Rand: US ‘Should Not Be At War In Afghanistan,’ Say ‘There Are Not Gun-Free Zones’

Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul argued “we should not be at war in Afghanistan” and “I think we should announce, across America, that there are not gun-free zones” on Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Wolf.”

Rand said that “there’s been a lot of confusion” in the response to the bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital. He continued, “It appears as if the coordinates were given to somebody, because they kept repeatedly bombing the same site, but I think it goes to a bigger question, and this is a question that President Obama should have to answer, why are we still at war in Afghanistan? What is the US objective? What’s the US mission? And why are we bombing anybody in Afghanistan? I think we had a clear-cut mission after 9/11, but that’s been long gone for many years now, and I think really that the Afghans need to step up, and defend themselves, but there’s no reason for the US to be involved there, at all at this point, and tragic accidents will happen when you’re involved with war, but I don’t see why we’re still involved in Afghanistan.”

Rand added that he doesn’t mind an “outside international investigation” of the bombing, “but somebody needs to step up, and say, ‘Why are we there and what is the policy?’ Doctors and hospitals should never be targeted, and so that’s completely unacceptable, but if it’s an accident, it’s still a bad policy, because why are we dropping the bomb in Afghanistan? We’ve been helping them for ten years or more, they should step up, and they should be able to combat against any insurgency, and there is not a clear-cut US role, and if we’re to be back at war in Afghanistan, the president should come to Congress and ask for permission, and we should say why we’re at war, and have a debate over that, but we shouldn’t be in perpetual war all around the globe.

When asked about arguments that Afghanistan would go back to the way it was before 9/11 if the US pulled out, Rand responded, “why? We have given them billions and billions of dollars. We’ve spent more in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan. Why can’t they defend themselves after a decade? Do we have to defend them in perpetuity? No, I don’t think we should have perpetual over there. And I think often people will not stand up and defend themselves if we’re doing the defending. So, they are doing more of the ground activity, but I think their entire defense, minus maybe some armaments and some support, but really we should not be at war in Afghanistan. They should be able after a decade or more to defend themselves.”

Regarding Russia’s actions in Syria, Rand stated, “Well, I think the first thing that’s very important is to have the open lines of communication, and we have some in the primary, Carly Fiorina, mostly, who says she doesn’t want to talk to Putin, and she’s ready to use force against the Russians. Well, man are we lucky she wasn’t president during the Cold War. Because we did keep open lines of communication throughout the Cold War. We’re in very close proximity over there, and the last thing we need is an accident where we shoot down one of the Russians or vice versa. So, I think we need to know where everyone is flying, what everyone’s roll is, and if we can find common ground with trying to destroy ISIS. And I’m very worried about an accident happening over there, and I’m also very worried about some Republicans who want to have no dialogue, because that’s a recipe for disaster.”

He also argued, “Saddam Hussein, once he was toppled, made Iran stronger. Iran and Iraq are now allies. They’re also allies with Syria. Now they’re allied with Russia. So, I would argue that the Iraq War was a mistake, and it actually enabled Russia to become stronger in the region, and that’s what we need to think about before we topple another dictator, what are the unintended consequences of toppling dictators in the Middle East.”

Rand also discussed gun control, stating that the recent shooting in Oregon was a “terrible tragedy” before continuing, “but the thing is, they already have universal registration in Oregon. They have significant gun registration laws, and I just don’t think that more controls are the answer. I do think that we should not pre-announce to the public, to the potentially crazy and homicidal people out there, that there are places they can go to shoot people, and that’s what we’ve done with our schools. … I think we should announce, across America, that there are not gun-free zones where you can go and shoot people, and I think if we did, that there is some deterrent effect.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett