Rand Paul: Proponents of Iraq war responsible for current chaos

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) responded Friday to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week in which former Vice President Dick Cheney leveled sharp criticism of President Obama's handling of Iraq.

In an interview with NBC's David Gregory, Paul suggested the same questions raised by Cheney in the op-ed should be asked of people like Cheney himself and others who supported the Iraq War, saying he "blame[s] those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran.”

The full interview will air Sunday on Meet the Press. Below is an excerpt of the interview provided by NBC:

DAVID GREGORY:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been quite critical of this president and he wrote an op-ed this week in which he said in part, “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Too many times to count, Mr. Obama has told us he is ‘ending’ the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – as though wishing [makes] it so.” Do you think Dick Cheney is a credible critic of this president?

SEN. RAND PAUL:
I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War. You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out. And what’s going on now -- I don’t blame on President Obama. Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry.

DAVID GREGORY:
You’re not a “Dick Cheney Republican” when it comes to American power in the Middle East?

SEN. RAND PAUL:
What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran. Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before-- before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.

Wesley Lowery covers Capitol Hill for The Fix and Post Politics.
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