Republican Senator Rand Paul says that the recent US missile attack against a Syrian airbase means that the US is fighting on the same side as the Daesh (ISIL) terror group.
Upon a direct order from President Donald Trump, the US Navy’s USS Porter and USS Ross guided-missile destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean at Syria’s Shayrat airfield early on Friday, destroying as many as 20 aircraft.
The attack was in retaliation for a chemical attack on Tuesday that Washington insists was carried out by fighter jets operating from the base.
“Make no mistake, bombing Assad means the United States is fighting on the same side as ISIS (Daesh),” Paul wrote in a Fox News article on Friday, describing Trump’s policy as “dangerous and morally wrong.”
“Military action is not in our national security interest and should not be authorized. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different,” the lawmaker wrote.
Noting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been fighting terrorists, Paul warned that ousting him would turn Syria into another Libya, where the 2011 US-led intervention to oust former leader Muammar Gaddafi backfired and gave rise to extremist groups.
“Who would take over Syria if Assad is deposed? Experience in Libya tells us chaos could reign,” the Republican warned.
Paul, who ran an unsuccessful presidential bid against Trump last year, said the president had to consult Congress before taking military action against other countries.
“No matter who is president or what their party is, it is my firm belief that the president needs congressional authorization for military action, as required by the Constitution,” he wrote.
McCain outraged by Paul’s remarks
Paul’s view angered Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, who said his fellow Republican had lost influence in Senate.
“We’re just too different and he doesn’t have any real influence in the United States Senate,” McCain told CNN. “I don’t pay any attention frankly to what Senator Paul says.”
The Arizona senator accused Paul of being wrong on “every other issue that I know of that has to do with national security.”
Paul, who often clashes with McCain on military and security matters, had said earlier that the Vietnam war veteran was “a little bit unhinged” and made a “really strong case for term limits.”