Rand Paul: “Benghazi Mission Should Have Been Under the Military”

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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84 Responses

  1. George Turner says:

    If only Ambassador Stevens had sent endless cables requesting more armed security forces. 🙁Report

    • Non-sequitor.

      Stevens was not asking for the Mission in Benghazi to be converted to a Marine Corps garrison.Report

    • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

      The State Department plan was to set up Marine security in Libya within five years. Stevens thought that perhaps the constant stream of terrorist attacks and threats warranted some protection a little sooner than that. Not even Tripoli had a US Marine detachment, even though we have a d0zen such units at embassies and consulates in North and West Africa. So Libya was eventually going to get Marines, just like over a hundred of our other embassies and consulates.Report

      • There’s a substantial difference between arguing that the US security presence should have been increased (which was what Stevens wanted) and wanting to have the Head of Mission in the entire country constantly surrounded by a company level detachment of marine guard which seems to be the current Republican talking point of the hour.

        Also, Stevens as Chief of Mission was the one who made the call to be present in Benghazi, with minimal escort on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. He could have been in Tripoli under better guard if that was his intention. He made a choice to be there, maybe it was the wrong one, but that was his call, and if he really were that worried about his own security, it was his decision to make.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    “Marines should have run the Libyan Mission”

    I’m trying to find where Paul actually said these words in either the linked article, linked video, or any other feed or transcript of the event, but failing.Report

    • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

      “First question to Hillary Clinton: Where in the hell were the Marines?” he said, according to NBC News. “It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office.”

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/299165-paul-hillary-clinton-does-not-deserve-higher-office-due-to-benghazi#ixzz2T11IwMVC
      Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook


      “We spent $300,000 on dog kennels [through the federal government]. There is money out there. A good leader finds that money and puts it in,” Paul said.
      The mission in Benghazi, he continued “should have been under the military. It should have been done the way Baghdad was … There should have been 100 Marines guarding the ambassador.”

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/rand-paul-hillary-clinton-benghazi-91195.html#ixzz2T11bxmTR

      (Warning, politico link)Report

      • Are you sure you looked particularly hard?

        Because it’s out there all over the place.

        NBC transcript also says there should’ve been 100 marines guarding Stevens and some other nonsensical drivel.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        I’m just saying I got reamed on one of my first days here for putting my paraphrase of something one of the front pagers wrote into quotes.

        If the standard has changed, I’m fine with that.Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

          I’m not sure if it’s much of a paraphrase when he specifically said “the mission in Benghazi should have been under the military.”Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

          And fine, updated the post title.

          Is it really that much more important than the content of the post?Report

          • If you are asserting that the presence of 100 marines at a consulate is tantamount to imperialism… then you are more anti-imperialist than I am, but apparently only for those interventions that involve Rand Paul.

            We routinely have guards of that size in diplomatic missions everywhere else, and you never did see fit to object to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group until just now.

            It is difficult to escape the inference that your real objection is not to it, but to the person asking for it to be expanded and deployed to do its job.Report

            • The ESG consists of a single battalion level force spread over a hundred installations through out the world. Requiring a group of one hundred marines to be surrounding a chief of mission at all times and the military being the one in charge of the consulate. That’s not how the ESG works. They’re assigned where the State Department asks them to be. Hell the whole reference to Tripoli in their anthem is connected to their historical connection to serving as honor guard as much as anything else.

              I am not arguing that the ESG counts as imperialism.

              But it’s great how your primary objection is that I’m being unfair to your sainted Senator, Jason.

              Edited because I was being a prick.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                It’s not fair. I don’t get to edit my comments, and I’m a prick at least as often as Nob is.Report

              • The ESG consists of a single battalion level force spread over a hundred installations through out the world.

                Perhaps then it’s entirely reasonable to devote more resources to it, particularly given that we seem to live in an era when these sorts of attacks appeal to people in many different countries.

                Now, that might be the wrong approach. But I find it hard to paint that idea as evil — so evil , in fact, that you’d liken it to Darth Vader.

                Requiring a group of one hundred marines to be surrounding a chief of mission at all times and the military being the one in charge of the consulate.

                You know, the word “under” admits of many different meanings. A perfectly reasonable reading of his statement would appear to be that the consulate should be under the guard of the marines.

                And again, that might be a bad idea, but I don’t see it as crazy, evil, or imperialist. I actually don’t see very much wrong with it at all, if indeed that’s what he meant.

