Meet the Press   |  September 01, 2013

Rand Paul: 'Mistake' to get involved in Syria

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul voices opposition to American intervention in the Syrian conflict today in an interview on Meet the Press.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i want to bring in senator rand paul, republican from kentucky, he's on the foreign relations committee as well. senator, welcome.

>> good morning. glad to be with you.

>> so you heard the secretary of state break news this morning that the evidence, the intelligence suggests now this was a sarin gas attack at the hands of the assad government. the secretary saying as he just did the case is building and will continue to build. is that enough for you to now vote to authorize the president to use force?

>> no. and i think it's a mistake to get involved in the syrian civil war . and what i would ask john kerry is, you know, he's famous for saying, you know, how can you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake? i would ask john kerry how can you ask a man to be the first one to die for a mistake? i would ask john kerry , do you think that it's less likely or more likely that chemical weapons will be used again if the we bomb assad ? i will ask him if it's more likely or less likely that we'll have more refugees in jordan or that israel might suffer attack. i think all of the bad things you can imagine are all more likely if we get involved in the syrian civil war .

>> it's interesting because secretary kerry was pretty blunt, and i've got his remarks right here, talking about what you and your colleagues will do in the senate and the house. he said, i don't believe my former colleagues in the united states senate and the house will turn their back on our interests, on the credibility of our country, on the norm with respect to the enforcement of the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons , which has been in place since 1925 . so you speak about the bad things that will happen. he says for you and others not to authorize force is really hurtful to u.s. credibility.

>> well, the one thing i would say that i'm proud of the president for is that he's coming to congress in a constitutional manner and asking for our authorization. that's what he ran on. his policy was that no president should unilaterally go to war without congressional authority. and i'm proud that he's sticking by it. but you ask john kerry whether or not he'll stick by the decision of congress, and i believe he waffled on that and wobbled and wasn't exactly concrete that they would. but absolutely if congress votes this down, we should not be involved in the syrian war . and i think it's at least 50/50 whether the house will vote down involvement in the syrian war .

>> you think it's 50/50. it's that close. you don't think that this is a compelling case that's been made and that congress will follow suit.

>> in the house. i think the senate will rubber stamp what he wants, but i think the house will be much closer vote. and there are a lot of questions we have to ask. i think it's pretty apparent there was a chemical attack . but we now have to ask are we going to go after chemical weapons with our bombing. everything i read says that we're unlikely to bomb chemical sites because of the potential for civilian damage and civilian loss of life. the other question is all of the bad things that are going on, one of the bad things going on is that hundreds of thousands of people have gone into jordan as refugees. if we begin a bombing campaign in syria, i think that accelerates, it accelerates the misery. if we get involved, you know, people say, well 100,000 people have died, we must act. well fshgts if our weapons get involved and we get involved, do you think more people will die or less people? i think the war may escalate out of control. then we have to ask ourselves who is on america's side over there? if the rebels win, will they be american allies? assad 's definitely not an american ally. but i'm not convinced anybody on the islamic side, the islamic rebels will be american allies.