while simultaneously improving border security as a purely defensive measure.

True libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle, not in Ron Paul’s isolationist pipe dream, meaning we won’t use aggression first. ISIS has. Responding to a CREDIBLE threat is a legitimate use of government/military power under these circumstances, as defending the U.S. is a legitimate (and Constitutional) role of government.

Rand Paul not only is correct in his statement, but also points out the Constitutional way to do so.

Smoke_N_Shadow on September 2, 2014 at 7:55 PM

oh look, nanny stater Bloomberg got a HA account

burserker on September 2, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Some toddlers need a nanny or will self-destruct. I suppose you oppose implementing child-proof caps around children.

No society ever on this earth has survived acculturating Libertarian vices.

Reuben Hick on September 2, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Rand Paul: Let’s smash ISIS

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson wrote the following in a letter to John Jay (who later became 1st Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court) on March 28, 1786:

We took the Liberty to make some Inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretentions to make War upon Nations who had done them no Injury, & observed that we Considered all Mankind as our friends, who had done us no Wrong nor had given us any provocation—

The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us, that it was founded on the law of their great Profet: that it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their Authority were sinners: that it was their right & duty to make war upon them whenever they could be found, & to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; & that every Mussalman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise

The American Peace Commissioners to John Jay – March 28, 1786

Later that same year, in a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, George Washington wrote,

Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into non-existence.

- George Washington to Marquis de Lafayette, August 15, 1786

So we return to

Rand Paul: Let’s smash ISIS

Yes, as George Washington would say, if one can’t reform ISIS, then we should crush them into non-existence.

ITguy on September 2, 2014 at 8:02 PM

After Second American Beheaded, White House Compares Obama’s Response To ISIS To The “Bold Decisions” He Made During Auto Bailout…

Didn’t Bush make the original decision to bailout the auto companies?

In:

‘I’m going to respond just like Bush!’

Out:

‘It’s Boooooooooooooosh’s fault!’

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Except for the special ops in Northern Iraq, you meant.
Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Doesn’t matter where. The Drone targets can be expanded.
That’s good enough.
weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

That also involves a strategy….now what?

anuts on September 2, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Of course, Obama made the decision to behead the bondholders.

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 8:30 PM

After Second American Beheaded, White House Compares Obama’s Response To ISIS To The “Bold Decisions” He Made During Auto Bailout…

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Holy Jesus!! Someone needs to tell these people that desperation is a stinky, stinky cologne…

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Doesn’t matter where. The Drone targets can be expanded.

That’s good enough.

weedisgood on September 2, 2014 at 5:59 PM

Evidently not!

Obama to send approximately 350 additional military personnel to Iraq

Resist We Much on September 2, 2014 at 8:48 PM

No.

But the first thing I want to know, is the question David Petraeus famously asked: “Tell me how this ends”…

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

If your guy Rand called libertarians like you to the fight, would you go?

hawkdriver on September 2, 2014 at 10:14 PM

“If I were President, I would call a joint session of Congress. I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily.”

And you hawk types think all Obama does is golf his days away in Martha’s Vineyard resorts; it’s not true! Right after his press conference yesterday in D.C. he spent two hours getting his muffin vajazzled.

Jaibones on September 2, 2014 at 10:37 PM

If your guy Rand called libertarians like you to the fight, would you go?

hawkdriver on September 2, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Fight? In the field? I wouldn’t insult our soldiers by even imagining myself capable, at my age and in my shape, of assisting them in battle.

If you refer to the political fight, I might, although I am at this point inclined to be skeptical of any direct US involvement in the Middle East. This isn’t WWII. Nobody involved is anything like a Great Power. Nobody is going to pose a realisticthreat to the subjugation of the entirety of Europe, or the Pacific Rim. And when rebuilding Japan and Germany, we were dealing with civilizations thathad gone awry, not the near lack of civilization.

But unlike the rather amorphous “War on Terror”, ISIL is starting to take on the facets usually associated with statehood, a state which openly declares itself at war with the US. Unlike Iraq, there is no question that the people in charge are “terrorists” (although I hesitate to use that term, as I think it properly applies only to non-state actors), and rather nihilistic ones at that. Unlike Iraq, these people really are begging for it. On a certain level, it would be rude not to deliver.

