Responding to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s strong statements this weekend about the need to take military action against Syria for its use of chemical weapons, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) shot back a series of tough questions for both President Obama and Sec. Kerry to consider as they seek congressional approval for action in the days ahead.
“What I would ask John Kerry is, you know, he’s famous for saying, How can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake? I would ask John Kerry, How can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake?” said Senator Paul on Sunday morning, on “Meet the Press.”
“I would ask John Kerry, Do you think that it’s less likely or more likely that chemical weapons will be used again if we bomb Assad? I [would] ask him if it’s more likely or less likely that we’ll have more refugees in Jordan or that Israel might suffer attack.”
Paul was referring to Kerry’s well-known stance against the Vietnam War after Kerry returned from a tour of duty there in the late 1960s.
Paul added, “I think all of the bad things you can imagine are all more likely if we get involved in the Syrian civil war.”
One of the top skeptics of U.S. military intervention in hotspots around the globe unless American national security interests are at stake, Paul also said he thinks there’s just a “50/50” chance that the Republican-controlled House will vote to authorize the use of U.S military force in Syria, while he believes the Senate would “rubber stamp” the Obama administration’s request.
Paul added, “I see a young John Kerry who went to war, and I wish he remembered more of how awful war is and that it shouldn’t be a desired outcome.”
Paul acknowledged he was “proud” of President Obama for seeking congressional approval of military strikes in Syria. “I’m proud that he’s sticking by” a policy he ran on during his campaign for the presidency, Paul said. He added, “Absolutely, if Congress votes this down, we should not be involved in the Syrian war.”
The Tea Party-backed Paul, a strong proponent of civil liberties, is frequently mentioned as a potential GOP candidate for the presidency in 2016.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY), also speaking Sunday morning, said he thinks it would be difficult to get a vote through Congress on military strikes in Syria, “especially when there’s going to be time over the next nine days for opposition to build up to it,” he said on Fox News Sunday.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a top member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has said he’s very concerned about the financial burdens potential military action against Syria might bring, said he does not think Congress will approve a strike. Mike Rogers, however (R-MI), believes Congress “will rise” to the occasion. “This is a national security issue,” Rogers said Sunday morning.