                I’d agree with you that the proposal was bad and stupid if he were indeed saying that the military needs to be running our embassies, but that doesn’t seem necessarily to have been his claim.

                That’s not how the ESG works. They’re assigned where the State Department asks them to be. Hell the whole reference to Tripoli in their anthem is connected to their historical connection to serving as honor guard as much as anything else.

                They are not an honor guard, if by that you mean that they are merely ceremonial. They aren’t.Report

              • Since the “under the military” quote from Politico didn’t give the whole quote, I’m inclined to agree with Jason that “under the military” could have a different interpretation.Report

            • Also the notion that 100 marines as a single ESG detachment is somehow unexceptional, you’re not bothering to read the very same wikipedia article you’re reading, much less doing any deeper reading.Report

              • Of course it’s exceptional. I don’t imagine that such a large contingent would be needed in Switzerland. In Benghazi, yes.

                Surely you’re capable of grasping that there might be some call to allocate here according to the needs on the ground.


          • Kolohe in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

            “Is it really that much more important than the content of the post?”

            What, that a Senator is grandstanding and playing both sides of the street? No Fishin Wai! Reminds me of another Senator a few years ago that convinced everyone he was anti-war though he said no such thing.*

            It’s not like Rand Paul is going to get anywhere close to national executive power in his lifetime. Between the neo-con right, the interventionist center and left, and the more general left, he hasn’t got a prayer. The interventionist center will continue to hold sway indefinitely, bombing at will, but without relish – though with enough savoire faire to cut the mustard – though also never with the body counts needed to catch up with the mid 20th century liberal lions.

            *still, this was well-played.Report

            • MikeSchilling in reply to Kolohe says:

              “Of course politicians lie, and everyone else is much worse than Paul is anyway, especially That Guy.” Seriously?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                I didn’t say that everyone is worse than Rand Paul. I said that Rand Paul doesn’t matter. (but yes, all politicians lie. Though the original post did acknowledge that fact too, particularly to their partisan audiences.)

                Do you think Rand Paul matters?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Do you think Rand Paul matters?

                Man, I’ve been trying but I don’t understand this question. Especially when asked by a libertarian.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                No he’s just one the five or six most visible Senators. I can certainly see wt you dismissed this post compared to the one about whether the blog mascot should be a wombat or a tree shrew.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                well, I didn’t comment on that one at all because I didn’t care.

                All I did at first on this thread is point out an imprecision in quotation to a standard that I as a mere commenter was once held to.

                When asked for a specific comment on the post, I gave it. Though I should have also said that General Eikenberry agreed with Mr. Akimoto on the downsides of excessive diplomatic security when the former was Ambassador to Afghanistan, routinely going to bazaars sans body armor (or at least sans helmet).Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                As to whether I think Rand Paul matters. I think he’s the (ridiculously) early front-runner for the 2016 GOP nomination.

                And, as I’m sure you know, Ambassador Stevens also dispensed with excessive diplomatic security and would have laughed at the idea that he could do his job while surrounded by marines.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                which will put Paul in the world historical figure pantheon of James Blaine, Thomas Dewey, and Willard the Mitt Man Romney.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                How many electoral votes will Paul get?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                241-263 if he makes it that far. (which I put as no better than 5-1)(the UK odds folks are giving an implied odds of 10-1, 20-1 for Paul to win overall, and 50/50 minus the spread for either party)Report

              • Kolohe in reply to MikeSchilling says:

                and if Senators really mattered for foreign policy, we would have had the two or three more wars over the last few years that Senator McCain has been angling for.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

                Rand Paul’s importance isn’t as one of a hundred senators. It’s as a face of the party more prominent than most, and as a likely future presidential candidate.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                So, you’re big beef with the US political system isn’t Congress passing laws and all that?

                It’s really about the Presidency? Something else? The institutional apparatus which the Presidency is embedded?

                At some point, a criticism becomes so broad that it’s just a complaint about culture. And no one person or one thing is to blame, ya know?

                That’s just complaining, it seems to me.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                Foreign policy has been near exclusively ceded to executive since the first Bush Administration. I know Mr. Likko, for instance, thinks otherwise, but we’re still operating under the same two line (+preamble and War Powers requirements) AUMF for pretty much, well, everything now.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                If your complaint is that war powers have been ceded to the executive, then it seems like the logical antidote to that cession would be for Congress to grow a pair. Which seems to answer the question of whether Ran Paul matters, yes?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                But between people not buying what he’s selling, not liking what he’s selling, not liking him in general, and him selling different things to different folks, he is utterly ineffectual as an agent of change.

