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Rand Paul: My Own Party's 'Hawks' Helped Empower ISIS

Rand Paul: My Own Party's 'Hawks' Helped Empower ISIS
(Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 May 2015 08:57 AM

Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday blamed the growth of the Islamic State (ISIS) on the "hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately," in the Middle East, with the weapons eventually ended up in the hands of the militant fighters.

"Most of those arms were snapped up by ISIS," the Kentucky Republican and 2016 presidential candidate told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough, responding to people in his party such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, who "want to bomb [Syrian leader Bashar al-]Assad, which would have made ISIS' job easier."

ISIS is also all over Libya because of "hawks in my party," said Paul. "They loved Hillary Clinton's warning. They wanted more of it ... everything they have talked about in foreign policy, they have the gall to point the finger otherwise."

The ultimate answer to dealing with ISIS, Paul said, is to get an "Arab coalition and boots on the ground that will stop them ... Turks need to have their army up on the border. They need to fight."

He also believes that the United States should work toward recognizing the Kurds and encourage them to fight with Turkey to wipe out ISIS.

"Also, Assad does need to leave," Paul said, and then be replaced by "a government we can support. Right now there are 1,500 groups that hawks in our party have been arming."

Also on Wednesday's show, Paul discussed his stance on the expansion of the Patriot Act and on criminal justice, two areas in which his views differ widely from those of many Republicans but resemble the libertarian view championed by his father, Ron Paul, who the senator said he's "proud of all the things that he did."

"I think [there's] a sort of an undercurrent of unease in our cities that one needs to address," said Paul. "I think some of the anger is justifiable, in the sense that people are angry about being rounded up and incarcerated for nonviolent things in the war on drugs."

And he acknowledged that there is a crowded field of Republicans of all philosophies running for the presidency. The only way to win in 2016, Paul said, is to attract more votes from the African-American and Hispanic communities, as well as to attract the youth vote.

Younger voters, said Paul, are particularly interested in the issue of privacy rights.

"If you ask young people under 40, let's say, do you think the government should collect all your phone records with a single warrant that says Verizon on it" most will say no, said Paul. "I'm the only one out there saying the Patriot Act went too far, with the bulk collection of our records went too far."

Paul said he also does not believe that people from his party stand with the mainstream of Americans when it comes to foreign policy.

"If you want to get to America, you got to get outside the Beltway," said Paul. "A lot of people are trapped inside the Beltway and they think war is always the answer.

"I'm asking difficult questions of Republicans. Do you think the invasion of Iraq made it more stable or us more safe? We now have ISIS to contend with. Do you think the invasion of Libya made us more safe?"

However, Paul said that while most of America is "in line with what he is saying," there are people who "want to paint me as out of step with the Republican Party."

He is still a proponent for national defense, including stopping ISIS, and agrees with making cuts in the Pentagon bureaucracy to help fund other defense matters.

"It's insulting that the Pentagon says we're too big to be audited," Paul said. "No government agency should say they're too big to be audited."

He also believes foreign allies, such as Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom, should start carrying more of their own weight on defense spending.

"Conservatives are for safe love at home ... It should be the same for the international community as well," Paul said. "We can't do it forever. We have to realize we're not paying for the support of other countries out of surplus. We are borrowing money from China to send it to Germany, to send it to Pakistan — it can't go on forever."

Paul said to balance the nation's budget, he would cut spending and lower tax rates, two things members of his party have given up on.

"I think you can get growth through tax rates being lowered," said Paul, complaining that members of his party talk more about "revenue neutral tax reform, which means half the people will have taxes go up [and] half will go down."

Instead, he said he wants to do what President Ronald Reagan did and "dramatically lower the rates."

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The rise of Islamic State extremists in the Middle East can be traced to Republicans who backed arming fighters in the region, presidential candidate Rand Paul said in an interview broadcast Wednesday.
rand paul, gop, hawks, isis, patriot act
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 08:57 AM
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