Rand Paul hit the Sunday show circuit today to stake out a position on Iraq that sets him apart from the hawks in his party. "Let's not be involved in the Syrian civil war, and let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," the senator and potential 2016 contender said in an interview on CNN. While he didn't entirely rule out sending aid to Nouri al-Maliki's government—and said he opposed administration efforts to oust the prime minister—he called Maliki a "feckless" ally.
"You have to ask yourself, are you willing to send your son, am I willing to send my son, to take back a city, Mosul, that they weren't willing to defend themselves?" Paul said. "I'm not willing to send my son into that mess." In a Meet the Press interview, Paul also declined to take up Dick Cheney's criticisms of the president. "What's going on now, I don't blame on President Obama," he said. "But I do blame the Iraq War [for] the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those that were for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran." Paul has however criticized Obama for arming rebels in Syria. Foreign policy wasn't the only issue Paul was tacking for the center on:
- In the Meet the Press appearance, Paul also called for immigration reform. "Border security first, but then we should have something that allows people who want to work in our country who are here to say we will find a place for you," he said.
- Paul is also pushing to extend voting rights to some non-violent ex-felons, Politico reports, to reclassify some drug-related felonies as misdemeanors, and to help get ex-cons back into the work force. "There’s a racial outcome to the war on drugs," he said. "Three out of four people in prison for nonviolent drug offenses are black and brown."
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