One day after Jeb Bush tried to best to clean up his Iraq War mess, Sen. Rand Paul took to the air to blast back at his potential 2016 rival.
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, the 2016 candidate hit Bush’s response to his original comments, in which he told Sean Hannity Tuesday that while “mistakes were made” he didn’t want to get into hypothetical questions of what he would have done at the time.
Paul told the CNN anchor that the question isn’t “just hypothetical,” adding that “invading Iraq was a mistake.”
“It’s a really important question and I don’t think it’s just hypothetical. We seem to have a recurring question in the Middle East whether not it’s a good idea to topple a secular strong man or secular dictators and what happens after that,” Paul told the CNN host. “Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya was the same scenario. We toppled [Muammar] Gaddafi, a secular dictator, but we got chaos and the rise of radicals Islam and I think we’re more threatened now. I think the same was true of Saddam Hussein.”
“I think Iran is now stronger and emboldened. In many ways, Iraq is sort of a vassal state to Iran. We worry about Iran getting a nuclear weapon. So I think we’re a lot worse off with Hussein gone. There’s a civil war going on there. We were also making the mistake to try to degraded Assad, because as we degraded the strong man Assad, ISIS grew,” Paul said. “So I think there’s a consistent theme here that every candidate should be asked, and that is is it a go ahead idea to go into the Middle East, topple governments and hope something better rises out of the chaos because recent history seems to show that, you know what, we’re not getting something better, we’re getting something worse.”
“I think, even at the time invading Iraq was a mistake and I thought the war even at the time was a mistake given the intelligence, but now, I think that people should learn their lesson after the war in Libya,” Paul said. “Everybody needs to be asked — all the Republicans should be asked, did you and do you support Hillary’s war in Libya. And so I think as these questions get asked, we really get to the answer of who Republicans want to lead the country, who do Americans want to lead the country. Someone who will perpetually get us involved in foreign war over there when the result is not to America’s best interest, or someone who will be more reluctant. I think that will be one of our big debates over the next year.”