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Rand Paul’s Terrible Paragraph

Home - by - February 8, 2013 - 10:05 America/New_York - 14 Comments

from the Bullpen by bitterclinger

The article referenced is in response to a foreign policy speech given by Rand Paul at the Heritage Foundation. The author took one paragraph from this speech and breaks it down to discuss what he thinks it means.

Here is the paragraph from Rand’s speech:

In the 1980s, the war caucus in Congress armed bin Laden and the mujaheddin in their fight with the Soviet Union. In fact, it was the official position of the State Department to support radical jihad against the Soviets. We all know how well that worked out.

Now here are the first two paragraphs of the author’s analysis:

 Let’s leave aside for now the insulting, utterly asinine, sickening, inexcusable use of the phrase “war caucus” to describe those (including Reagan!) who supported the mujaheddin against the Soviets. That word choice alone is almost entirely disqualifying for its purveyor to ever be president.

Instead, let’s just look at a little history here — because the ignorance evident in this paragraph is truly astonishing. One would be hard pressed to find even a single historian, whether right, left, or center, who would argue anything other than that the Soviet failure in Afghanistan was not just a huge factor, but probably an essential one, in the Soviets’ ultimate loss of the Cold War. The mujaheddin did much to help bleed the Soviets dry, at a comparatively negligible cost to the United States (for smuggled military hardware and some intelligence). “We all know how well that worked out,” said Sen. Paul, dismissively, of the work of our “war caucus” to support the mujaheddin. Yes, we do: It played a key role in helping us win the Cold War. Anybody who doesn’t understand that is either foolish or invincibly ignorant.

This is my comment on the Bullpen thread:

Hummm, I read the paragraph before I read the article. I was not terribly upset by what Rand said.

I interpreted it to mean that our (US and Israel) involvement with bin Laden helped create the infrastructure for al-qaeda in Afghanistan. Rand’s point, “We all know how well that worked out.” was just what he said, we helped create a monster. I don’t think he was talking about the failure of the Soviet Union there.

I see the author’s points but I don’t think it was the anti-Semitic manifesto that he makes it out to be. I’m not saying that I think Rand Paul is pure, just not convinced by one little paragraph taken out from a much larger speech.

Then I looked at who the author was. By golly, Quin Hillyer. I’m glad I didn’t notice that before, or I may not have read the article. I have had issues with this author before. I don’t have any specifics, but I feel that he takes too many liberties with interpretation and made conclusions that don’t seem to make sense to me.

He writes for American Spectator (at least I think he still does). I haven’t been there much in the last six months or so. Seems almost every article I read of his, I had some issues with.

That said, I am not saying he is totally wrong, just suspect. I’ll keep my eyes open.

What do you think?


  1. The Proletarian

    February 8th, 2013

    I think that the Reagan admin. played the cards that they were dealt. It is easy to talk now with the benefit of hindsight. At that time the greater enemy were the soviets. The paragraph does not bother me because Rand Paul is rock solid, but, the point should have been made more in context.

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  2. Mahtomedi

    February 8th, 2013

    A bit too harsh on Rand, I would say. At any rate hindsight is 20/20.

    There were a few people at the time who warned that the new Afghan regime may be worse than the Soviets. Among them was anti-communist (but political Lefty) author James Michener. He was a man who knew a thing or two about both Islam and Afghanistan and should have been listened to at the time.

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  3. FreeMan & Sarah Intend to Defend

    February 8th, 2013

    “We all know how well that worked out.”

    Over and over again the USA has done it.

    We pit one against another only to have them turn on us. This wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

    And that is the insulting, utterly asinine, sickening, inexcusable part.

    Thumb up +3

  4. thirdtwin

    February 8th, 2013

    Whatever arms and support Reagan gave to the Muj was likely used up, broken or obsolete by the time the Soviet Empire fell. I do not want to hear Rand Paul or anyone from the left ten years from now Monday morning quarterbacking Bush’s arming of the Northern Alliance.

    The weaponry most muslim insurgents use has a relatively short shelf life and must be replenished regularly to maintain a potent fighting force. Is Rand Paul implying that Bush 41 and Clinton kept the Taliban well-supplied throughout the 90′s?

    I have not read the full speech, but I assume he made this point in the context of Obama and Clinton’s feckless arms-dealing and gun-running in the ME and Africa. Whatever one’s opinion of Reagan’s policy, Obama is most definitely not doing it right,

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  5. BILL

    February 8th, 2013

    with all the lying going on in DC, all that matters to me anymore is how they actually vote.

    reagan or paul, we have much worse in office now!

    president “present”

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  6. theJadedBarrel

    February 8th, 2013

    Nope, don’t have a problem with Rand statement. It was the meme of the day (in the 80′s). The majority of main stream media hated Reagan. The bias was just sugar coated.

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  7. Geoff C. The Saltine

    February 8th, 2013

    I dont have a problem with what he said. Remember we left them and broke our promises to help. And then all hell broke loose. They live by a code of honor in there eyes we have no honor. If we would have stayed and offered just a little help things would have turned out different. Now they hate us and we hate them.

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  8. Billy Fuster

    February 8th, 2013

    The rhinos are attacking those that threaten them.

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  9. Billy Fuster

    February 8th, 2013

    Make that “rinos”.

    Thumb up +1

  10. NoMoBo

    February 8th, 2013

    Just like with Marco Rubio, I have a problem with Rand Paul. However unlike with Rubio (amnesty, yay!!), I’m not quite sure what it is about Rand Paul that bothers me. Maybe it’s his daddy – and the apple not falling far from the tree. I am not knowledgeable enough about the period of time in question to address the the essence of his statement, however I do have a problem with the term “war caucus.” That sounds like it came straight from luap nor’s mouth.

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  11. Tim

    February 8th, 2013

    Mean what you say, say what you mean.

    “War caucus” is a sorry euphemism for something that simply didn’t exist. There was “black” and “hispanic” and “women’s” caucuses, but I don’t recall a “war” caucus.

    I don’t recall that bin Laden was a player in the Afghanistan conflict; I recall a guy named Hekmatyar or something akin who led the mujaheddin. I think bin Laden was an Arab.

    We knew Afghanistan was gonna turn to shit once the Soviets were done because they had skinned our ambassador (or some lesser consular official) alive prior to taking up with the Soviets. And everyone since Alexander III of Macedon has known that they are highly unreliable.

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  12. InRussetShadows

    February 8th, 2013

    Ok, I’ll pile on. What about his foolish “war caucus” construct? He, apparently thinks that freedom movements are not worth supporting worldwide, but that was Reagan’s aim, not indiscriminate war for the sake of war. We armed people who wanted to throw off the Soviet yoke of oppression. The principle was that free people choosing their own governments make the world a more peaceful place.

    So, Paul not only gets Reagan’s principle wrong, he also gets his tactics wrong. This level of ignorance suggests a fundamental inability to comprehend foreign policy, and that is a trait he shares with his father.

    Thumb up +3

  13. bitterclinger

    February 8th, 2013

    I think NoMoBo sums up my feelings exactly. That snide reference to “war caucus” makes me wonder what it would take him to call out the military if and when we’re attacked and he’s sitting in the Oval. It sure smacked of his “fight at no cost” father.

    As for the comparison between Rand and Amnesty 2.0 — Rand joined Marco in Marco’s assessment of “we have to do SOMETHING!” handwringing about illegals here illegally.

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  14. Lady in Red

    February 9th, 2013

    The reference to war caucus *is* strange.

    But, damn it, there are enough real world brick walls to run into today without conjuring possibilities…

    Here’s another cut on the speech:


    …Lady in Red

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