- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul criticized U.S. involvement in Syria as well as Sen. John McCain’s controversial trip to the war-torn country, while speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Friday night.

Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican, has been under harsh scrutiny since posing for a photo with Syrian rebels who are alleged to have kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shiites.

“I’m very worried about getting involved in a new war in Syria,” Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, said, as Mediaite first reported Saturday. “People say, ‘Assad is such a bad guy.’ He is. But on the other side we have al Qaeda and now Nusra.”

“They say there are some pro-Western people and we’re going to vet them. Well, apparently we’ve got a senator over there who got his picture taken with some kidnappers, so I don’t know how good a job we’re going to do vetting those who are going to get the arms,” Mr. Paul added, to laughter and applause.

“So there’s two ironies you have to overcome if you want to get involved in a war in Syria,” he continued. “The first irony is you will be allied with al Qaeda. The second irony is most of the Christians are on the other side, so you may be arming Islamic rebels who may well be killing Christians. Does that make Assad a good person? No. I don’t think there are any good people in this war, and there are some tragically innocent people who are going to be caught in the middle. But I just don’t know that arming one side is going to make the tragedy any less.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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