WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Republican Sen. Rand Paul warned that President Barack Obama is asking the United States to become allies with the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“Twelve years after we were attacked by Al Qaeda, 12 years after 3,000 Americans were killed by Al Qaeda, President Obama now asks us to be allies with Al Qaeda,” Paul said in response to the president’s address Tuesday night.
Paul, who has maintained that he would vote no to authorize a military strike against President Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, said diplomacy would be a “welcome resolution” after the Syrian government accepted a Russian proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control.
“The possibility of a diplomatic solution is a good thing, though we must proceed with caution on the details,” Paul stated. “But one thing is for certain, the chance for diplomacy would not have occurred without strong voices against an immediate bombing campaign. If we had simply gone to war last week or the week before, as many advocated, we wouldn’t be looking at a possible solution today.”
During his address to the nation, Obama noted that some rebel groups opposing the Assad regime are extremists.
“It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But Al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death,” Obama said.
Obama originally called on Congress to authorize a military strike against Assad for his regime’s chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that he said killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of children. The president asked Congress Tuesday night to delay a vote in hopes diplomacy would work.
“I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies – France and the United Kingdom – and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control,” Obama said.
Paul said a strike against Syria would not be in the nation’s best interest.
“There is no clearly defined mission in Syria, no clearly defined American interest. In fact, the Obama Administration has specifically stated that ‘no military solution’ exists. They have said the war will be ‘unbelievably small and limited,’” Paul said. “To me that sounds like they are pre-announcing that the military strikes will not punish Assad personally or effect regime change.”
The Syrian government announced hours before Obama’s speech that they would accept Russia’s proposal to surrender its chemical weapons.
Assad told CBS News that the U.S. does not have a “single shred of evidence” that his forces used chemical weapons.