Sen. Rand Paul: 'ISIS Is More of an Aberration' Than Saddam Hussein

By Melanie Arter | May 18, 2015 | 3:18 PM EDT

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (AP Photo)

( – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is “more of an aberration” than Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was.

“I would say that I think that we are more at risk for attack from people who are training, organizing, and fighting in Iraq than we were before. So, for example, I.S.I.S. is-- more of an aberration than even Hussein was. So you have this radical brand of jihad, this radical brand of Islam, that is now strong and growing stronger because of sort of the failed state that Iraq is,” Paul said.

“You have the same thing going on in Libya. So this is a valid debate, and we're gonna have to have this debate, not only in the Republican primary but in the general, as to whether or not it's a good idea. Is intervention always a good idea? Or sometimes does it lead to unintended consequences?” he added.

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Paul if he was satisfied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s response that he wouldn’t have gone into the war in Iraq knowing what we know now and whether Paul was satisfied not that Jeb Bush “won’t be taking us back to the Bush foreign policy.”

“Well, I think it's an important question, and I don't think it's a historical anecdote. I don't think it's something that's a hypothetical question. I think it's a recurring question in the Middle East. Is it a good idea to topple secular dictators? And what happens when we do?” Paul said.

“I think when Hussein was toppled, we got chaos. We still have chaos in Iraq. I think it emboldened Iran. I think we now have the rise of radical Islam in Iraq as well, but I think the same question, to be fair, ought to be asked of Hillary Clinton, if she ever takes questions,” he added.

“They should ask her, ‘Was it a good idea to invade Libya? Did that make us less safe? Did it make it more chaotic? Did it allow radical Islam and I.S.I.S. to grow stronger?’ So I think the war in Iraq is a good question and still a current question, but so is the question of, ‘Should we have gone into Libya?’” said Paul.

Todd asked Paul what he thought of Sen. Marco Rubio’s comments about the Iraq war and quoted him as saying, “Presidents don't have the benefit of hindsight, and the fact of the matter is, the world is a better place 'cause Saddam Hussein is not around.”

“Do you believe the world would be a better place if Saddam Hussein were still the strongman in Iraq?” Todd asked Paul.

“I don't think that's exactly how I’d put it,” said Paul, adding that “We are more at risk for attack from people who are training, organizing, and fighting in Iraq than we were before.”

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