Dick Cheney has been laying into Rand Paul lately over his supposed “isolationism.” So, +1 for Rand Paul. But in a 2009 video unearthed by Mother Jones, Rand Paul blistered Dick Cheney and the military-industrial complex. Excerpt from David Corn’s summary:
The message is clear: Cheney, a corporate shill, was more loyal to Halliburton—and the millions of dollars he earned from the company—than to the United States, and he and Halliburton manipulated the country into the Iraq War. Paul was essentially accusing Cheney of a profound betrayal: using 9/11 to start a war to profit Halliburton.
This is a harsh charge—and in these videos, Paul seems to believe it fully. He has, though, not spoken in such terms of late. (His Senate office did not respond to a request for comment.) In a recent speech on foreign policy, Paul talked about the value of “containment” and “engagement” and assailed the Cheney wing of the party—without naming the ex-veep—by decrying neocons for promoting a “neo-isolationism, in which diplomacy is distrusted and war is, if not the first choice, the preferred option.” Yet his previous accusations about Cheney, 9/11, and Iraq could well provide rich material for questions in presidential debates, should Paul run in 2016. The remarks illustrate just how sharp the divide is between Paul and the GOP establishment on foreign policy and suggest the bad blood runs deep, very deep.
I think saying that Cheney sold out the country for Halliburton is going much too far. He’s accusing Cheney of treason, an extremely harsh charge that really should have no place in American politics, unless there is actual evidence of treason. Extraordinary claims like the one Paul made back in 2009 require extraordinary evidence.
However, I applaud Senate candidate Paul for drawing attention to the military-industrial complex, of which Dick Cheney was certainly a part. I trust that Paul, now a senator, will be more careful and precise in his criticism — but that he will not let up with the criticism one bit. The GOP big guns are going to be trained on Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign bigtime. The more he talks about foreign policy in this way, the more interested in his candidacy I become. Sixty-one percent of the American people believe the US should stay out of the Ukraine crisis — unlike Washington, where members of both parties are slavering to intervene. A Rand Paul-Hillary Clinton match-up in 2016 would be a terrific opportunity to have a real debate on America’s role in the world. And a new poll finds that those who can’t find Ukraine on a map are the same people who are more inclined to want the US to stick its nose into the mess.