Why plans usu­ally fail

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Four years ago, the me­dia were talk­ing about a “Lib­er­tar­ian Mo­ment.”

I had high hopes! Sen. Rand Paul ran for pres­i­dent, promis­ing to “take our coun­try back from spe­cial in­ter­ests.” But his cam­paign never took off.

He “shouldn’t even be on the stage,” said Don­ald Trump at a Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial debate.

Paul quit his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign af­ter do­ing poorly in Iowa.

In my new video, Paul re­flects on that, say­ing, “Ei­ther the peo­ple aren’t ready or per­haps the peo­ple in the Repub­li­can pri­mary aren’t ready.”

But Paul says, “We may be win­ning the hearts and minds of peo­ple who aren’t in Wash­ing­ton.”

Re­ally?

The cur­rent deficit is a record $984 bil­lion, and since Trump was elected, fed­eral spend­ing rose half a tril­lion dol­lars.

But Paul says progress has been made, in that Trump has in­tro­duced some mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion in health care, cut taxes, cut reg­u­la­tions, ap­pointed bet­ter judges and prom­ises to get us out of for­eign wars. Paul tweeted that Trump is “the first pres­i­dent to un­der­stand what is our na­tional in­ter­est.”

“But he hasn’t pulled us out of any­where,” I said.

“Com­pare it to Ge­orge W. Bush, who got us in­volved every­where,” an­swered Paul. “Or Pres­i­dent Obama, who sent 100,000 troops to Afghanista­n. The rhetoric of Pres­i­dent Trump has been a relief.”

The prob­lem, says Paul, is that, “When the pres­i­dent has said any­thing about it ... im­me­di­ately Repub­li­can and the Demo­crat lead­ers get to­gether and pass a res­o­lu­tion say­ing it would be pre­cip­i­tous to leave Afghanista­n.”

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell did re­cently make a speech about “the dan­ger of a pre­cip­i­tous with­drawal.”

“Re­ally?” replies Paul. “Af­ter 19 years? Pre­cip­i­tous?”

Amer­ica went into Afghanista­n to take out the killers be­hind the Sept. 11 at­tacks. We suc­ceeded. So why are we still there?

Paul com­plains, “In­ter­ven­tion af­ter in­ter­ven­tion hasn’t had the in­tended con­se­quence. We’ve got more chaos.”

In Iraq, Amer­ica took out Sad­dam Hus­sein, but that has left a power vac­uum and con­tin­ued vi­o­lence.

In Libya, we helped get rid of Moam­mar Gad­hafi, but Libya’s “gov­ern­ment” is now run by armed gangs that tor­ture civil­ians.

In Syria, we armed rebels to fight Bashar As­sad. But many of our weapons ended up in the hands of al-Qaida, and As­sad is still in power.

“Every time we think we’re go­ing to get more sta­bil­ity or less ter­ror­ism,” says Paul, “we end up get­ting more chaos and more ter­ror­ism.”

Re­cently, Trump moved 50 troops from north­ern Syria. His ac­tion re­ceived wide­spread con­dem­na­tion from peo­ple Paul calls the “war hawk cau­cus.”

Lind­sey Gra­ham said it was “the most screwedup de­ci­sion I’ve seen since I’ve been in Congress.” That’s say­ing some­thing; Gra­ham has been in Congress for 24 years and has seen sev­eral screwed-up wars and failed do­mes­tic pro­grams.

But Gra­ham al­most al­ways seems to want more war.

Paul ac­knowl­edges that four years ago, he wanted to arm the Kurds who are now in harm’s way and give them their own coun­try. In pro­mot­ing Amer­i­can with­drawal, hasn’t he be­trayed the Kurds?

“When I re­fer to the Kurds hav­ing a home­land, they kind of do. They have a sec­tion of Iraq,” re­sponded Paul, say­ing he never pro­posed cre­at­ing a Kur­dish coun­try in Syria. In any case, “Fifty or 2,000 Amer­i­can sol­diers are noth­ing more than a tar­get for bad peo­ple to kill.”

I don’t know whether Paul is right about Syria, but I’m glad Paul speaks out.

We need a strong mil­i­tary. But we should use it spar­ingly, only when we know it ben­e­fits our de­fense.

If we go to war, Congress must vote to de­clare that war. That’s what the Con­sti­tu­tion re­quires. Congress hasn’t done that since 1942. That’s wrong. It al­lows politi­cians to hide their deadly mis­takes.

“It’s a very com­pli­cated war over there,” says Paul. “They’re four or five dif­fer­ent coun­tries in­volved in it. The peo­ple who live there know bet­ter. We can’t know enough about these prob­lems. And un­less you want to put 100,000 troops in there and fight As­sad, Rus­sia, Tur­key ... we ought to re­think whether we should get in­volved in these wars to be­gin with.”

In both for­eign and do­mes­tic pol­icy, gov­ern­ment plans usu­ally fail.

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