THE BLOG
11/13/2014 07:06 am ET Updated Jan 13, 2015

Why President Rand Paul Will Keep America Safer Than Bush, Obama, and Hillary Clinton

Aaron P. Bernstein via Getty Images

President Rand Paul will keep you safer than the president who brought America into Iraq and Afghanistan, the same man who in 2000 argued against nation building and foreign military entanglements. He'll keep you safer than the president who just doubled America's military presence in Iraq, yet in 2011 promised, "The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year." Rand Paul will also keep you safer than Hillary Clinton, a centrist with a neoconservative advisor named Robert Kagan who is quoted in The New York Times as saying, "I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy." Rand Paul will also defend you against terrorism and other national security threats better than Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson and any of the other sycophants in American politics. Why? The answer lies in who doesn't want Senator Paul to be the next president of the United States.

Let's assume you've never heard of Rand Paul. The mere fact that John Yoo, author of Bush's Torture Memos, thinks Paul should not be president is reason enough to consider voting for the Kentucky Senator. Yoo, a man The Guardian has stated "continues to defend the indefensible" by claiming waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods are not torture, explains his viewpoint in a recent National Review piece titled, Why Rand Paul Is Wrong about the ISIS War Being Illegal -- and Shouldn't Be President:

We should never put someone in the Oval Office who thinks that the United States can only use force when it is actually attacked, as he argues. That is the mindset that led the United States to ignore events in Europe as they spiraled out of control 100 years ago and to withdraw from the continent in the interwar years, leaving it to fascists who ultimately drew the U.S. back into another destructive war...

...Congress enacted in 2001 an authorization to use force against any group connected to those who carried out the 9/11 attacks. If the Islamic State is linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, as it appears to be (though this depends on the facts), they fall within the AUMF.

In classic Bush era fashion, Yoo makes the link between 9/11 and Islamic State, an egregious leap of logic that would also warrant a military strike against Saudi Arabia. Yoo also ignores Paul's repeated statements like "Taking military action against ISIS is justified" only with Congressional approval.

The issue at hand is a debate within Congress, not a surreptitious memo advocating the questionable legality of torture, or returning America to early 20th Century isolationism. Yoo's lack of historical knowledge also correlates with the standard knock on both Rand Paul and his father among staunch conservatives. American isolationism had nothing to do with the causes of WWI or WWII; to claim that it did is not only historical revisionism, but a brazen form of neoconservative propaganda. Even Sean Hannity is too frightened of being waterboarded, so Yoo's viewpoints on torture and his criticism of Paul share a great deal in common. Regarding the issue of torture, Rand Paul is vehemently against Bush era interrogations and even accused both parties of complicity in condoning torture.

Ironically, people like John Yoo and liberals who side with Obama on Iraq haven't uttered a word about the over 3,000 U.S. soldiers the president just recently sent back into the region. A Democratic president has just doubled the size of America's presence in Iraq and nobody seems to care, even though the war was supposed to have ended in 2011. Ask yourself if you feel safer after two costly wars in the Middle East, the government spying scandals, and all the other consequences of the terror war. Did they prevent the two Boston bombers from killing three Americans and wounding hundreds in 2013? Do you feel that our strategy against terror, from Bush to Obama and perhaps onto to Hillary Clinton, will keep you any safer from a domestic terrorist? Ultimately, Rand Paul's greatest sin towards the good people at the National Review, staunch conservatives, and mute liberals (who seem voiceless in the face of Obama's troop deployments) is a statement like, "I'm not willing to send my son into that mess" on the crisis in Iraq.

There's a morality within Paul's foreign policy mindset that both Bush and now Obama seem to lack. How many politicians can you name, especially after the ISIS beheading videos that scared 40% of Americans, who make reference to their own children when discussing a current conflict? Furthermore, like The National Review's criticism of Paul, The Weekly Standard is also concerned with the prospect of his presidency. According to the publication headed by William Kristol (a man who in 1998 wrote a New York Times article titled, Bombing Iraq Isn't Enough) Rand Paul isn't the right man for the job:

Paul agrees with President Obama that the U.S. objective should be to destroy ISIS, yet he "doubt[s] that a decisive victory is possible in the short term," even with greater support from regional powers. Since Paul is on the record as an opponent of sending in American ground troops, he seems to be saying that it is acceptable for ISIS to hold on to its statelet indefinitely...

