Rand Paul: ‘No Reason’ for U.S. To Be in Afghanistan

‘This is the question that President Obama should have to answer: why are we still at war in Afghanistan?’

BLITZER: “Senator Rand Paul, the Republican from Kentucky, the Republican presidential candidate, is joining us now live. Senator, thanks very much for joining us.”

PAUL: “Thank you.”

BLITZER: “Let me get your reaction to what we just heard from the executive director of Doctors Without Borders, who doesn't believe it was a mistake, that it was deliberate, that it was potentially a war crime. Your reaction?”

PAUL: “You know, there's been a lot of confusion in the response. Was it an accident or was it done on purpose? It appears as if the coordinates were given to somebody, because they kept repeatedly bombing the same site. But I think it goes to a bigger question, and this is a question that President Obama should have to answer, why are we still at war in Afghanistan? What is the U.S. objective? What's the U.S. mission? And why are we bombing anybody in Afghan? I think we had a clear cut mission after 9/11, but that's been long gone for many years now. And I think really that the Afghans need to step up and defend themselves. But there's no reason for the U.S. to be involved there at all at this point. And tragic accidents will happen when you're involved with war, but I don't see why we're still involved in Afghanistan.”

BLITZER: “Well, I'm going to get to that in a moment, but you're a physician, you're a doctor, do you agree with the executive director of Doctors Without Borders that in addition to the U.S. investigation, the NATO investigation, the Afghan investigation, there should also be an impartial outside international investigation?”

PAUL: “Yes, I don't mind an outside international investigation, but somebody needs to step up and say, why are we there and what is the policy? Doctors and hospitals should never be targeted, and so that's completely unacceptable. But if it's an accident, it's still a bad policy because why are we dropping bombs in Afghanistan. We've been helping them for 10 years or more. They should step up and they should be able to combat against any insurgency. And there is not a clear-cut U.S. role. And if we're to be back at war in Afghanistan, the president should come to Congress and ask for permission, and we should say why we are at war and have a debate over that, but we shouldn't be in perpetual war all around the globe.”

BLITZER: “The argument is, if the U.S., the NATO allies, were to completely pull out, it would be a disaster. The Taliban, potentially, could take over and Afghanistan would be back to where it was before 9/11.”

PAUL: “Well, I guess my question would be, why? We've given them billions and billions of dollars. We've spent more in Afghanistan than we did in the Marshall Plan. Why can't they defend themselves after a decade? Will we have to defend them in perpetuity? No, I don't think we should have a perpetual war over there and I think often people will not stand up and defend themselves if we're doing the defending. So they are doing more of the ground activity, but I think their entire defense, minus maybe some armaments and some support, but really we should not be at war in Afghanistan. They should be able, after a decade or more, to defend themselves.”

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