Sen. Rand Paul said Friday that in the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS), "I think ultimately there's a victory from boots on the ground, but it should be Arab boots on the ground."
"If the Iraqis are not willing to fight for their country, I don't think I would send more American GIs," the 2016 Republican presidential candidate told Jake Tapper on CNN
The first-term Kentucky senator described his strategy for defeating ISIS two days after he spoke against an extension of the Patriot Act
for nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor.
The law, signed in 2001 by then-President George W. Bush in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, expires June 1.
Paul also slams the National Security Agency's metadata programs authorized by the Patriot Act in his new book, "Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America."
Regarding ISIS, he said the best way to destroy the terrorist group is to get the Sunnis involved in the government in Iraq and to promise the Kurdish peshmerga forces a homeland. They also were driven from their homeland when ISIS invaded northern Iraq last summer.
"They are the best fighters over there," he told Tapper of the Kurds, "and I would equip them directly with arms. I wouldn't have it go through the Shiite government. I think there's a little bit of tension between ... the Kurds and the Shiite government."
Paul acknowledged that equipping the Kurds would upset Turkey, "but I'd say to the Turks and the Kurds: 'What about the Kurds having a homeland within Iraq, and maybe within that little sliver of Syria up there near Kobani?'
"But the Kurds would have to give up ... wanting land in Turkey," the senator added. "It would have to be a three-way peace deal, actually have the Turks saying to the Kurds, 'You're giving up all claim to our land — and we're going to now have peace.'"
Such a deal would get the Turks more involved in fighting ISIS.
"The Turks have been too passive," Paul said. "If the Turks were to bring up significant forces, I think it changes the outlook for ISIS."
Other ways to stop the Islamic State include creating a stable government in Syria by forcing out President Bashar Assad — "where it's the government of Syria versus the bad guys of ISIS" — and getting Saudi Arabia and Qatar involved.
"I'd get the Saudis and Qataris and tell them, 'Look, you've grown rich off our petrodollars. Do something useful. Help us fight ISIS on the ground with your troops on the ground.'"
In discussing his opposition to the Patriot Act, Paul said the law should not be renewed because the Fourth Amendment protects against illegal searches and seizures and because a federal appeals court ruled earlier this month that the NSA's massive programs were illegal.
"The court has said it's illegal," Paul told Tapper. "The president started this through executive order. I think the president ought to immediately stop it, because the court says now it's illegal."
Though Paul acknowledged that "we run the risk of essentially being less safe" without the metadata programs, he cited studies showing that as many as 80 percent of Americans objected to the NSA programs.
"Once you get beyond Washington and you enter the rest of America, the rest of America's not so excited about this," he said. "In the Beltway, they lag 10 years.
"People up here are 10 years behind the times. They're still in another era. Many of these people don't realize that people don't have papers anymore. We don't have a castle.
"Our papers aren't in the castle," Paul said. "They're in a cloud — and we want them protected and private. Particularly, young people believe this."
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