Kentucky Senator Rand Paul vehemently opposes going to war with Syria, and he outlined his thoughts clearly in a letter to his fellow senators on Monday.
As a libertarian, Paul believes that America should stay out of most foreign affairs, and in general promotes a smaller government that does not take action when there appears to be no immediate security risk.
Paul also questioned the wisdom of taking limited action, as Obama has suggested. The president has previously vowed not to put any “boots on the ground,” and to make any attack narrow in scope to avoid a full-fledged war — presumably in an attempt to convince the American people as well as foreign leaders that any actions will not bring about a repeat of the failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the letter, Paul quotes Casper Weinberger, secretary of state for the Reagan administration, who said, “U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.”
“I disagree strongly with unlimited executive power to initiate war,” the letter continues. “But I have some sympathy for the argument that once war commences, the executive should not be hamstrung by a narrowed ability to execute that war.”
Paul also spoke out against the ability of the president to use executive power to start a war, something Obama is entitled to do even if Congress votes against an invasion. Although both Democratic and Republican leaders currently support a military strike in Syria, some polling indicates that such a resolution may not pass in Congress when they vote in a few days.
In particular, the president is facing an uphill battle in the House of Representatives, as the majority of members report hesitance to invade the country.