On Sunday Sen. Rand Paul tore a strip off of the media and Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis, for not backing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
The senator said he did speak to him and that he supports the president’s decision.
“I’m very proud of the president. This is exactly what he promised. And I think the people agree with him, actually. I think people believe that we have been at war too long and too many places, and that we do need to turn attention to problems we have in home here, roads, bridges, schools,” he said.
“We have a lot of problems in our country. And I think people are tired of spending — you know, we have spent several trillion dollars on these wars everywhere. And I think the president promised that he’d be different,” the senator said.
“And it’s really one of the reasons he won, because he actually attracts independents, who aren’t beholden to either party, who say, you know what, why don’t we turn attention back to America,” Sen. Paul told Tapper.
Tapper said that the decision was one of the reasons Gen. Jim Mattis resigned as defense secretary and asked the senator what he thought of that.
“Well, even General Mattis has sort of admitted that there is no military solution to Syria and that there’s no military solution to Afghanistan,” he said.
“So, I think really it’s the opposite. I think the burden should be on General Mattis and those who want to stay forever in every war theater around the world, the burden is on them to say, if there’s no military solution, why are we still sending more military?
“Syria is an absolute mess. And the one lesson from Syria is that we need more diplomacy, and we actually need to have conversations with Russia. We have made it toxic for anybody to talk to Russia. But, if you’re not willing to talk to Russia, Russia is a big player in Syria, has been for decades, is not going anywhere, and if we don’t talk to Russia, we’re never going to find a peaceful solution to the Syria mess,” Paul said.
Paul then took aim at generals such as Mattis who rather be in war forever.
You get these generals, and they will say, oh, if we bring — bring the troops home from Afghanistan, that’s precipitous also.
And it’s like, we have been there 17 years. How does it become precipitous to leave after 17 years? The president said when we went into Syria very clearly, we’re going to defeat ISIS. That was our goal.
Then all these people who believe in forever war changed the goal. They changed the goalposts. They changed the mission. And they started saying, oh, we’re going to stay there until Iran and Russia leave.
It’s like that means we’re saying forever, you know? Iran’s not leaving anytime soon, unless you want to fight Iran. Do you want another war with Iran?
American people are tired of war. So, they want another war with Iran? Do they want us to have a war with Russia as well? I think we need to find a peaceful solution. And it is complicated, because it’s going to involve the Turks. It’s going to involve the Russians, the Iranians, the Iraqis, us. There’s — the Kurds.
I mean, all of these forces are going to have to come together. And it isn’t going to be easy to find peace. But leaving our troops there is sort of like a trip wire to a much larger war. The war has every danger every day of becoming an explosive, expansive war.
And so I think the president is doing the best thing. He doesn’t — he said — he said, we weren’t going to be for nation-building. We’re not going to go create a nation out of that chaos of Syria or Afghanistan. We’re going to take care of things we have got here at home.
And I think, actually, the people are with him. Washington’s against him, but this wouldn’t be the first time that Washington doesn’t represent the people very well.