Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has demanded that President Barack Obama get the approval of Congress before putting boots on the ground in Iraq.
In a speech this week in Louisville and in a Twitter posting, the Libertarian-leaning senator says that before he steps up U.S. military action in the war-torn country he must receive permission on Capitol Hill.
“I think we should steadfastly say we are not sending ground troops back into Iraq,” Paul said in a speech at the Greater Louisville Inc. luncheon, according to Pure Politics.
“But if every one of you rises up in one voice and tells me, ‘We need to go to war and we need troops back in Iraq,’ then I’ll reconsider.
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“I am not saying we can’t help. There are people trapped on mountains, we can airlift them food, I am not even saying we couldn’t use our air force like the president is doing. But it is wrong of him to have done it without asking the permission of the American people.”
And in two tweets, Paul called on Obama to act “within the Constitution” before expanding the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Paul’s “non-interventionist” policy and his criticism of the initial invasion of Iraq a decade ago has come under fire from Republicans, including former Vice President Dick Cheney
and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
But in his latest comments, the skittish Republican senator seems to have reversed himself, and even approves the targeted bombing of rampaging Islamic state fighter who are headed to the Kurdish capital of Irbil and have surrounded tens of thousands of ethnic Yazidis, a religious sect, on a mountain in Iraq.
On Tuesday, Obama sent another 130 troops to Irbil to assess how the U.S. can aid the Yazidis and prevent the marauding ISIS militants from taking over the country, The Hill reported.
After the luncheon, Paul reiterated to reporters that Obama should have gone to Congress first, saying, “Constitutionally, he should come forward with a plan to Congress and we vote for it or against it.”
“With regard to Iraq, I have an open mind as to exactly what we do. I think aiding [Iraq Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki not out of the question, or whatever the new government might be…airdrops of food, and particularly strategic bombing to prevent ISIS from taking over the country."
However, saying that military action should not be taken "unilaterally by a president," he added, "When he ran for office, he said no president should unilaterally go to war without the approval of Congress unless we're in imminent danger. So really I'd like President Obama to go back and meet candidate Obama and see if they can come to an agreement."
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