                And thus doesn’t matter.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                And thus the complaint that you’re just complaining.

                I get it. But that’s all it is. Or so it seems to me.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                well, what do you want me to say? That a single senator with a uneven rhetorical record and, when it does please me, is a minority opinion within his own party, (and maybe the other major one, too) matters?

                Because he doesn’t.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Nut here’s the question: if he doesn’t matter, then what does? He’s a (or perhaps the) leading political figure in the Republican/conservative party. He has the power to shape legislation and even enforcement of all the laws you care about. How can he not matter? Even granting your cynicism about government.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                What has he actually *DONE*, though? He had a rousing filibuster. He went to Howard.

                For someone that important, you’d think he’d have *DONE* something.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’ll get back to you when the Republicans take back a Senate majority. Until then, all he can do is block stuff. (which he did, for, what, a little over half a day?) He’s not shaping legislation as a first term Senator (nor as, at best, the 4th or 5th ranking minority member of any of the 4 committees he’s on).

                (I also think everyone is overestimating his influence, much less his raw power, in the Republican party, but that’s just a matter of subjective opinion)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Are you serious JB? I need to know before I respond.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                K, I think you’re confusing politics with closed-loop decision structures. Rush Limbaw, for example, hasn’t passed any important legislation so far as I know. But he’s a powerful political figure, yes?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                Well, I’m not being completely facetious. I considered comparing Rand’s accomplishments in the Senate before running for president to Obama’s…

                But the guy got elected in 2010. He started serving in 2011. He’s been a senator for less than 2 1/2 years.

                I think it’s more about what he symbolizes (yay, filibuster!) than what he’s actually accomplished in office. (And I’m not holding that against him! He hasn’t even seen the halfway mark of his first term.)Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                Rush sure helped President Romney get elected, didn’t he? And take back the Senate for the GOP.

                Or, on another tack, when Paul gets 20+ million bucks a year from having a couple million a people a day listen to him, he will be a figure to be reckoned with indeed.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:


                I really don’t know how to respond to that comment. You seem like an intelligent person. But in the above you’re confusing two very distinct things so egregiously (EGREGIOUSLY!) that I’ve lost my bearings in this conversation.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                I said Rand Paul doesn’t matter, because he is a first term senator in the minority party of one half of one branch of government. Particular in the matter of foreign affairs, where Congress has abdicated through bi-partisan inaction most of their prerogatives because no one wants to be ‘wrong’ anymore like they were in Gulf War 1, or go out on a limb on the record in any way (unless they’re in a safe seat. But that cuts both ways, i.e. evening out the foreign policy preferences).

                Thus, at this point, all Paul can do is obstruct stuff, which he did for a while, then gave up (because it was a bit of grandstanding, and it was, in the end, a bit pointless). He may run for president, he has a pretty hard slog to get the nomination, and he is unlikely to win (because any Republican is unlikely to win) in 2016. I also think that he doesn’t have as much soft influence as other people think (and have stated). Though, he can raise money for himself and others. But, so can Sarah Palin, so that only goes so far.

                As an aside, I think Rush’s influence is certainly on the wane. If one wants to give him credit for the 2010 midterms (and state races), I think that’s overgenerous, but that’s his only genuine ‘win’ since 2004. (and it’s questionable how much credit he and his ilk get for 2000).

                Does that clear everything up?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

                Not really. I agree with a lot of what you said here. But here’s an open question: if Rand Paul doesn’t have power to shape legislation and policy, then who does? If not him, then who? A bunch of nameless, faceless forces that determine governmental outcomes?

                If that’s the case, then why blame anyone for anything?

                Maybe the idea is that the mere existence of government permits a Nameless Cabal to determine governmental policy. But if that’s the case – that private actors with extraordinary power can determine policy – then why think that government is to blame for permitting that? I mean, if they have the power to control formal gummints, then they surely have the power to control private actions as well, yes?
                To construct their own gummint catering to their own desires?Report

              • Shazbot3 in reply to Kolohe says:

                Will is right earlier that Paul matters because he may be the nominee for President, and he carries weight with a large bloc of voters.

                And anyway, the complaint would still be true even if Paul didn’t matter, so it is sort of irrelevant to say he doesn’t matter.Report

              • MikeSchilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                he is a first term senator in the minority party

                And those guys never get elected to anything bigger.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                Foreign policy is shaped almost exclusively by Presidential Administrations, who take their cues from the President. Currently, the dominant paradigm falls somewhere on the Bush 1-Clinton-Obama “multilateral international intervention tempered by realpolitik of what is achievable” spectrum. So-called Neo-con thought is waiting in the wings, but unlikely to return anytime soon. As is whatever what wants to call whatever Carter was up to.

                There is no longer any viable political movement on the right towards non-interventionism (or isolationism, or any similar sentiments). There are people on the right (and left) that believe it, but not with enough unity and enough willingness to subsume other political desires to create a viable political agent for change.

                So, Presidents matter. (those who are not President, don’t matter. Nobody is going to study the Dukakis doctrine in school).

                For domestic policy, committee chairs and sub-committee chairs matter. As does majority and minority leadership. As does membership is ‘Gangs of x’.

                Senator Paul is none of the above.Report

              • Shazbot3 in reply to Kolohe says:

                So Kolohe, your position is that once Paul become president, then his views will “matter” and we should discuss them, but when he isn’t president, his views don’t matter?

                For cereal?Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                Once I see that Rand Paul has about as good as shot at becoming President as Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Joe Biden, Andrew Cuomo, Jeb Bush, Deval Patrick, Mike Huckabee, or Chris Christie (in that order), then he’ll matter.

                He has a better shot than Santorum, Palin, Cain, Haley, or Jindal (or Gingrich), I’ll give you that.Report

              • Shazbot3 in reply to Kolohe says:

                SO, your view is that there are, roughly, 7 people in the U.S. whose views on foreign policy matter? The few people who are most likely to be president. (IMO Paul has a better shot than Patrick.)

                Your idiosyncratic use of the term “matters” is so narrow, it’s as if I said, “The only things that matter are things that are certain to kill me, so it doesn’t matter that I smoke cigarettes.” Sure, if I get to define “matters” however I want, my sentence may be vacuously true. But smoking does matter, even if it doesn’t meet my idiosyncratic wholly capricious criteria for counts as mattering, and it’s wrong of me to say that it doesn’t matter.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

                I don’t know why you think it’s idiosyncratic to say there’s a fairly broad foreign policy consensus at the center of US politics, which makes the actual choices fairly limited and none of the feasible ones really form a complete break from that consensus. (and one of those deviations went out of fashion in a hard way circa 2005). Not only is there a greater than 70% chance that the next Administration’s foreign policy will mirror the current ones, there’s better than a 50% chance that it will be helmed by one of the current or very recent past architects.

                Furthermore, why it’s idiosyncratic to say that all the diverse people that are the conduits of state power and influence in US foreign policy take their orders from the President of the United States, (and do so not only on paper, but in practice) and the Congress largely doesn’t interfere (even if they do no assent).Report

      • George Turner in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        Well, since Libya in general, and Benghazi in particular, was where the terrorist attacks were manifesting, and since the Libyan government or militias were not yet able to provide adequate security (external security at most US embassies, consulates, and missions is provided by the host country), the US should have been providing the bulk of external security until such time as the host nation could take up the role. The US Marines assign about a thousand men to guard over a hundred diplomatic installations. Libya didn’t have a one.

        Considering the complex missions we should have been carrying out in Libya, including rounding up thousands of surface to air guided missiles that were looted by parties unknown, a hundred Marines would’ve been a good start. We needed to provide internal security for the Tripoli embassy, internal and some external security for the interim Benghazi facility and CIA site, and provide support and possible escort and overwatch for investigations of all the weapons looted from Qaddaffi’s arsenals.

        Instead we went all Blackwater on the cheap, which in a way was fortunate because since they were contractors, they were some of the few forces that the administration could not order to stand down, like they did with the forces we had in Tripoli and elsewhere.

