Rand Paul: 'Mistake to Get Involved in the Syrian Civil War'

September 3, 2013 - 6:54 AM

Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul said he believes the nation's biggest problem is government spending and the national debt. He spoke in Paducah, Ky., on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will be among those voting "no" to a U.S. attack on Syria.

"I think it's a mistake to get involved in the Syrian civil war," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "I would ask John Kerry, do you think that it's less likely or more likely that chemical weapons will be used again if we bomb Assad? I'll ask him if it's more likely or less likely that we'll have more refugees in Jordan or that Israel might suffer attack. I think all of the bad things you can imagine are all more likely if we get involved in the Syrian civil war."

Paul said although he opposes U.S. action in Syria, he's "proud of he president" for "coming to to Congress in a constitutional manner and asking for our authorization."

Paul said he thinks the Senate will "rubber stamp" what the Obama administration wants to do, but he predicted a close vote in the House. He said Congress must ask a lot of questions:

"I think it's pretty apparent there was a chemical attack, but we now have to ask, are we going to go after chemical weapons with our bombing? Everything I read says that we're unlikely to bomb chemical sites because of the potential for civilian damage and civilian loss of life.

"The other question is all of the bad things that are going on -- one of the bad things that's going on is hundreds of thousands of people have gone into Jordan as refugees. If we begin a bombing campaign in Syria, I think that accelerates -- so it accelerates the misery.

"If we get involved, you know, people say, "Well, 100,000 people have died, we must act." Well, if our weapons get involved, and we get involved, do you think more people will die or less people? I think the war may escalate out of control. And then we have to ask ourselves, who is on America's side over there? If the rebels win, will they be American allies? Assad's definitely not an American ally, but I'm not convinced anybody on the Islamic side -- the Islamic rebels will be American allies."

Paul said the only reason for the United States to get involved in Syria's civil war is to protect American interests. But, he added, "I don't see American interests involved on either side of this Syrian war. I see Assad, who has protected Christians for a number of decades, and then I see the Islamic rebels on the other side who have been attacking Christians. I see al-Qaida on one side, the side we would go in to support, and I see it to be murky, and I don't see a clear-cut American interest. I don't see either party that is victorious, if either party is victorious, being an American ally."

Asked how it would make President Obama look if Congress doesn't go along with his promise to take military action, Paul said the president miscalculated from the very beginning: "I think it would show that he made a grave mistake when he drew a red line. I think a president should be very careful about setting red lines he's not going to keep. But then again, when you set a red line that was not a good idea in the beginning, and now you're going to adhere to it or try to show your machismo, I think then you're trying to save face and really adding bad policy to bad policy."

Paul said he wouldn't send his son, or anyone's son, to "fight for stalemate" in Syria. He said the Obama administration has not done enough to get the support of the Russians or the Chinese for ousting Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, even though he believes "the best outcome for all the major powers would be a peaceful transition in government."