Not talking about presidential candidate Rand Paul per se, but I just saw a video of him (from when, not sure) saying he would support sending military aid to country’s fighting the terrorist group ISIS, because even though in the past he might not have been in support of that, he now feels ISIS presents a large enough threat to the U.S to warrant such action. But he maintained he would limit support to something less than sending in American ground troops.
We have been down that path before.
President Lyndon Johnson declared he was not about to send “American boys to do what Southeast Asian boys should be doing”. And then not long afterwards he sent in ground troops (beyond the military advisers already there) into South Vietnam. Ten years or so later and about 60,000 American deaths plus seriously injured, we pulled out after being hopelessly caught in a quagmire.
I’m fairly sure Johnson did not mean to lie. It’s just that he was caught in a jam. He did not want to be the president who lost the war, even though he knew it was hopeless. Actually he knew that to begin with I think, but what to do — at the time all American leaders had to be committed to fighting communism.
Probably one can’t make a direct analogy here. But the point is once we get involved we do not know where events will take us.
So hearing Rand Paul or anyone else make such a pronouncement is suspicious.
I continue to be unpleasantly amazed at leaders or potential leaders who seem to think we can control war. If we could, we would just dial them down, turn them off. We can’t. We can decide whether to get involved.
It may be true that we have to fight ISIS. But we need to be prepared to do what it takes and our leaders have to have the stomach for it.
The leaders of today do not seem to match those we had during World War II. And the general public has no sense of needed sacrifice. In our current state we could not have won that big war.
So far our half measures have yielded nothing but more chaos and death in the Middle East.
And let’s forget nation building, shall we?
The only thing worth our blood and treasure is our own interests. If the populace of the Middle East can leave their religious-caused civil strife and their tribalism for Western Democracy, well good, but we cannot force them to. That is their decision.
I am of course aware that we already have some ground troops in the Middle East — I’m talking about new or additional commitments.