Senator Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss the civil war in Syria and if he would filibuster the debate or vote in the Senate.
Paul filibustered John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA for 12 hours back in March and he said he may do the same thing when the Senate debates on Syria. Wallace asked if he would do it, but Paul never said yes or no.
PAUL: Well, the filibuster can delay temporarily a vote, but it cannot put a vote off forever. It can be used to get something you want. And so, filibustering to try to get an amendment to a bill is sometimes worthwhile. Filibustering to try to get information from the administration is worthwhile. But I can’t ultimately defeat the resolution.
I will insist that there is full debate on this, and I will insist that I get an amendment, and my amendment will say that the vote is binding, that the president cannot, if we vote him down, decide to go to war anyway. That’s the way I interpret the Constitution, and I will insist on at least one vote where we try to say, hey, guys, this is not political show. This is not constitutional theater. This is a binding vote.
Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and told Sen. Paul that if America stands by Syria’s president Assad, he will use chemical weapons against civilians again. Wallace told Paul the White House also thinks a vote against intervention will cause America’s enemy to ignore sanctions and build weapons of mass destruction. Paul thinks it is unknown what the enemies would do.
PAUL: No, I think it is unknown. I think there is a chance he’s more emboldened if we do attack him. For example, what’s the worst case scenario? The worst case scenario is that the stockpiles of Sarin gas begin to move about the country, and maybe they go to Hezbollah and they go into Lebanon and become more of a threat to Israel. I think that’s more likely to happen if we attack Assad than if we don’t attack Assad.
With regard to North Korea, I think the North Koreans know and should know absolutely if gas or conventional weapons were used on our troops ever, that there would be an overwhelming response against them. They are completely separate situations.
Here’s the thing is — this administration won’t even react when Americans are killed in Benghazi. They have done absolutely nothing. And so, here is a situation in Syria that doesn’t involve Americans and they want to get involved. To me, they’ve got it backwards.
Senators Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have called colleagues like Paul who do not want war in Syria “isolationists.” Paul hit back during his Fox appearance, saying name-calling is not the future of the Republican Party. He said only wanting to intervene when America is threatened does not make him an isolationist. He recalled a conversation he had with a man who had a son and nephew in the Iraq War:
What I would say when you talk about who’s winning this battle, talk to any American. I was in the airport yesterday and I talked to the father of a son who is on an aircraft carrier over there now and whose nephew was burned severely in the Iraq war. And his words were to me: stand up and fight them on Syria. We should only go to war when we have to.