Marco Rubio: Rand Paul Wrong on Iraq

Sunday, 22 Jun 2014 01:40 PM

By Greg Richter

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Florida Sen. Marco Rubio parted ways with fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky over the use of American air power in Iraq, saying Paul was over the top in his characterization.

Paul wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday that U.S. airstrikes would amount to America serving as "Iran's air force" if Iran commits ground troops to the battle against the terror group ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has taken over large sections of northern Iraq in recent weeks.

"I think that's quite an exaggeration," Rubio said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

If the United States does nothing Iran still will be involved, Rubio said, and if Iran helps overthrow ISIS without American help, "You can rest assured that a future Iraqi government will be completely, 100 percent under the influence and in the pocket of Iran."

ISIS, wants to set up an Islamic caliphate in the region from which to base its terror attacks. Rubio also differs from Paul on the threat he sees from ISIS.

Paul said earlier Sunday on "Meet the Press" and "State of the Union" that ISIS is too busy fighting the Syrian and Iraqi governments to worry about western targets. But Rubio told CBS that the state it hopes to set up will give it the ability to carry out attacks on Europe and America, just like the safe operating space al-Qaida had in Afghanistan before 9/11.

"From this caliphate that they're setting up they will continue to recruit and train plot and plan and eventually carry out external operations in Europe and potentially even here in the United States," Rubio said. "So this is a very serious national security risk for the immediate and long-term future of our country."

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