- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, argued against sending American ground troops to combat the Islamic State on Wednesday and said he had no confidence in the administration’s plan to arm moderate rebels in Syria.

“I kind of tend to believe that really if the Iraqis won’t fight for their country, I don’t think American GIs should, and so I’m all for the Iraqis stepping up and proving that they want to have a country,” Mr. Paul said in a satellite radio interview on “The Michael Smerconish Program.”

Mr. Paul said Saudi Arabia should be the first country to offer assistance in the fight because the country had helped fund radical Islamists.

“I think, frankly, the Saudis have grown rich on our petrol dollars and they’ve been funding radical jihad for a couple of decades now. They probably have either purposely or inadvertently funded and sent arms to ISIS,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Paul will question Secretary of State John Kerry at a hearing on Wednesday and said he plans to ask how the administration will decide whom to train or arm in Syria.

“I have absolutely no belief, or no confidence that the moderate rebels are of any use as a fighting force, or that they will significantly fight against ISIS. I think they fight against Assad, and they prevent Assad from fighting ISIS. I think it’s really counter-productive,” Mr. Paul said.

The senator, who is rumored to be considering a presidential bid in 2016, also condemned President Obama for not seeking full congressional approval of his war plans.

“I think he would have gotten a nearly unanimous vote in the House and the Senate, and then it becomes a bipartisan battle,” the senator said in the interview. “There would be less partisan sniping and less criticism if things don’t go as planned, and the nation is really at war and you have consensus.”

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