Rand Paul Defends Trump's Syria Pullout, Compares It to Similar Move by Reagan


Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul offered words of praise Tuesday for President Donald Trump’s decision to pull some U.S. troops out of northern Syria, even going so far as to compare Trump to former President Ronald Reagan.

The White House announced Sunday night that the Turkish military is about to move forward with a military operation in northern Syria.

“The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area,” the statement added.

A fact sheet released by the administration on Tuesday read, “Trump is removing American troops from northern Syria to ensure that they are not put in harm’s way.”

“The decision to remove 50 to 100 American troops from northern Syria is intended to keep they from risk of injury, death, or capture during Turkish military operations,” the fact sheet added, according to the Washington Examiner.

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Still, Trump has come under bipartisan fire for the decision, including from some of his supporters, like South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham who has suggested the move “is a disaster in the making.”

But the Trump administration’s stance on this issue has at least one staunch defender in Congress in the form of Paul, a libertarian-leaning Kentucky senator who has long called for an end to America’s “endless wars” in the Middle East.

“I, for one, appreciate the president being consistent in his policy that the goal is to irradiate ISIS and the people who have criticized him have wanted a different goal, someone who will wait until Iran’s gone, someone who will wait until Russia’s gone, someone who’ll wait until Hell freezes over,” Paul told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday.

Paul’s remarks echoed a series of tweets posted by Trump on Monday, in which the president indicated that since the Islamic State terror group has largely been defeated, the U.S. has no business continuing its current involvement in Syria.

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The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force gives the president the power to take military action against any entity he believes to have been responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks — arguably justifying U.S. involvement in Syria as it relates to defeating the Islamic State group.

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But Congress has yet to authorize military involvement in Syria that is not related to fighting terror.

“I just don’t think it has to be the U.S. obligation to try to figure each of the world’s problems out,” Paul said.

The Kentucky Republican compared Trump’s move to action taken by Reagan to pull some U.S. troops out of Lebanon in 1984.

In October 1983, a truck bomb attack carried out by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists killed 241 U.S. servicemen and women — including 220 Marines — who were stationed in Beirut. The following February, Reagan opted to withdraw American Marines from the area.

Trump and Reagan both realized that “having a few hundred soldiers in the middle of a war is not necessarily a deterrent, but often a trip wire to a larger conflagration,” Paul said.

“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,” he added.

In his remarks Tuesday, Paul also took aim at “the Cheney family, the typical war caucus” for opposing Trump’s Syria stance.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was heavily involved in the George W. Bush administration’s Middle East-related foreign policy, while his daughter, Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, has criticized Trump’s Syria decision as “a catastrophic mistake.”

“These are the people that have never met a war they didn’t like and have never met a war they wanted to end,” Paul said, according to Politico. “They’ve been wrong about everything in foreign policy for the last several decades.”

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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