        The British weren’t so brazenly reckless and had a lot of forces in Benghazi. If the State Department could’ve asked for their assistance, but alas, nobody in Washington could find an English/English translator in time to make the call.Report

        • Matty in reply to George Turner says:

          since they were contractors, they were some of the few forces that the administration could not order to stand down

          I know its moving away from the original topic but is this not fishing scary. The government can hire a bunch of guys with guns and cannot order them to stop what they’re doing and this is a good thing. I must be misreading as it seems hard to believe the US government actually gives armed forces, even contracted out ones, the legal authority to disobey a direct order.Report

        • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

          No, it’s not scary at all. Imagine yourself as a contractor. The government can mandate you to attend workplace sexual harassment courses, and such, or the government can use their authority to keep you from going into certain areas on their property. But there are lots of things the government can’t order you, a contractor, to do. Among those are orders to sit and do nothing while a crime is carried out across town, like when they order you to stay and refill the Coke machine when your house is burning down, your wife was in a car wreck, and your kid just got snatched.

          They are [i]workers[/i].

          “Ma’am, I have to run to the hospital. My daughter was in a car wreck!”
          “No, stay at your post and keep alphabetizing!”
          “Screw this. I’m leaving.”
          “You are ordered to stand down!”
          “I’m leaving to meet my wife at the ER.”
          “You can’t quit without my permission and approval from the deputy director!”
          “Quit? I don’t even work for you. I work for Temp Alphabet Services Inc. Take it up with them.”
          “Security, arrest that man! He failed to obey a lawful military order!”

          What if you disobey? They can’t fire you because they are not your employer. They can throw you off site and send a nasty note to your boss, or if you violate the law you could be arrested and charged with something, but good luck getting a jury to convict someone for trying to help in an emergency. Last time I checked, there wasn’t a federal law against disobedience and insubordination.

          Perhaps its a difference in perspective between the left and right. Try putting the word “civil” in front of disobedience and see if it helps. Civilian disobedience to government authority can be commendable even if it’s not done on the direct orders of an ordained minister. So when the Pentagon orders its soldiers to stand down, they have to obey. A group of retired Rangers and SEALS drinking beer in Tripoli do not have to obey, anymore than other American tourists have to obey orders from the Pentagon. Do you really want to make all US citizens subject to DoD or other government orders? Can they make us do push ups?

          “Take this job and shove it. I’m driving to Benghazi to try and save an American ambassador.”Report

          • So the difference between left and right is that the Right thinks that every situation is a cliched 80s action movie?Report

          • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

            No, that the left should be mortified at the thought that the federal government could order civilians around like we lived in a totalitarian police state, where every comrade must do his duty, where we all might as well be in uniform, clicking our heals and saluting, but the idea of a gun that’s not directly controlled by the government gives them a spontaneous gag reflex.

            I think the left has a greater tendency to celebrate the idea of organized disobedience, full of grass-roots campaigner workers taking orders from political staffers, ministers issuing instructions to their congregations, planners, fund raisers, umbrella groups, and NGO’s all working as one in a big hierarchy – with George Soros at the top.

            The right has more of a “take this job and shove it” and “from my cold dead hands” attitude toward disobedience. It takes place at the individual level. It also includes the personal freedoms of civilians with guns, no matter who signs their paychecks.

            When the rubber hit the road, the Civil Rights struggle depended on heavily armed black civilians guarding black churches, and they would’ve rightly ignored any unlawful sheriff’s order to disperse. Standing around on private property with a rifle isn’t illegal down South, even for someone who works for the government.

            Where a pro-government liberal, at first blush, might find it frightening that a civilian government contractor could refuse orders, an individual rights oriented conservative or libertarian would think “fish yeah!!! Eat my shorts!!!” I’m sure with a little more thought, a liberal would dislike that a state where men with guns are required to do whatever the government says, despite the dictates of their conscience. It would likely be an unhappy place where there is no liberty.

            So if the armed contractor disobeys to commit a crime, then charge him with the crime he committed. If he’s just disobedient, then terminate his employment contract and escort him off site. Other than that, who on either side wants to criminalize civilian disobedience to idiotic maniacal government bureaucrats who are grossly exceeding their authority? Just because the government pays someone doesn’t mean that a petty bureaucrat can dictate through force of law where that civilian can and cannot go in public places on their own time, or what they can and cannot do. They might choose to no longer retain the contractor’s services, but that’s about it.

            Yet in Tripoli, even that wasn’t the issue. The military commander and the head diplomat both wanted to send forces to aid Benghazi, but the military personnel had been ordered to stand down by their lawful chain of command emanating from Washington. Retired military personnel didn’t have to obey that order (if they wanted to stay subject to the chain of command, they wouldn’t have retired). So conveniently, there were unofficial American forces in Tripoli who could be sent to Benghazi, who wanted to go, and so they went. They reportedly killed or badly wounded sixty or so attackers before being killed by mortar fire from a site they had lased but couldn’t suppress because they weren’t given any air support.

