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Tipsheet

Rand: GOP Hawks Created ISIS

That’s a bit of a stretch, no? Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) doesn't seem to think so.

Responding to the oft-repeated charge that non-interventionist libertarians are somehow responsible for the rise of ISIS, the Kentucky senator flipped that accusation on its head Wednesday morning, laying the blame squarely instead on the shoulders of his accusers (via TWS):

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“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS's job even easier. They created these people.”

That, however, is not entirely true. It’s a rather simplistic interpretation of how ISIS gained power (and territory) in Iraq so quickly. After all, the terrorist organization, as it is often labeled, is hardly a terrorist organization at all. For all intents and purposes, it is a new nation with an army. And its ability to fundraise, instill fear and terror in its subjects, and recruit Westerners have made it a formidable fighting force in the region. So clearly it is difficult to take seriously Dr. Paul's suggestion that ISIS exists solely because of hawkish Republicans in Congress. Historically, ISIS has deep ties to al Qaeda, and only became increasingly more powerful after the United States pulled out of Iraq—and we continued underestimating them.

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But Paul does have a point: If Lindsey Graham got his way, and we started bombing Assad’s forces, wouldn’t ISIS be more powerful today than it already is? That is to say, wouldn’t ISIS have more arms, more soldiers, more sex slaves, and more territory?

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