- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says the Islamic State terrorist group exists because of hawks within the GOP, labeling Libya a “failed state” and Iraq a “failed state” or a “vassal state” of Iran.

“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS,” Mr. Paul said in an interview that aired Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “These hawks also wanted to bomb [Syrian leader Bashar] Assad, which would have made ISIS’s job even easier.”

“ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved — they loved — Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya; they just wanted more of it,” Mr. Paul continued. “But Libya’s a failed state, it’s a disaster. Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran. So everything that they have talked about in foreign policy they’ve been wrong about for 20 years and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”

Mr. Paul, a 2016 presidential candidate, also predicted that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would have difficulty winning over conservatives in a GOP primary.

“But his second problem will be the Bush legacy on war,” Mr. Paul said, predicting that will “destroy any hope we have of getting independent vote[s].”

Mr. Bush, who has not yet announced his 2016 intentions, has touted a conservative record in Florida on the campaign trail but has not backed off of his comparatively moderate positions on issues like education and immigration.

Mr. Bush has also largely defended his brother, former President George W. Bush, but conceded recently that in hindsight he would not have authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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