Rand Paul blames GOP hawks for ISIS
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The internecine warfare within the Republican Party has now exploded into the open, with Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter Sunday Show Preview: Trump's allies and administration defend decision on Syria Ana Navarro clashes with Rand Paul in fiery exchange: 'Don't mansplain!' MORE (R-Ky.) blaming GOP neoconservatives and hawks for the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists, and a growing list of GOP presidential candidates responding by attacking Paul for being soft on terrorism.

The imbroglio became high voltage when Paul, as reported by The Hill and others, said this in an early Wednesday interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe": "Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS, that hawks in our party have been arming," Paul said. He continued: "ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party, who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS."

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Almost immediately the counterattack against Paul came from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R), all of whom accused Paul of being isolationist and soft on ISIS. Stay tuned for the rest of the Republican field, and leading Republicans such as Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainVideo of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Remembering leaders who put country above party Graham-Trump rollercoaster hits dizzying speed MORE (R-Ariz.), to join the battle and pounce on Paul in full force.

It will be equally interesting to watch Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Rubio criticizes Warren response on same-sex marriage opposition as condescending MORE (R-Fla.) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) — who between them seem to have had six or seven different positions about whether they would have invaded Iraq — try to develop a coherent view to join the attacks against Paul. And of course the inexperienced governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker (R), who has been taking informal study courses with experts to learn about national security while he seeks to become commander in chief, will have to cram fast to join the national security imbroglio that will now bitterly divide the GOP.

In some ways, Paul and his GOP critics are both right about each other, and wrong about each other, while they all miss the key point. Paul is right when criticizing the right to the degree that the neoconservatives and GOP hawks rushed America to a horribly mistaken war in Iraq under President George W. Bush and many of the arms that poured into the region ended up in the hands of ISIS. His critics are right in criticizing Paul to the degree that Paul sometimes veers into an isolationism that would do real damage to American security if he became commander in chief and were so unwilling to resort to the use of force on those occasions when force is required.

While it is pleasant for Democrats to watch the national security civil war erupt between Republican presidential candidates attacking each other on issues of war and peace, they all miss the point that matters — from my point of view — which I expressed in my column this week warning of "the coming terror attacks."

In my view, on current course, there will almost certainly be significant terror attacks on American soil, European soil and in nations around the globe. The issue is not whom to blame, but how to prevent these terror attacks that I warn are coming.

President Obama and all Democratic and Republican candidates for president should, in my view, clearly and unequivocally support at least 10,000 to 15,000 boots on the ground to help defeat and destroy ISIS and disrupt its ability to plan terror attacks here and elsewhere. These boots on the ground should be special ops forces composed of troops from the U.S., Europe and the Arab League with a shared sense of mission and sacrifice.

In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, the weather has become warmer and the Republicans have started their engines and the GOP civil war between Rand Paul and GOP hawks has now begun in earnest and it will become ugly indeed!

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.