Sen. Rand Paul took former Vice President Dick Cheney to task Friday, blaming "those who supported the Iraq War" for the current crisis in the country.
In an interview to air Sunday
on NBC's "Meet The Press," host David Gregory asked the Kentucky Republican about the op-ed piece Cheney and daughter Liz wrote for The Wall Street Journal
blasting President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in general, and his Iraq strategy in particular.
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Obama announced Thursday he’ll send 300 military advisers to Iraq
to help train forces there fight insurgents who’ve taken over cities and are threatening Baghdad, but the Cheneys wrote: "Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
Paul said he didn’t blame Obama for the current crisis, but that Cheney and other supporters of the Iraq war are responsible for the current chaos and for "emboldening Iran."
"I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq war," Paul said of Cheney's op-ed. "You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won?"
Supporters, he said, "didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out," he said.
"And what’s going on now I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq war on the chaos that is in the Middle East.
"I also blame those who are for the Iraq war for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry."
Paul charged increasing sectarianism fueling the current conflict in Iraq is a direct consequence of the war. And that, he said, has "emboldened Iran," which has recently become involved in the crisis to support the Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran," Paul said. "Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq war than they were before — before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region."
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