            It’s pretty bad when “armed rogue tourists” are required to protect US diplomatic posts and personnel, but with this administration you have to take what you can get. It’s hardly any different from cowboys and townsfolk forming a spontaneous posse to pursue a band of cut throats when the US cavalry had been ordered to remain in the fort due to put on a dog and pony show for an arriving general.

            As an American, sometimes you have to look at the tweed jacketed dweeb singing “I gave my love a cherry that had no stone”, smash his guitar into little bits, and use your private death mobile to take on Dean Wormer and the ROTC flacks who just stand there hollering “All is well!”. It’s our way, and it’s why we elect people like Senator John Blutarsky.Report

      • Kimsie in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        300,000 on dog kennels?
        Can we cue the folks talking about how many kids still get mauled to death…?Report

  3. What the hell happened here? I saw a post about Paul, Benghazi and the military, but I was busy writing about taxis. Then my computer crashed. Then I decided to play with my daughter for a little while. And now this? I’m confused (and disappointed I do not have the original post to compare the comments to).Report

  4. MikeSchilling says:

    Rand Paul is our favorite guy. He represents all that’s best about America, and nothing he says or does will ever change that. If he says bad things and then make silly, transparent excuses about not meaning them, we forgive him. If he says good things and then doesn’t follow through on them, we know his heart was in the right place. And if he says bd, stupid, demagogic things, well, no one’s perfect. The important thing is that we love him, and that we’re nothing like those rubes that can’t see through Obama.Report

    • Shazbot5 in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      Is Rand Paul more of a wombat or a tree shrew? That is what matters.

      If Buckley wasn’t a libertarian, is Paul not a libertarian either?

      “That begs the question about whether Sen. Paul is a libertarian or not. He notes (p. 78) that his OPPONENTS call him a libertarian, but that he’s pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, and several other stances that are counter to libertarian ideals.”


      No more a libertarian than Buckley.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Shazbot5 says:

        There are a group of people out there for whom the term “libertarian” is said as a curse, an epithet. The way that Herbert Walker said “Card-carrying member of the ACLU”? That’s how they use “libertarian”.

        It’s not intended to communicate a precise thought as much as to yell “THIS POLITICIAN DOES NOT SHARE OUR VALUES!”Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          Quite true. I do wonder, though, to what degree libertarians are to blame for this.Report

        • MikeSchilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          In that case, he’s a libertarian.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          That might be true for some people. Is it true for all people? Is it true for Shazbot?

          I dunno.

          But there are a lot of whacked out people in the wilds who call themselves “libertarian” but who aren’t. And there are people who don’t call themselves libertarians who actually embrace the most of the core principles.

          It’s a vector, man. Not a determinate thing.Report

        • Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

          How is this relevant to my point.

          Either both Buckley and Paul aren’t libertarians or both are libertarians.

          The libertarians around here seemed happy to say Buckley wasn’t a libertarian (partially on the back of his pro-life stance), so therefore Paul isn’t either, if we’re going to be consistent.Report

          • b-psycho in reply to Shazbot3 says:

            Neither is.

            Making the occasional noise that direction doesn’t cancel out everything else. Rand Paul only throws out somewhat anti-militaristic talk for the same reason a pitcher glances at the runner on 1st before going ahead with his pitch.Report

    • George Turner in reply to MikeSchilling says:

      There are two paths the country can take. One ends with all of us bankrupt and sitting in the dark on stopped up toilets, and the other is Rand’s way, with a functioning free-enterprise system giving us light bulbs that work and toilets that flush.

      On Benghazi there was the administration’s way:

      Getting involved because of European pressure, which was applied to protect the profits of oil companies in England, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Norway, and Spain. Wikileak from 2008 Oil cheering by EUObserver.

      Letting thousands of RPG’s, 20,000 surface to air missiles, and a hundred thousand anti-tank missiles and land mines walk into the hands of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups (CBS News link) because the administration didn’t want to look like they were “imperialists,” or make it obvious that there might be an actual aftermath and blowback to overthrowing a regime on the cheap – which they overthrew at the behest of oil companies.

      Ignoring a long stream of terrorist attacks on foreign installations in Benghazi, attacks that caused every country with a functioning brain to either pull out or increase security.

      Refusing requests for increased security from both the security personnel in country and from State Department personnel, including the ambassador.

