Sen. Rand Paul says he doesn’t blame President Barack Obama for the ongoing turmoil in Iraq and that former Vice President Dick Cheney and other proponents of the Iraq War should ask themselves the same questions Cheney is raising now about the conflict.
“What’s going on now -- I don’t blame on President Obama,” Paul said in an interview with NBC’s David Gregory to air on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East."
In an op-ed this week authored with his daughter Liz, Cheney wrote of Obama that "rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."
Paul, a possible 2016 presidential candidate known for his breaks with Republican defense hawks on foreign policy, said that Cheney’s criticism of the president’s strategy should also be questioned. Cheney is widely credited as a key architect of the 2003 war.
“I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War,” Paul said. “You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out.”
He added that the Iraq War has caused ongoing chaos in the Middle East as well as the emboldening of Iran.
“Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before-- before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region," he said.
First published June 20 2014, 10:48 AM
Carrie Dann is a national political writer for NBCNews.com. She has worked for NBC and NBCNews.com since 2006. Dann writes about politics and Congress. Dann rejoined the web team after 18 months as a campaign reporter for NBC News, covering presidential and vice presidential candidates during the 2012 election. She also covered the 2007-2008 presidential campaign for NBC, including extensive reporting on the Iowa caucuses.
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Prior to her work at NBCNews.com, Dann was a staff reporter at CongressDaily, where she covered lobbying and government reform.
A Virginia native, she now lives in Washington, D.C.