Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to review the evidence linking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to a chemical-weapons attack that prompted Thursday night’s missile strike by the U.S.
On the surface, Paul said, it makes no sense for Assad to use chemical weapons. He was winning the six-year-old civil war, had the support of Russian troops on the ground, and, just days earlier, received a public statement from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that regime change was not America’s goal.
“He’s either the dumbest dictator in the world, or it may be more confusing that this.”
“He’s either the dumbest dictator in the world, or it may be more confusing,” Paul said on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Paul, a longtime critic of U.S. military intervention in Middle East conflicts, made clear he is not peddling a conspiracy theory.
“I would like to see the evidence … In all this rush, why don’t we at least look at the intelligence instead of getting somebody’s conclusion on TV second-hand from the president,” he said. “I don’t dispute the evidence,” he said. “I just haven’t seen it.”
Paul said President Donald Trump was right during the presidential campaign to condemn the war in Iraq and urge caution in Syria. He said the president must keep those principles in mind even in the face of horrifying images of children being killed.
“The instincts of President Trump are good ones … But he’s been greatly influenced by the emotions,” Paul said.
Paul urged Trump not to get swept up in war fever. He noted the tone of coverage on all the cable news stations, from liberal to conservative.
“There is a huge drumbeat,” he said. “Everybody’s excited.”
Ingraham lamented a “domino of disaster” resulting from U.S. engagement in military conflicts from North Africa to Afghanistan. Paul agreed.
“All the people who wanted to take out Hussein are now clamoring to take out Iran as well,” he said. “So where does it end? When will we finally be done taking out regimes in the Middle East?”