Senator Rand Paul doesn’t buy Secretary of state John Kerry’s argument that taking military action in Syria “isn’t going to war in the classic sense,” as Andrew notes below.
“Many people now believe that you’re not really involved in war and they call it euphemistic things like kinetic action if you are involved with only airplanes, or involved with only ships,” Paul told reporters in a conference call this evening. “But I would consider the Air Force and the Navy to be part of our armed forces.”
“I don’t think it changes the restrictions on the president given by the constitution whether it’s a big war or a little war,” Paul added, calling the Vietnam War an example of military action that increased over time.
“Our best chance for defeat is in the house,” Paul said of the resolution authorizing President Obama to take action in Syria. He hopes a bipartisan vote in the House will result in defeat of the resolution, saying “The NSA vote encouraged me that Republicans and Democrats can come together and try to do the right thing.”
He also criticized some senate Republicans for being overly hawkish.
“One of the few consistent things about some members of my caucus is intervention,” Paul commented. “Many of the members of my caucus were for Qaddafi before they were for the people who overthrew Qaddafi. They were for Mubarak before they were for the Muslim Brotherhood before they ended up being for the generals. The only thing consistent about their position is intervention.”
He expressed concern that any attack on Syria would lead to a further decrease of stability in the Middle East. “I think it’s more likely you’ll see an attack on Israel if we launch an attack on Syria,” Paul said.
He denied that he was an isolationist. “I would place myself more in the school of realism,” Paul remarked, “where we look at each individual item and each individual conflict on a one by one basis, and we make a judgment on that.”