When President Donald Trump announced plans on Monday to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, many Republican hawks criticized the president heavily, including such usual allies as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did not hesitate to back Trump.
Paul spoke out to blast Graham and other Trump critics as the “neocon war caucus of the Senate.”
“We haven’t been able to find peace for 18 years in Afghanistan,” Paul told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Monday.
“So I certainly don’t think we’re going to find peace in Syria.”
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) October 7, 2019
Paul said the neocons “always want to stay at war. They always think it’s the best answer.”
“But I would say this,” Paul said. “I think President Trump recognizes what President Reagan recognized, unfortunately too late, in Beirut. Leaving  or 400 people in an area that is vulnerable could lead to catastrophe, but also doesn’t really do anything to secure our national security.”
Paul explained that he believes the U.S. should either intervene militarily in foreign countries heavily — or not at all.
“You know, I’m … of the belief, go big — go big or go home,” the senator said.
“You know, 200 or 300 people are just a tripwire to get us drawn into something and a tragedy probably, but they aren’t enough to do anything.”
“In fact, there may be a couple of — there may be dozens of people at a time — maybe a dozen here, dozen there,” Paul continued.
“They aren’t enough to deter anything.”
“And part of the resolution of the war over there has to be people who live over there.”
Paul then outlined why it’s so difficult to try to manage the region.
“The Turks live over there. The Syrians live over there,” Paul said. “And we have — they have apparently come to an agreement. There’s about three million Syrian refugees in Turkey. You know, they’re going to try to get some of those people back into Syria. And they have to have an area — a zone where they can control that.”
“I think that the best answer is, is that we don’t have all the answers and that the people who live there are always going to have more of a stake in the game, and we need to not think that it’s always the U.S.’s responsibility to fight every war and find every peace,” Paul added.
I’m of the opinion to go big or go home and there’s no reason to be putting a couple dozen soldiers in the middle of oncoming armies. https://t.co/9mOzrzLhW2
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 8, 2019
Paul said that after 18 years in Afghanistan, the U.S. needs to rethink its foreign policy.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. has about 1,000 troops in Syria. Trump’s decision announced on Monday will only affect between 100 and 150 of them.
Sen. Paul noted the Republicans who are attacking Trump over this decision are flustered over a small number of troops that are being brought home.
He also added, “But I do think a couple of hundred people there is simply a tripwire for a bigger war or for a calamity for our soldiers.”
This piece originally appeared in The Political Insider and is used by permission.
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