If Paul is content to remain the junior senator from Kentucky, there may not be too much pressure for him to define his strategy more clearly. Yet if he throws his hat into the presidential ring, he will be have to show that he has a real plan for protecting the nation from terrorism.

Like Yoo in The National Review, the criticism found in The Weekly Standard confuses relevant concerns of a decisive victory not being possible in the short term (which Paul is entirely correct to say) with believing that ISIS should hold on to its "statelet" indefinitely. Again, similar to John Yoo's flaw in logic, according to The Weekly Standard, not wanting to wage another ground war against an offshoot of al-Qaeda means Paul wants ISIS to remain in Iraq forever. God forbid someone in the GOP or the Democratic Party actually thinks twice before sending American soldiers into another never-ending counterinsurgency war; conflicts that have already led to a catastrophic cost upon this nation.

After 4,488 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq and 2,350 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan, 1 million U.S. soldiers wounded in both wars, and a cost of up to $6 trillion, it's safe to say that writers for the National Review, Weekly Standard, and other hardliners against terrorism haven't kept us safe with their viewpoints. Can anyone say they feel safer after our war against terror?

Rand Paul, like Obama, has "evolved" over the issue of gay marriage. Rand Paul is almost the antithesis of Ted Cruz, which is great for any voter who wants their president to read literature other than Green Eggs and Ham or the Bible. Paul might actually be more liberal on foreign policy than Hillary Clinton, since he's against drone strikes (how they make us safer can't easily be explained by any politician) and unilateral military action without vehement debate in Congress. Overall, Rand Paul's foreign policy and strategy against terrorism advocates debate, dialogue and discussion while the rest of America's political establishment simply watches CNN, Fox, and MSNBC to see what's being replayed ad nauseum.

As stated in Reason.com, Rand Paul explained why President Obama's recent troop increase is unlawful:

Libertarian Republican Sen. Rand Paul reiteratedhis strong opposition to President Obama's lawless war against ISIS on Monday. He penned an op-ed for The Daily Beast accusing Obama of subverting the Constitution, the War Powers Act, and the Federalist Papers by bombing ISIS absent Congressional authorization...

It should be noted that Paul does ultimately support bombing ISIS, just not without a legal justification.

Therefore, Paul addresses an issue that both Democrats and Republicans have willfully ignored because of beheading videos and ISIS paranoia: a Congressional dialogue regarding Obama's troop increase and another potential ground war. While both spectrums of American politics are more interested in appeasing a frightened base, Rand Paul is the rare American politician who dares stand out on his own, because of reasoned principles that call for careful discussion over knee-jerk reaction.
Will Obama be the second coming of LBJ, a president who turned hundreds of military advisors into hundreds of thousands of soldiers in Vietnam within several years? Only time will tell, but at least we have Rand Paul to buck the trend of lazy, complacent politics that keeps people from asking why there's still no genuine ISIS debate in Congress.

President Rand Paul will keep you safer than the others because while the danger of terrorism will always exist in some manner, our values as a nation might not withstand the test of time with politicians paranoid over the next big threat. I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but I'm tired of terrorism causing us never-ending wars and political paranoia at home. If it's a choice between Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul (Elizabeth Warren would be a different story) in 2016, I'm jettisoning many of my liberal values to vote for the Kentucky Senator. I'm tired of fighting against a word that sends our soldiers into perpetual counterinsurgency wars and only Rand Paul seems to be addressing this sad political reality. At least I'll know that the next big threat America faces will be addressed by a president who consults Congress, engages in a national debate about military action, and puts long-term security above short-term political expediency.