But Marco Rubio didn’t run on a platform that included getting out of Afghanistan, abolishing the TSA, and opposing the NDAA while appearing with Ron Paul. Ted Cruz did. In an interview with me, Mike Lee criticized the Libya war on substantive as well as constitutional grounds and didn’t sound too enthusiastic about our other recent wars. Although Jim DeMint voted for the Iraq war, he was also one of just four Senate Republicans who voted to end its authorization.
My point yesterday wasn’t that Cruz is a Rubio clone, but that his policy views on Iran (and North Korea) are already known, and they aren’t very good. Cruz should get credit for wanting to end U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and opposing the NDAA, but that doesn’t seem to change anything I said yesterday. Lee said in December 2011 that the “jury is still out on Iraq and Afghanistan.” Saying that the “jury is still out” doesn’t reflect enthusiasm, but then only a handful of fanatics still express enthusiasm for these wars. The jury isn’t still out on Iraq. The Iraq war was a disaster for the people of Iraq and for America. That shouldn’t be too difficult to acknowledge at this point.
I was interested to go back and see what substantive criticisms Lee made against the Libyan war. It turns out there wasn’t much to them:
“I’m frustrated by our involvement in Libya,” Lee says. “We’ve never to this day heard the president provide a military explanation” as opposed to a humanitarian one.
That doesn’t tell us much. Is Lee opposed to humanitarian intervention on principle, or just in most cases, or only when an administration fails to explain it to his satisfaction? Does this tell us anything about his willingness to support military action against Iran? It doesn’t seem to do that. We have learned the hard way over the last thirteen years that most Republican opponents of Democratic humanitarian interventions prove to be quite willing to support starting far more dangerous and costly wars.
P.S. I realize that Antle’s “larger point was that these senators would be more reliable than past Republican leaders when it came to limiting the domestic functions of the federal government.” I don’t dispute that, and I have no evidence that would lead me to think that he’s wrong on this point. It remains to be seen whether they will view U.S. foreign policy activism with as much skepticism, but as far as Iran policy is concerned the signs are not encouraging.