Today, Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Trey Grayson, the secretary of state of Kentucky, in the GOP Senate primary, saying that Mr. Grayson “is right on the issues that matter — both on fiscal responsibility and on national security.” Of Mr. Grayson’s main opponent, ophthalmologist Rand Paul, the former vice president expressed deep reservations about his views on national security, saying “we need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game.”
Indeed, Mr. Paul has taken a number of strange and troubling positions that are far outside the Republican mainstream on these critical national security matters. On the defense budget, Paul says we should cut what “we are doing militarily” (speech to Ron Paul for President supporters in Chattanooga, Tenn., February 2, 2008). On terror suspects held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Paul once said, “They should mostly be sent back to their country of origin or, to tell you the truth, I’d drop them back off into battle.…You’re unclear, drop ’em off back into Afghanistan. It’d take them a while to get back over here” (speaking in Paducah, Ky., May 8, 2009). (Although he now repudiates those comments after they were brought to light by Mr. Grayson.) On Iran, Paul asserts: “Our national security is not threatened by Iran having one nuclear weapon” (speech to Ron Paul for President supporters in Burlington, Vt., October 1, 2007).
On Iraq, in an interview on “Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton” in May 2009, Paul said: “Yeah, I say not ‘out of Iraq now,’ I say ‘out of Iraq two or three years ago’ — or ‘never go in,’ even better. But I think that when you get out the only thing that you need to propose and that people will accept is that you do it in an orderly fashion.”
On September 11th terrorists: “When my dad stood up to Giuliani and said that our foreign policy caused us some of what we got on 9/11, he didn’t say that it justified what those people did to us. But we have to understand that there is blowback from our foreign policy” (remarks at Western Kentucky University, April 7, 2009).
On the Patriot Act: “I am absolutely opposed to the PATRIOT Act, would’ve voted no on it and would vote to sunset any provisions as quickly as we could” (Rand Paul on Freedom Watch, Fox News, May 20, 2009).
Should Mr. Paul be elected to fill Sen. Bunning’s seat, “Senator Rand Paul’s” views on national security, the global War on Terror, and foreign-policy matters would be more in line with Majority Leader Harry Reid’s than they would with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s.
– Cesar Conda was assistant for domestic policy to Vice President Dick Cheney and senior economic policy adviser to the 2008 Mitt Romney for President campaign.