Of course, that puts us on the side of Bashaar al-Assad and the Iranian theocracy, doesn’t it? Which, realist that I am, isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. But I like to be perfectly freaking clear about such matters up front…

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM

Fight? In the field? I wouldn’t insult our soldiers by even imagining myself capable, at my age and in my shape, of assisting them in battle.

JohnGalt23 on September 2, 2014 at 11:41 PM

I stopped here. Are you willing to let Rand Paul send other people’s children to war?

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 1:21 AM

I stopped here. Are you willing to let Rand Paul send other people’s children to war?

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 1:21 AM

Oh, sorry… are only those capable of waging war fit to have opinions on matters of war?

I’d say that is borderline fascism, but even the Nazis had the decency to consider the opinion of the Volk

JohnGalt23 on September 3, 2014 at 2:32 AM

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 1:21 AM

Oh, an HD, it seems you have a nasty habit of not reading things all the way through.

Explains a lot, I suppose…

JohnGalt23 on September 3, 2014 at 2:35 AM

ISIS will not stop until they destroy themselves.

(Paradoxical as that might seem on first reading.)

They are bent on glorified suicide, since they do not understand human nature.

At some point they will re-awaken the instinct for survival in the P.C. poisoned, ROE self-crippled West.

And then the impulse for self-preservation will lash out in a way that only the imperialistic Japanese have tasted thus far

The dithering and arguing in the will be rendered moot when ISIS hits us hard enough.

Time, and their increasingly dangerous psychotic acts, will change every wavering mind and will.

And these Islamo-lunatics will be exterminated like the humanoid plague of bloodthirsty locusts that they are.

profitsbeard on September 3, 2014 at 2:41 AM

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 1:21 AM

Oh, an HD, it seems you have a nasty habit of not reading things all the way through.

Explains a lot, I suppose…

JohnGalt23 on September 3, 2014 at 2:35 AM

And you have a nasty habit of obfuscating a point. Your tangents weren’t germane to my question.

Seems your next in line from the Paul Family is a bit of a hawk. (At least for the time being) All the talk you did about the US being too militaristic and the Gulf Wars being mistakes just begs the question as to whether your guy sending our military there finally makes it okay.

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 4:55 AM

I was writing a detailed response on Cat II libertarians vs. Cat III libertarians but HA just trashed my draft with its crappy and incompetent auto-refresh “feature”. And no Back button to revert to. Now I’ve lost interest since HA will likely trash it again before I can retype it.

Toocon on September 3, 2014 at 6:38 AM

Seems your next in line from the Paul Family is a bit of a hawk. (At least for the time being) All the talk you did about the US being too militaristic and the Gulf Wars being mistakes just begs the question as to whether your guy sending our military there finally makes it okay.

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 4:55 AM

Go back and read the original piece. And try not stopping in the middle.

Sen Paul makes it clear that POTUS doesn’t send troops, at least not by himself. Unlike the Thug-in-Chief and his SecState, Sen Paul believes he needs Congress to authorize anything against ISIS. That still doesn’t mean I would encourage my MoC to vote “Aye” on a war resolution. Frankly, I’m not convinced right now, especially with lingering questions of whether the Kurds, Syrians, and Iraqis are capable of doing the job with US air power, or if we are going to have to re-invade. Of course that may be a result of an absolute vacuum of leadership at the top. But that is hardly Sen Paul’s fault.

But none of that assuages my original doubts: Tell me how this ends. Because without a convincing answer to that question, I have every reaon to believe that ten years from now, we’re going to be saying to ourselves, just like we’re saying now, “I knew the old regime was bad, but I never imagined our involvement could make things worse.” Which, if you haven’t been paying attention, Operation Iraqi Freedom did, in spades…

JohnGalt23 on September 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

JohnGalt23 on September 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

It’s tough answering isn’t it? Let me answer for you. Blood and treasure is okay to be lost as long as we get someone in the Paul bloodline making the call.

How old are you that you can’t go?

hawkdriver on September 3, 2014 at 5:57 PM