In a long interview with CNN-TV Oct. 10, Sen. Rand Paul attacked Obama's "illegal and unconstitutional" war in Libya and also warned Republican candidate Mitt Romney against bellicose foreign policy statements when the United States faces a threat of "world war".
"This past year, President Obama illegally began a war with Libya, taking sides with the rebels to unseat an admittedly bad man in Moammar Gadhafi," Paul said. "The president did not seek or get the necessary constitutional authority from Congress for this military action. If our Constitution is to mean anything it must be applied even in times of war, when those seeking to exercise power do not find it expedient."
Senator Paul directed a warning to Romney, whom he is supporting for President, on the same threat; Romney had advocated arming the Syrian opposition, in a foreign policy speech. Paul said, "Number one, I think, whenever we get involved with war or providing weapons or bombing countries, it needs to go before Congress. You know, the Constitution says that that is the prerogative of the legislatures. That's my first objection. My second objection is, it's difficult to know who friend and foe are. We've been over a decade ... in Afghanistan, and we have trouble telling friend from foe. The people we're training, the Afghan soldiers, are turning their weapons on us. So, how are we supposed to know, who in Syria is our friend, who is our foe? What do they stand for?" He cited the confusion of the Syrian Christian population — which he said immigrated during the Iraq war, because "they felt it was safer to be under Assad than to be under the government that we instituted in Iraq."
Asked about his foreign policy differences with Romney and others in the GOP, Paul repeated, "I don't want Governor Romney to think that it is electorally a good thing to appear more bellicose. I think there are many Republicans and many independents who don't necessarily want a president who will begin a war in Syria. And I think it's very important that we not express that as what we're trying to promote." He said he spoke to Romney a few months ago "and my general impression when I talked with him is that he has a healthy reluctance for war."
Paul advised Romney, "Let's not decide that every war is something that U.S. dollars as well as soldiers have to participate in."
He reserved his sharpest warning for the period before the election, however: "And I think even in an election season we need to object. I'm concerned that, you know, we could be at war with Syria even before the election occurs if things escalate across Turkey's border. You know, you have the head of NATO now saying that if Turkey's attacked, all of a sudden all of NATO might be involved in this war.... I don't want to see world war where all of NATO comes on to the Turkish-Syria border and we're involved in a huge Middle East conflagration. I don't think that's what the American people want, and I think we need to be very careful about it."
Paul was scheduled for a second CNN interview at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night.