- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul told HBO’s Bill Maher Friday night that the lives of thousands of U.S. troops were “wasted” during the Iraq War.

“I’m not for sending any troops into Iraq and I will oppose sending any of our people back into Iraq. It was a mess from the beginning. I would have voted against the Iraq war. We wasted a trillion dollars and thousands of lives,” the Kentucky Republican said.

Doug Stafford, Senior Aide to Senator Rand Paul, sought to clarify Mr. Paul’s remarks Saturday in an email to The Washington Times.

“Senator Rand Paul strongly supports our men and women in uniform, and to suggesting otherwise because of a disagreement on the merits of a failed war is beneath even the media,” Mr. Stafford said. ” The American people are sick and tired of people trying to twist words for their own gotcha games. Most Americans stand strongly with Senator Paul, with our troops and against endangering their lives in unnecessary wars.”

The senator’s Senior Communications Director, Brian Darling, added, “If you watch the interview, Senator Rand Paul was interrupted by applause before he completed the sentence in question. He intended on saying ‘we wasted trillions of dollars and also thousands of lives were lost. Senator Paul recognizes and honors those who sacrificed life and limb in Iraq. Senator Paul sees their sacrifice as done in the defense of the Constitution and our Bill of Rights but believes that politicians should not escape blame for bad decisions.”

During his interview, Mr. Paul also told HBO’s Bill Maher that he was against sending U.S. ground troops to fight against Islamic State terrorists because he feared history would repeat itself.

SEE ALSO: Bill Maher: ‘To claim Islam is like other religions is naive and plain wrong’

“Every time we talk about toppling a secular dictator, chaos has ensued and radical Islam has become more of a threat,” Mr. Paul said. “Why I’ve decided now to do something is that ISIS is now a threat to our embassy and to our consulate, and I do think we need to defend American interests, and there are lines that occasionally have to be drawn.”

The conversation between the senator and controversial late-night talk show host remained friendly. The “Real Time host” expressed his interest in Mr. Paul, saying he was “the one Republican who was willing to go places where Republicans don’t usually speak. […] I think it’s only a good thing for America when I’m not sure who I’m going to vote for next time.”

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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