In Defense Of Rand Paul’s Iraq Stance

Bruce Fein Constitutional Lawyer
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If Mark Twain were alive, he would sermonize that there are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and Jennifer Rubin’s tirades against Senator Rand Paul’s foreign policy. Ms. Rubin’s latest unschooled and biased polemic appeared as a Washington Post blog post last week. She embarrasses the cerebral faculties like Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium.

Ms. Rubin clucks that in contrast to all other Sunday talk show dunces (who forecast flowers showering on United States soldiers in Baghdad), Mr. Paul does not awaken each night terrified that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will traverse the Atlantic Ocean to attack the United States and install a caliphate. But shouldn’t Senator Paul be applauded for remaining calm in the midst of another hallucinatory clamor to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy?

Consider the relative capabilities of ISIS and the Pentagon. The former features a maximum fighting force of 10,000. Its weapons are primitive. ISIS has small arms and civilian-style pickup trucks with mounted crew-served weapons, mainly heavy machine guns such as Russian-made Dushkas, and also a limited supply of 23mm anti-aircraft weapons for direct fire.

The Pentagon features an annual budget exceeding $500 billion. The United States Army has 541,000 servicemen and servicewomen. The corresponding figures for the Navy, Air Force, and Marines are 320,000, 333,000, and 182,000, respectively. In sum, ISIS would cripple or annihilate itself by initiating war against the United States.

Does Ms. Rubin really believe anyone in the United States loses sleep over having a failed Middle East state spanning parts of Iraq and Syria? Lebanon has been a failed state for decades. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are failed governments. ISIS might threaten Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Persian Gulf sheikdoms. But the United States would not be endangered unless we continue to manufacture enemies by projecting our military and financial clout to manipulate or prop up keenly execrated governments in the Middle East. That was the proximate cause of 9/11.

Ms. Rubin stumbles again by falsely charging Senator Paul with intentionally misleading voters into believing that we have been arming ISIS in Syria. But we have. The United States armed the Iraqi armed forces despite their suspect loyalties to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When ISIS attacked, the Iraqi military defected or deserted en masse leaving their U.S. weapons behind for capture and use both in Syria and Iraq. This was entirely predictable — a second edition of the United States provision of arms to the Army of South Vietnam that were promptly captured or sold to the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese.

Former deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams is summoned by Rubin to testify in support of her cackles against Senator Paul. Mr. Abrams declares: “The Obama administration has been giving non-lethal assistance to vetted Syrian nationalist rebels who are fighting the Assad regime and the Jihadis linked to Al Qaida, such as ISIS. If the Senator has proof that the administration has deliberately or through incompetence aided ISIS, he would do all of us a favor by producing it.”

Mr. Abrams, however, was convicted of twin misdemeanors of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra investigation (although he was pardoned in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush). He was publicly censured by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for testifying falsely on three occasions before congressional committees. Is credible on national security matters?

Ms. Rubin conceals Mr. Abrams’ history of untruths from the reader. Do you think if Senator Paul had a comparable history of false or misleading statements before Congress, Ms. Rubin would have remained silent? But like Julius Caesar’s assassins, Ms. Rubin is an honorable woman, and the neoconservatives like Elliott Abrams are honorable men.

Finally, Mr. Abrams alarms with his cocky assurance that the recipients of United States aid in Syria have been “vetted” to insure their objectives converge with United States interests. That is what was said about the mujahideen recipients of United States weapons fighting against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They later became complicit in the 9/11 abominations and continue today to attack the Afghan government supported by the United States.

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