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Rand Paul: Reagan Would Never Have Gone Into Iraq

Image: Rand Paul: Reagan Would Never Have Gone Into Iraq

By Melanie Batley   |   Friday, 20 Jun 2014 01:13 PM

Ronald Reagan wouldn't have invaded Iraq as president, Sen. Rand Paul wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal.

Reagan believed that the United States should not commit forces to combat unless it was in the vital national interest, had clear objectives and public support, and only with the clear intention of winning, Paul wrote. Reagan was president from 1981 to 1989.

The Kentucky Republican,who opposed the Iraq War, said the rationale for going to war in 2003 did not meet the requirements of the Weinberger Doctrine which was the Reagan administration's set of guiding principles for foreign engagement designed by Caspar Weinberger, Reagan's defense secretary.

Paul, a potential 2016 presidential contender, said he continues to oppose sending American troops back to the region to quell the recent outbreak of violence.

"For the small group calling for boots on the ground — how can we ask our brave men and women to risk their lives for a country the Iraqis aren't willing to fight for themselves? Iraqi soldiers are stripping off their uniforms and fleeing this fight. We shouldn't ask our soldiers to put their uniforms on to take their places."

Paul said he is also skeptical of launching air attacks.

"What would airstrikes accomplish? We know that Iran is aiding the Iraqi government against ISIS. Do we want to, in effect, become Iran's air force? What's in this for Iran? Why should we choose a side, and if we do, who are we really helping?" he wrote.

Paul also insists that neither President Barack Obama nor former President George W. Bush should be blamed for the escalating conflict in Iraq, but the situation is an example of misguided foreign policy decisions by both presidencies.

"For former Bush officials to blame President Obama or for Democrats to blame President Bush only serves as a reminder that both sides continue to get foreign policy wrong. We need a new approach, one that emulates Reagan's policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary acts fully and decisively."

He concluded by saying, "Leadership means admitting our mistakes so we can correct them. We will do ourselves no favors if we simply recommit to the same mistakes and heed the advice of those who made them in the first place."

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