Actually, Senator, no, it wasn't. It was very straightforward: Saddam Hussein was a sponsor of Islamic jihadism, including al Qaeda; Saddam Hussein had chemical weapons and was developing nuclear weapons; per the Bush Doctrine, he had to be taken out and his country liberated. The "mistake" was not that, but in failing to liberate Syria and Iran as well.
But in a self-servingly pragmatic sense, I understand why Rand is saying this. The American public is to this day confused about foreign policy and America's vitally necessary leading role in the world. They spent years being angrily convinced of the Obama Doctrine - that America is the focus of evil in the modern world and must withdraw from the rest of the world completely as some sort of penitently redemptive white-flag-waving act - and they've watched the disastrous consequences unfold over the past four years, which produces hopelessly illogical poll results like these, in which U.S. respondents support Barack Obama's nuclear sellout to Iran by 58%-33% but think it will result in disaster and lead to nuclear war in the Middle East by 62%-35%. This is either a fatalistic resignation to the horrific fate to which Obama has consigned us, or it is the flowering of the twenty-first century neo-isolationism that the Paulnuts have long been waiting for, and Rand is attempting to tap into it. And it will last, of course, right up until the first nuclear flash, but by then, it'll be too late.
But what does Senator Paul care about millions of U.S. and allied civilian lives? He's got a GOP nomination he actually thinks he can win:
Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul says it was a big "mistake" to topple Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein — and that it may have made Iran "twice as strong as it was before the Iraq War."
Actually, again, Senator, no, it didn't. To the contrary, if the mullahs were ever willing to part with their nukes, it was in the summer of 2003 in the midst of our blitzkrieg across Iraq, and for precisely the same reason Muammar Khaddafy voluntarily gave up his WMDs: He didn't want to wind up in a spiderhole. Sure, Iran now controls Iraq and Syria and Lebanon and Gaza and Yemen; sure, they've never been stronger or more emboldened; but that's because of President Bush's failure to liberate Iran when he had the chance, and Barack Obama's gifting of Iraq (and now Yemen, plus a nuclear arsenal) to the mullahs, not taking out Saddam in the first place.
But, just to prove that I'm not out to write "hit pieces" on Senator Paul as some of you seem to indiscriminately and defensively believe, Rand wasn't totally cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in his foreign policy remarks, at least in the same sense that a stopped clock is right twice a day:
Speaking to Orthodox Jews at the Torah Umesorah Hebrew Day School in Brooklyn, New York, Paul also said he doesn't support war with Iran over its nuclear bomb program....
Okay, that's insane. Besides which, by conceding the mullahs the upper hand, the initiative, and nuclear weapons with which to carry it out, the "choice" of war with Iran will not be ours, but Tehran's, which means when they strike - with an EMP attack - we won't be able to respond.
Or, "It'll be too late".
Wait a minute; why is Rand wasting time addressing a constituency whose votes he'll never win in a State vastly too "blue" for any Republican to ever carry? And he's trying to appeal to Jewish voters by, in essence, leaving the Israelis twisting in the wind? For which party's nomination is Senator Paul running, anyway?
Now let's see if I can honor that sop to the Paulnuts above:
....and blamed Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton for the turmoil in Libya after U.S. forces dumped Moammar Gadhafi, the New York Observer reports.
Agreed. But do you know why, Rand? Because the invasion of Iraq in 2003 put the "fear of Allah" into Khaddafy, neutralizing him as a strategic enemy of the United States long before Barack Obama gifted Libya to al Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State.
Paul also warns that any attempt to oust Syrian dictator Bashar Assad would only lead to the Islamic State's (ISIS) being "in charge of Damascus."
Agreed again. Of course, that would be a "six of one...." proposition. Right now, the Iranians are "in charge of Damascus," which hardly seems like an improvement. But then, I'm not clear on whether you support or oppose war against ISIS, either, actually. Which was pretty much part & parcel of what we were doing in Iraq from late 2003 through 2008 - quite successfully, I might add, until Barack Obama - who also considered overthrowing Saddam Hussein a "mistake" - threw away everything American soldiers had achieved at not inconsiderable cost in blood and treasure. Did you support that as well, Rand?
At any rate, as I wrote here during the "red line" crisis of September 2013, there was (and is) no "side" to take in Syria, which means that either we glass and full-scale invade the country and eliminate Assad and ISIS, or we don't go in at all. I would lean toward the latter - which is to say, Barack Obama was right for the wrong reasons - only because at this late date, engaging the mullahs' proxies and stooges is strategically pointless. They need to be taken out directly, assuming they don't quite yet have nukes, just like we did....Saddam Hussein.
Which Senator Paul thinks was a "mistake".
Sorry, Paulnuts, I just can't leave this one alone:
"All the way back to the Iraq War, I think it was a mistake to topple Hussein," he said. "Hussein was the bulwark against Iran. The Sunnis didn't like the Shiites, now Iraq is a vassal state for Iran." [emphasis added[
Couple of points: (1) The Sunnis and Shiites may dislike each other, but they both hate our "infidel" guts and want us all dead. That's not something that withdrawing into "Fortress America" will remedy; and (2) Saddam Hussein may have been an enemy of Iran, but he was our enemy as well. Ditto the mullahs. As much as we might want to evade the reality that this war really is a clash of civilizations, that's precisely what it is and has been for fourteen centuries, and we would be far better off accepting that fact and acting accordingly. Which, contra Rand, does not require us to attack every Muslim country at once, or one at a time, or even every Muslim country, but only those that pose a strategic threat to the United States and its (former) allies. In which category most definitely resided Saddam Hussein and resides the Islamic Empire of Iran.
You know which was the last administration to consider Saddam Hussein a "bulwark against Iran," Senator? The Reagan (and Bush41) Administration, which accordingly armed Saddam against the mullahs, and against whom we ended up having to fight in the first Gulf War.
In foreign policy there is rarely, if ever, a "good vs. bad" choice. Rand Paul would have us never make the choice at all. The last time we pursued that foreign policy, the result was the Second World War - another conflict in which our enemies made that choice for us. Not an example to be repeated, it seems to me.
But what do I know? I've got "hit pieces" to write - right?