By Martin Matishak - 07/12/14 11:32 AM EDT
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday said that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was “curiously blind” to the dangers posed by the terrorist group responsible for the security meltdown in Iraq.
The war of words marks the opening of a new chapter of hostilities between the two lawmakers as they weigh presidential bids in 2016.
He argued that the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has captured large swaths of territory in Iraq, is “well-trained, technologically sophisticated and adept at recruitment, with thousands of people with European passports fighting on its side, as well as some Americans.”
“This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa,” Perry wrote, citing an op-ed Paul authored last month in the Wall Street Journal.
He chided Paul for claiming former president Ronald Reagan would have kept the U.S. from intervening in Iraq, calling Paul’s analysis “wrong.”
“In the face of the advancement of the Islamic State, Paul and others suggest the best approach to this 21st-century threat is to do next to nothing,” according to Perry. “I personally don’t believe in a wait-and-see foreign policy for the United States. Neither would Reagan.”
He said Paul is “drawing his own red line along the water’s edge, creating a giant moat where superpowers can retire from the world.”
Perry then went on to knock President Obama for not taking more decisive steps in Syria and Iraq, saying the administration’s “confused leadership and passivity” has allowed ISIS to make its recent strides and for al-Qaeda to regroup.
“Viewed together, Obama’s policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul’s brand of isolationism (or whatever term he prefers) would compound the threat of terrorism even further,” according to Perry.
He said isolationist policies “would only endanger our national security even further.”