      Ignoring warnings of an imminent attack, and then refusing to send either personnel or aircraft to respond. The British can’t figure out why there forces in Benghazi weren’t called in, nor can the Libyans figure out why they weren’t asked for permission for US aircraft to enter their airspace to provide air support, just like the support that was used during their overthrow of Qaddafi. Our people at the embassy in Tripoli can’t figure out why they were order not to send forces to help, even as a plane was warming up to make the short hop to Benghazi.

      Refusing to secure the site in the aftermath of the attack, leaving Western reporters wandering around the burnt out buildings for a week or two wondering where all the American government personnel were.

      Refusing to go after the perpetrators of the attack, leaving a New York Times reporter sipping drinks with the leader in a luxury hotel lobby, listening to him correctly brag that the Americans weren’t going to touch him.

      And then lying to the American public and to Congress about what had transpired, and then lying about the lies they told, and then lying about punishing anyone who might talk to Congressional investigators. Even the BBC is regretfully admitting that heads need to roll.

      A hundred Marines and I doubt any of this would’ve happened, because things wouldn’t have gotten so far out of hand. In Iraq, massive “spontaneous” jihadist attacks on US facilities were often repelled by a relative handful of people (squads and platoons) who were shooting back.Report

    • It’s funny, Rand Paul said some extremely dumb things this week, I just don’t think Nob found one of them here.

      If he were to find it, I would agree. If he doesn’t, I may post about it tomorrow…Report

      • The whole anti-American globalists looking to undermine the constitution stuff?

        Or are we talking about his ridiculous notion that the Tsaernov brothers should hold up the immigration hearings? Or something else?

        I was trying to go more with the nativism even in foreign policy angle, but I can see that he’s said some really exceptionally dumb things.Report

  5. Stillwater says:

    “Third time’s the charm?”

    “Not for me it wasn’t. For me, six times was the charm.”Report

  6. Damon says:

    I think there are a couple of points here…bear with me…

    If Rand IS “the darling of the anti-interventionist crowd, champion of civil liberties, world peace and end of all US military intervention abroad, Sainted Martyr for Speaking out Against Drone Based Tyranny, &c.” then he wouldn’t be talking about this. If he had his way, there would be NO US presence there.

    I do think that Benghazi was a total screw up, but if the decision was made, for whatever reason, not to go in, we deserve to know that. This thing smacks of a cover up-if only for political reasons, and if Clinton had any involvement in said cover up, she deserves all due condemnation.

    Lastly, I do think there should be a bright line between US citizens and and non. There are laws and rules that apply for within the US and those rules/laws do not necessarily apply past our borders. It is in our national interest to consider our citizens first, all others second. That being said, that’s not license to drone strike non-citizens or render foreigners to some torture facility we run/monitor in a foreign country.Report

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    Lastly, I do think there should be a bright line between US citizens and and non. There are laws and rules that apply for within the US and those rules/laws do not necessarily apply past our borders. It is in our national interest to consider our citizens first, all others second. That being said, that’s not license to drone strike non-citizens or render foreigners to some torture facility we run/monitor in a foreign country.

    The two positions you’re espousing aren’t necessarily preconditions for one another. Whether or not politics (and for that matter constitutional protections!) stop at the water’s edge to me, seems to be an irrelevant position on whether or not rights guaranteed to US citizens should or shouldn’t be extended to foreign nationals.

    On a practical level I can understand the point that US laws and guarantees might stop past the US national borders. And to the extent that it becomes a matter of resource allocation and trade-offs, then the USG is perfectly justified in taking actions that prioritize the rights and lives of US citizens over those of another state.

    What I don’t understand is any argument that seeks to separate US and non-US citizens in the context of providing for rights and protections within US sovereign jurisdiction. My point with a lot of my Paul criticism is that I think this latter tendency is both disturbing and inconsistent with more trenchant criticisms of the national security state and the foreign policy consensus as a whole.Report

    • Damon in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      I’m sorta on the fence on separate rights within the US for citizens and non. I mean, on one hand, that’s the whole frickin’ point of being a US citizen. If you’re not a citizen of the US, why would you get a right to vote in our elections, etc.

      No, basic constitutional liberties, would seem to apply well to non citizens in the US. Free speech, etc. But I’m not sure how much more than that on a federal level should be granted. Maybe this should be a separate posting for fuller discussion?Report